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This week someone ask me why I don’t buy anymore audio CD. Well because they sound crappy. The story goes that around 1990 the RIAA decided to implement a regulation asking audio CD to be normalized (and copy protected but that is another topic). What does that mean? It means now audio CD sound like crap and you can’t play them as loud as we used to in the 80′s. Why did they done that? Well first they are stupid, second they wanted to correct a few problems they had like having volume going up and down between songs. And they found out that normalizing song allow them to keep the same volume throught out the album and at the same time increased the gain (volume) without having the listener cranking up the volume.
Below is a spectrum view of the Poison’s song “Nothin’ But A Good Time” from the 1988 album “Open Up and Say… Ahh!”. Download a 2 minute sample of the song.
Below is a spectrum view of the Poison’s song “Nothin’ But A Good Time” from the 1996 album “Greatest Hits 1986-1996″. Download a 2 minute sample of the song.
Same song but with and without normalization, you see the difference now? Listen to it, download the waves tracks. Make sure your wave and master volume under windows are about 75%, not more. Playback the “1988 original” song. Use you speaker volume to increase the volume. When you’re used to the song, don’t change your volume and playback the “normalized 1996″ version of the song.
You ever wander why the volume of the ads on tv are always louder then the movie you are listening? Now you know. Same goes for the song on the radio. But normalizing have a price, sound quality, you loose all the range of frequency music normaly provide for one flat feedback noise. When you put a cd made after 1990-1995 on your sound system it sound not too bad but if you want power and listen to it as loud as a fuck you get noise and no more rich powerfull music.
You want to pay for that crap? I don’t!