Adventures In Audio

Why your audio is bad and why you can't do anything about it

Comments on this video

You can comment on this video at YouTube

@winstonclayton4698:  I have up graded my hifi system several times over the years searching for a better sound but my last attempt was so disappointing Primaluna Evo 400 ,minotor audio silver 500 speakers,Naim ND5 XS 2 streamer,Denafrips Pontus 2, project x1 turntable Ortofon 2m blue, no synergy.

@budgetkeyboardist:  ...and everyone learning how to make recordings these days are holding up the dreadfully too loud hits of today as their target for "great audio." Video after video tell us what good sound is, and they mean LOUD = good sound. And those of us who suggest that almost all modern recordings suck because they're too loud are treated like out of touch old people. But this video is 100% correct.

@mortenkinander:  Wonderful! A case in point: how Andrew Watt ruined the latest Rolling Stones album with loudness and compression.

@andrejgregoric1324:  Well said. Excellent video of what plagues todays audio production. Most will not even understand this, if you don't mention TV commercial that jumps out of TV set with loudness (compressed to wake up the dead).

@AudioMasterclass replies to @andrejgregoric1324: In theory, commercials should now be tamed to -23 LUFS (Europe), -24 LUFS (USA). That's the theory.

@brandnewyou5254:  I hope that comment was understood.by knowing myself I know there is a song your holding that is a hit.you just haven't been aloud to put the wand in your hand and direct the performance

@brandnewyou5254:  Ii consider myself a mix engineer today.i know about harmonic distortion to make tracks cut thru.evrything is volume eq and........panning.mono mixing to get it ritw then hitting the stereo button.you know,looking at music from above it All is a curse that only hit holders beare

@benwu7980:  Quite a profound statement regarding why many still think vinyl sounds better, it's not that it's technical limitations have not been surpassed by cd or above, but that they were indeed properly mastered within those limits.

@escaton74:  and if your ears happen to be older than 40 years, none of this applies to you anyway. sorry but you had your time in the sun

@philbiker3:  This is only valid for pop/rock and some (but not most) Jazz. Nobody is making a Mozart sonata "sound like that".

Regarding @14:00 In the late 90s and early 2000s I used to buy vinyl whenever I could (and it was tough then - I was a big fan of TOWER records because they stiull had a pretty good sized vinyl dept.) for exactly this reason. I remember using my computer to make a CD of my vinyl of Metallica's "Reload" and looking at that compared to a rip of the CD - a look at the two waveforms starkly illustrated this phenomenon. McCartney's "Memory Almost Full" is like a big square wave on CD, and the vinyl is dynamic and pleasant.

@Makinthadough:  What on earth is going on in your 5-10k range? Love your videos but this one has some super weird stuff going on that is well distracting. Is there such thing as gated desser. Sounds like that.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @Makinthadough: The only difference between this and my other videos, as far as I remember, is that I'm the other way round in my room, and the mic is above my head rather than to the side. So I'm guessing acoustics. Who doesn't need better acoustics?

@shadowside8433:  I'm no expert, but the worst culprits in my collection are the last two REM albums - Accelerate and Collapse Into Now.

I find them unlistenable, but I'm not sure why. I feel there is a good album in there, but I am not sure if its the production or the mixing/mastering which is at fault (or both!).

I would quite like an informed view on this as I want to like these albums, but can't!

@Smog104:  This guy is excellent.
Bang and Olufsen Beolab 28s are accused of being bassy for BnO speakers while earlier models not so . Is this also a trend in audio equipment being tuned to be more loud and bassy ???

@Andre81S:  dont like the overproduced sound, extrem highs and full of details i dont want to hear, all the same loud, most it feels like it lost it soul.
Natural Classic is fine, unhearable till shocking loud, thats dynamic and represents feelings. When i hear electronic music like in my youth, its so borring these days, it sounds all the same.

@TheVideohans:  Thanks for the fine explanation. Question, what is the best reproducing your distorted file? First, not everyone has the same hearing capability, second which way do reproduce the audio? Vinyl, CD, DVD, Blu-ray, tape? Is it all the same? what hardware do you need to get no more extra distraction of the sound? Witch room do you listen in? What does your wife think?

@AudioMasterclass replies to @TheVideohans: I don't have a wife.

@RobRedMedia:  You're not wrong.

@marguskivilaan5369:  One more distortion source is FM/DAB radio stations adding master processors onto main mixer output. Nowadays music pieces are heavily normalled anyway, adding additional (usually quite agressive) compressor/limitter into chain leaves almost non-existant dynamics to music. And there's always a station boss standing next to you and asking "Why competing radio station sounds louder in my car stereo?"😵‍💫
People, there is usually a volume button for these cases!

