Is there such a thing as a loudness war in dubstep ?

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intoccabile
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Is there such a thing as a loudness war in dubstep ?

Post by intoccabile » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:21 pm

I'm not an expert on this matter, so I will quote the loudness war wiki :

" The phrase loudness war (or loudness race) refers to the practice of recording music at progressively higher and higher levels, to create CDs that sound perceptibly as loud as possible or "louder" than CDs from competing artists or recording labels. While the overall maximum amplitude of a CD cannot be increased, reducing the dynamic range of the signal using audio compression will cause the ear to perceive the overall signal as being louder, when in fact merely the difference between loud and quiet portions of audio has been reduced. " ( Loudness war wiki )

And I will suggest these two fine articles :

The loudness wars seen by mastering engineers : http://mixonline.com/mag/audio_big_squeeze/

On the death of dynamic range : http://www.cdmasteringservices.com/dynamicdeath.htm

............

Do you think it is happening right now in dubstep ?

Do you feel that certain artists or mastering engineers are purposefully trying to make their dubstep tracks louder, " hotter " ( the " wall of sound " ideal, the perfectly squashed waveform ) in order to squash ( :wink: ) the competition ?

Do you feel that dubstep production " in general " is a reaction, a protestation against the loudness race as we see it happening, for example, in drum and bass ?

Do you feel that dubstep producers who possess a breakbeat / dnb background have a tendancy to make their tracks louder than those who have a garage / urban background ?



Post your thoughts !

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Post by dq » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:25 pm

Really interesting thread!
Wish I had something constructive to add to it though :?
Curious to hear people's perspectives on this.

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Post by cansoe » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:31 pm

interesting...

yes i see some producers makeing it clip intentionally...

makes me think of q-project, whose drums stand out in any mix you put em.
just a slight bit of clipping makes your drums stand out.

all timeless tunes i know didnt overdo that loudness thing tho.

ez

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Post by threnody » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:36 pm

The percieved loudness you are referring to is done at the mastering stage not the production stage.
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Post by excision » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:42 pm

this is a huge thing in dnb right now. So many artists squash their music to shit just to be louder. DnB has such a constant flow of kicks and snares that there is more of a benefit from having a louder track.

In dubstep, when I make my own tracks, i have been told that my snare is too loud, by multiple people. And that is before compression or squashing of any kind. but dubstep in general isnt about the drums so much as it is about the bass. When your setting the levels for your bass, you have to do it relative to the rest of your track so it sounds best.

In the end I dont think it really matters, if someone wants to squash their song to shit then all the dj's are going to do is turn it down so it blends well in the mix. If anything the squashed track will sound worse because it already has less dynamic range and then its being turned down on top of that!

Artists need to find a happy medium between loudness and dynamic range, they need to communicate with the mastering engineer to get it done they way they want, or they will only hurt themselves! We have volume knobs you know!

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Post by threnody » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:00 pm

Excision wrote:
Artists need to find a happy medium between loudness and dynamic range, they need to communicate with the mastering engineer to get it done they way they want, or they will only hurt themselves! We have volume knobs you know!
Spot on.

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Post by measure d » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:02 pm

Interesting thread. I definitely agree that the lack of dynamic range in most popular music is frustrating. It also makes listening to music for extended periods of time more strenuous. Many artists want that 'hotness' because they think it will sound better on the radio or that it will be able to rise above the noise of daily activity. But louder does not equal better. I haven't noticed this specifically in relation to dubstep though.
threnody wrote:The percieved loudness you are referring to is done at the mastering stage not the production stage.
Thats not necessarily true, some recordings that mastering engineers receive are already compressed to shit. Then it is their job to try to fix it, which is very difficult because you cant uncompress a mix.

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Post by threnody » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:16 pm

substance d wrote:
Thats not necessarily true, some recordings that mastering engineers receive are already compressed to shit. Then it is their job to try to fix it, which is very difficult because you cant uncompress a mix.
Yes true. It is THEIR job to redo any bad work that producers do...therefore a job for the mastering stage not the production stage.

Having said that it is possible to do a passable job on mastering yourself after a bit of reading and experimenting plus a decent parametric EQ, Multiband compressor and a maxim/finalizer. The waves platinum plug ins are very good. It is dangerous to tinker without understanding tho as the audio will suffer.

If you are just doing a basic master so it will sound okay on the radio/in sets then this is fine but unless you are an expert best leave it to the pros for the album!!

