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I now want to explain exactly what I meant by the growing appeal of vinyl when taking the loudness war into consideration, and why I believe many people choose to buy vinyl over digital alternatives.
” I briefly highlighted the loudness war and the resurgence of vinyl.The best way to really understand what is happening to our music is to see if for yourself.The following video is a great demonstration of the loudness war: The irony of the whole situation, of course, is that we have spent the best part of 100 years, slowly perfecting and improving the recording process.As a result, many vinyl records are mastered differently to the CD release with more dynamic range and at lower volumes. Some record labels are lazy and use the same master for both formats – lower level for vinyl of course but with the same mastering process.In this instance, there is no advantage to buying a vinyl copy; other than perhaps for character and bigger artwork.With the introduction of CD’s, the maximum peak level was no longer limited by the analogue equipment, but was instead encoded digitally with a clearly defined maximum peak amplitude.
Once they became the primary consumable medium in the 90’s, louder, hotter masters began to take advantage of the increased dynamic range; with peak levels often hovering around the 0 d B limit and record companies pushing up levels to remain competitive. Where things start to go wrong, is with the advent of the Digital Brickwall Limiter, which is capable of looking ahead to pull down peak levels before they happen.
Only this time, there really is nowhere else to go.
0d B is the absolute limit, and by pushing peak levels beyond this point you create clipping or digital distortion (not a good thing).
Modern recording equipment and techniques allow for crystal clear high definition audio to be captured at the highest standard.
It all sounds great from source to mixdown, and yet it’s all ruined at the last stage of the process.
This allowed mastering engineers to have greater control over the loudness of a track; applying heavy amounts of compression to increase lower volumes and reduce louder peaks – essentially allowing them to raise the overall track volume, while never exceeding the 0 d B limit.