Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Loudness Wars
GMC Forum > Discussion Boards > VINTAGE GMC > Community Activities and Tutorials > Ask an Instructor > Marcus Siepen
OrganisedConfusion
This is open to everyone but I want Marcus' opinion on this topic as he will have experience recording for a huge market.

Hey Marcus. I want your thoughts on the current loudness war that seems to be going on with many bands. Trying to get louder and louder records when many people use volume stabilisers on ipods and what not these days. It seems bands are destroying their new albums by adding unneeded distortion and huge compression on albums. You listen to the difference between an 80's, a 90's and a 00's record and the difference in levels is ridiculous. When you are in the studio do producers push for this sort of mix or not and are you of the same opinion that the volume on many new albums is just ridiculous?

This blog is really to the point I feel and talks especially about the new Metallica album and new Trivium albums:

http://mastering-media.blogspot.com/
Marcus Siepen
This loudness war is complete nonsense in my opinion, the sound quality just suffers from this. There are just limits, if you go beyond those limits then somethng positive (a loud and powerfull production) will just turn into distorted noise, and this is definitely something that I don't want. The new Metallica is a good (or should I say bad) example, the production is horrible in my humble opinion, it is distorted, clipping, it just doesn't sound good. I can't imagine that Rick Rubin did this mix without the approval of the band, Lars and James are control freaks after all, so I guess they wanted it to sound like this, but well, as I said, in my opinion it is completely over the top.
The origin of this is the attempt to make the album as loud and powerful as possible, so if you play your album after somebody elses, yours will sound much more powerful. I don't see anything bad in this, we also try to make our albums soundpowerful, but as I said, there is a limit for this. But in todays scene a lot of bands or producers don't seem to care about clipping and distortion on albums anymore... sad.
The funnny thing is that this loudness war is not only going on in the studio, I have also seen many many bands that played so incredibly loud on stage... and the effect is the same, if you go beyond a certain volume during a concert the sound will become bad. Again, BG shows are also loud, I guess a rock show or metal show has to be at a certain volume, but I don't have to be in the guiness book of world records when it comes to the volume wink.gif
OrganisedConfusion
QUOTE (Marcus Siepen @ Oct 6 2008, 07:20 PM) *
This loudness war is complete nonsense in my opinion, the sound quality just suffers from this. There are just limits, if you go beyond those limits then somethng positive (a loud and powerfull production) will just turn into distorted noise, and this is definitely something that I don't want. The new Metallica is a good (or should I say bad) example, the production is horrible in my humble opinion, it is distorted, clipping, it just doesn't sound good. I can't imagine that Rick Rubin did this mix without the approval of the band, Lars and James are control freaks after all, so I guess they wanted it to sound like this, but well, as I said, in my opinion it is completely over the top.
The origin of this is the attempt to make the album as loud and powerful as possible, so if you play your album after somebody elses, yours will sound much more powerful. I don't see anything bad in this, we also try to make our albums soundpowerful, but as I said, there is a limit for this. But in todays scene a lot of bands or producers don't seem to care about clipping and distortion on albums anymore... sad.
The funnny thing is that this loudness war is not only going on in the studio, I have also seen many many bands that played so incredibly loud on stage... and the effect is the same, if you go beyond a certain volume during a concert the sound will become bad. Again, BG shows are also loud, I guess a rock show or metal show has to be at a certain volume, but I don't have to be in the guiness book of world records when it comes to the volume wink.gif

Thanks for the reply Marcus. I fully agree with your statements and I'm glad that if somebody mixed your album the same way they mixed Metallica's new album you'd say it just isn't good enough. It's good to have a powerful album but there is a limit like you say to when clipping and distortion comes in and this isn't good. And like I said on my Ipod I Volume Equalise everything anyway so it doesn't make any difference. Most people have mp3 devices and most people volume equalise to make sure there aren't any songs louder or quieter than the others. Nothing worse without it than going from a Thin Lizzy song say to a song off a modern album and having your ears blown off.

As for shows I love it loud I must admit as it adds to the atmosphere live but like you say there is a limit on this where it just becomes noise. I can't wait to see BG live as it will be awesome. I've never had the chance to unfortunately even though I own everything you've done and have been to 300+ concerts. sad.gif

At least I can be happy knowing that your new album when released wont be clipping and distorted like crazy. And most sensible people appreciate this.

Cheers smile.gif
Marcus Siepen
Haha, don't worry, we will for sure avoid any clipping on our albums wink.gif And about gigs, I also want a certain volume during a show, as you said it is part of the atmosphere of a metal concert. I have once seen Slayer and they were so silent that you could easily talk to each other while they were playing, and no matter how good they might have played, it was a rather lame show. On the other hand I have also seen Mashine Head and they were so incredibly loud that I watched them for about 10 seconds before I decided to go backstage again and warm up for our show...
OrganisedConfusion
QUOTE (Marcus Siepen @ Oct 7 2008, 04:24 PM) *
Haha, don't worry, we will for sure avoid any clipping on our albums wink.gif And about gigs, I also want a certain volume during a show, as you said it is part of the atmosphere of a metal concert. I have once seen Slayer and they were so silent that you could easily talk to each other while they were playing, and no matter how good they might have played, it was a rather lame show. On the other hand I have also seen Mashine Head and they were so incredibly loud that I watched them for about 10 seconds before I decided to go backstage again and warm up for our show...

