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Happy and Disappointed

Adam W.

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Aug 19, 2020
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After owning my new HiFi system (Cambridge CXA61, CXC v2 and Wharfedale Diamond 11.4s) for around 3-4 weeks, I feel both very happy and slightly disappointed.

I am very happy with the equipment. I think the quality for the price is excellent and it sounds even better after many hours of use!

Just one problem, maybe... Many of my CDs sound fantastic. It's been like listening to each song for the first time. The amount of detail, clarity, punch, wide open soundstage etc is fantastic. These CDs also happen to have very good dynamic range according to the internet.

On the other hand I have some CDs, similar types of music, that just sound bland. They're loud, not very dynamic (if at all), have a narrow soundstage and are generally disappointing.

Has anyone else experienced this realisation after entering the world of HiFi?
 

DougK

Well-known member
Welcome to the world of hi-fi where you have to become very choosy regarding CD purchasing. I'm guessing that the overly loud CD's are from the last twenty or so years.
 
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Adam W.

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2020
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Yes, the CDs with poorer sound quality are from the last 20 years or so.

Some of them don't sound exactly bad, they just don't sound very good. Not very enjoyable to listen to. I was surprised at being able to hear some distortion but after reading about the loudness war I now understand.

Are we likely to see properly mastered/remastered CDs in the future?
 

millennia_one

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Sep 1, 2014
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Yes, the CDs with poorer sound quality are from the last 20 years or so.

Some of them don't sound exactly bad, they just don't sound very good. Not very enjoyable to listen to. I was surprised at being able to hear some distortion but after reading about the loudness war I now understand.

Are we likely to see properly mastered/remastered CDs in the future?
basically no. In someways now it seen as an almost artist decision by the mixer/artist.

You just have to take the good with the bad, but with streaming services are now offering normalisation within the apps So perhaps this might come to an end sooner than we think.
 

Gray

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Nov 27, 2015
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Streaming services are now offering normalisation within the apps So perhaps this might come to an end sooner than we think.
Sadly normalisation works only on playback levels.
It can't do anything to remedy the compression done by monkeys at the recording / mastering stages to make tracks seem louder.
It means you don't have to touch your volume control as you listen to different tracks, but you're still getting the badness that was permanently baked into the recording.
 
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gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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Sadly normalisation works only on playback levels.
It can't do anything to remedy the compression done by monkeys at the recording / mastering stages to make tracks seem louder.
It means you don't have to touch your volume control as you listen to different tracks, but you're still getting the badness that was permanently baked into the recording.
Tidal hifi have done that for a long time
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
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Sadly normalisation works only on playback levels.
It can't do anything to remedy the compression done by monkeys at the recording / mastering stages to make tracks seem louder.
It means you don't have to touch your volume control as you listen to different tracks, but you're still getting the badness that was permanently baked into the recording.

I know all that, but thats reason for for the baked in badness in the first place. Artists want to be heard the loudest and normalisation stops that, no one sounds louder than the other, and if thats handled by spotify, tidal who ever that will slowly end the loudness wars as there will be no point in it, and it is starting to have effect eapcailly as spotify started doing normalising a little while ago. Only the most popular artists are still doing it but its no where near the level that it was happening in the early 00's.

as i say it seems to happening now as stylistic thing as eveything old is new again.

Its strange that people don't want the loudness wars but still want the normalisation in software...... effectively the same thing but hey ho
 

gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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No it won't, the loudness war wil still be there with all instruments sounding almost equallly loud, the distortion remains, bad dynamic, it just makes shure all songs don't sound louder than the other, like when comparing lp to cd where cd more or less all the time is louder and if you have your turntable on loud and change to a cd without lowering the volume, it will be super loud,in some case super loud distortion since the amp now tries to play 100 watt pr channel instead of the rated 60watt pr channel.

This normalisation like on tidial it won't change the distortion on the songs and it won't change how loud the different instruments are compared to each other
 
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Gray

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..... Artists want to be heard the loudest and normalisation stops that
Gasolin is right it doesn't stop it.
Playback normallisation (as offered by Spotify, Tidal or whoever) does nothing whatsoever to remedy the aural damage caused by the loudness wars.
What it does do, is ensure that all the poorly recorded tracks play at the same volume relative to each other - they all sound just as bad due to the loudness effect during recording.
Easy to confuse loudness with volume, they're not the same thing.
Loudness is just a made-up name given to the process of making tracks appear to be louder.

The warriors achieve loudness during recording by compressing the quietest and loudest sounds into a narrow band then boosting the level of that - so that things never actually get quiet (so we hear one blob of 'loud')....the dynamic range has been squashed to achieve loudness. Nothing can make that recording normal again (whether or not it's called 'normallisation').

So imagine one loudness wars track and one perfectly recorded track.
They can be played back at the same volume (normallised) but the loudness wars track will still sound the loudest of the two. The vast majority of listeners just hear a louder track - those with decent hi-fi hear it as the compressed sh!t that it is.

If you've got a 'loudness' button on your amp you can make it sound a bit worse.
It uses a different trick to achieve loudness, but at least it's not permanently destructive.
 
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TrevC

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Jun 12, 2013
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Loudness button is a boost of bass and treble when the volume is at low levels to compensate for the character of one's lugholes. Quite a handy feature.
 
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plus 1

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Loudness button is a boost of bass and treble when the volume is at low levels to compensate for the character of one's lugholes. Quite a handy feature.
its a function i used / that was present on my sony 930 amp that made listening a lot better !
 

record_spot

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May 30, 2015
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Seek out the best mastering you can find. My favourite discs tend to be first editions, but, yep a lot from the last 20 years can be patchy. Things are improving however.
 

Gray

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Loudness button is a boost of bass and treble when the volume is at low levels to compensate for the character of one's lugholes. Quite a handy feature.
My first separate amp, bought in 1978, had variable loudness on a slide pot. Only ever seen on / off versions since then.
(Alba UA900 model - truly the best thing Alba ever made :unsure: ).
 

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