The much discussed Loudness War rages on with artists, producers, record companies, et al, fearing that their musical creations will not succeed unless they are louder, or as loud, as the competition.
Several attempts, and tools, have been made to educate us about the current situation – Bob Katz and his K System, the Turn Me Up organization, etc. – and how, without good dynamic range in music, we miss out on so much punch and emotional impact when music is over compressed and limited. Imagine an action film with an explosion the same loudness as the background level – as impressive as being slapped around the face with a feather. Thankfully the film industry understands dynamic range and utilises it to make films a pleasure to watch and hear.
In January 2009 a new initiative was launched by the Pleasurize Music Foundation. Their aim is to standardise a reference for music production with a simple label system, stating the dynamic range of a recording/album, that can then be displayed with the relevant music to inform the listener. They have created an easy to use plugin for Macs & Windows machines that calculates the D.R. (Dynamic Range) value in realtime. The offline meter, which will give a reading for a whole track, is currently only available for Windows machines; a Mac version is due in June 2009.
The following is from their website:
Our aim is to improve the sound quality of music in its various recorded formats – including data compression methods such as MP3 – as well as music destined for radio broadcast. Only music that provides a positive musical listening experience has real market value. The Foundation’s aim is to increase the value of music within the creative production process for the entire music industry.
Will Pleasurize Music accomplish its goals? I certainly hope so. Time will tell…
Enjoy your Music!