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techstepgenr8tion
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13 Sep 2020, 2:38 pm

I had the chance to watch this a few days ago - in some ways its heartening because it's ended a particular kind of arms race that was really bleaching out music, and a lot of people who were still doing really interesting things did what they could to pay minimal compliance to it and still get what they wanted out of their records.

A quick synopsis - streaming services have had to even RMS across all pieces of music, they realize they're playing music from across many different eras and playing two separate pieces of music with the same peaks were causing abrasive volume changes, possibly even damaging to hearing in some cases, so it got to be a safety concern. What this means - no one can call any of the streaming services and get their music a few db 'hotter' than the next studio or the next producer. There may be some streaming services that will allow a higher RMS (I think one the highest was -12dB) but they in turn apply that to all music across their platform.



What this probably means - there will still likely be an arms race for 'virtual' loudness, that sort of thing generally can't be stopped, but we might have some time before that launches too far for some forms of musical exploration to come back and thrive that only work when you have a broader dynamic range.


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techstepgenr8tion
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13 Sep 2020, 2:42 pm

Also for anyone whose confused by talk of negative dB and peaking at 0 dB, that's what the production side of music looks like - ie. 0 dB is the absolute upper limit where if you hit it you get clipping.


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14 Sep 2020, 4:50 am

There's a special flavour to music mastered loud, which has become so commonplace people are getting tired of the "phat gates". It's becoming slightly cartoonish and i'm just glad if streaming services put an end to it. Don't think we'll go back to the more organic feeling of older records, but just like maxing out the histogram in photo editing doesn't necessarily result in a better photo, perhaps a more delicate kind of mastering can emerge as an alternative.


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PhosphorusDecree
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16 Sep 2020, 8:07 am

As someone who writes music that REALLY doesn't suit that in-your-face style of mastering, I'd be delighted to see this happen. (And also as someone with very sensitive hearing.) On the few occasions one of my songs got played on the radio, it sounded so wierdly and horribly out of place amid all the beefed-up-ness sourrounding it.


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funeralxempire
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18 Sep 2020, 12:37 am

I hope so. Overall, at least for punk and metal I'd like to see most of the production trends of the past 20 years vanish over night. That said, Kurt Ballou has produced some very nice sounding albums. Perhaps he can teach the next generation how to not sound like steamed ass.