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Opposing the Destruction of Great Music
November 19, 2008 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Justice for Audio. Opposing the destruction of great music.
posted by ZenMasterThis (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
What
posted by roll truck roll at 9:34 AM on November 19, 2008


this
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:38 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the forums:
Discuss the sound quality issues seen on Rush's "Vapor Trails"


Okay, explain to me how you can SEE a sound quality issue? Sure, I can HEAR it, but unless you're going convert the damn CD into a waveform chart, I'm not going to SEE anything.

Sorry, I'm having a really terrible day and I just need to vent.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:38 AM on November 19, 2008


The "loudness war" has been mentioned before on Metafilter, see for instance here.
posted by Termite at 9:42 AM on November 19, 2008


Peak
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:43 AM on November 19, 2008


Yes, it's something of the Loudness War, compressing pop music to sound good on shitty systems. I didn't think about it much until I heard a copy of Depeche Mode's Playing The Angel recorded from vinyl, and just over little my computer speakers. There's a LOT of dynamic range lost.

The problem is that not all audiophiles will chose the vinyl over CD, and not all vinyl is mastered for vinyl, but some are just copies of the CD.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:45 AM on November 19, 2008


How did you get "great" and "justice" in this post without referencing the long-standing internet meme of...."IN SOVIET RUSSIA"?

YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE
posted by DU at 9:46 AM on November 19, 2008


I downloaded Death Magnetic out of curiosity and couldn't sit through a single entire track because of the horrible sound.

On the one hand there is distortion from guitar amps and effects pedals - guitarists will spend years perfecting and tuning their overdriven sound so it is musical - and on the other hand there is shitty digital clipping. A ten year old could download a few plugins and do this kind of "mastering". This isn't mastering in a good studio by a trained engineer with golden ears and a pile of magic analog outboard gear. This is mutilation.

Anyhow Metallica hasn't released anything worthy of attention since before the black album, so no great loss.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:47 AM on November 19, 2008


If you agree that this new ‘exciting’ sound is ruining music, please sign the petition to re-mix and master Death Magnetic to sound like decent music and not an earful of crackle & distortion.

I'm curious as to how they plan to achieve this transformation.

Also, I wonder if they will have to leave my lawn to do it.
posted by ghost of a past number at 9:53 AM on November 19, 2008


I parted ways with all their music over the whole Napster thing and haven't looked back. I've stopped supporting RIAA artists altogether.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:53 AM on November 19, 2008


ghost of a past number: I'm curious as to how they plan to achieve this transformation.

Analysis: Metallica's Death Magnetic Sounds Better in Guitar Hero
posted by Prospero at 9:58 AM on November 19, 2008


In soviet russia, for great justice is from All Your Base.
posted by odinsdream at 10:13 AM on November 19, 2008


Thanks for the link Prospero, though I had kind of figured this out already --- It's the decent music part that's got me baffled.

Uh, the veal will be here all week?
posted by ghost of a past number at 10:16 AM on November 19, 2008


The remastered old tracks are better when fucked up like that. No offense.

I also see Justice has a new live DVD/CD.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:54 AM on November 19, 2008


The problem is that not all audiophiles will chose the vinyl over CD, and not all vinyl is mastered for vinyl, but some are just copies of the CD.

it's kind of sad that anyone wishing for good-old-fashioned full dynamic range and proper mastering would now be considered audiophiles. In the pre-digital days they would have merely been normal music consumers.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:04 AM on November 19, 2008


I also see Justice has a new live DVD/CD.

Eep! It's out on Monday! Sweet! Trailers & whatnot, possibly NSFW.

Wasn't Justice's Stress infamous for its loudness?
posted by Pronoiac at 11:33 AM on November 19, 2008


Opposing the destruction of great music

And also, what the hell, Death Magnetic.
posted by anazgnos at 11:48 AM on November 19, 2008


Okay, explain to me how you can SEE a sound quality issue
Here is a track from the retail version of Death Magnetic. See?
posted by Wolfdog at 12:19 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Excellent. If I only cared even one teensy little whit about that band I would sign the petition. Instead, I think I just download their stuff for free, just because it irks them so.
posted by caddis at 12:45 PM on November 19, 2008


Dynamic range compression has nothing to do with vinyl vs CD, or analog vs digital.
posted by rocket88 at 2:14 PM on November 19, 2008


This isn't mastering in a good studio by a trained engineer with golden ears and a pile of magic analog outboard gear. This is mutilation.

Sadly, it is. And almost all mastering engineers absolutely hate mastering this way. It's been snowballing for awhile, and it's not the audio engineers who wanted it. Mostly, it started with the labels asking their mastering engineers to get the tracks a little louder so that it would stand out more on the radio. Then, younger bands came into big contracts and started asking for the mastering engineer to make their recordings louder. It just kept getting worse and worse until now, when pop music has become unlistenable due to the severe strain it puts on your ears and brain.

For what it's worth, there's a large backlash in the industry, and bands who are not full of total tools generally are asking engineers not to squash their records to hell. I think it's a trend that will subside in a few years.
posted by nosila at 5:49 PM on November 19, 2008


One factor to consider is that many current artists are intentionally composing and arranging music to be played loud & squashed like that, for the clubs, ipods, etc. There's more ways to enjoy music, but the new media(MP3s) and environments are actually lower in quality than the average 90's home stereo. "Loud" is an aesthetic, not just bad mastering.

Yes that doesn't make any less painful for me to listen to.

When remastering an older pop project to be played under today's conditions, it has to get pumped up as well, or it will sound wimpy by direct comparison. The results aren't always pretty...

Hopefully the pendulum will swing back to dynamics. There's still alot of interesting and dynamic music out there.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:46 AM on November 20, 2008


Wasn't Justice's Stress infamous for its loudness?

Yes, and no. It's based around an intentionally grating (and awesome) sample of some strings from Night On Disco Mountain.

In interviews, Justice has said that they had to do the song very quickly because working on it for long periods of time proved painful (which I can imagine).

But Justice are part of a style of dance music that uses what I'd refer to as weaponized over-compression. It can be grating to listen to in big doses (cf: A lot of Steve Aoki's mixes, since he has exactly one tone and style and never backs off), but when mixed in with other things it can be a delightful smack in the face.
posted by sparkletone at 8:42 PM on December 6, 2008


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