@bshah4831:  Listening to audio should be a special experience

@bakkerem1967:  Yeah, my audio is bad. It's still MY audio though. If you wanna contribute to me improving mu audio I'd be willing to provide my bank account number.
it's never enough, but perfectionism is the prime enemy of 'good enough'. I'm setteling for the latter.
Sometimes great audio is audio that captures the ambient atmosphere of the performance, and that is captured in the moment. A moment that cannot be replicated.

@davespagnol8847:  I can see a case for compressing the dynamic range of recordings, but only if you want to hear music in a noisy environment. For example in a car. Or through headphones when you're outside among day to day noises. What should happen is that the amplification should include an option to do this if needed. The recording itself should not. I remember that NAD used to use a switchable system with the acronym C.A.R. on its cassette recorders to compress the dynamic range on recordings made for playing in a car. In those days, of course, car stereos played cassettes, and didn't include such a playback option.

Clipping will introduce a slight distortion which can give the impression that a recording is being played back louder than it is, but let's face it, most amplifiers can be turned up loud enough to introduce some distortion, so if that's your thing, fine. But again, this should not be forced on all of us. The only distortion that should be present in recordings are effects introduced by the artist(s) as part of the sound that they are creating.

@BlurredTrees:  Says Paul McCartney.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @BlurredTrees: McCartney says https://youtu.be/aB3JNivlMnI

@grommie:  The're where some live shows and the singer sounded great and lovely❤
Then the release came out on radio and i didnt feel the talent of the voice as the live performance.😢
Not ever did i want to listen to most mainstream again. I dont reconize the talent in mainstream.

@casperghst42:  Interesting, when one listen to a drum kit or an analogue bass recorded in the 80s and listen to one from today then everyone should be able to hear the difference. As you say it's down to loudness. I still prefers vinyl mastered in the 60s to the mid 80s, even CDs mastered before the 90s sound better than the ones we get today. Just listen to "Brothers in Arms" (original from the 80s)....

@TrevorDodd-ev1sx:  I think audiophiles are at risk of becoming so concerned about the quality that they run the risk of not actually enjoying the music.
BTW my amplifier goes up to 11.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @TrevorDodd-ev1sx: Your BTW has inspired a likely future video.

@nd-0810:  So everything sounds like Oasis in the end…

@GiveMeMusic:  Anything after 1995 is a terrible assumption and premise. How do you explain Elliott Smith’s beautifully recorded fist few albums, Pinback’s self recorded efforts, Beck’s Sea Change and Morning Phase, Fugazi’s Red Medicine, End Hits, and The Argument, The Whitest Boy Alive, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s eponymous release, Sufjan Steven’s first few releases? I can go on, and on, and on. I do agree that a “majority” of big studio releases sounded like a buckshot of iron filings into your ear drums, but most of that stuff, to a good degree, had highly commercial ends in mind, so the bug went around rather easily.

@ksnstechtopics8650:  And then it gets compressed even further when broadcast via FM or DAB with Optimod. Dynamic range is a good thing. I have always said if people want to listen to compressed audio then why not include the processing in the playback device so that it can be set to the listeners preference. a couple of dB's isn't really that noticeable but with modern mastering techniques it has got out of hand.

@RAZGR1Z:  Wonderful video, sir!

@robertdowell9493:  There are a few of us out there who want to get the sound of the artist on the media exactly as it sounded in the live room - even if it’s a heavily distorted guitar sound!

The audience for music that “sounds like that”, isn’t discerning enough to listen to the best recordings on any media. Chest-thudding bass transients and ear splitting treble is all they care about.

There is thankfully still an audience for music and artistry that doesn’t “sound like that”. The artists I used to work with (predominantly vocal and acoustic instruments) didn’t need much persuasion to mix sensitively.

@enrico0094:  Excellent points, and my eyes were opened to the tricks available in the audio chain when DAWs started bundling "make it warmer" plugins as standard. I thought the low point (or, perhaps, high point in terms of clips/sec) was 1999, but I agree that pre-1995 CDs sound more polite, restrained and less in-yer-face than any CD post-1999.

There are exceptions of course. Some DIY musicians, who have more control over their output, still cater for those of us whose ears wince at a brickwalled 21st century master😢

@jamesp3022:  Nothing like a live show

@stigbengtsson7026:  I have ben listening to small consert, performents outdoor, and I talked with some engeneers, to get some facts. They have speaker systems that aims the music to the public, and guess what - you are almost blown away - they think that loud is Good - And I think - this is noting but NOIS - it stinks! - So I guess it is the same madness as you tell - Sound to me is quality not quantity -
Best Whishes From
Sweden.

