On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 03:04:44PM -0400, S. Massy wrote:
> I won't jump into this fray of art vs. technique, as its just too dicey.
I'm not so sure that 'most people actually seem to like it'.
There are at least three cases to consider:
1. Reducing the (long term) dynamic range of music but without
otherwise modifying it (done on many classical music recordings).
2. Using heavily compressed intruments or vocals to either change
their sound or character, to make them fit into a very dense mix,
or to ensure a high average or constant loudness.
3. Reducing the peak/loudness ratio of a mix by whatever means,
including introducing gross distortion, for reason other than
With music today being wallpaper to many people instead of
something being listened to for its own sake and in conditions
that allow large dynamic range, it's no surprise that Joe Average
likes (1) and actually prefers his music to be compressed to a
very narrow loudness range. It's another question if that should
be done at the recording end. Including an optional compressor
in e.g. an ipod would not increase its complexity in any way.
There is nothing wrong with (2), it's just an artistic decision
how far you go with that, and it can produce a nice sound.
I am not at all convinced that people actually like (3).
Take two recordings of the same piece, one processed and
one original (which may include (1) and (2)). If you play
them at the same peak level the unprocessed one will seem
dull and weak of course. But if you play them at the same
loudness the unprocessed one will win in terms of punch
Of course as an artist you may actaully _want_ the sound
of (3) for artistic reasons - it's not worse than a painter
wanting to use only saturated bubblegum colors. But I'm
pretty sure that in almost all cases the decision to go
for (3) is made for other motives.
> Also, aren't we a bit of a slave to whatever people
How much any person wants to be a slave of the mainstream
is (in most Western societies) just that person's choice. One
that could have consequences of course, as does any choice.
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