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So why do my new cd's sound so bad?

961 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  tubeguy44
I have seen this topic debated in these forums before, but when I read this article, the light bulb came on.


Warning: it is fairly long, but please take some time to read it entirely, because it has direct bearing on the music we buy, why some claim that vinyl sounds better, and the mentality of music production today.


If nothing else, scroll down to the Case Study, it is very revealing of the loudness wars being waged on consumers.

Link



Discussion is welcome.
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interesting. Have you noticed the perceived loudness of commercials on the telly? I have suggested that consumers should demand a maximum time-averaged sound level (i.e. giving each advertiser a certain amount of energy over 30 seconds, instead of a maximum sample-level at every point in time).



I do think that heavy compression/limiting/saturation is a charactereistic of certain genres and that bands should be allowed to use any technology they desire to make their music sound like they want to :)


with regards

Knut Inge
I agree that compression-abuse is part of the "sound" in some genres, but I have heard this on a very wide variety of music, mostly from the major labels.


The first half of this article explains the origins of this problem.

Link
Very good article.


I first noticed this problem a few years back when I played ina band and we would hire an "engineer" and his studio to record a few songs and because we played pretty loud and distorted he figured it HAD to be compressed and limited to make it all sound very loud - and he had just spent all his pennies buying the latest equipment that would allow him to do so.

We were loud to begin with, we didn't need any help in that dept. What we couldn't explain to him was that the music had no depth, no rhythm, no feel... Nothing. (it has occurred to me now that it might have been the band :D )


I'm not an engineer, not even close - but always had a real interest and tried to learn as much as I could. So we tried to do it ourselves once by renting the equipment and a house for a month to record in. Guess which recording we all thought sounds the best in the end?


You guessed it.


Lots of these guys are "engineers" simply because they are the ones who own the gear.
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FWIW, I have started to rate each of my CDs as I listen to them. Based on each CD's sonic qualities, I assign a 1 - 10 rating, then place a little sticker with the rating on the inside of the jewel case. This way, when I reach for a particular CD in the future, I'll have a rough idea what to expect. Of course, if I change my system a lot, my ratings may all be worthless. :p
there are audiophile grade cds such as xrcd, xrcd2, xrcd24
How many of the "audiophile" formats contain music other than jazz/acoustic/new age? I listen to a LOT of different types of music. Besides that, regular cd's can sound great, if they are not stomped on by the compression monster.


The mixes tend to be less busy/cluttered on the audiophile discs than other genres. In other words, a jazz trio are easier to mix than say, heavy metal, classical, or a big band.


I also think that those formats might sound better simply because they are not subjected to the same compression abuse that mainstream discs are, because of this, there is more dynamic range, and no clipping.
Quote:
Originally posted by LessisNevermore
How many of the "audiophile" formats contain music other than jazz/acoustic/new age? I listen to a LOT of different types of music. Besides that, regular cd's can sound great, if they are not stomped on by the compression monster.


The mixes tend to be less busy/cluttered on the audiophile discs than other genres. In other words, a jazz trio are easier to mix than say, heavy metal, classical, or a big band.


I also think that those formats might sound better simply because they are not subjected to the same compression abuse that mainstream discs are, because of this, there is more dynamic range, and no clipping.
go check out the telarc label.... lots of classical, jazz, and blues......


and every disc that i've tried from telarc has been of excellent quality in terms of sound.....

http://www.telarc.com/



cheers!


:)
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How many of the "audiophile" formats contain music other than jazz/acoustic/new age? :D
Quote:
Originally posted by LessisNevermore
How many of the "audiophile" formats contain music other than jazz/acoustic/new age? :D

CLASSICAL may be acoustic in nature - but i believe you mean small acoustic groups..... and there are many SACD recordings of large orchestral works....


and if you look at the DVD-audio releases you will find a bunch of rock n roll.... peter gabriel, steely dan, eagles, pink floyd, fleetwood mac, sting, queen, beach boys, R.E.M., doobie brothers, yes, and others....


and on SACD - rolling stones, santana, billy joel, bob dylan, aerosmith, the who, earth-wind-and-fire, and others....


(those are ones just off the top of my head...)


i guess you haven't looked into this area too far....


:D
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Fair enough, I didn't specify cd's, not dvd-a or sacd. Someone else mentioned xrcd, xrcd2, xrcd24,etc. I meant those and the like.


And yes, I have looked into it, but dvd-a and sacd are not the topic of the thread.
Good examples (except Peter Gabriel is on SACD not DVD-A--just so someone doesn't come home with the wrong format and be pissed off).
Quote:
Originally posted by Ovation
Good examples (except Peter Gabriel is on SACD not DVD-A--just so someone doesn't come home with the wrong format and be pissed off).

D'OH!!


:D
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