@btta88:  Holy words!!!!!

@mikepxg6406:  My Audio is great. I built my speakers that are the best speakers in the world......So those Yamaha's behind you are a waste of time.🙉

@simonloo6343:  Is this also true of classical music recordings by the likes of DG and Sony etc?

@user-ud9rn7dw6q:  So basically the source of the music is bad or wrong the cd player is wrong the dac is wrong the cables are wrong the reel to reel is wrong the amp is wrong the speakers are wrong the pc is wrong the dac is wrong
So. What’s right ? What do you listen to for audio nirvana 😮

@Synthematix:  Have a listen to "Stormzy - Big For My Boots", you will hear just how bad modern music is haha, bad music made even worse by bad mastering, simple as that really.

Then have a listen to. "IceJJFish - On The Floor" you will be in for a real treat!!!

@davidhosmer1424:  Is it any wonder why LIVE SOUND of "pop" music is always BLEEDING EAR LOUD? This started before 95. I went to very few pop / rock concerts - at a Beach Boys concert the first opening act was painful, the second was worse and the main act was so loud you couldn't be heard shouting in you friend's ear. Attended the concert on a outside deck. Gee, maybe this is why I am hard of hearing at 72. It seems that once they created mega power amps and walls / stacks of speakers every one thought LOUDER IS BETTER.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @davidhosmer1424: My feeling is that in the 70s live music was loud, but the sound was much more full affecting the whole body. Loud now means poke you in the ear with a sharp stick. It isn't louder according to the SPL meter but it seems so.

@beitie:  I can't tell you how many times I hear a song, love it... Then listen again to study it closer, and am blown away by poor mastering and distortion choices.

@paulpoco22:  I remember in 1999 for a couple of years I help friends at work to record their band with just a PC and their mixing board. For the final mix I took a shortcut with a plugin that would analyze a commercial recording wav file and make my recording eq like the commercial recording.

@WMAlbers1:  The best stereo sound I ever got was when I built some very good Philips speakers to link up with a fairly cheap SONY "All in one" stereo set, which had the most crappy speakers to go with it. What sounded actually the best were these "direct metal mastering" LP's of the Swedish brand BIS. Some of these recordings were made with only two mics on a Revox reel-to-reel recorder. So this proves a lot about what you say!

@rickyblair8802:  Yep, we’ve been and are screwed

@user-ud9rn7dw6q:  I love cassettes 😅
No I really do
Had 27 cassette decks in 40 years
Honestly I love cassettes
I love Star Wars figures
Action man
Six million dollar man
Monkey
Now I haven’t got sod all I sold it all
I’ve got a life now
On a serious note you can’t beat going to the Albert hall and listening to woodwind instruments and timpani’s the real music

@CarstenSaager:  For some genres the only thing that counts ate Spotify playlists. If you are not loud enough, you sound subjectively boring and the 24/7 streamer hits 'next‘. Lost revenue. The actual quality of the track doesn't matter for this audience... In the end the material consumed is for its purpose similar to white noise

@tmjcbs:  IMHO this is way too much of a generalisation: it applies mostly only to pop/rock music (and even in these genres I suspect mostly the more commercial recordings). Current classical music and jazz recordings sound as good now (if not better) as they did pre 1995, the same goes for...well, practically all genres except pop/rock music. (Mostly) young people want their music loud as that sounds better on cheap (mostly in-ear) headphones or in a car. Classical music and jazz lovers want their music clean and without distortion, so in the end the audience gets what it wants. You're out of luck if you love current pop/rock music ánd want a good sound. But then: isn't most good pop/rock music from long before 1995?

@johngranato2673:  Excellent!!!!!!!!

@sellmeyoursoul6601:  old or new some sources are bad some better etc it is what it is, but you really DO need at least a DAC + a decent amp + decent speakers to play digital for the lowest price, mind that some old CD players might have better electronics than new stuff, 32 bit audio and stuff is snake oil

@sellmeyoursoul6601 replies to @sellmeyoursoul6601: for records, you need a good phono with a good power supply first to be able to judge carts

@BirdArvid:  8:15 The difference between Jimi Hendrix's over-driven, distorting amp and the loudness wars (and the like) is that Jimi wanted that distortion as an expressive means; the distortion from his tube amps was (is) very different from that created by modern transistor amps and or the sound of digital clipping (post recording).

