Dynamic Range gone pants

mafkaroo

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Check this web link out, its quite interesting:

http://www.proaudiorx.com/dynamicrange.htm

I would have thought that seeing as psy-trance is basically live music (it's not made for radio airplay anyway), then presumably we would want to utilise as much dynamic range as possible, and the dj/live act can always turn up the volume if needbe. Is psy-trance falling into this loudness/killah trap too?

Also on a technical note, if the rms is really close to the peak level, does this mean either
1. it has lot more room to drop down to -infinity db, or
2. that the dynamics rarely go quiet/very much lower.
 

fuzzikitten

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"The music we listen to today is nothing more than noise with a beat."

erm... I'd say that describes psytrance pretty well, actually. It really isn't music anymore, not in any classical sense. It's trance inducing sounds and beats, and I like it just fine that way. :Smile3:

Granted, I'm partial to dynamic range myself as I can't take too much of 'constant noise'.

Curious as to the answers to your questions - any knowledgeable folk out there?
 

antic

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Psytrance is doing this too... One example I can think of right now is latest Quadra album - there is no silent sounds there. Even the small little hihats are loud and very much present in the mix. Gone are the days when you could spot some quiet sounds or effects only after few weeks of listening to it on headphones. Now everything is "in yer face", especially in the full-on world...

However not everyone fell into that trap. I can name Shakta, Cosmosis, Jean Borelli to some extent (Artificial Frequencies sounded great, but Crunchy Punch was overcompressed). Most of the british labels / artists pull it out ouright (Twisted, Dragonfly, Alchemy, Organic etc.)
 

Continuum

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I am so SO F**KING BORED of supercharged mega-pumped-up music with no dynamic range left in it. What's the point of music if it leaves the ears bored and tired after two minutes? what happened to light and shade?
Artists! If you're reading this F**KING STOP IT!!!

Thankyou. (esp. twisted records who realise that money spent on mastering at the townhouse actually makes their records sound 1000x better than those people who 'master at home on t-racks')


:Smile3:
 

Fromem_Ory

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yes, what happened to subtlety. the most fun i ever had on acid was hearing a part of music i had never heard before. one thing i like about good psy is when an artist has really really subtle sounds, and they'll use an amazing sound only once and very quietly. you notice it when listening in headphones and its like wowww, u almost feel cool just for noticing it. if its so good that you're begging to hear it again, a good psy artist will place it just once more later in the track.
personally, if i make a sound which i dont like, i'll just do what i can with it and put loads of effects on it, and turn the volume very low. the least its doing is adding a layer of atmosphere/depth...
 

mafkaroo

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I think the times of subtle sounds, especially where they reflect off eachother to make complex interwoven sounds are gone. I guess subtlety=complexity, which means more work for the artists. It's probably much easier to put a bold isreali saw lead on and half the track is done. Complex (imho real) psy-trance doesn't seem to be the norm these days.
Similarly I think psy-trance has lost it's raw edge with the advent of fat obvious and loud sounds, so it's less punk and more pop.
 

dogcow

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yeah, everything has to be killar apparently. misted muppets is my favourite example of an overproduced/overcompressed album. another trend that is bothering me immensly is that more and more tunes are being written like pop music. it's not about adding layers and layers it's intro-riff-break-riff-break-riff-outro. if it's your birthday there may even be a proper build up somewhere in there but, alas, it will mostly build up to NOTHING.

at this point i'd like to say one thing which anyone reading this may freely use as a general guidline when writing psy trance:

IT'S CALLED TRANCE YOU WANKERS, STOP IT WITH THE 7 BREAKES PER TUNE.
 

Plank!

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The Psychedelic element of Psy-trance is very much dependent on production/sound quality.
Compression leads to higher average sound pressures, this leads to ear damage...
your average club tune has an RMS level 6dB or less bellow it's peak level, this is just crap.
Psy-Trance works better with an average to peak difference of 10 - 12dB this also allows for higher peak levels without rsking ear damage, tho a more powerfull sound system may be required to get the job done. Systems designed for live sound are capable of doing this easily, a typical club system is barely powerfull enough to cope with the over compressed junk expected by the MTV generation, and just can't do justice to decent music.

