Opinion | They Really Don’t Make Music Like They Used To


NYT Comments are interesting also. I suppose we could consider this as preaching to the choir, but the concerns are valid in my view. So what’s to be done?


As ever in a market driven economy - vote with your wallet, and don’t buy (or stream) the guilty artists.


Brick walled rubbish has been around for a long time now. A lot of good music has been ruined. A saving grace is that a lot of it can sound OK in the car but forget about finer appreciation. My first move nowadays is to look for posted DR values. Not an absolute indicator, but a good start point and often the finish point.


As long as that’s an option then yes. But a market driven economy brought us self-serve gas/petrol stations and now grocery stores are going the same way replacing cashiers and having customers line up to do it themselves. Tyranny of the majority, tragedy of the commons…


Interestingly when the “Loudness War” was discussed not long ago on the old forum, some people stated that it has actually gone into decline, which is contrary to that NYT article.

My approach is simple: if I listen to it and like it I buy it - and the only time I might look deeper into recording quality, dynamic range etc is if there are different versions to do choose from.

By like it I mean like it enough to want to play again and again otherwise I wouldn’t bother anyway - and of course if the compression is such as to make it unpleasant, it wouldn’t get past first base.

But in any case to my hearing & taste there is not a huge amount of good modern music around anyway - the vast majority of what I hear is of no interest, but I don’t think it is the dynamic range in itself that is the problem, just the “music”. That said, it is a shame to find that some otherwise good music is marred by the quality of recording.

Incidentally, when I looked at the DR database a few months ago I was left with the impression that the algorithm was assessing something different from what I was hearing, with some things that have quite a reasonable sounding dynamic range scored poorly.


I agree with you on that. Most of today’s music is “disposable”. You’d listen to it once or twice and then forget about it.


How best to check the dynamic range/quality of any given recording?


There is a database called DR.loudness-war.info, that publishes people’s measurements - but I think you need to take it only as a possible indication as with a few things I looked up a while back the data did not seem to correlate well on all recordings with what I could hear. I don’t know if it is because what it is actually measuring is “crest factor” not dynamic range, or that whatever tool /algorithm used may not work with all types of music, or whether different contributors use the same tool and in a way that ensures consistency.

I seem to recall that there is a downloadable software you can use yourself, aimed at reporting back to their database,

But I don’t know that this answers the question!


Thanks! I’ll check it out.


from recent albums which I really like - The XX, Steven Wilson, Gorilaz, Steve Mason, Soak, The National,
is music the same, no, do I want it to be NO

if I dont like it I dont lisen to it, I am sure when Marvin Gay’s music was launched same comments - The Beatles RadioHead, Sex Pistols, etc etc