All The More Reason


The Loudness War
July 13, 2007, 2:38 pm
Filed under: Interesting Idea of the Week, Music

Ever wonder why older songs sound quieter compared to new songs when played back to back? This YouTube video explains the trend in popular music over the last 15 years or so to make albums sound louder and louder.

To briefly explain, imagine that you are talking to a friend at a pub. In the early evening, over steak and kidney pie and a guinness, all is well and one can speak at barely louder than a whisper. However, from time to time there are exclamations of “Cor”, “Blimey” and even brief guffaws of laughter. As the evening goes on, and more patrons arrive, the conversation becomes louder. This is tolerable, because one can still make a point by speaking up a bit from time to time. By the end of the evening, not only is a pint glass balancing on one’s head, but one is hoarse from yelling for the past hour straight. It is at this point in the evening where a fair amount of subtlety has left the conversation. This is roughly where we are in the loudness of records these days. Last orders, anyone?

J.S.

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