@GBCR:  Audio Masterclass - so wrong on so many levels 🤣🤣🤣

@yvesfrancoisritmo:  You explained why i dislike most recordings (and some reissues) of music from the middle 90's onwards. I hate that overmodulated sound.
Thankfully, classical and most traditional forms of jazz (ah elitism) is not usually revorded that way.
I am not against multi track recording, i am against the loudness wars that have been going on for decades

@mattlm64:  Nobody's heard of a volume knob it seems.

@jibberingwillop:  Your comments are spot on, let's go back to clean audio, and get rid of this ridiculous brick wall limiting.

@raytaylor3961:  Remember Tom Petty talking about music being recorded to loud the engineers are doing the listeners a great disservice.

@PentaxBlogger:  I hate distortion for the sake of my life. I started working for local TV in 1993 and we were recording concerts with S-VHS camcorders with built in microphones. Distortion of sound was huge ... for my sake, unbearable. Even picture were distorted if camcorder was too close to speakers. Than years go by and recording equipment got better. Finally we could record distortion free, but than MUSIC become distorted ... not soon the same level as 1990's camcorders but in 2020 the TikTok clips are using distortion as special effect. We are at the beginning again. I like listening older music. 90'es music is only mild pumped up in compression regarding 80's, but hugely better than 2020's music. Than 80'es are really more natural and is balsam to the ears.

@charlies.3372:  This is sad when your a music lover!

@allanmoger1838:  I don’t know how we reset the perception of the people responsible. Tie them to a chair and play them music from pre ‘95 and post ‘95 until they get a clue? I think most of the people doing this today weren’t old enough to even care about music back in 1995, so I think we’re doomed.

It also strikes me that since the MP3 and low bandwidth streaming became the mediums of choice, young people just don’t care about quality, probably because it show just how bad MP3s and streaming are.

I know you can get 24 bit lossless files and HD streaming but it’s a small niche when it ought to be the standard by now, it isn’t because not enough people listening to music today actually care.

@digitaldosage1979:  Just found this channel last night...love it and I'm not even a huge HiFi guy (sound engineer by formal education), but these insights are great!

@nanopotato420:  I've noticed newer music forced me to turn the volume down instantly and crank it up on older tunes. My listening source changed naturally towards instrumentals that are internationally produced and older music. Doing so I've experienced better imaging and quality that is natural to me. Thank you for the breakdown that makes total sense.

@Aranimda:  :pepesad:

@TheQuintus85:  Would the louder mixes not be more efficient less wattage used 😅 not a bad thing on a terrible amp either 😂

@AudioMasterclass replies to @TheQuintus85: Certainly less voltage required but I'd imagine more power. I might look into this for a future video.

@tomstickland:  Much sense being spoken here. Real quality content.

A limiter fed an oversized sine wave will change its shape and therefore introduce harmonic distortion. I don't really understand the loudness wars. Like you say, the listener can adjust the final gain.

I can understand why mixing engineers might want to add some limited distortion into a track. Reverb, echo, room simulation etc and distortion all add some extra content that might make something seem more interesting.

@philipellis4530:  I'm surprised that you're sporting a pair of 2 way speakers, unless the top end is a dual concentric or sometimes known as coaxial driver. I have a pair of ATC SCM100 bought back in '85, if I had the money I would of gone for the SCM100A's, in any case I've always understood that you should spend most of your budget on the loudspeakers, as this when correctly positioned is where your going to enjoy your listening experience, unless you prefer headphones. 
My first HiFi if you could call it that was back in 1966 when 'Heathkit' was around, being only 18 couldn't afford much so I built the gear, then a few years later bought the Thorens TD124 MkII, SME arm + Shure V15, now at 75 have an active 3 way system using Class D FFA amps (Full Fat Audio) powering B&C drivers, 2 stacks comprising of a separate 18" Bass cab, 2 x 10" Mids, 2 x compression drivers in another cabinet, they are stacked 3 meters apart in my summer house, a close friend who happened to be a sound engineer monitored this system on a spectrum analyser and was amazed at the clarity with the volume turned up, it sounded like the band was actually present.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @philipellis4530: My Yamaha NS-10M Studio speakers are for work. I have B&W 801's for pleasure, Sonab OA-5 for fun.

@tonictonetomrockstar1931:  I always thought everything pre 1995 sounded better but I thought it was due to analogue recording mixed with digital mastering. I really thought that was the reason.

