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BMG and the LOUDNESS RACE..

Tue Jul 08, 2003 10:31 am

As I am cataloguing my Elvis recordings and digging deep into the Steve Sholes site, I would like to address the issue that the webmaster has brought up concerning the loudness race. I am no sound engineer by any stretch of the imagination but this has to do with how loud these songs sound without having to turn up your amp very much, correct? I know what sounds good to my ears, and unfortunately I like the way these sound, loud! Maybe its psychological, but the less I have to turn up my amp to get a killer loud sound the better sound I think this is.
Apparently this is not the case, this loudness race the webmaster calls it that BMG is employing I like. why is this not good sound? I would rather hear my tracks belt out with a loud punchy sound at low volumes than to have to crank up my amp to get good volume and hear noise and static. But apparently the former you are losing ambience, mid-range etc etc? am I correct? anyway, I like my Elvis loud! Sound engineers start ur engines.. lol

Tue Jul 08, 2003 10:42 am

I completely agree with you Kylan....

There are so many sound-purists that want the sound to be natural and pure. I don't mind enhancing the sound if it improves are listening pleasure. Isn't that the reason why there's is a sound engire? To control the input and output of sounds?

I hate it when I read on a CD things like: "we tried everything to improve the soundquality, but want to keep it like it was when i was recorded". In other words: "we 'could' have improved the sound much more (like make it more stereo), but we didn't because then it wouldn't be 'original' anymore".

Tue Jul 08, 2003 2:44 pm

"Every effort has been made to acheive optimum soundquality, however priorty has ben given to historic content"

Tue Jul 08, 2003 2:56 pm

"Every effort has been made to acheive optimum soundquality, however priorty has ben given to historic content"

This is true in some cases.

Other times this sentence is used to HIDE behind the fact that the people behind the release doesn't know what they're doing, I'm afraid...

Br
Kristian

Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:37 pm

so on some recordings they can have better sound ??
like in E1 style ?

and on some schratchy acetates they can remove more noise and pops ?
(like on the live songs on Sunrise ?) but they don't do that because they want it sounding like the originalsource ??

Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:48 pm

It's very hard to improve the sound on acetates and soundboards in general, due to the fact that they are dealing with OLD material, stored on sources who's not optimal soundwise.
A scratchy live recording from the Hayride is therefore almost impossible to improve THAT much.

What I was thinking of, is mainly alternate takes from studio recordings, stored on reel to reel. BMG hasn't always done their best in these situations, I can tell you for sure!
For instance; the alternate takes released on the FTD cd 6363 Sunset: I think this is the best example of a "poor" remastering/mixing job!

Regarding soundboards: Isn't it funny that the sound on "Import cds" sometimes is FAR better than the sound on live shows released on BMG?
BMG should have hired the people behind some of these boots, for crying out loud! *laughs*

We have also rehearsals, that sounds IMPRESSIVE on boot (There's always me vol 4) and appears low, hissy and with "no punch" on BMG...
Why, you might ask?
I guess it has to do with different sources, AND poor job done by the BMG people...

Technology is making progress every year, and thankful BMG is improving for each year as well! They're trying to "follow up" to the rest of the industri, giving us fantastic sounding Elvis cds in the past!

Hopefully they will continue in doing so!

Br
Kristian

Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:54 pm

you're right I guess, but today we get better sound on the CDs almost all artists has a new remastered edition of their CDs, some people say they release just for making more money but the remasters does sound much better, warmer more dynamic sound ...

Loudness

Tue Jul 08, 2003 10:01 pm

Loudness is fine, so long as the music isn't degraded to achieve it. I think the real complaint, although not stated in so many words on the Master and Session website, is that in some cases, the Elvis material has been compressed or clipped in order to achieve more volume. This is bad, because compression and clipping (distortion) actually modify and damage the sound of the original recording. To properly preserve a song on CD, the loudest part of the song should just reach 0dB, since that is the maximum amplitude (volume) a CD can support. If the volume is boosted beyong this point, the loudest parts of the song will be 'clipped' off and distortion will result. Therefore, some engineers will run a song through a compressor, which makes the loudest parts quieter but leaves the quieter parts untouched, which in turn allows the volume to come up higher. Unfortunately, compression, if not used sparingly, can really mess up the sound. This is a tough call on Elvis' box sets because material comes from many sources and sessions and therefore the loudness of each song is quite different. Ideally, they would find the quietest song on each disk, normalize it to 0dB, then adjust everything else accordingly. Unfortunately, I think they just maxed out each song individually, using compression and even over-amplifiying some songs, and I believe that is what "Steve Sholes" is talking about.

If done correctly with no compression or clipping, louder is better, because the louder your music is, the less you have to turn up the playback system, the greater your signal to noise ratio is, and the lower your Total Harmonic Distortion is, all of which are desirable. I think a lot of today's digital mastering engineers don't fully understand the sonic implications of some of the decisions they make.

Greg

Tue Jul 08, 2003 10:41 pm

The music on this Compact Disc was originally recorded on analog equipment. We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible the sound of the original recording.

Cedar is one of the primary digital processes available to remove specific sound faults, for example the clicks and noise which often appear on early or degraded analogue sound recordings. A number of complex computer algorithms are used to separate unnatural sound from those which comprise the recorded musical sound. This means that Cedar will not degrade the original audio signal. Cedar is often used in conjunction with other digital signal processes to enhance the original quality of pre-digital recordings.

Tue Jul 08, 2003 11:13 pm

The music on this Compact Disc was originally recorded on analog equipment. We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible the sound of the original recording.
you could find this text on old CDs from the 80's
and also something about noise because CD has high resolution

Wed Jul 09, 2003 12:28 am

Swedish wrote:A number of complex computer algorithms are used to separate unnatural sound from those which comprise the recorded musical sound. This means that Cedar will not degrade the original audio signal. Cedar is often used in conjunction with other digital signal processes to enhance the original quality of pre-digital recordings.


Cedar does very often create unmusical artifacts on restored audio. Your statement is terribly wrong.

Wed Jul 09, 2003 2:05 am

Cedar is just one of many audio restoration tools and all have an inherent liability.

If artificial noise is removed then any wanted sound at the same frequencies is also removed - this can be overcome to some extent by inserting a guestimate of the desired missing portion by averaging the sound immediately before and aft that point.

This usually works fine to the ear. The problem is that if the original is very noisy then adding the missing information becomes much more difficult and progessively the music is degraded and Cedar in particular does often add some very artificial effects if over used.

So there always be a compromise with restoration and the engineer is faced with a comprise as to whether to preserve the integrity of the performance against a pure clean sound.

Personally I would prefer to hear the music extant with maximum dynamics even if it means that only limited clean up is possible.

As to loudness - compression can produce a higher PERCEIVED loudness level - but at the expense of dynamic range. It is likely that those who complain that they can't hear the piano are experiencing over compression to produce perceived loudness.

A quirk with soundboards is that the guitars tend to dominate and swamp other instruments.

Providing all the tracks on a CD are nrmalised to the same level I don't see a need to jump up and down and alter volume levels between songs.