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Clipping

Post by obiwan » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:21 pm

Clipping doesn't make things stand out. The reverse is true. Clipping is not good news on a production programme. Compression is useful and can make some things seem more full bodied and louder. EQing and then boosting ditto. Different pressings are always at different volumes on vinyl however, the thicker and deeper the better, and more space is better hence 12's rock more than albums or EP's![/quote]

yes i see some producers makeing it clip intentionally...
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Post by seckle » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:33 pm

in the dnb world, dillinja in known for running his plates a bit too hot. you can really hear the difference in the subs between let's say a metalheadz plate and a valve plate. especially on the right system.

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Post by t-mus » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:39 pm

quality music is all about dynamics!!

especially when you want a nice atmosphere, which is very important in dubstep, so i hope they don't start pumpin up the sound and think they get harder/fuller/bigger/etc..
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Post by t-mus » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:43 pm

seckle wrote:in the dnb world, dillinja in known for running his plates a bit too hot. you can really hear the difference in the subs between let's say a metalheadz plate and a valve plate. especially on the right system.
but dillinja makes his tunes for the PA.
saw him on the decks about a month ago, the organization hired 3 kWatts extra on subs.
man, i sat the whole evening with my back against one of those subs, pure massage!!

my point is, it can turn out good, if you know what you're doing, but i think there aren't many of them...

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Post by forensix (mcr) » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:43 pm

yeah i limit and compress the fuck out of my tracks ;)

dynamics are needed i can sometimes finds it painful to listen to highly compressed music

apparently some dj's cant be bothered to use their gain knobs??

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Post by dxu » Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:49 am

i stopped listening to dnb because of this very thing. it sounds like white noise to me now. give me space and dynamics any day.

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Post by -blade- » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:31 am

DXU wrote:i stopped listening to dnb because of this very thing. it sounds like white noise to me now. give me space and dynamics any day.
same ere! reminds me of a poem from LKJ...

Two Sides of Silence

to us
who were
of necessary birth
for the earths hard and thankless toil
silence has no meaning

there is never a feeling of tranquility
or mere quietness
never a moment of soundless calm
from within or without
our troubled selves

how can the clamor of sounds be stilled?
there is no void
where noices can collect
and be made mute
[ ]

how indeed
can there be silence

when our hearts beat out a sonorous beat
meeting the beating drums of an african past
when our eyes shed solid tears of iron blood
that falls on concrete ground

inside our ears
are the many wailing cries of mysery
inside our bodies
the internal bleeding of [ ] volcanos
inside our heads
the wrapped in thoughts
of rebellion

how can there be calm
when the storm is yet to come?


this unending silence
taut, impervious, unbending not lending an ear
to the most delicate of sounds
awaits the blast of bombs
which man will explode
to break this silent bond
to [ ]
to the use to create
hills of soft obedience
where sweet-clothed sounds
can rebound
and their echoes glide
like a carefree bird
in rythmic calm
to a mellow
pure, silent space

Linton Kwesi Johnson

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Post by thinking » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:38 am

I was at Repercussion @ Egg last July in London. Early in the main room Dego from 4Hero was due to play a "History or Reinforced" set after the warmup set. The DJs before him had been playing plenty of recent/upfront stuff, so to suddenly hear all this old jungle really brought home how much space there used to be in DnB, and how necessary this space is to let the music breathe.
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Post by souldrop » Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:19 am

i dont think there is a loudness war with dub step at the moment!!

this is a very good thing & I hope it never changes.

to me, dubstep is about dynamic range & wide open spaces, so hopefully maximising will never become an issue.

this is one of the things that is turning me off d&b. dont get me wrong there is still loads of good stuff.

but when someone who dosnt listen to dnb on the regs gos to a rave, they often say 'it all sounds the same'.

i have to agree sometimes. when a whole set of super limited tunes that are all squashed to the same db level, & all have super full frequency range, it does all sound the fucking same.

its also a shame because a lot of other producers feel pressured to make thier tunes loud because its what the djs want, & you know ur shit wont get played if it isnt squashed enough.

still there are artists like breakage & stuff on headz etc etc where this dosn't apply so much. thank god.

but i think one of the strengths of dub step is that there is no need for loads of compression & limiting.
In some ways i tink a lot of new dnb producers have become obsessed with production & forgotten about the art of writing a good track.

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Post by deapoh » Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:26 am

Personally I think there is a kinda level war in dubstep. I know of a few tunes which are like this but maybe it's subconcious.

yes the Mastering process is what makes a CD louder! Whistla knows!
forensix wrote:apparently some dj's cant be bothered to use their gain knobs??
I believe the same, although I always use mine.
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Post by metalboxproducts » Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:30 pm

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Post by 2000f » Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:54 pm

threnody wrote:The percieved loudness you are referring to is done at the mastering stage not the production stage.
Actually, it´s a mixture of both.
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