Originally Posted by PULLIAMM
One other thing to consider: Record producers are professionals, they know their jobs well. Everything they do is a concious choice. When they apply dynamic compresion, they do so because they know that it is what the vast
majority of listeners/buyers prefer. They really don't give a rodent's backside for the opinions of your tiny "golden-eared" club, nor should they, nor do I.
Many of them complain about the "company man" demanding they use dynamic compression. They do it IN SPITE knowing it's not a good idea, not because they want to necessarily. Moreover, the reason for dynamic compression isn't because "that is what the vast
majority of listeners/buyers prefer". Do a bit of searching about the "compression and loudness wars". Overcooked compression is done so that in music stores with 5-400 disc changers playing CDs in rotation, the compressed one "stands out" because uneducated and/or non-critical listeners equate "louder" with "better". Beyond that is the simple fact that if your company's compressed CD is "louder", it will stand out from the others in the changer. Pretty soon, all the major labels started doing it as no one wanted to be too "soft" amid a sea of "loud". Add to that the fact that most people listen to CDs in the car (a very noisy environment) and compression overcomes that noise--at the expense of clarity. After a decade or so of this trend, people who are never exposed to anything other than the overly compressed crap simply don't know any better.
And as for needing "golden ears"--********. No one is talking about claiming to hear the soprano sax hit an 18.7khz frequency. Overcompression is bad because some instruments, that anyone with normal hearing would hear in an uncompressed recording, on mass-market, inexpensive gear, are buried because there is no room for them. With speed metal, maybe it doesn't matter. But many genres of music offer layered instrumentation and voices whose intended effect is lost in overcompression of dynamic range. There are numerous examples that are frequently mentioned in discussions of this issue, so I'm not going to list a dozen of them. Remasters of pre-1995 rock/pop releases are frequent sources of this problem (see some of the Red Hot Chili Peppers releases).
Ask yourself why such overcompression is not the norm for classical music. It's because the flaw in the approach would be even more glaringly obvious with symphonies. Broad dynamic range is what gives music its power. It can go from a soft, gentle moment to a sudden, loud release of energy. To diminish that range to the point of nothingness is unnecessary and silly.