Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

JCC jccuneo@mail.bellsouth.net
Wed, 10 Sep 2003 09:17:17 -0500

"Lower" is better.  Today's CD mastering standards are so piss poor I can 
hardly listen to most of them.  They all want to be louder than the 
next.  What that does, however, is compress the sound until it becomes 
hugely distorted and painful to listen to.

It used to be that when normalizing CDs the mastering engineer would only 
reduce some small transients that would clip.  This got the whole CD louder 
without compressing the signal and kept fidelity, for the most part.  An 
acceptable tradeoff.  Now, in an effort to be the loudest, they compress 
the crap out of the signal and drive a large amount of the meat of the 
music into clipping, hugely distorting the signal.

I had read an excellent article on it, but sadly can't find it now.  If you 
have a look at this link, however:


About 3/4 the way down there is a graphical comparison of the same songs 
from two different albums - one compressed and distorted, and one not.  You 
can see how the compressed song goes into clipping (hits the top and bottom 
of the scale) over a large percentage of the clip.  Awful.  That is very 
audible (particularly if you have decent speakers - i.e. not a boombox or 

The upper is the way you want it (and hopefully the way the Oils music is 
mastered - I know the old stuff is).  It is "softer", but there is more 
dynamic range, no distortion from clipping, and overall much cleaner sound.

This compression is what drives me to go to SACDs and DVD-A.  Its not 
popular enough yet so that the suits want it to be louder than everything 
else on the radio.

Take care.


>  Yes you are right Rick, the volume is much lower on the early
>  albums and if you have nice Hi Fi this is to your advantage.
>  Unfortunately CD mastering standards dropped in recent years
>  and the American Music Industry standard is to make em really
>  loud so it sounds huge at all times over the radio and out of your
>  shitty little boom box. Though once you put these discs on great
>  Hi Fi you don't get the same amount of modulation from your
>  music (as you would older CD's or some that are mastered in the
>  UK). When i took my track in to be mastered last year the guy told
>  me to bring in some CD's that i liked the mastering of (so he could
>  try and match it). When i took in all of the CD's i thought sounded
>  great he said "all of these have been mastered in the UK" i said
>  "gee i did not know that" then he said "oh well UK mastering is
>  really quiet so you don't want that!" that's when i realized i was
>  paying the wrong chap $300 an hour!.
>>From: "rick" <rickysan@speedlink.com.au>
>>To: "Seth Cooper" <cooperseth@hotmail.com>, <powderworks@cs.colorado.edu>
>>Subject: Re: [Powderworks] 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
>>Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 12:54:18 +1000
>>              Speaking of  playing it loud,is it just me or are the oils cd's
>>from the blue meanie to blue sky mining low volume compared to other cd's?
>>           I always have to turn down the volume level if i put another cd on
>>after the oils early cd's.I only find from scream in blue on, that i don't
>>have to touch the volume.
>>           Have they been remastered,and i just have to update?
>>                         Rick
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: "Seth Cooper" <cooperseth@hotmail.com>
>>To: <powderworks@cs.colorado.edu>
>>Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 10:53 PM
>>Subject: Re: [Powderworks] 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
>> >
>> > Damien wrote:
>> >
>> > >  Geeez i just listened to 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
>> > >  (really loud) and i have to say i don't think there will
>> > >  ever be a better album made anywhere, buy any band
>> > >  full stop!.
>> >
>> > 10..1 has been in my rotation recently, and playing it loud is mandatory.
>> > It was my first Oils album, got it at a garage sale in ~87 and it blew me
>> > away.  After 16 years it still does, and the louder the sound the better
>> > effect.
>> >
>> > _________________________________________________________________
>> > Get 10MB of e-mail storage! Sign up for Hotmail Extra Storage.
>> > http://join.msn.com/?PAGE=features/es
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > Powderworks mailing list
>> > Powderworks@cs.colorado.edu
>> > http://www.cs.colorado.edu/mailman/listinfo/powderworks
>> >
>>Powderworks mailing list
>Get less junk mail with ninemsn Premium. Click here
>Powderworks mailing list