The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #126164   Message #2800697
Posted By: treewind
01-Jan-10 - 07:06 AM
Thread Name: Why music sounds worse.
Subject: RE: Why music sounds worse.
Oh dear!!!!
The first paragraph about the loudness wars was spot-on (and I've seen that Youtube video before)...

Then it all gets hopelessly lost and confused as under the heading "Digital Compression" they start talking about the process that reduces the data rate to make MP3 and similar files. The only thing the two have in common is the word "compression", which unfortunately is the same word used to describe two quite different processes that have totally different purposes.

The loudness thing is dynamic range compression. There is a physical limit to the maximum loudness you can store on a CD, but music goes up and down in volume all the time, so you can make a track seem louder by having the peaks at maximum and boosting all the quieter bits to make them louder, thus raising the average loudness... but also making everything a uniform constant, relentless and tiring barrage of all-at-the-same-level mush, if you overdo it.

The process described under "Digital Compression" in that linked article doesn't alter the dynamic range of the sound at all. It's about reducing the amount of storage needed for music in your MP3 player or hard disk. It's also controversial in some quarters (opinions vary on how much it audibly affects the sound), but it has NOTHING to do with the loudness wars.