Here at Housepital Mastering we always try and keep you up to date in the brand new news section about plugins, hardware, other software and articles that might be interesting for you to read about the Music Scene. The first subject that we want to dig into is the Loudness War. Every Electronic Dance Music (EDM) artists, label, (ghost) producer or enthusiast knows knows about the ‘Loudness War’ but for some this subject is still an unknown area. With this post we will try and explain why the loudness isn’t that important as you think it might be. Yes: Dance Music needs to sounds ace and you want to feel the bass, but does this mean the dynamics need to be dependent of the loudness? Is it the industry that makes us go nuts and want to push our favorite tracks to the limits? Lets find out!
“This so-called “Loudness War” is entirely based on a (modern) myth – a fairy-tale full of nonsense that has somehow hypnotized the entire EDM music industry for the last ten years and is permanently damaging the music we listen to as a result”
What is loudness?
The first questions we need to answer is: what is loudness in a track? Loudness is the characteristic of a sound that is primarily a psychological correlate of physical strength (amplitude). More formally, it is defined as “that attribute of auditory sensation in terms of which sounds can be ordered on a scale extending from quiet to loud”.
To illustrate why loudness is destroying good music we want to share the following video with you:
As you can see both most definitely hear is that the current loudness war is destroying the music which we love to make and listen. Industry head honcho’s and artists are keeping pushing the limits of the dynamics with the result that the music will lack in serious quality. If there is more headroom, a better mastering the music will have far greater quality due to better dynamics.
Martin Garrix – Animals
Although this topic has already been wide spoken on the net it is interesting to pick this very track: Martin Garrix- Animals (UK Radio Edit). Garrix gained considerable fame through his own solo release “Animals“ released on June 16, 2013 on Dutch record label Spinnin Records, becoming a hit in a great number of charts in Europe, and quickly became the youngest person ever to reach the #1 spot on Beatport. The track also appears on Hardwell‘s album Hardwell presents ‘Revealed Volume 4’. We think that everybody knows this tune by now. Animals became a top 10 record in over 10 countries including the #1 position in Belgium. So this track became widely supported by all the majors in the world and everybody has danced to it but when we look at this track from a mastering studio approach it is strange to see that the loudness is exploding (see picture on the right)! Yes the track sounds good but we expect that it will sound better when they used different settings and gave the track more bite giving that fast attack feeling! That record is so loud that there is an outfit in Europe called ITU [International Telecommunication Union] that now has standardization measurements for long-term loudness.
We and some other people would submit that another thing that is hurting record sales these days is the fact that they are so compressed that the ear just gets tired of it. When you’re through listening to a whole album of this highly compressed music, your ear is fatigued. You may have enjoyed the music but you don’t really feel like going back and listening to it again…
So if we have caught your attention and you want to know a little bit more about the history of loudness in tracks please don’t hesitate to contact us: here. Also we would like to share the following PDF with you showing the history of loudness in mastered tracks: history of loudness in mastered tracks.