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Audio Mastering Discussion

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Damian Allen
Audio Mastering Discussion
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:10:53 pm

I’m conducting some research on audio mastering and I would appreciate a response to the questions below:

1). What are your feelings towards the way music is currently being mastered?

2). Has your listening habits towards music changed?

3). What does dynamics mean to you?

4). Is mastering compromising dynamics in music?


There are some more questions relating to the subject, which can be found at this link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=4XY7DlmVAr_2beBf2htZJtaA_3d_3d

(Optional online questionnaire).

Thank you for taking part,

Damian Allen.


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cowcowcowcow
Jordan Wolf
Re: Audio Mastering Discussion
on Apr 10, 2009 at 5:22:43 pm

1. From what my ears tell me, much of the music nowadays has an average level that is much higher than music in the past. That is to say, the dynamic range has decreased.

2. Not really - the hardware has, though. I use earphones (Shure E3/SCL3) to listen to most of my music now, so I'm turning down the volume controls on my devices since they take care of external noises (at least above 60Hz-80Hz).

3. Dynamics, to me, refer to the overall pattern of how loud or soft a given sound is at a given time.

4. To be nit-picky: yes, it is. But there has always been a limit of dynamic range. Records (LPs, etc.), analog tape/8-track - all had limited dynamic range compared to what the human ear could discern and also due to the limitations of technology at the time (needles skipping off of records because of too much low end). Now, with the advent of digital technology with lower noise floors, larger dynamic range, and better consistency between products, the human ear's range for dynamics can finally be matched by the devices recording and outputting said music.

Mastering is definitely a required process in my mind, however I think that if one was to listen and look at how the process was done with many of the hits that have been around for decades, it would remain relatively unchanged. Comparing that to today, I think that it was much more of an art. I do have great respect for those who produce and master songs/pieces, I just don't always agree with the way they go about it.

Wolf
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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Mastering Discussion
on Apr 10, 2009 at 8:30:00 pm

Hello Damian and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum,

"I’m conducting some research on audio mastering and I would appreciate a response to the questions below: "

How and where will this research be used?

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Damian Allen
Re: Audio Mastering Discussion
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:01:23 pm

Hi Ty

I'm a final year student in the UK studying BA Audio & Music production, the research is being conducted to go towards my dissertation about audio mastering and will not be used in any other publication or article.

Regards,

Damian Allen


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Mastering Discussion
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:39:04 pm

Well it's a pretty easy topic. The advancing technology has allowed an increasingly decreased dynamic range. The artists want their CDs louder than the competition. Some mastering engineers are against this, but the artists want it LOUD. Yes, there are distortion artifacts. Yes there is no dynamic range to speak of. Not everyone is on this ride, but more are than are not.

It is what it is.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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JC Boulay
Re: Audio Mastering Discussion
on Apr 14, 2009 at 4:40:26 pm

1) I hate it. And I do mastering. In the end, we have clients and are bound by what they want, which is "louder, louder, louder" most of the time.

2) Yes. My ears can hardly stand half an album of big-release music at a time, so I listen in little bursts rather than long immersions.

3) Audio dynamic is the measure of the difference between the softest and loudest sound in a recording. In mastering terms, it usually means the difference between the RMS and peak level values.

4) No. Changes in mastering are a reflection of changes in the way people listen and hear. I'd posit that, by the age he's ready to appreciate music, the average human being living in an urban area has either physiologically damaged his hearing or his psychological sense of hearing has been blunted by the barrage of noise of life.

Movies do not have to compete with one another level-wise, the excuse we constantly hear in music, yet have been subject to the same level raise as records.

Louder simply sounds better to most people. That's not down to mastering, it's down to the people.

JC Boulay
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


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