@adventuresinasmr1314:  A recent release that is loud yet sounds amazing is The Smashing Pumpkins ATUM on CD. It's the only CD that's mastered loud I've ever played and thought sounded great. Every other release is on a spectrum of "they didn't butcher it too badly" to "crunchy and too miserable to endure".

@stephenfrancis303:  Masters before 95 got it nas illmatic and wu tang 36 chambers for the rest of my life word is bond!

@ericquasney8832:  Waves limiter started it. 🙉

@ericquasney8832:  Thats always problem. Suit say make sound like those guys.
Dont they got button for that?
🙉

@robertkoops5689:  That's why I love (and buy) old vinyl.

@mnemonik61:  Early Gen X-er and late to this party but thankfully NOT ALL audio recordings suffer this fate, which is why I mostly listen to jazz and classical recordings when looking for 'new' music to enjoy at home.
Frankly, I've grown to hate autotune, limiting and lifeless sequenced (digital) percussion with a passion I formerly reserved for only the most vapid pop music.

@classicaloracle:  Isn't this somewhat genre specific? Are Decca doing this with their Classical releases?

@youngmike2553:  is possible that not all people listen to their music with an actual hi-fi speaker? Many cheaper audio devices tune in V-shaped sound, if the record is not "loud" enough, the mid can not be heard and is covered by other frequencies.

@johnbull5394:  I notice this when I for some reason purchased a single CD of Shirley Bassey singing 'The Living Tree'. It was a pretty awful song anyway with unnecessary James Bond theme throughout. But what I missed was Bassey's vocals, which was, after all, what I had bought the single to hear. It was as if the person recording had simply decided to maximise the volume of every single track and throw it on a CD. I cannot find this CD in my collection so I can only assume I got rid of it. It was genuinely terrible. Think I listened to it twice.

@johnbull5394:  What about classical music recordings? Are they also under pressure to make things sound like THAT, given that this is a niche market in the first place?

@bertmazzocco6347:  I'd be interested in what you think of loudness on Michael Franks albums. Probably unfair as they are closer to Jazz

@Station2066:  Dollars and no sense in the music industry. Because it’s the dollars that count.

@adamtparker6515:  Sometimes enjoy seeing the FFT of digital file showing the brick and locate the lp version and with a 20hz rumble drop see then amplify w/o compression signal to near top range and see 'what I was missing'...

@torsten1091:  As I am not (professionally) working in the recording and producing process I have to rely on what I was told:
The loudness war was started to get the considered piece of music more in front to the R A D I O listener. May be this worked for a certain period of time. My experience is: I visit a concert, the band sounds great, I buy the CD and listen to it in the car on my way home or back home on my hifi environment. And .... There's nothing left of the magic. It's all mixed and mastered to the flattest (may be loudest) level. Evereything sounds the same and I regret buying that stuff.
Back to the radio-thing: Do they all really destroy their music hoping they get a radio hit this way? Still today? Shouldn't they produce their recordings for the listener who buys the CDs, vinyls or what ever? They cant't be that stupid. But all I heared about major labels seems to prove even that. No risk, better "sound like that". But avoiding taking a tiny bit of a risk leeds to lose the willing listener with a pretty high certainty. And it is also pretty certain that no one else will listen to their music than the willing fan who visits the concerts. I think those label guys have to get out of their bubble and join some events where the music sound as it is meant to sound. Mostly the FoH engineers are doing great jobs (maybe that is because they have to go through and listen to the whole thing by themselves).

@jimmyolsenschannel6263:  Isn't the idea to kill dynamics so the music still cuts through in an otherwise noisy environment, such as in a car? I believe it is. No wonder then that the first complaints about "brick-walling" came from those people you otherwise mock so much, i.e. the audiophiles. They were pointing this out year after year from the mid-90s until the issue some ten years later was finally picked up by music magazines such as Mojo. The big change for the better came with the 2009 Beatles reissues, particularly the subsequent mono box set. Which is befitting since the Beatles were the first musicians to protest against the influence of cutting engineers already in 1967.

@imammarc:  Remastered = loud as shite. Most modern music is just loud, loud, loud. No dynamics. This has been exacerbated (if that’s even possible) by the advent of the AirPods in that everything is made loud as shite on these ubiquitous devices because they can’t do anything musical, so instead everything is mastered to sound loud as shite on them.

@borikero1:  The audio source can also be a major issue, especially with current digital streaming quality and everything moving to the convenience of bluetooth. You can have the best equipment, but if the source quality is not lossless, or if the mastering was not good from the start, the music will just not sound good no matter what you do.

