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Thursday, August 7, 2003

square waves suck

ew music sucks. ok, maybe not all new music, but here’s “yet another reason” for some of the problems the music industry is experiencing (falling sales), that i haven’t seen explored in much detail until now. this isn’t a generational thing. sure, i’m getting old, but this isn’t about new styles of music that you whippersnappers seem to enjoy, this is about recording technology, which is something dear to my heart.

rip rowan, in this article does a wonderful job explaining one of the things that has literally driven me away from the radio and much new music. horrid-sounding square waves.

if major-label-produced-material is really following this pattern, and average levels really are creeping up this much, then the only way to do it is to “square off” just about every transient in the music, and that inevitably results in horrible noises.

ask anyone i’ve ever worked with in music, and chances are they’ve heard me say something like “i appreciate dynamics.” i still do. i don’t like a drummer that has only two settings (“off” and “loud”). i don’t like a guitarist that has only one “signature sound.” i enjoy the differences, and if i wanted to listen to “loud” i’d just record a jackhammer and loop it.

just as an experiment, i dug up a track from studiotone (i listened to this track a while ago and made some comments, so it was familiar territory), and i slapped some “remastering mojo” on it, bringing the average level up to -9dB (from about -16dB), and then all the way up to -6dB (way louder than the new rush album!). yes, virginia, it sounds like crap. and it sounds like a lot of things i’ve heard lately.

square waves suck.

posted by roj at 2:40 am