Also it's strange seeing bands in different environments. I have seen Opeth 5 times and 4 times were indoor venues and they were loud when they should be and quiet in the soft sections perfectly but the one time I saw them at a festival they really sounded poor. The loud sections sounded empty and the quiet sections were barely audible.

Do you change your sound a lot for festivals over what you do for indoor gigs or not? I saw At The Gates outdoors and they were absolutely insane and they were incredibly atmospheric outdoors, as were Dimmu Borgir but other bands really don't work outdoors I find.
Nemanja Filipovic
Great topic,I agree,loudness war is so bad for the whole sound industry.But,sadly it cant go back from here.
A bout clipping.If the classical distortion is not present in the sound,even if the song is slipping don't mind.SOAD clipps all the way on there albums:)RHCP and many others.
OrganisedConfusion
QUOTE (Nemanja Filipovic @ Oct 7 2008, 04:32 PM) *
Great topic,I agree,loudness war is so bad for the whole sound industry.But,sadly it cant go back from here.
A bout clipping.If the classical distortion is not present in the sound,even if the song is slipping don't mind.SOAD clipps all the way on there albums:)RHCP and many others.

Yeah. This loudness war really started with Californication by RHCP in my opinion. That was one of the first albums to go too far.
Nemanja Filipovic
QUOTE (OrganisedConfusion @ Oct 7 2008, 05:34 PM) *
Yeah. This loudness war really started with Californication by RHCP in my opinion. That was one of the first albums to go too far.

Actually it started with DJ demos.They where bringing louder tapes every time,and the whole thing went from there.
Guitarman700
The whole concept makes me sick. mad.gif All the producers and record execs who think "louder is better blink.gif " should stick to making Garbage like rap and pop albums. idiots... dry.gif
Marcus Siepen
Yup, californication was the first album that went way too far, at least teh first one that I noticed about. I think it was also produced by Rubin, wasn't it? Maybe he likes this... well, I don't.
About the sound on open airs and in venues, we don't use different sounds, we know exactly how we want to sound when we play live, and this is the sound that we try to deliver to the fans, no matter if we play a venue or a festival. Playing open air makes it more difficult sometimes to get this sound though, if it is very windy for example the wind just blows away the sound (yeah, I know, it sounds stupid, but it is like that), on the other hand you don't have to face unwanted delays coming back from venue walls. About your Opeth experience, I guess when you saw them in venues they were headlining, so they could do a soundcheck, while on the festival they were not headlining, therefor they didn't have a soundcheck. Without doing a proper check you will always sound bad for at least some songs, if you have a good crew they can work on this during the first couple of songs, but without your own crew you would be completely lost in such moments.
OrganisedConfusion
QUOTE (Marcus Siepen @ Oct 8 2008, 10:49 AM) *
Yup, californication was the first album that went way too far, at least teh first one that I noticed about. I think it was also produced by Rubin, wasn't it? Maybe he likes this... well, I don't.
About the sound on open airs and in venues, we don't use different sounds, we know exactly how we want to sound when we play live, and this is the sound that we try to deliver to the fans, no matter if we play a venue or a festival. Playing open air makes it more difficult sometimes to get this sound though, if it is very windy for example the wind just blows away the sound (yeah, I know, it sounds stupid, but it is like that), on the other hand you don't have to face unwanted delays coming back from venue walls. About your Opeth experience, I guess when you saw them in venues they were headlining, so they could do a soundcheck, while on the festival they were not headlining, therefor they didn't have a soundcheck. Without doing a proper check you will always sound bad for at least some songs, if you have a good crew they can work on this during the first couple of songs, but without your own crew you would be completely lost in such moments.

No the festival I saw them at they were headlining. That is why I was so disappointed. It was at Bloodstock UK so a smaller festival. But you have played so you know that already tongue.gif biggrin.gif
Marcus Siepen
Well the local equipment and PA play a role too of course, a soundcheck is not always a guarantee for a good sound.
OrganisedConfusion
QUOTE (Marcus Siepen @ Oct 9 2008, 10:49 AM) *
Well the local equipment and PA play a role too of course, a soundcheck is not always a guarantee for a good sound.

haha. I certainly know that from my band playing gigs round Nottingham smile.gif We are awful biggrin.gif
Marcus Siepen
Lol, nice way of advertising yourself smile.gif
OrganisedConfusion
QUOTE (Marcus Siepen @ Oct 9 2008, 11:06 AM) *
Lol, nice way of advertising yourself smile.gif

biggrin.gif Best keep that information off our posters smile.gif
Marcus Siepen
yeah, that might help biggrin.gif
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2014 Invision Power Services, Inc.