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Dynamic Range Day: Inside the Loudness War
By Robert Archer
Happy Dynamic Range Day! Founder Ian Shepherd, a U.K.-based mastering engineer, says the movement is gaining momentum as more people grow tired of listening to compressed music.

Within the world of audio, both on the consumer and pro sides, there has been no greater point of contention than the increasing levels of compression used to produce music.

The phenomenon grew to the point where it was given the name loudness wars, because it reached a level where one engineer would try to outdo another engineer by making his recording louder. The problem is that it employing compression destroyed the dynamic range of many of today's recordings.



Over the past few years, Ian Shepherd, a U.K.-based mastering engineer, Blu-ray and DVD author and owner of Mastering Media, Ltd., has advocated through his popular Production Advice website an end to the loudness wars.

Shepherd's most visible action has been his founding of Dynamic Range Day. This year the movement will be marked on Friday, March 16, with awards for the most dynamic recordings, and a variety of prizes from manufacturers in the consumer and professional audio markets.

To help celebrate Dynamic Range Day, CE Pro asked Shepherd to explain what forces are driving the loudness wars and what can be done to stop them.

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