Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ipod vs the loudness war

i can't exactly recall when i first noticed this "loudness war". but i'm pretty sure i noticed this during the first leg of the present decade. well, the "loudness war" means, the record companies increase the level of loudness to sound their CDs louder at a lower volume. you might think this is appropriate but this loudness generates nothing but an irritating flat distorted sound not the sound of music or music equipments/vocals. this means, you're losing the "dynamics".

the present sound processing equipments are well armoured with what's needed to increase the loudness on demand. yet these record companies keep on increasing the loudness on their records, insane. making some of the records sound like crap. however, you could *cope* with this "loudness madness" up to a certain extent by customizing individual frequencies, if you have a good graphic equalizer. a  in reality, there is no way to get over with the cds, who have this loudness war than throwing them away or switching to vinyl records.

"Big-name CD manufacturers are distorting sounds to make them seem louder. Sound quality suffers.

This video was made with image editing software and a screen capture program for the visuals, and a DAW (Digital Performer 4.5) to process the audio.

Thanks to everyone for watching! - Matt Mayfield, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA"

apple ipod - victim of the loudness war

sadly but realistically, apple ipod users are the ones at receiving end of this mess. if you rip any music off a "loud" music cd, you'd find it difficult to listen and enjoy the music when you play it on an ipod. apple ipod/users are the direct victim of this "loudness war" at the absence of a fully fledged/customizable graphic equalizer. this limitation on ipod has boxed modern cds which were released with having this loudness fever. (leaving me with the music of 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's on my ipod. :D)

having said that, ipod comes with a dodgy graphical equalizer which has a set of preset channels, however it falls far behind what one would expect it to be. i rip all my music off original music cds at the rate of 320 kbps, the highest bit rate what ipod supports. yet, the music sounds like crap.

needless to say that i'm receiving these crappy sounds even though i'm using best headphones like sennheiser cx 95, ie 8, shure e3c, b & w , jbl.... for i have a general allergy of dodgy japanese headphones.

at the same time, i should also mention that i don't like the policy of the apple company, on their proprietary equipments. so with the apple ipod. in simple terms, apple shouldn't be bothered on what we do with our apple ipods. we should have given the opportunity to change the default firmware. but sadly, we can't do this from 6th generation ipod' onwards. once you buy an ipod, you've got to to use the crappy firmware it has, you can't change it. this is unfair for people like us, for we can't install any other firmware like rockbox.

we live in an open world and opensource is the buzzword with the dawn of the new millennium. but not for apple though it worked for redhat, sun microsystems and many other leading organizations. being an optimistic, i'm waiting for the day, when apple opens it firmware to the general public.

please also read : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

to give you an idea on this loudness war, i could nominate following cds:
death magnetic - metallica
ten thousand fists - disturbed
indestructible - disturbed
by the people for the people - mudvayne
the crusade - trivium
blackbird - alter bridge


  1. Nice. You might want to add the latest two Red Hot Chili Peppers albums to your list. Also, if you want to listen to a modern band that isn't affected by the loudness war, give Explosions In The Sky a listen. Also, my blog post on this subject has another video decribing it with Radiohead as an exmaple: http://mellowsmusings.blogspot.com/2009/05/loudness-war.html

    I disagree that an equaliser is the solution. There is no real way that one can return the dynamics to a song once they've been compressed to Disney Land and back

  2. I totally agree! I have to admit that I am using the ipod (forgot, which generation, since I am not an apple-afficionado), because I had recieved it as a gift, but the only way it delivers somewhat acceptable results is, when I import my music as .wav-files. (By the way: this is an option that apple won't let you have, when you buy music on iTunes! Evidently, they want you to listen to your music in poor quality!). Well, what are you going to do? Maybe I should just save some money and go buy myself a walkman...
    Please keep up the good work with this blog! I know how time consuming it is!

  3. I Love my walkman i call it my hi-fi mp3 player. It sounds awesome equalized, with my fav headphones, Philips rich bass. I cant tell the difference between Kbps, never could. My gpx is super loud, so i use it when i crave volume.