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Loudness – War Huh!

So you’ve got your track mixed down but it’s just not loud enough compared to other songs on the market.

NEED TO TURN IT UP!!!

Well no, not really – see the above sentence?

IF I WROTE EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS IT WOULD BECOME TIRING TO THE EYES…

Would it not – in some case the written word, ‘CAPS lock on’ is considered rude and lazy.

For me it also has another problem. CAPITALS don’t let the eyes rest enough to take in RELEVANT information.

Now look at the previous statement, which two words stick out most?

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Take that idea forward to music – DYNAMICS – need to be there otherwise music just loses it’s bounce/vitality.

Dynamics are so important to a peice of music – listen to U2, Nirvana, The Pixies…

Bands like these thrive on the use of dynamics.

If you crush the dynamics out of a song you crush out it’s impact.

—->

But loud music is often considered to be ‘better’.

Loud music for some means excitement, energy and emotion.

Remember you’re first stereo, cranking up the volume. The first time you went to a concert. Remember how thrilling it felt to see a band cranking the volume – or maybe the first time you plugged in a guitar and cranked you amp to eleven.

Loudness thrills us.

—->

Apparently there’s a tiny organ in our ear called the sacculus – this organ is linked to a part of the brain that deals with responses to pleasure.

Unfortunately the big bad record industry latched onto the idea of loudness being better…

This lead to the so-called ‘Loudness War‘ – this was the process of mastering CD’s to have the highesst average level possible. And this in turn ends up being to the detriment of the music.

Mastering your music too loud is counter productive if you rely on dynamics – it kills it and it hurts the listener – ear fatigue means that a listener will only be able to bear it too loud for so long.

And there have been cases where the CD production has been damaged so much that listeners have sent there CD’s back complaining about it ‘clipping‘.

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‘Loud music only sounds ‘better’ instantly, If it’s constantly loud it becomes fatiguing’ – Bob Katz author of ‘Mastering Audio – The Art and The science.

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So how do you work with this idea – well I for one have started to master my music at -1db. But this depends on the dynamics of what I have in the first place – squashing the dynamics out of my music doesn’t appeal to me.

Forget about trying to compete with the major markets do your thing.

Get it loud enough to hear but let it breathe.

<—-Check out these links—->

Turn Me Up – is a non-profit music industry organization campaigning to give artists back the choice to release more dynamic records. To be clear, it’s not our goal to discourage loud records; they are, of course, a valid choice for many artists. We simply want to make the choice for a more dynamic record an option for artists.

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