The Occasional Podcast takes a look at the “Loudness Wars” in this week’s episode. The subject is heavily discussed among audiophiles, and like most things in life, is a complicated issue – and not as black-and-white at first glance as one might expect.
The Loudness Wars
Mastering engineer Dave McNair guides the show through a short history of the concept, and along with host Brian Hunter and music producer Grover Neville, explains and addresses the web of concerns around creating music and dynamic compression. Recording and producing audio at the highest level of fidelity is of course the holy grail for enthusiasts, and chopping up parts of the signal in such a fashion has been viewed as controversial in many circles. Dave explores the idea of the loudness wars, why it started and where we are now in this 52 minute download.
The idea is more complicated than one might expect. While most mastering engineers (and most producers of music in general) ARE aiming for the highest sound quality possible, the way music makes someone feel at first impact is often a high priority for artists and music labels. While you might assume that those two ideas are heavily interlinked, some aspects of sound do diverge in interesting (and sometimes unfortunate) ways.
You can check out another episode of Dave’s insights in The Occasional Podcast’s Season 4 opener discussing Mastering and Remastered Albums.
The Occasional Podcast
The Occasional Podcast is now gently gliding into its 4th season, with interviews from Nelson Pass, Joseph Audio, ZMF Headphones, and Rob Watts providing interesting highlights from season 3 and a peek behind the backdrop of high end audio and hifi in general. One can still check out last season’s educational drop with TOP’s Beginners Primer To Reel-To-Reel – sometimes considered a deeper dive into analog listening than even vinyl is.