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What causes listening "fatigue"?
What causes listening "fatigue"?
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Old 17th September 2020, 02:37 PM   #1611
Bigun is offline Bigun  Canada
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What causes listening "fatigue"?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Darwin View Post
The wars started shortly after the introduction of CD changers.
I suspect it started off on the radio - compression was used to boost the volume of advertisements, same on the TV. It was about money, always was, always will be.
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Old 17th September 2020, 02:49 PM   #1612
plasnu is offline plasnu  United States
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We usually do not call pre-digital age loudness manipulation "Loudness War".

I wrote this recently somewhere, but analog compression and peak limiting is absolutely necessary for commercial recordings, because the dynamic range we can record is much narrower than the dynamic range of the real instruments, and also because we listen to the music much quieter than the sound level of real instruments.
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Old 17th September 2020, 03:06 PM   #1613
plasnu is offline plasnu  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Darwin View Post
Thankfully most if not all streaming sites have introduced RMS checks and everything is adjusted to the same RMS level. This in turn meant that previously loud mixes now come off more quietly than more dynamic mixes and excess compression is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Bob Katz has been fighting with loudness war, and he is trying to standardize the crest factor. His effort has been partially successful.

Check recent BlueNote HiRes streaming masters, they have much less compression even compared to the old vinyl releases, so that they sound a little too different from what we're accustomed to. In my opinion, I find original BlueNote compression is very musical and tasteful, even it would be less natural than the real sound of the instruments. Compression is the art.

Last edited by plasnu; 17th September 2020 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 17th September 2020, 03:26 PM   #1614
mark100 is offline mark100  United States
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What causes listening "fatigue"?
Plasnu, my take has long been that discomfort comes when there is a geometrically weighted imbalance in spectral content.
It's like a see-saw to me, lows on one end, highs of the other.
Bass heavy will sound bad and equivalent to being treble light.
Just like bass light will sound treble bright.
It's all about balance imo.

What's cool i think, is the old rule of thumb that low freq times high freq (in kHz) should equal 400. You know 20-20K = 400.
I know the old rule was more for telephony and various bandwidth limited devices, but i think it's based on some fundamental logic about hearing perception.

We can change kHz to Hz and multiply 20 times 20,000 to get 400,000.
The sqr root of 400,000 is 632Hz, and we get the center of the spectrum geometrically.
Which is also the center of the spectrum in terms of number of octaves,
5 above and 5 below.

I use 640 Hz as the center for ease of math.....and it becomes the fulcrum of the see-saw.
Frequencies can be mapped from end to end on the see-saw in logarithmic scale where each octave is the same width.
20-40, 40-80, 80-160, 160-320, 320-640 <fulcrum> 640-1.3k, 1.3-2.6k, 2.6-5.1k, 5.1-10.2k, 10.2 to 20.4k
Picture 10 different seats on the see-saw.

So far an extreme example, if we add 3dB to the bottom octave 20-40Hz, which is as far from the fullcrum as can be, we have to add 3dB to the top octave on the other far end to easily and quickly balance.
Often explains smiley face tuning trend, especially when the track had no real lows or highs to begin with.

Another thing to note, is say there is too much bloat in the 3rd octave up, 80-160, two seats from the fulcrum.
Well, the cure of course is to fix it, of itself.
But a balancing tonal technique could be to add equal bloat to the octave seat two above the fulcrum, 1.3-2.6k.
I think alot of this kind of "funny business tonal balancing" occurs, fixing wrong with more wrong, when we tune by ear without measurements.

I apologize for this long winded post, but earlier i stressed how much being able to adjust tonality has lessened fatigue for me.
I had tried using parametric and graphic equalizers with very limited success for some time.
Out of dumb luck, when setting levels for various 4-way builds, and leaving the level controls in place because i would mix and match different sub, mid, HF, and VHF sections together, i began to notice how easy it was to fix problem tracks during playback.

Then i came to see the see-saw theory.......as each of the 4-sections coincidentally happened to span about the same number of octaves.

A big factor in it working that wasn't mentioned previously, is that the entire system can be tuned very flat mag and phase, since is is so easy to adjust to taste in real time afterwards. Truly flat tuning is soo much easier ime.
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Old 17th September 2020, 04:28 PM   #1615
plasnu is offline plasnu  United States
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I agree. A very simple user tonal balancing is an absolutely a good idea to me. 10 band EQing is too much for us unless someone wants to start his own mastering sessions.

I think one of the worst thing happened to the audio industry is denial of tone control. I don't know who started it, but I guess it was around when Mark Levinson removed the tone control from his preamp. It made people to believe the "correct" frequency balance does exist, while it is nothing but a fantasy in reality. Minor tone correction is needed, even if the user has absolutely flat response speakers. I do believe this decision was based on a marketing reason, not to improve the user's music listening experience. People has become more confused without tone control, and even today, many people wants to believe flat tonal balance is the universally the best balance in all the situations, and they try to forget about Fletcher Munson curve.

Recently, Bax tone control came back to professional mastering scene with Dangerous Audio's excellent sounding Bax EQ. He designed mastering console for many top mastering studios including Sterling Sound. I think this type of box can be a really good DIY project.

Last edited by plasnu; 17th September 2020 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 17th September 2020, 04:58 PM   #1616
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plasnu View Post
I do believe this decision was based on a marketing reason, not to improve the user's music listening experience.
Probably based on the BS doctrine of some in the business that tone controls add "elecronic haze"
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Old 17th September 2020, 05:04 PM   #1617
plasnu is offline plasnu  United States
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PS: Now I remember that Mark Levinson released Cello palette after he left Mark Levinson, so he actually moved to completely opposite direction later. I don't know what he was thinking, but the removal of tone control may not have been his idea...
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Old 17th September 2020, 05:13 PM   #1618
plasnu is offline plasnu  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottjoplin View Post
Probably based on the BS doctrine of some in the business that tone controls add "elecronic haze"
I think so. Actually cheap ones do, unfortunately. It was a good trend for who wants to cut the cost. For mid-tier audio brand, it could also make their products look more confident high end audio products than the cheap consumer products with tons of knobs at that time.
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Old 17th September 2020, 05:35 PM   #1619
Bigun is offline Bigun  Canada
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What causes listening &quot;fatigue&quot;?
I do wish the car companies would do the same, most of them have put so many controls onto the steering wheel it looks like a barnacle encrusted rock
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Old 17th September 2020, 06:36 PM   #1620
Charles Darwin is offline Charles Darwin  United Kingdom
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Sorry I missed an entire page this is meant to answer Plasnu's post 1610


Sure I know that the 1176 is a mono compressor but as I said above Chris Lord-Alge, the main war criminal in the Loudness Wars, uses probably 30 or more of those things ie he possibly compresses each track on the way into his 48 channel SSL with the onboard compressor, then treats each track individually with an 1176* each and compresses again with the bus compressor on the way to the stereo master.

While he has a plug in suite of compressors named after him he uses the analogue originals.

*probably a few other vintage beauties like Pultec but mostly 1176s

Last edited by Charles Darwin; 17th September 2020 at 06:42 PM.
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