I think the mainstream proliferation of audiophile and hifi equipment, luxury audio brands, etc, coincided with the movement of mainstream music to bluetooth and internet streaming where quality can be seriously degraded. Many people think regaining the quality lost is as simple as buying a ton of expensive audio equipment, but that just won't fix it (💩-in will crap 💩-out).

Is incredible how much video quality is retained on video streaming services...but to this day the major audio streaming services are still compressing the crap out of music and making even high quality equipment sound average and bland, they think digital processing will compensate, but it just makes everything worse...major tech companies like apple and samsung were quick to remove the audio jack from phones and other devices pushing most people to mediocre Bluetooth and wireless speakers and headphones, many cars dont even Aux input or CDs anymore. The whole thing is a big mess.

I know lifelong music enthusiasts that have pretty much stopped listening to music becuse they can't stomach the low quality music being pushed nowadays. Hopefully streaming will get way better soon, and either Bluetooth steps up the quality or they give us back our wires 😂

@bigboingballz:  Not a bad video from an old man! But you failed to mention the REASON why the shift took place. the reason is because the music industry shifted from loudspeakers to headphones because the primary means of music consumption was from headphones.

There are many CDs which can only be enjoyed with headphones sadly.

@cubemerula5264:  We already have certain remasters done clean. Loudness Wars gained traction with the masses because it finally gives argument-weapons to all those who wanted to hate digital audio and present themselves as refined souls who can only listen to "record-type-distortion", but loudness is where they draw the line and they didn't really have any arguments on their side. So far the only serious argument they could come up with was the personal preference. A lot of them still think that CDs can't be made without flattened dynamic range.

This has at least one positive effect - there's a market to cater with clean mastering. For example, Bob Ludwig's CD remasters of Dire Straits studio albums, is the best those albums ever sounded. What Mike Oldfield did on his own with his studio albums does the same for him etc.

@cubemerula5264:  It's nice to see you're aware of the fact that records limitations yielded specific type of mastering which, for short, is just lossy in a way. Or, (record lovers close your ears) compressed.

@songzen4074:  For me, the CD audio and CD player’s 44.1kHz sampling rate is just like car’s speed limited to 110km/hour when driving on the highway. What is more is that the accelerator pedal is also limited, so even you press pedal to full power the car will never run faster than 110km/hour. I stoped buy CD since 1995 and never listen to CD since then. Now I buy vinyls mainly classical music produced from 96kHz or 192kHz sampling rate mastering.

@G6JPG:  I thoroughly agree about excessive audio level compression - but (a) your clip title, by not mentioning the reason, is clickbait, and (b) 15 minutes to say it? Really? Five minutes would have been more than enough - and with some visual aids, too - show some graphs of the sausage waveforms. This is video, after all.
(The worst aspect is that some YouTube music videos - especially of old TV material - are not only a fairly constant audio level, but a very low one, too. I've had at least one where I've had to up it by 16 × before it exceeds half scale, which is my aim point.)

@AudioMasterclass replies to @G6JPG: Thank you for your comment. Oddly enough YouTube measures viewer satisfaction and promotes popular videos more. This, despite your displeasure, is one of my most popular videos. You are welcome to use the dislike button at any time. DM

@MitternachtAngel:  I barely have a vague idea of what he is talking about but I enjoyed the video. To me 10$ earbuds are great, 30$ speakers are ok...so...

@mightymulatto3000:  I read in a book once that clipping the tops off of waveforms causes bad audio.

So basically they're intentionally molesting and defiling waveforms.

@xujznajit:  Dude , your video's are very helpful for noobs like me, who are just dipping their toes into hifi with first dac's and better headphones 👍

@yctai6151:  Loudness! Like Amy Winehouse, especially the "BBC album".
He who pays the piper calls the tune.... ha ha ha
A lot of people put ketchup on their food---it's the taste...... like fashion, changes with the wind....

@l0gaRythm:  I can hear your room, gd 😅

@AndersEngerJensen:  I totally agree with you! 🤘🏼 I just try and up the overall volume so my songs won’t sound too amateurish compared with other music, but I keep leaning towards the mid 80s in terms of loudness and mixing.

@murphman76:  I really enjoy your videos...they are excellent. I hate the loudness wars and the distortion they create. However, I do not think "distortionless" sound is necessarily nirvana. I have some very high-end gear that is far better than most anyone's ears...and some of the sounds it can reproduce - particularly treble - are amazing. BUT, some 1960s era music sounds richer/warmer/better (yes, I know "richer/warmer" are distortions) on my high end Magnavox Custom Imperial console ($1695 in 1970 and about $14,000 in 2023 dollars).

