Mastering is killing music

music...do you sometimes feel like
you're listening more, and enjoying it less?

you might be a victim of:
a) bad mastering
b) brickwall limiting
c) bad equalization
d) trendy bullshit
e) all of the above

the correct answer is probably (e).

music has been getting louder and louder since
the days of the jukebox, but there have been
some quantum leaps...

the introduction of the CD saw a big jump in volume, the rise of grunge pushed it up a notch
and as in so many other instances*, a new piece
of gear known as the digital brickwall limiter,
which had the ability of adjusting volume levels in advance to max out the sound without going completely over the top... 

soon, it became a kind of db warfare- instead of Mutually Assured Destruction, we got Mutually Assured Distortion- ie - everyone is doing it, so nobody felt they could be the first to turn it down.

how dumb is that?


what it adds up to is less 'space' in the music,
aka less dynamic range. no more quiet parts and louder parts. no more can you hear the 'sound of the room' that the recording was done in.

it's one of the lost acoustics in most music there days. it's Spector's Wall of Sound on steroids.

it's yet another one of those ironies in the the 'decline of the Music Industry', because as Brian Eno noted when CDs were introduced, one of the capabilities that came with digital was the possibility of having actual silence become part
of any recording...

was anybody listening?


it's too bad. we seem to be stuck in a world of music now where everything is turned up to 11, all the time. it's literally exhausting for the eardrums- they can only sustain a given volume level for so long before self-preservation sets in and they tune out... you can either stop listening, or turn it up a little more.

enjoy the hearing loss.


we're close to a point where you literally
can't hear the music for all the processing.

how weird is that?

* see also auto-tuner, etc


- 30 -


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