Friday, November 20, 2009

Loudness War?

PODCAST UPDATE - We've got our ideas lined up for a few shows. Soon we will be doing some talk over my last few posts here. I mainly made them so I could have them on record, not just because I enjoy talking to myself. Regardless, the first episode should be ready in a week or two.


Man, I am sick of the loudness war***. Albums are just sounding louder and louder all the time, and they sound AWFUL. Absolutely horrible. There are so many people out there just dedicated to competing with volumes they forget about the music.

This whole's what I like to call "car marketing philosophy:" just because it [a car commercial] is loud and grabs your attention doesn't mean you will give a crap. I am sick of car commercials saying things like "we are currently OVERSTOCKED due to a 'shipping error' and everything must go!" They yell in your face as if to catch your attention, but really, it's just annoying.

The same theory is now applicable to modern music. Songs are louder than ever in an attempt to grab your attention. The problem is, songwriters are lazy and don't know how to write catchy lines or lyrics anymore, and their musicianship is so weak that it becomes uninteresting. Thus, to compensate for being a crappy songwriter, they have to make it loud. With the right songwriting and performance, your attention can be captivated immediately. Think Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" or John Denver's "Annie's Song." More recently, think Third Eye Blind's "Never Let You Go," U2's "With or Without You," and Wilco's "Either Way." All of these songs are well written, and they grab your attention just by being so.

Get it? YOU OWN THE VOLUME KNOB. Keep your mixes dynamic. (Hint...mute the drums and see how hot your mix is at this level. If it's around -2 or -1dBFS, you're WAY TOO LOUD (in my opinion).)

***for more information on what exactly the loudness war is, go to A while back a guy made this fantastic video which has had worldwide popularity. I really think the creator of this video deserves a standing ovation! Here it is:

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