Monday, June 04, 2007

What did I just say about loudness?

The Times runs an article today saying that rock music really is getting louder, and that it is definitely not a good thing. It has an adverse effect on human physiology, makes listeners feel fatigued and sick, drives neighbours round the twist and wrecks the music. WTF, why did it take so long for anyone to notice?

Here's a sample:

...Peter Mew, senior mastering engineer at Abbey Road studios, said: “Record companies are competing in an arms race to make their album sound the ‘loudest’. The quieter parts are becoming louder and the loudest parts are just becoming a buzz.”

Mr Mew, who joined Abbey Road in 1965 and mastered David Bowie’s classic 1970s albums, warned that modern albums now induced nausea.

He said: “The brain is not geared to accept buzzing. The CDs induce a sense of fatigue in the listeners. It becomes psychologically tiring and almost impossible to listen to. This could be the reason why CD sales are in a slump.”

Geoff Emerick, engineer on the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album, said: “A lot of what is released today is basically a scrunched-up mess. Whole layers of sound are missing. It is because record companies don’t trust the listener to decide themselves if they want to turn the volume up.” ...