Holy Crap people, I have blogged before about how optimizing recordings for IPOD playback is making for bad sounding music, but now even Metallica fans have noticed. In today's WSJ the general trend of loud brittle recordings with little dynamic range is discussed along with the specifics of Metallica's new album and the fan mini revolt that has ensued.
Here is a sad snippet from the article:
Music released today typically has a dynamic range only a fourth to an eighth as wide as that of the 1990s. That means if you play a newly released CD right after one that's 15 years old, leaving the volume knob untouched, the new one is likely to sound four to eight times as loud.
Sound engineers say artists who insist on loudness paradoxically give people less to hear, because they end up wiping away nuances and details. Everything from a gently strummed guitar to a pounding snare drum is equally loud, leading to what some call "ear fatigue." If the listener turns down the volume knob, the music loses even more of its punch.
But many musicians, producers and record-company executives "think that having a louder record is going to translate into greater sales," says Chris Athens, Mr. Jensen's business partner and a fellow engineer. "Nobody really wants to have a record that's not as loud as everybody else's" in an iTunes playlist, he adds.
In other words: All your bass are belong to us!