When I started going to studios in the early 90s, recording engineers used to set a boundary called 0db rule; it is a standard limit set for music volume to make sure that loudness for media is the same everywhere. Producers and sound engineers are aware of this rule and no one pushes music beyond that level, because digital devices misrepresents audio signal above this level.
Today, setting up a digital studio is cheap and home studio owners who have little or no idea about music production have produced more music than commercial studios and have caused a shift in the way people hear music. Findings show that listeners perceive music of 90s and earlier not loud enough when compared to 21st century music. This is what has changed:
- Artists now want their music to be louder than other artist’s rather than sticking to the standard volume limit. Whereas the louder the volume the more the music is destroyed.
- Today’s Pop music is dirtier in sound quality than before
- Dynamics; various volumes for mood changes in music is been destroyed as the competition increases.
- 21st century music listeners are more prone to hearing loss because they consistently listen to music that is too loud that when they listen to a normal sound they think it’s not okay.
21ST CENTURY KILLING DYNAMICS
Music is more interesting when the volume varies, sometimes you just want the vocals or acoustic guitar or string or hi hats alone in a piece of music. But now everything is equally
loud even in live sound.
This is my message today music is not about competition, it’s about mood, feel, groove, content, space, emotion and transportation, this cannot be achieved when everything is just loud. Practice dynamics! It will make you feel good.