Scandal Dynamic Range - Loudness War
Posted on Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:30 am

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park23

Shiroten Performer
Shiroten Performer


Consider the above video, the fact that Scandal sounds are very lound and that the instruments feels like they are all mastered/mixed at the same level also vocals seems to be at the same level too, this making them hard to hear some times.

How did I found that Scandal songs are way too lound ? Well, take this settings :
-speakers at 50%
-volume in windows at 30%
-songs : Scandal - Freedom Fighters , Miracle of Sound - I want my rpg. (I chose this 2 songs so you can test too, first one I bet almost everybody around have and the 2nd one is free).
At the same level Scandal song feels a lot louder and not so clear.

Also I feel that a lot of songs from Scandal lack low frequency sound, something under 60hz.I observed that Scandal songs sound almost the same if I have a subwoofer or not(Microlab FC 330) , same on laptop with headphones(can go as low as 5Hz) and 55Hz or lower disabled in equalizer from foobar.

So, did someone else made the same observations as me ?? 

This is somekind of feedback that I want to give since I listen to scandal.A better mastering/mixing job could make their songs even better. I am aware that this may not be the best place to write it but I don't know another place.

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Re: Scandal Dynamic Range - Loudness War
Posted on Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:39 am

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bleachnlife

International Performer
International Performer
Its kinda sad that this is what its come to. I've noticed that their recorded track doesnt have much dynamics? like the spikes you see. Thats just general production I guess nowadays to people who don't know the difference.


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Re: Scandal Dynamic Range - Loudness War
Posted on Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:36 pm

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Lexian

Moderator
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http://ask.fm/frozentheory
Very interesting topic!

Another SCANDAL song I think that easily falls victim to this would be 24 Jikan...and probably Image.

My question is, is the dynamic range still lacking in their so-called "softer" songs? Looking at Departure, Switch, Morning Sun, and so on.


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Re: Scandal Dynamic Range - Loudness War
Posted on Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:10 pm

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park23

Shiroten Performer
Shiroten Performer
Departure, Love me do and Switch seems better than the rest of their songs, but still loud and a bit too much compression.
In rest all the songs seems to lack a high dynamic range, suffer for a strong compression and are pretty loud, but they still are better than a lot songs from this world.
 
For their next album a 20-25% volume reduction in mastering/mixig phase will be nice. Also they really need to cut the compression to minimum.

Interesting is that live versions sound a bit better than studio versions. For example listen to Oyasumi from 00:26 to 00:38. Studio version is horrible, meanwhile the live version sounds way better. ( [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] )

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Re: Scandal Dynamic Range - Loudness War
Posted on Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:30 pm

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Star~world96®

Indie Artist
Indie Artist
Standard is my favorite album, but I admit majority of the songs suffers the same fate. A good examples are Weather Report, Metronome, and Orange Juice, they loud but muffled and isnt mix vry well.  I feel like the whole album could've been mix better .  there even a blog reviewing Standard, and how the Loudness War of the songs effects the sound.
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My question is what about the new remastered songs from the best album? Is there the loudness war in the newer ones compared to the older, or vice versa?

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Re: Scandal Dynamic Range - Loudness War
Posted on Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:55 am

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spacecadet

Mainstream Artist
Mainstream Artist
http://www.alphabetcityblog.com
I noticed this when I reviewed Standard on my blog back in 2013: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] (see the bottom of the post)

It's pretty common for modern bands, although I wish it wasn't like that. Recently I've gotten a few high-end Blu-Ray audio releases that are specifically remastered to *not* be compressed and the difference is just night and day. I mean I was starting to think my speakers just suck, but it's all down to the way stuff's recorded nowadays. It's not just Scandal.

That said, it's true that while all of their songs suffer from compression to one degree or another, some are better than others. "Your Song" is one of the better ones - you can actually hear the drums! (Drums are usually the first thing to get lost in compression, because that's where the most dynamics are.) The unfortunate thing is that there's no real trend towards getting better; they did "Your Song" and then followed it up with a bunch of recordings that sounded worse. And even "Your Song" wasn't great in terms of compression, it was just somewhat better than most of their other songs.

But again, definitely not unique to them or something that's their fault. Just the nature of how engineers master music these days because of how they think people are listening, which is typically either on crappy earbuds or in cars.

I had hoped the "Hello World" vinyl release may have been mastered differently, at least, but it wasn't. It was the same as the CD.

Well, maybe someday we'll get a nice remastered retrospective of their work for real hardcore fans. Bands that stick around long enough sometimes get that treatment.

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Re: Scandal Dynamic Range - Loudness War
Posted on Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:17 pm


Qberto

Shiroten Performer
Shiroten Performer
How did you all feel about Yellow?  I thought it was their best sounding album to date out of the ones I own, which are Standard, Yellow, and Baby Action.  I could hear actual separation in the instruments and vocals and I thought they did a much better job with the levels.  I felt the tracks done with Tom Lord-Alge(Stamp!, Sisters, Love Me Do) were some of their best sounding stuff ever.  Spacecadet, I read your blog about Standard and totally agree with you

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Re: Scandal Dynamic Range - Loudness War
Posted on Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:12 am

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flyingwill

Shiroten Performer
Shiroten Performer
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Qberto wrote:How did you all feel about Yellow?  I thought it was their best sounding album to date out of the ones I own, which are Standard, Yellow, and Baby Action.  I could hear actual separation in the instruments and vocals and I thought they did a much better job with the levels.  I felt the tracks done with Tom Lord-Alge(Stamp!, Sisters, Love Me Do) were some of their best sounding stuff ever. 
Totally agree with this. Yellow is the only one of their albums that sounds even remotely "natural", the worst being Standard (which is sad because it's my favorite from a songwriting perspective).

I think it's no coincidence that Yellow is also the first album where we know they really took part into the whole "recording" process, as opposed to simply playing their instruments. They've mentioned a lot how they've learned in that regard over the years. Of course a crappy mastering can still spoil all those efforts but on Yellow it wasn't too bad overall.

I'd also say that modern Japanese albums tend to be super loud, it can really be a problem (see the last Ringo Shiina albums for example).


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Re: Scandal Dynamic Range - Loudness War
Posted on Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:59 pm

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Star~world96®

Indie Artist
Indie Artist
I agree, Yellow does have excellent sound quality, very crisp and clear, but also have a raw sound too.
I hope there future songs will have a good mixing like Yellow. Their newer songs sounds decent enough, tho Freedom Fighters could do some more work with the drumming quality, very low compare to Hello. IMO

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Re: Scandal Dynamic Range - Loudness War
Posted on Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:20 am

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spacecadet

Mainstream Artist
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Unfortunately, technically speaking Yellow still appears very compressed.

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That's "Suki Suki", but all the songs on the album look like that. There are basically no dynamics. I mean the peaks and valleys are practically the same flat line.

This is how a recording with dynamics looks:

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That's an older mastering of Rush's "Closer to the Heart". There is some clipping in that mastering and that's not a good thing either, but it's better than this blanket heavy compression that every engineer applies these days.

That said, compression in itself doesn't necessarily make a recording sound *bad*, and *some* compression can definitely be a good thing, because otherwise a recording can sound a little out of control, especially if the band has a drummer that's not totally consistent with the strength of the kick drum or something. Compression's a tool; it's all in how you use it. And Yellow could be mastered well otherwise. I don't think it sounds bad, but the lack of dynamics is definitely noticeable. I don't hear any "oomph" anywhere. And generally I think the drums are pretty weak, as usual. That's *definitely* not because Rina's weak - I've heard her in person, she POUNDS those drums. The compression on their recordings is one reason why they sound better live.

This is just the way things are done now, unfortunately. It's partly so that one CD doesn't end up sounding louder than another, and partly so that if you're listening in your car or on your earbuds while you're doing work or something, you won't be startled by a sudden loud noise. When not using compression like that, you really have to be expecting listeners to be listening actively, not just having music on while they do something else. That's the expectation nowadays.

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