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I can't stand when there's certain points in rock or metal songs that are super compressed, to give that point in the song a more "dramatic (loud) effect", but the song almost immediately returns to it's less-compressed state, and the impact is lost, because it implied that the song was going to have that tone for the next little while, but it doesn't. Just ends up being gimmicky. Also hate bass tones intended to give a similar effect; in an otherwise more instrument-focused production, it is awkward to have a clearly electronically-enhanced thump (or rumble) bass tone.

Typically, better-produced albums don't suffer from this phenomenon, and certain genre's are free of it entirely, but it sure can sometimes ruin an otherwise good song.
 
Posts: 232 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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You got a “for instance” on this? I’ve got a lot of nitpicks on mixing technique, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought stuff was too compressed. Are you entirely sure you’re using the right term for the effect? Compression doesn’t make anything louder, if anything, it reduces the dynamics in volume. Peaks get lowered and valley floors get raised so everything is more or less at a uniform volume.


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Posts: 13464 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I may not be perfect with my terminology. I consume the heck out of music, but do not consider myself an audiophile. I have always been under the impression that compression, in doing what you describe, enables a louder volume than music with more dynamic range.

I tried to describe what I mean as best I could, without having a specific song example. I did hear the bass issue in a song I listened to on the way to work. I'll find out what it was, and share later.
 
Posts: 232 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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quote:
I have always been under the impression that compression, in doing what you describe, enables a louder volume than music with more dynamic range.


Not at all. You’re misinformed. Compression can only reduce the peaks (the loudest parts of the waveform) and boost the quiet parts.

Yeah, an example would help. I think your terminology is a little off. Compression doesn’t make anything sound louder, it takes a waveform and compresses it, well, more to what I described above. Think of it in a visual manner and it’ll help translate it to what the sound is doing in your mind. More of a consistent volume with fewer dynamics, not less. More or less the opposite of what you’re describing.

What you may be hearing is indeed less compression in those parts. Loud parts that sound artificially louder because the rest of the song is compressed. Also possible that you’re hearing actual clipping because the signal for the bass, for instance, has been boosted to the point of distortion. Honestly though, without hearing what you’re listening to when your hear this phenomenon, all I can do is speculate.


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Posts: 13464 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Gotcha. I'll try to round up a couple good examples of each thing.

When people talk about the "loudness war", how does compression play into that discussion?
 
Posts: 232 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
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quote:
Originally posted by P220 Smudge:
quote:
I have always been under the impression that compression, in doing what you describe, enables a louder volume than music with more dynamic range.

Not at all. You’re misinformed. Compression can only reduce the peaks (the loudest parts of the waveform) and boost the quiet parts.

Yeah, an example would help. I think your terminology is a little off. Compression doesn’t make anything sound louder, ...

Welll... He's both right and wrong.

Yes, compression does reduce peaks and raise valleys, but, in so doing it can raise average sound pressure level (SPL). This is why many (probably most) radio stations are so highly-compressed. By raising the average SPL they raise the average SNR (signal-to-noise ratio), thus improving their effective broadcast coverage w/o increased peak radiated power.

(They also do it because most listeners are [assumed] mobile--in higher noise environments, and compression results in a higher SNR in such environments, thus improving listen-ability.)




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Posts: 20872 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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Here’s a couple good videos on it. Mostly, I’m familiar with this effect and how it’s used with guitars, not so much a final mix of a track. I do know compression is used on absolutely everything and there is some wizardry in getting it to sous right, and the litmus test is generally whether it sounds good played a car (sounds weird, but it’s true). Here’s a video that gives a better visual example of what I’m trying to explain.

https://youtu.be/Jj2e1_KzxiI

And here’s a video from the same channel talking about the “loudness war.” I haven’t watched all of it yet, but likely, he’ll answer your question.

https://youtu.be/kL13b9hCYjc


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Posts: 13464 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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"Reflections" by As I Lay Dying was the song I listened to in the car this morning, that had the annoying recurring bass rumble.
 
Posts: 232 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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Honestly a favorite of mine, that whole album. I'm listening to it now. The mix isn't the greatest, and it could be as much as just that. Are you sure it isn't maybe the audio settings in your ride? I tend to push the bass up a bit and with some tracks, it can be a bit much.

I'm listening on my computer, and my speakers aren't amazing, but they definitely don't suck and I'm not hearing anything wonky with compression. The tuning of the bass drum, snare and the constant ride cymbal bother me more than anything else. That said, it does sound louder than other tracks playing after it, so maybe, but the mix definitely sucks.

Where in the song are you hearing it?

I have an idea. Play this right after that one and tell me if you're still hearing it. Similar low end, but a cleaner mix. When I really want to feel the thump in my truck, this is what I play: Chelsea Grin - Playing With Fire.


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Posts: 13464 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Starting around 1:50, it occurs about every ten seconds. I don't think this is a side-effect of mixing/mastering; I think it's a production choice made by the band. It is more prevalent in metalcore than other genres of metal, I suppose. At the end of the day it's a preference thing for me; an opinion. The music has plenty of oomph without adding embellishments like that.

The other thing I was trying to describe is different, and still ultimately a conscious decision made, but it hurts that much more, because it doesn't seem at all natural, and stands out as odd in general, as opposed to a flair that I just don't like personally. I still need to find a good example.
 
Posts: 232 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I hear the bass note KSGM is talking about. It definitely detracts from the instrumentals.



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Posts: 17241 | Location: Sonoma County, CA | Registered: April 09, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Are you hearing the use of ‘triggers’ moreso in the breakdown(s) and confusing that with compression? Lots of metal drummers use triggers, atleast it seems so these days, which may not be as clear in the normal course of the song?

Speculating… Not a musician or audiophile.
 
Posts: 493 | Location: Michigan | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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Oh, I see what you’re talking about. That’s not compression per se, it’s just a very low drum. Could be a triggered drum, could also just be something they mixed in. Drum triggers in metalcore/deathcore/etc tend to be for ridiculously fast double bass drums, but you can use a trigger on any drum for basically any drum sound.


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Posts: 13464 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have heard of triggers, but wasn't aware they could be used to make such a uniform rumble.

It'll likely take me a while to track down good examples of the other phenomenon, as it's hard for me to find time to listen to music outside of a car ride.
 
Posts: 232 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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You could use a drum trigger to trigger any pre-programmed sound from a cowbell to a pitched-down concert bass drum, which is what that sounds like to me.

Or, again, it’s just a single bass drum strike they detuned until it was distorted that they mixed in.

We’re probably overthinking this one. Bottom line: shitty production quality. If it’s that one sound you’re hating, it could just be that you’re sensitive to those pitches. It happens.


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Posts: 13464 | Location: Seattle-ish | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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