*end of rant*
Keep the production clean, you can still have a PHAT kick and bass line, while keeping the rest clean, subtle and intresting.
As mentioned earlier, Cosmosis, (along with Twisted Records and some other sorted artists) got this right, others can too :Wink3:

BTW, its not about "intro-riff-break-riff-break-riff-outro" it's about tension, and release. A really good tune does not have to follow formulae, it just has to be intresting, that can be done without a break! EVP has done just that in some of his newer tunes.
 

nik

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i think that compressed music would actually save yuour ears more damage than music that contained more average to peak differences. sure, compressed music is more fatiguing, but the ear is more prone to sharp transient damage than a steady continuation of noise even at higher average levels.....
but still i would agree that to allow for subtle flavours to move in and out of the mix more headroom is needed - but try telling that to the hyped up dj who when selecting tracks willy nillly will more likely go for the pumped up bang in the face 2x4 mix.
 

BeatNik

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nik said:
i think that compressed music would actually save yuour ears more damage than music that contained more average to peak differences. sure, compressed music is more fatiguing, but the ear is more prone to sharp transient damage than a steady continuation of noise even at higher average levels.....

If the track is well produced then it shouldn't have the "sharp transients" you speak of...
Plus, the acutely damaging sounds you speak of cause damage from 105-110dB upward: i.e. sudden silence to Football Crowd levels - shotguns cause damage because they are around 170db.
However, the maximum exposure times are also important:
"The maximum exposure time at 85 dBA is 8 hours. At 110 dBA, the maximum exposure time is one minute and 29 seconds."
Consider that 85dBA is the same loudness as a noisy restaurant... not a 12 hour party - whatever happens we are risking ear damage going to parties... the ear does adjust to gradually increasing sounds... but we're also frying our nerve endings very slowly...

Not nice to think about :Sad:
 

nik

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BeatNik said:
... but we're also frying our nerve endings very slowly...
:Sad:

arrgh! yea you put it so nicely!! heh
yes, the shotgun thing was what i was thinking of and was the basis of my brilliant 1.00am theory. but as you have put it - a transient of a much higher level is needed.....though i did burst an ear drum on a jungle snare once. ouch
 

AEON

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as far as live performance is concerned, i always keep things relatively quiet.

if nothing else, you have room to play with in terms of dynamics for your set. plus i find that some systems really 'reflect' high volume frequencies unpleasantly...
 

bagginz

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Plank! said:
As mentioned earlier, Cosmosis, (along with Twisted Records and some other sorted artists) got this right, others can too :Wink3:

However not everyone fell into that trap. I can name Shakta, Cosmosis, Jean Borelli to some extent (Artificial Frequencies sounded great, but Crunchy Punch was overcompressed).


Thanks for noticing guys.

It is nice to know that some people listen and are actually aware of the effect that proper dynamics have on the quality of their listening experience.

Too many (deaf?) people bizarrely equate lack of any dynamics and overall loudness with quality.

I have had at least one person post in an internet forum and diss one of my albums for not being as loud as other Psy Trance albums ("could do with a bit of mastering" I think that he said...)

At least there are still some people that know what that big knob on the stereo amp is for...

Cheers,
Bill
 

Darren Lynch

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I'm interested in this.


I guess the main problem is that once a max'ed out track makes it onto a set list, then tracks with greater dynamic range may not be playable because they would come across as quieter, even if they were within themselves more full on. Thus track selection at parties will tend to be influenced by brute mastering levels rather than any artistic/vibe criteria.

Also, simply turning up quieter tracks is not always possible, or desireable. Talking to some house engineers in a more commercial venue, they told me that the DJs have no control over the final FOH limiter/volume controls. Pushing the deck output just creates more of a pile up at the limiter stage.

An important point which someone has already raised re Twisted. Using proper hi end mastering tech and skill can preserve much that gets lost when you hit all the brick wall buttons in something like T-Racks. Tracks can be made louder with a good deal of their transient detail preserved, but it takes time and money.

Also down with the "too many break downs" criticism - but I tend to think that a certain type of insecure DJ revels in the "see how many break downs I can work" approach.

Sadly I think none more louder mastering is a genie which ain't going back in the bottle.
 

Darren Lynch

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...Oh, and since Cosmosis has contributed, I just want to say that I was stompin along to one of your live sets at Mass a while back when you served up a masterclass kick workout at the end of your set before dropping us into the world of the truly big tune. And then sending us home all smiley with your version of Blue Monday.


It was, to quote Brian Wilson, music that made people feel loved.

Ta very much.

D
 

J-Flux

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Although this may seem quite obvious - peoples emotional response has actually been linked to the dynamic range in music. ie bigger ranges cause more response. Although compression is important in dance music because it helps give the beats more power, I still want trance tunes to effect me on an emotional level.

Subtley in music is so important - I agree bring back dynamic range!
 

Fromem_Ory

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J-Flux said:
Although compression is important in dance music because it helps give the beats more power, I still want trance tunes to effect me on an emotional level.
but...but...that would make it... ...music!
 
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