Album production, overall sound - loudness war?

Invisible

Invader
Stan said:
Ya know, I wish TFF was loud and crisp. Instead, it's muddy. Steve needs hearing aids.

The word "muddy" really fits the situation. I recently got Transatlantic's "Whirlwind" (2009) and OMFG what a sound! The mix is warm and crisp all the way. And it's one of the best albums I've had my hands on for quite a while, too. A band where Mike Portnoy is just the guy on the drums and nothing else, apart from some Phil Collins-like vocals. Really worth a listen!

valacirca said:
Honestly, I think this loudness war issue gets taken too far sometimes.

In some cases, like in the case of Death Magnetic, there's a very valid point. In others however, it borders on nitpicking.

In most modern albums I hear, including this one, it really doesn't bother me at all.

I admit I thought "loudness war" would heat up the topic a bit. On top of it, I was guessing by ear, looking for a reason why it sounds the way it does. Anyway, I think it depends on each one's concept of a fine mix.
 

Black Wizard

Pleb Hunter
Wow, 'Death Magnetic' was horrific for loudness. It makes my ears bleed just thinking about that album.

I don't think that 'The Final Frontier' is loud at all, in fact I think it, and 'A Matter of Life and Death' are too quiet, a bit like 'And Justice for All' but I doubt someone turned Steve's bass off.
 

p4warrior

Trooper
Album sounds good to me.  A little hotter than A Matter of Life and Death, (which I love the recording and production on) definitely more messing around with the knobs on this one.  The gallop that kicks in on The Talisman is louder than the rest of the album, forcing me to dive for the volume dial when listening at work.  :lol: 

I also like the way the leads don't drown out the rest of the instruments, but rather blend nicely in, especially on Starbilnd and TMWWBK.  Anyway, I don't think TFF is at all a victim of "the loudness wars."
 

Mega

Ancient Mariner
I don't know what the hell you guys are talking about.
If it's too quiet, I turn the volume up. If it's too loud, I turn it down.
What does the mix have to do with anything?
 

Invader

Ancient Mariner
If it's a big difference, it's annoying.  I can't put Death Magnetic on a Metallica playlist because the sound level is considerably higher than the other albums, and makes my ears hurt if I'm listening on headphones.  If I'm listening to just the album, it's not a problem, of course.
 

p4warrior

Trooper
Mega said:
I don't know what the hell you guys are talking about.
If it's too quiet, I turn the volume up. If it's too loud, I turn it down.
What does the mix have to do with anything?

I don't pretend to be a sound engineer, but it has more to do with compression and leaving "space" in the mix so you can hear the full tones and texture of the intstruments, as well as the whole impact of a louder or faster part of the song.
 

Ranko

I'll shoot the gunner first!
Mega said:
I don't know what the hell you guys are talking about.
If it's too quiet, I turn the volume up. If it's too loud, I turn it down.
What does the mix have to do with anything?

It's about the perception of the loudness. Some albums seem loud even when you listen to them on low volume. That's because they're overcompressed.

The level of compression also influences the relative loudness of instruments (that's called dynamics). A nice example is Paschendale on the Death on the Road DVD - it starts with Adrian's tapping and Nicko's hi-hat which you can hear very well and loud. One expects then that when the rest of the band kicks in, it will be incredibly loud, just like on the album, but it isn't - the rest of the band is actually equally loud as Adrian's supposedly less loud tapping.
 

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
This is a post I did on a topic [tt]http://forum.maidenfans.com/http://forum.maidenfans.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=266138#p266138topic[/tt]that is placed on the wrong forum and I think it fits partially in this thread:

Jeffmetal said:
I listened to the album twice this morning and it's got a lot of 90's in it. I don't like at all giving conscious comparisons, but The Final Frontier is crystal clear the album that should've followed Seventh Son Of a Seventh Son; its production is brilliant, even better than BNW production, which I love. While listening to it on my stereo, this morning, I started with TMWWBK and went to 25 on volume, when the distored guitars entered it didn't cracked the sound, then I threw it to 27, then 28, and when I finished the album it was on volume 30. And it's no coincidence I got all the first pressing to the rest of the discography; when I used to listen to the remasters or when I listen to BNW, DOD or AMOLAD on volume mark of 30, it gets unbearably cracking and it turns into a sonic mass that kills all the dynamics. The Final Frontier has no loudness war at all and it's the most Birch approached sound captured after Fear Of The Dark, but not like FOTD, TFF has more to do with SIT and SSOASS (much of that due to going to the Compass Point studios, where the good old vibes certainly worked strongly to add to the album's vibe).
 

Mega

Ancient Mariner
I don't even get what that video means.
Anyway, I can consider myself lucky to only feel that it sounds lousy if sounds really lousy.


EDIT: Ok, watched a 10 minutes video, and at the end was a song from Death Magnatic.
First it was like OW MY FRIGGIN' EARS but the second version was alot better.

Damn.
 

Reumeren

Trooper
You bereave the deep and dynamic sound of a record. If it's done too much (like Death Magnetic) then the tops (the ones that were loud from before) will be cut off; this means you'll get alot of clicking and sparkling in your ears. It's better to mix it with lower volume, then you get the dynamics + people can just turn up the volume themselves.
 
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