now that we’ve reinvented 8-bit audio – what’s next?

Gone are the days when choosing the right noise shaping for dithering was a headache and we were still dreaming of Hires Audio as the glorious upcoming consumer format. In the end, it was more important to us to make everything brutally loud. As if it could otherwise be overheard in all the streaming mush: Radio and advertising have led the way, after all, and in the realm of asocial media, the cry for attention is naturally even louder. A pleasant sound, transient-rich and detailed? Forget it! The pitiful remainder of dynamics could now be packaged in 8-bit, lossless. That’s how it looks. The other day I saw a report about audiophiles who still and tirelessly spare neither expense nor effort to optimize the sound at home down to the smallest detail, which seemed unintentionally comical in this context. But it seems just as anachronistic today to spend such an immense technical effort for an inferior production performance. How can this be justified? Surely any stock EQ, a decent multiband compressor and limiter should suffice. In the attached video, the evolution of EDM is outlined in fast forward from the 80s to 2020. Regardless of the qualities of the codecs, this shows very impressively the decline in technical production quality over the years and the side effects of the increase in loudness. Now that we have successfully ruined audio quality, the question remains: What’s next?

Comments

  1. Harald Klingsporn says:

    May i ask if i can share this in facebook groups ?

    Cause i totally aggree with you, and i go a step further…

    There are two worlds now…
    One is the production world ( the biz ), which is trapped in the loudness war…

    The other, is the consumer world, which give a shit on loudness…

    Find the error 😉

    So…. in these days, the production world spit out shit, that is way away from what the consumer wants, to remember in a year ( 2023 ), what was No. 1 in 2022 ?

    Modern mixed and mastered “stuff” has no impact… it is just music…

    Instead in 100 Years, music from ABBA, Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, ACDC or what ever, will be still played.

    Loudness is not the key to the heart of a consumer 🙂

  2. Joseph O'Beirne says:

    Absolutely!

  3. Now, and always, have I focused on the song, the melody, THE CHORDS, the arrangement, thematic AND motific development through small forms, and in the last few years, “relatively little” compression in mastering. Those master audio files looked extremely hairy when view’d in your DAW of choice. Damn all this four-bar, repetitive, melody-anemic drivel!!!

  4. fruitbat studios says:

    This seems so out of date? The loudness wars peaked ten years ago and have reversed for the last five. New mainstream remasters have been quiter to meet the new ~ -17db rules for streaming and radio. (Varies a bit for each platform.)
    The over horrendously processed tracks of bands like Maroon5 now seem ridiculous… (and quiet as the platforms turn them down…)

    • Harald Klingsporn says:

      No… it is not out of date…

      -8 LUFS or -6LUFS is still present in the Mainstream area…

      The industry goes even a step further with heavy clipped stuff or to trick the algos from the streamers…

      The loudness war has a new enemy ( the streamers ) and is still goin on, with other weapons…

      But yes… some are showing how it can sound, when you produce a dynamic song around -14 LUFS. But it take the same time to tear down the loudness walls, as to build up the loudness bullshi..

      So… in 20 years maybe, with new bands, mix and master guys. The Loudness war is maybe over. Cause the last ME has understood, that the streamers are the lords over the loudness…

      • fruitbat studios says:

        That’s interesting – What tricks do they use? – I am assuming it must be something like: only the part of the track being measured has a lower RMS?

        • Harald Klingsporn says:

          Something like that…

          It goes through the Facebook groups, where i am involved…

          Big problem is, that the big ones in the biz have trained ears to the stupid loudness.

          Quieter tracks, sound not right to them… Thats why i said the thing with the 20 years… 20 years to retrain the ears to accept dynamic music…

          I had several fights in the groups, with top notch ME’s about that…

  5. I firmly believe that if they could get that loud as easily as one can do now back then they would do the same exact thing. Same as with pesticides in the 70`s.

    “Ah it’s efficient! Let’s throw it bucket wise into the ground. What could go wrong?”

    or before that ,,,,, “Nuclear Bomb testing”. The list goes on and on and on. Not everything was better. In many aspects we have gotten better and in others worse. Same in music.

    It is easy to now say “legendary” and “timeless” about music of the past but this can only be said for things that stood the test of time. If you do some research you will easily find out that most people involved in music back then had no clue if and how long something will stay successful. They just went with it. Its not like no bad, boring, annoying (you name it) , music was produced back then. Yet everyone mentions the same 3-4 names as if everything was splendid. Good music is still being produced nowadays. It’s just harder to find because there is too much of everything and its easier to find comfort in the known. I personally have developed an allergy about parties where “good ol` 80`s music hits” or “music of the times where everything was good” songs are being played. I guess I went to too many over the decades. Who knows.

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