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From: Chalkhills <>
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #14-4

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 14, Number 4

                 Sunday, 27 January 2008


                      dynamic range
                      The Loud Crowd
    "2 Rainbeau Melt" is the MySpace song of the week
                        "Ask Andy"


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Bang the wall for me to turn down.


Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 15:56:05 -0500
From: Derek Miner <>
Subject: dynamic range
Message-ID: <a06240806c3b811e23f5a@[]>

Just to interject a point about the "loudness wars" and dynamic
range... The issue shouldn't be framed in the context of analog vinyl
versus digital CDs, it should be framed in the context of mastering
techniques. Yes, vinyl may have an 80db dynamic range, but the
content put on the vinyl must utilize it. You put the same master
used for the CD on vinyl, and it's not going to come out much better,
because it was compressed and limited before it was pressed to a
distribution medium.

Believe me, I absolutely hate the way that audio is maximized to
death before being sold to the public, and it needs to stop. Going
back to vinyl can give you a respite and let you enjoy something from
the past, but it doesn't help the future generations. Education is
the key, witness the video link Simon posted - a great example of a
terrible practice.

By the way, this is the same reason all your television commercials
come out louder than the program. The people who do this justify it
by saying "But it's within specifications!"

= Derek =


Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 17:20:25 -0800
From: Wayne Klein <>
Subject: The Loud Crowd
Message-ID: <BAY108-W18A28EE5857C66175F3F0FF93C0@phx.gbl>

Over at

an audiophile forum we've been having this discussion about the loudness war
over the past two years. CDs aren't to blame but the lowered expectations of
consumers who have learned to listen to flattened out, poorly mastered mp3's
and the idiotic decisions of bean counters at all the major labels who
during the mid-1990's started the trend of putting out material that was
compressed and louder and the marketing departments (and ill-informed
reviewers) who sold this as better.

Listener fatigue has been an ongoing trend for some time but only become
noticable to the general public recently as more and more people get their
music from compressed, tinny and limited mp3's. Again, it's not the format
(CDs sounded particularly good before all of this silliness started) but the
use of the format that is to blame. This isn't a new trend it's just gotten
a whole lot worse lately with decreased dynamics and increased, brickwall
distorted sound.

Listener fatigue can be measured very simply--if you find that after a
couple of minutes you are changing to a different song but don't know why
it's because your ear and brain are rebelling against the limited, loud and
brickwalled dynamics of the recording. It creates a bizarre form of listener
ADHD--we don't know why we're changing the song just that we're irritated
and want to try something else.

Interestingly, Steve Hoffman (who is a well known mastering engineer and has
done some of the best re-releases on CD and vinyl over the last twenty or so
years) a comparison looking at how sound is different depending on the
format. He found that vinyl followed by CDs were the closest to the original
analog sound found on master recordings he did his comparison to followed by
SACD and DVD-A with the latter being the most dissimilar to the original
sound. I don't recall Steve saying that he compared it to mp3's but I'm sure
that they were even further removed considering how much of the sound
spectrum is removed.

To answer one criticism--CDs aren't a bad medium anymore than digital video
is a bad medium. It's how it's used and how the original sound is translated
to the new medium. That's where skill and artistry come into play.

I remember when the XTC back catalog was digitally remastered and reissued
and how Colin complained that the sound was good but a bit compressed (I
believe he was speaking of the Japanese remasters. The Japanese tended to
issue a lot of their recordings more compressed than what was the norm for
the time elsewhere). Compression like No Noise (listen to the Family
discography for an example of bad use of No Noise--it sounds like it was
recorded in a vaccum)is a tool that can be badly used (for an example of No
Noise that IS badly used along with compression listen to "Let It
Be...Naked" where is sounds like the air was sucked out of the room) or just
well it all comes down to what the engineer decides to do with it.

As the music business struggles to discover what it did wrong (and it did
plenty--fighting digital downloads instead of improving the quality, suing
file sharers and event those that legitimately buy music-rather than making
themselves competitive, constantly remastering the same stuff again and
again and putting it out until there was confusion and consumer fatigue.
That's not the ONLY reason though why sales are down--music has become
nothing more than a disposable commodity even more so than before and is
fighting with gaming for the attention of the young who don't really buy and
try new music any more so much as "sample" it), consumers have responded by
buying less.

I've said my piece. Oh, Andy any chance you'll be headed back to the shed
for more sessions? Whatever happened to Colin has he truly given up on music
and retired? Dave--put together a touring band and tour playing XTC music to
keep the spirit alive.


Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2008 17:43:33 -0800 (PST)
From: Todd Bernhardt <>
Subject: "2 Rainbeau Melt" is the MySpace song of the week
Message-ID: <>


Over at the XTCfans MySpace site (, the
song of the week is "2 Rainbeau Melt," one of Andy's newer (and more
avant garde) songs, found on Disc 7 of the Fuzzy Warbles series.

If you want to know how Andy records vocal tracks, or find out about
Andy's plans for the rides at the Dalaiwood theme park, check out the
XTCfans blog site at

Toucan spill four can on cloud turning Kodak
Rain falls applauding and whispers for more...



Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 15:25:54 +0000 (GMT)
From: Kay Stracey <>
Subject: "Ask Andy"
Message-ID: <>


I thought you might be interested to know that Swindon's local paper,
the Swindon Advertiser, has secured the services of Mr Partridge
to answer your music related questions.  To read his pearls of
wisdom, or perhaps ask him a question of your own, click on:


Kay Stracey
Highworth (near Sunny Swindon)


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