Dr. AIX

Mark Waldrep, aka Dr. AIX, has been producing and engineering music for over 40 years. He learned electronics as a teenager from his HAM radio father while learning to play the guitar. Mark received the first doctorate in music composition from UCLA in 1986 for a "binaural" electronic music composition. Other advanced degrees include an MS in computer science, an MFA/MA in music, BM in music and a BA in art. As an engineer and producer, Mark has worked on projects for the Rolling Stones, 311, Tool, KISS, Blink 182, Blues Traveler, Britney Spears, the San Francisco Symphony, The Dover Quartet, Willie Nelson, Paul Williams, The Allman Brothers, Bad Company and many more. Dr. Waldrep has been an innovator when it comes to multimedia and music. He created the first enhanced CDs in the 90s, the first DVD-Videos released in the U.S., the first web-connected DVD, the first DVD-Audio title, the first music Blu-ray disc and the first 3D Music Album. Additionally, he launched the first High Definition Music Download site in 2007 called iTrax.com. A frequency speaker at audio events, author of numerous articles, Dr. Waldrep is currently writing a book on the production and reproduction of high-end music called, "High-End Audio: A Practical Guide to Production and Playback". The book should be completed in the fall of 2013.

18 thoughts on “Loudness Nirvana?

  • March 24, 2015 at 1:58 am
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    I’ve been describing how BS 1770 and R128 are going to help the loudness war issue, several times in comments on your blog, Mark.

    If radio stations start using R128, and TV broadcast advertisements, including adverts for music and concerts, and Apple Master Quality works out at about -16 LUFS, then we are on our way.

    Reply
    • March 24, 2015 at 10:18 am
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      I recognize that “loudness normalization” changes the playback experience of broadcast audio but I fail to see how this would motivate the artists/engineers/producers/labels to cease mastering the life out of their releases. I’ve seen no change in the output of sound files and my friend at WB Mastering isn’t doing anything different.

      Reply
      • March 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm
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        With loudness normalization, the super compressed tracks won’t be played back any louder than the ones with dynamic range. In fact, the tracks with greater dynamic range will have higher peaks. I suggest playing around with a loudness normalization plug in to get a good idea of the subjective results. (As much as we can demonstrate what happens mathematically, this is an instance where the psychoacoustics are probably more important.)

        The idea is that when the super compressed tracks just sound flat compared to those that have been less abused – not any louder –, listeners will start preferring the more dynamic content. Mastering engineers will then follow the market. The change won’t happen overnight – you know that change is hard in this industry –, but at least this gives us a glimmer of hope.

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        • March 24, 2015 at 5:44 pm
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          We’ll see…I have experienced tracks smashed and dynamic tracks. I just think that consumers will appreciate the new fidelity as it exists against what they already are used to. We’ll see.

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      • March 24, 2015 at 2:51 pm
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        Has anyone ever sat down with the execs who require albums to be loud and just ask them to STOP a explain why they shouldn’t destroy dynamics?

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        • March 24, 2015 at 5:46 pm
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          The executives that I know don’t care about the sound of the recordings that they make…with the possible exception of Don Was.

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      • March 24, 2015 at 4:25 pm
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        That’s because America isn’t using R128. What are the LUFS levels of a few of your productions that you think particularly dynamic? (using an R128 meter)

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        • March 24, 2015 at 5:47 pm
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          I’ll have to get my hands on an R128 meter (can you suggest a source). As I don’t use any dynamics compression, it won’t matter to me what the readings turn out to be. The dynamics of my tracks represent the actual dynamics of received by the microphones.

          Reply
          • March 25, 2015 at 7:36 am
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            It’s probably available as a plugin for your favourite mixing software. Or maybe built in already.
            Or try this: https://www.klangfreund.com/lufsmeter/

            I think it would matter to you if you start using it as intended.

  • March 25, 2015 at 12:24 am
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    Sound Forge Pro 11 includes tools for US CALM (-24 dB) and EUR R128 (-23dB) compliance. Here’s a link to an article covering editing for compliance. Also note how at the end of the article Gary Rebholz covers why he believes CALM compliance could put an end to the Loudness Wars.

    http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/calm_loudness_meters_in_sound_forge_pro

    Here are some summary statistics for 2 of your tracks.

    Mosaic 96/24 Stereo

    Integrated Loudness (LUFS) -20.25
    Loudness Range (LU) 4.60
    Maximum True Peak Loudness (dBTP) -1.07
    Maximum Short-Term Loudness (LUFS) -17.58
    Maximum Momentary Loudness (LUFS) -14.96

    Bolero 96/24 5.1

    Integrated Loudness (LUFS) -15.98
    Loudness Range (LU) 25.10
    Maximum True Peak Loudness (dBTP) 0.00
    Maximum Short-Term Loudness (LUFS) -7.16
    Maximum Momentary Loudness (LUFS) -4.99

    Reply
    • March 25, 2015 at 4:00 pm
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      Thanks Mark…I’ll take a look at the article and investigate. I need to get a handle on how these numbers translate to numbers that I’m used to.

      Reply
  • March 25, 2015 at 4:13 am
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    Hi Mark,

    Take a look at this. Maybe you’d be interested to participate? Don’t know any other details apart from what I’m reading on the site.
    http://www.dynamicrangeday.com/

    Reply
    • March 25, 2015 at 4:17 am
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      PS. Seems to me that Ian is really one of the good guys.

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      • March 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm
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        I think Ian is doing the right things to push for dynamic range. I just don’t see anything changing for the commercial music that we all know and love. I’m willing to joint the fight.

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    • March 25, 2015 at 4:07 pm
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      I’m going to have to check out all of the details…perhaps.

      Reply
  • March 25, 2015 at 11:08 am
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    Match Volumes in Audition provides LUFS values for each track.

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  • March 25, 2015 at 6:17 pm
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    Sound on Sound had a fairly detailed article last year about the effects of loudness normalization, and why it’s likely to change mastering practices. I think it does a good job of walking you through the new paradigm with reference to the measurements you already know. There’s a lot there to think about, and the writer isn’t under any delusions that the changes will happen overnight.

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    • March 25, 2015 at 7:12 pm
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      Thanks for the link…I’m starting to dig into this stuff. The whole LU thing is not a major part of audio engineering for CDs as far as the people I know.

      Reply

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