@gordthor5351:  Compressed recordings sound like as$ and aren't dynamic, because the dynamic range was compressed, Meaning the quietest sounds (a whisper) are closer to the loudest (huge bass slam) sounds. It causes the vocals to be WAAAAAY too hot (loud AF and right in your face) and the dynamic slams too weak, with everything sounding muddied together. A quality (high dynamic range) recording can be played very loud and never get muddy or overbearing.

This is just my theory, but I think the reason why more dynamic music isn't annoying (like compressed music) when played at a higher volume, is because it's more natural and gives our brains/ears a break between the low sounds and the louds sounds. Highly compressed music is blaring loud all the time (piss all for dynamics) and it can be visually seen if you use a view meter on a music app like Fubar 2000.

New music videos on YouTube are still getting louder. It's insane, and destroys the song. I have a highly resolving (very expensive) system and more compression only sounds worse.

This is also my own theory, as to why the loudness wars started and why they continue. Audio quality has taken a huge hit due to a plethora of gimmicks eating up the budget of the amp (device). Compressed music very well might be more engaging on weak audio devices like tablets and phones, but it sounds like sh!t on a real stereo.

@DJayFreeDoo:  I agree on all points here pretty much. But i wouldn't say it's up to the mastering engineer to make the track louder. That is best done within the mix. Taming dynamic ranges on individual tracks will result in a less compressed or distorted sound coming out of the mastering stage. Intentional distortion in the mix is like that electric guitar you mentioned. And like you also said, tastefully adding distortion or saturation can sound great. Specific distortion like adding some third order harmonics can be almost invisible in terms of distortion but add loudness. it can be used to keep transients down without them being noticably tamed unless you hear an A/B comparison. Making electronic music i do this a lot. And i use this to give the track more energy. Making the sound staying in place with a bit of forcefullness to its sound. Soft clipping in the mastering stage can be great to make the midrange more present and pop out of the speakers more. But even better done in the mixing stage to bring certain sounds forward. I like louder sounds to be less dynamic and quieter sounds more dynamic. Just like a lead vocal being compressed to sit firmly front and center in a mix, and have a bass and strings surrounding the vocal with emotional dynamics to enhance the vocalists performance and the message and emotions the track asking for to deliver. In EDM it feels good with powerful aggressive sounds up front, and dynamic sounds in contrast behind them. That contrast adds a sense of depth mixing that gentleness in the background to support the bold agression of the sounds in front which are intended to be in focus. But all this stuff is genre specific. The mixing stage is there to enhance the intended experience of the composition. The mastering stage however does more. It can bring that last bit of emotional impact home, and the presence and balance that will bring the intended feel of the song to be experienced the same way by consumers regardless of what the listen on. The one thing that seperates a highly dynamic track to a track that isn't having a lot of dynamic range left. Is for one, the energy and presence of it. A track that is played next to this loud track will sound like its lacking energy, sounding a bit tired so to speak. And energy is percieved as exciting. Just like in an orchestral piece where you have the quiet parts that are calm and gentle, and the loud parts which excite the listener and keeps them alert. In EDM it can be the same, only that the overall dynamic range is reduced a lot compared to an orchestral piece. You can have these huge and energetic choruses or drops and the mellow verses and the breakdowns which are more dynamic and often containing more texture and detail. So the tracks uses the dynamic shifts in the arrangement to make the track a sort of journey to experience. Have music become too loud? Well, yes! ...but also it depends. What is the experience you want the listener to have. And ofc there is the topic of making money. Then you need ot be competitive. But not only in loudness. Loudness is not enough. A track can be a great experience when its loud and bold. and a gentle and calm track can't quite match the louder track in loudness. But it can get close but it will ofc also end up having sacrificed some dynamics, mostly the transients. But the goal for me making electronic music is that when im in the mastering stage, i want to enhance the musical experience fitting the genre. And getting loud in the mix so the mastering can be mastering without necessarly making the track louder by driving the limiter hard. But even the limiter can add a bit of energy but it can also dull the track. For streaming services is not hard at all to reach the more or less required loudness range without degrading the sound as long as you get that loudness out of the individual tracks in the mix instead from the limiter in the mastering stage. Even a track with low dynamic range can be percieve to be dynamic by creating contrasts withing the arrangement as well as the mix. Perceived dynamic can be achived through automating filters, panning, changes in the stereo width, bringing in the louder sounds occasionally and giving them movement in varios ways. the contrast between short and long transients of different sounds. making good use of delay and reverbs and separating those a bit more from the source sounds to make it sound more spacious but keeping part of the source dry and what ever. There are as many tricks as there are audio engineers. Turning the volume knob up doesn't give the same result and feeling of energy on a higly dynamic track as a less dynamic agressive track being played at low volume. The agressive track will sound more exciting. But with that said, it also depends on the genre and the context. There are so many varials and a lot more to say about all of this. But i'll end this comment here. Cheers!

