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  1. #1
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Does Everyone Here Switch Volume & Tone Controls On Occasion for CD's?

    Curious to see if the majority of people here still feel the need to adjust their volume controls and/or bass/treble controls when playing a CD during normal hours (If you'd lower the volume because that's late at night & might bother someone, that scenario doesn't count)?

    I seem to find that for CD's originally recorded before 1980 or so and remastered I have to play them at a volume of "21" on my receivers volume scale to get optimum dynamics & not tick off the neighbors, yet for CD's recorded after 1980, generally I have to lower the volume to "18" or "19" in terms of proportion. Am I alone on this, or is this normal.

    I absolutely don't fiddle with my bass & treble controls no matter the CD, what about you guys?

    Appreciate your answers.

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications
    Hershon: Your observation is fairly reflective of recent recording trends in the music industry. Newer CD's have the gain cranked it seems, Sir Terrence can probably give you a more technical reason why, but it basically comes down to the average person thinking louder = better. One studio increased the apparent volume on a CD, people thought it sounded better, so everyone else follows suit. My understanding is that this is actually bad. If the average volume is really high on a CD, there's less headroom, therefore less dynamics. So the difference between the loudest and softest sounds on CD's gets compressed. Where does that send us when a singer belts out a high note, or the cymbals crash? Straight to clip-city.
    Not exactly desireable in my opinion. Older CD's (and many newer ones with smarter engineers) sound quieter, but actually can sound better because of the increased dynamic range.
    This is a generalization of course, there's still some smart artists and studios out there that don't compromise the sound quality on CD's.

    I rarely touch the bass/treble controls. I'm no EQ wiz by any means and if I try to "fix" something, I usually just "move" the problem from one frequency range to another...for me, best to leave it alone. I'm fairly happy anyway.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    I use the Pure Direct setting on my receiver when I listen to cds so I don't use the tone control. The volume you have to pretty much change with everything (cds, dvds, etc) depending on how good the recording is (both quality and if you like it sometimes you just have to pretend you are hearing it at concert levels =)).
    Definitive Technology Fan, Owner and Advocate!!!!! never paying retail IS half the fun of buying audio products!!!! Good shopping!

  4. #4
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Troy, New York

    I make adjustments all the time....

    When I go from old AAD remasters to DDD masters the difference in volume is like night and day. Simple as that. New stuff is loud. Go from "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" to "Abraxas" by Santana and the sonic difference will destroy your system. Louder, deeper, fuller and more dynamic, that's modern music. I can really be a shock going from disk to disk...

    Da Worfster

  5. #5
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    This practice of pushing up the volume and decreasing dynamic range came when radio began to adopt the CD as the medium of choice for broadcast radio, and is an offshoot of a practice derived directly from television commercials.

    AM/FM radio is a noisy medium. Hiss, multipathing, and various other tranmission noise makes it VERY difficult for wide range mediums(such as classical music and Jazz) to hold up under periods of low volume. So in order to make low level detail come to life above the noise threshold, you push the volume up as close to digital zero as you can, without clipping or rounding off the musical peaks, and decrease the dynamic contrasts just a bit. This makes the studio's compressors work less hard, and increases signal quality(studio compressors were not very good at one time, and the harder they worked the worse they sounded). I hate this practice more than sourkraut on my hotdogs, but what the producer and artists want is what they get. Marketing departments in record companies drive this practice, and as long as the marketing drives product quality you are stuck with the way things are.

    Whatever you do, do not blame the sound or mastering engineer for this stupid crap.
    Sir Terrence

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