Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH
I don't think it is earbuds that are making them do it, I think it is people ripping things, and downloading tracks at 128 kbps or less. They have to compress the shit out of new music to make it audible. BTW, I hate it too.
You are talking about a different kind of compression. This kind shrinks file size, the kind I am talking about compresses the sine wave then boosts it so everything sounds really loud and at the same volume.
Originally Posted by upthewazzu
Cracked.com had an article the other day about why music sucks nowadays, and it was because studios push loudness instead of clarity. Check it out, the article is probably still on the front page, it was title "5 things you didn't know about the music industry" or something along those lines.
Originally Posted by b1os
I just reread idfnl's post and I don't get it at all. Are you talking about loudness war? If so, why would the loudness war lead to better (as in passable) sounding music for "earbuds"? Makes absolutely no sense.
Earbuds are just one reason for the problem, but I never intended to suggest they were the only reason. Its just a physical representation of compression that I can chuck some hate at and it happened to come up here.
The compression problem has developed for a lot of reasons: music streaming, the MP3 type formats, the iPod, 5 and 7.1 and yes, earbuds are a few. The decline of 2 channel audio in a living room properly setup in favor or portability forced terrible modifications to recording. I spoke to an engineer once and he feels like he's committing a crime when he is forced to compress the signal so its loud as hell and has no dynamics. And then they ask him to do some more. Its like a competition to see whose song can play the loudest.
Earbuds have really bad frequency response and generally sounds like absolute shit. To get an earbud to sound passable you need to make every instrument/sound play at the same volume. Try listening to an un-modified 60's folk song thru earbuds compared to the latest pop band, its volume is so low it sounds like its on mute.
Here's an interview that explains the dynamic:
So through the years, the louder example is eclipsed by a yet louder example winning the hearts and minds of the artist, the engineer and the A&R person. At some point, the music is so loud and unnaturally compressed that the aural assault on the ear, while very impressively loud, has sucked the life out of the music and makes the listener subconsciously not want to hear the music again.