@allisons3663:  Many Motown tracks of the mid-60's suffer from distortion. Barry Gordy wanted his 45s cut hot so they would stand out in the days of jukeboxes. "You're My Everything" by The Temptations just sounds awful as do so many others.

@foraslan5801:  As an audiophile, I address all these problems by purchasing the AIFF file off Qobuz, thereby giving the artist the money that he/she deserves, then importing the AIFF into a DAW, such as Mark Levinson's Master Class or AVID ProTools. Using Fabfilter Q-3 EQ and other such tools, such as track duplication, I can expand the soundstage, increase liveness, etc. If a particular instrument is poorly mastered so that you can't hear it, I can try to get the original multitrack recording OR use AI software, such as LALALAI to give me the split stems of the particular instrument and pot that instrument up, or EQ it in the DAW.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @foraslan5801: You are taking audiophilia to another level. I might comment more in a future video. DM

@davidfromamerica1871:  They do do something about it. They get on the internet.
😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

@DerKnusperhase:  14:15 it is. all this scumbag peps that also watch adult movies usually turn up the volume all the time as high as possible. cuz....its cooooool or so. very cringe and should get punished by capital punishment (a bit hyperbolic) so its nice to make the track even more louder. they kinda even like the distortion its a sign of quality for these chavs.

@dgillies5420:  Everyone should know that music always sound BETTER if it is LOUDER.

Here are two turntable cartridge shootouts to prove it. Most people say that the Shure M44e wins this shootout and it's what I own. But does anyone really think that Shure perfected the stereo turntable cartridge in 1960 - only two years after stereo turntables were commercialized - with one of their first budget-minded stereo cartridges? The Shure M44e = m55e elliptical cartridge (the M55e became the Shure V15 mark 1) has the highest signal strength from any cartridge in this test - 9mv - that's partly why it wins. Shure is 2nd-last track in the 1st shootout; 3rd-last track in the 2nd shootout. You can see the dark brown cartridge and M55e or the seagull on the front to confirm the model.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWzp1rOLL0s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DfOssXP1OY

@user-uu5xf5xc2b:  thanks

@stevengagnon4777:  So this is why I stopped buying new music around the turn of the century...thanks for the explanation.

You can comment on this video at YouTube

Tuesday May 2, 2023

Like, follow, and comment on this article at Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram or the social network of your choice.

David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

Learn Pro Tools with our amazing range of video courses

Pro Tools video course catalog

Browse Pro Tools courses...

Learn Logic Pro with our amazing range of video courses

Logic Pro video course catalog

Browse Logic Pro courses...

Learn Cubase with our amazing range of video courses

Cubase video course catalog

Browse Cubase courses...

More from Adventures In Audio...

Hi-Fi comfort OVER your ears? TRUEFREE O1 detailed review

Get the tube sound in your system with the Fosi Audio P3

Any studio you like, any listening room you like - For producers and audiophiles

Hidden Hi-Fi - The equipment you never knew you *didn't* need - Fosi Audio N3

Adding tubes to a jazz mix with Freqport Freqtube

Adding tubes to a rock master with Freqport Freqtube

Adding tubes to female vocals with Freqport Freqtube

Adding tubes to male vocals with Freqport Freqtube

Adding tubes to real drums with Freqport Freqtube

Adding tubes to a bass guitar with Freqport Freqtube

Adding tubes to speech with Freqport Freqtube

Adding tubes to an acoustic guitar with Freqport Freqtube

Parabolic reflector microphone - Sound On Sound latest issue

Your power amp is average - Here's why

MANCAVE REVIEW: In-ear monitors - Better than earbuds?

Can this tiny amp really produce 600 watts? - Fosi Audio V3

MANCAVE - Recreating Olivia Rodrigo's 'Vampire' vocal

Why does this song sound so bad?

Audiophiles - You're all wrong!

MANCAVE RE-REVIEW: OpenRock Pro earbuds in language Audiophiles can understand

MANCAVE REVIEW: OpenRock Open-Ear Air Conduction Sport Earbuds

Can lossy digital audio be better than lossless?

Man-Cave: Microphone mysteries revealed

How I improved my audio - From the Mancave