These Go To Eleven! An Exploratory Analysis of the 'Loudness War' within Audio Recordings 公开

Blau, Max (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/hm50tr82f?locale=zh
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Abstract

In recent years, the music industry has increasingly engaged in certain audio editing practices that increasingly change and influence sound quality during the process of music production. These practices have developed into a trend commonly referred to as the 'loudness war'-a phenomena distinguished by louder recordings and increased 'sonic homogeneity'-the narrowing range of sound between the highest and lowestsound levels on an audio recording. Through performing a content analysis observing numerous non-scholarly print and internet resources, the 'loudness war' emerges as a trend affecting a wide range of industry personnel, whose cause is attributed to just as many parties-including record labels, radio stations, engineers, musicians and consumers. Further, this thesis follows its qualitative study with a quantitative, longitudinal statistical analysis of the 'loudness war' in compacts discs from 1982 to 2008. In doing this, this study found that the dynamic range of compact discs has decreased over time, while recording loudness has simultaneously increased. This trend is especially notable in compact discs of the Pop/Rock genre, which are distinguished by greater sonic homogeneity, while compact discs in the Soundtrack genre offer similar, but limited evidence in the same direction. Overall, this study aim to not only filling a gap in the sociological literature pertaining to the 'loudness war,' but also serves as a foundation for future analyses in this area.

Table of Contents

Introduction ................................................................................................... 1
History of the 'Loudness War' ............................................................................ 4
Focus and Goals of This Thesis .......................................................................... 7
Literature Review of Relevant Sociological Perspectives .......................................... 8
Research Questions ........................................................................................ 14
Qualitative Analysis of Attitudes and Outlooks from Industry Participants .................. 15
1.) Qualitative Methodology ............................................................................. 16
2.) Qualitative Results .................................................................................... 17
Quantitative Analysis of the 'Loudness War' ........................................................ 32
1.) Quantitative Methodology ........................................................................... 32
2.) Quantitative Results .................................................................................. 38
Discussion .................................................................................................... 48
Bibliography .................................................................................................. 53
Appendix: Tables, Figures, Graphs ..................................................................... 57
TABLE 1: Technological Processes Inducing Sonic Homogeneity .............................. 57
FIGURE 1: Visual Representation of Clipping in a Sound Wave ................................. 58
TABLE 2: Parties associated with the 'Loudness War' ............................................ 59
TABLE 3: Reasons Behind the 'Loudness War' ...................................................... 60
TABLE 4: Observed Implications in the 'Loudness War' ........................................... 61
TABLE 5: Reactions and Solutions to the 'Loudness War' ........................................ 62
TABLE 6: List of CDs used in Statistical Analysis of the 'Loudness War'...................... 63
TABLE 7: Official DR, Calculated DR, Corrected DR Descriptive Statistics ................... 67
TABLE 8: RMS (Calculated) Average, Corrected RMS Average Descriptive Statistics .... 68
GRAPH 1: Model 1 Graph (Calculated Dynamic Range over Time) .............................. 69
GRAPH 2: Model 2 Graph (Annual Average Calculated Dynamic Range over Time) ........ 70
GRAPH 3: Model 9 Graph (Calculated RMS Average over Time) ................................ 71
GRAPH 4: Model 10 Graph (Annual Average Calculated RMS Average over Time) ......... 72
TABLE 9: Genre Breakdown for Album Dataset...................................................... 74
TABLE 10: Calculated DR Results Using OLS Regression ......................................... 75
TABLE 11: Calculated RMS Average Results Using OLS Regression ............................ 76

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