Author Topic: CD mastering - Brickwalling and Limiting.  (Read 924 times)

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Offline rainmangoestorockwiz

CD mastering - Brickwalling and Limiting.
« on: Wed 09 May 2018 17:04:56 »
First off, I would like to say that this practice has pretty much destroyed 95% of CD releases since about 1998'ish onwards.  It's the record company's deliberate act of adding a very loud limiter to CD masters before pressing the CD, and in many cases, adding so much base and treble, that tranquille acoustic ballads and other types of music are turned into ear piercing pieces of rubbish.

I noticed CDs already getting quite loud; the reality that a sense of anticipation was missing when purchasing re-issues and CDs during the early noughties.  This madness reached it's peak when Warner Music in the UK released a heap of early 80s artists (Meri Wilson, Modern Romance, Major Matchbox, Dollar, and etc) under the Platinum Collection range; a collaberation with their back-issue label Rhino, which I now refer to as Warner urinal. 

Thinking that Rhino were the premium product of Warner at the time, I bought these platinum collection CDs by the arm full from amazon UK, and looked forward to hearing a number of early 80s acts for the first time on CD. 

Two weeks later, the parcel arrived, and upon playing them; I thought  my Philips boombox of so many years had finally died.  All the tracks had this horrible shrill through the upper end instruments (drums and percussion), and the base was unbearable.... unbearable to the point that I experienced something for the first time in my life. 

I could never think that ones blood and head could start pumping in anxiety from hearing music.  Well. there it was in front of me in 2007, the very ugliness of the loudness wars.  A heap of early 80s material released to CD for the first time, and sonically obliterated to smithereens for good measure. 

I'm certainly far from being the first when complaining about this; the Steve Hoffman board is full of these tails.  Incredibly as widely documented the practice has become on the internet, a) the record labels stubbornly keep pushing ahead with this mastering trend and b:) they are insanely a number of people within the industry that staunchly justify this practice.  GearSlutz; a musicians and mastering forum seems to have many of these folk who brazenly keep batting for the "loud mastering" brigade. 

As many folk may know on here, I'm trying to make lossless versions of all my Ktel compilations, and for the most part all seems to be okay.  One finishes a project, plays the entire Ktel album through; it sounds like a late 80s CD so far.  Than when you least expected, they'll be a track that comes out so loud, one is about to be blown out of their chair. 

Usually through other available resources, I can find an earlier CD release which will suffice, but as I'm starting to learn, there has been a mountain of mid to late 70s, early to mid 80s stuff released on CD for the first time during the 2003 to 2012 period, and unfortunately it has all been destroyed.  Writing to the record companies, requesting if they can at least re-issue a lossless download without the limiting always results in no response. 

In conclusion, there seems to be a mentality within the music industry that us, as consumers have to settle for this brickwalled material, no matter how unlistenable it is, management of the labels (big and small) just don't give a toss.  How did the music industry get to this ABYSS!

Below are two thumbs showing the track Meri Wilson "just what I wanted", which charted in Australia in March 1983.  The first waveform is from the 2006 Warner Rhino Platinum Collection, the second from a 1988 connoisseur compilation; "25 years of pop".

KENTBURN - Burning Australia's Chart music into history.
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Offline goodiesguy

Re: CD mastering - Brickwalling and Limiting.
« Reply #1 on: Fri 11 May 2018 01:43:54 »
Preach it man!

It annoys me especially with Archive material from the 60's. That and un-needed noise reduction. That, for me, ruined much of the otherwise great Spin CD festival CD's from the late 90's. Once I heard rips of the Festival File discs from the late 80's, it was like a night and day difference. All of a sudden, songs like Ray Browns 'Fool Fool Fool' had natural reverb trails and wern't ear-piercingly sharp.
He was slower than a nudist trying to climb a barbed wire fence - Benny Hill

Offline SunnyToo

Re: CD mastering - Brickwalling and Limiting.
« Reply #2 on: Fri 11 May 2018 06:46:37 »
Now that is a really an over compressed waveform. How could anyone be proud of having done that.

For those interested here is a BBC radio documentary called "The Art of Remastering" broadcast in 2010. At least the people interviewed here seemed to have some respect for the original recordings.

Spoiler: ShowHide!KIUkEZ6J!TMeFT61uOk9iposFPDKJUoWy9CoHA3OhwQ9sCQfUnCM
The following users thanked this post: goodiesguy, Mickomidoz

Offline Babakazoo

Re: CD mastering - Brickwalling and Limiting.
« Reply #3 on: Wed 12 Dec 2018 04:35:30 »
I don't mind when they are maximized (without clipping), but when they Brickwall them like that, clipping the peaks it drives me mad.  There is no need for it, why sacrifice sound quality to make it louder?  If you want it louder, turn up the volume on your system!   :Grrrrrr: