Fight the loudness war: TurnMeUp

This week-end, I bought The Seldom Seen Kid, the latest album by Elbow. The album is already some time out, but I only started paying attention to it recently when hearing the song Weather To Fly on the radio. I had already heard The Bones Of You and One Day Like this before too.

The album is really awesome. Not only is the music superb, I was also pleasantly surprised to read this in the booklet:

Turn Me Up
To preserve the excitement, emotion and dynamics of the original performances this record is intentionally quieter than some. For full enjoyment simply Turn Me Up! (TurnMeUp.org)

The TurnMeUp initiative battles the notorious loudness war. In the majority of recent commercial compact discs, the dynamics of the sound (which was one of the huge advantages of compact discs when they were introduced) is completely ruined because the sound is remastered as loud as possible in order to try to stand out from other music. This is done by dynamic range processing, where the difference between the loudest part and the most silent part of a song is made smaller, this way destroying the dynamic range of the music.

This is the first album I know of which supports the TurnMeUp initiative. And the music sounds very nice indeed! Let’s hope more and more artists and producer will follow this example. Spread the word!

Two other albums I bought some time ago, are The Best Of – E Ritorno Da Te and Primavero in Anticipo by Laura Pausini. These were again not brand new albums. I knew a few songs of Laura Pausini from when she brought out here first songs which became popular hits here in Belgium in the first half of the nineties, but I rediscovered her music after some recent interviews with her in newspapers. A completely different music style than Elbow, but also great music. However, the difference in sound quality between these two albums is big: if I first listen to E Ritorno Da Te and afterwards to Primavera in Anticipo, I have to turn down the volume a lot. Primavera In Anticipo is clearly a lot louder and Laura Pausini’s voice is standing much less out of the music than in E Ritorno Da Te. It seems like the difference between those two albums is an unfortunate example of how the loudness war reduces sound quality…

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