I disagree -- a shuttle, at launch, is (say) 160db. If we wanted to accurately record and play back a shuttle launch and immediately there-after record a pin-drop in a quiet room on the same track, you couldn't play both back today in sequence, accurately, without touching your volume knob. I'm not saying this is a "problem" but it is likely true. If you didn't touch your volume, you'd hear hiss or some artifact of your gain stage during the pin-drop (i.e., it wouldn't be accurate) on even the best DACs or you'd hear the pin-drop way too loud (because you had to gain-up the shuttle launch to its "accurate" level).
Is this untrue?
I'm basically trying to determine why, if this isn't a "format limit", an engineer that is capable of producing music with "texture" can't similarly add dynamics with a little more "effort" in the recording/mixing process. I suppose, though, what I'm failing to grasp is the psychological component. The engineer (probably) "could" if they wanted to, but the artists "don't want it" because they hear their tracks are "softer" and want to "compete" and this is the "problem" just as much as (possible) technical ineptitude on the parts of the engineers.
Personally, I'm still thinking the "acoustic advantage" kind of explains it all...the more you "stuff in" the less dynamic range you're "allowed" to have. Modern music "stuffs a lot in"...at least that's how it seems to me with all the "texture" I hear.
I tried to make this point, several times, in the thread. Thanks for bringing it to a stark reality!
In fact, a recording like this may even be more argument for "HDR-like music" -- your "black-level" (the noise floor of the room) determines the lowest sound you can hear and if there is information in the track that is lower than that then you need to crank it up to hear it. But, at that level, the track may be capable of peaking above either your personal (don't want sound to get louder than XdB or my wife wakes up and puts me to bed, lol) or system limits. Meta-data in the track could help fine-tune the track on-the-fly for your personal "black-level" and "limits"....not too far off, IMO, of what HDR tries to accomplish for video (where the black-level is set by the playback device and room and the limits are set by your eyes and the playback chain's peak brightness).
I would suppose this is true just as much bouncing between genre. However, I find that even when I bounce between many different genres, I can pretty much set my volume knob at a spot and, for the most part, listen all night to music from Slipknot to Halsey, to Of Mice & Men, to Korn, to DJ Snake and whatever else and not move it. I guess that's one "benefit" of "compressed" music with a pretty constant "average level". Whenever I feel the need to move the volume up, it's usually when I hit a song with "lots of dynamics" and then it's only because I still want it "loud", but now I have to "worry" when the "crescendo" comes and wakes my bloody wife up, lol.
So, could all these tracks sound "better" if they had more dynamics? Maybe, though, I'm still not sure how true it is, and they sound fairly dynamic to me, still, but, it's becoming ever more obvious that I must not be a "critical listener". Regardless, if they had more dynamics, I'd still pine for compression so I could set the volume and forget it.
That said, I'm still not quite sure if the "spectrally complex" argument I keep trying to make (and maybe it's nonsensical, and feel free to say so, lol) isn't part of the reason modern music "lacks dynamics". The more "spectra" I "stuff into the box" (the less "acoustic advantage" I have, assuming I'm interpreting that term correctly) the less dynamic things will measure...I'd say this is by necessity. I certainly know the EDM tracks I listen to have more going on than a singer-song-writer track!
Which is to say, I think I'm trying hard (and maybe failing) to separate the use of DRC (which is "bad") from the measurement of "poor" DR. Is it possible that DR "measures bad" even without ever using DRC on the track? Could it occur simply because there is so much "stuff in the box"? Can we make this "stuff" more dynamic without masking all the sounds? @ClawAndTalon
says "no" more dynamic range wouldn't cause any "masking" of sounds. But, I'm suspect -- if I hear a gun-shot I'm less likely to hear a pin-drop after it. If I hear a loud snare-crack, the same can be said. Of course, certainly, I could be conflating two things, but if the artist wants you to hear all the "elements" of their track, having "loud bits" interspersed may make it harder. Not only that, but the "loud bits" would force their average levels down, requiring their typical audience to turn it up, and then the "loud bits" would be "too loud" in many cases (either causing the system to clip or the wife to awaken, lol). Worse, if those "loud bits" take you out of the tune and cause it to lose its "spectral balance".
I'm just happy you and others in the industry are contributing! Whatever you can post (hopefully) helps us all learn, and thanks for doing so! I'm going to clip out a few pieces of your post that I want to dive in more to.
Totally get this, in that track it seems like they just pulled up everything. I suppose that'd be the equivalent of what a mastering engineer would do to "ruin" the final mix. However, does all that go away when you're dealing with "stems" rather than a "final mix"? I mean, if you have a lot of "stems" and you can control every little bit of the (e.g., snare) because you've recorded it to four different tracks with close-mics all around it, and can completely "engineer" the way the snare sounds in the mix...well...then you may have to "compress" artistically to "fit" the snare in, but...you're not dealing with the whole track anymore.
I kind of disagree with the characterization. I think "lack of dynamic range" is subjective. But, I did ask at the outset of this thread, "how much dynamic range do we need." Still haven't received a good answer.... But, just as an example, if we have:
Two guitars, all the drums, the vocals (and possibly any other layered background vocals or just overdubs), bass guitar, and every single drum in the kit, then we had a handful of electronically generated sounds...well, seems like we have a "spectrally complex" mix and how do we still make the snares pop when it is competing with all the other sounds. How do you make sure you hear everything, while still allowing the, e.g., snare, to "cut through" and be "dynamic"? If you start making the snare "dynamic" as you want, I'd guess you have to start lowering everything else and then we're back to "when the user turns it up, they may clip, or hear the snare too loud".
I just don't think one can "have their cake and eat it"...without, anyway, some form of on-the-fly, end-user-controlled (based maybe on a calibration like "HDR") "compressor" which is "programmed" with "meta-data" put in the track by the mixer. This would allow the artist to hear their mix at several different "levels" on-the-fly. Further, my guess is that some tracks, like the piece Zilch posted, will require compression so every bit can be heard at a "comfortable" level that won't overtax certain playback chains or ears of their listeners.
Quite possibly, lol.