Small introduction…

30 10 2009

Hello there,

My name is Jamie Hewitt. I am a Creative Sound Production student at Abertay Dundee, and for my honours year I’m creating a project on studying sound quality in popular/modern music.

Sound quality is a fairly big area to research, so my main focus will be on dynamic range (or lack of it) in modern releases, also known as “the loudness war”.

Here’s a video to explain it a little better:

The main reason behind the rise of “loud” releases is simply for record label’s artists to sound louder than their rivals. Unfortunately, this competition for the louder song has led to a serious lack of dynamic range within songs, meaning that instruments used in the song that were meant to be quiet in the mix are pushed up to the same level as the louder instruments.

For the practical side of the project, I will be conducting a series of experiments with members of the general public and also members (or fans) of the music industry. I will be composing a number of songs and mixing them twice (one mix with a great deal of dynamic range, one with very little dynamic range). The songs will then be played through a series of different outputs (such as an iPod, hi-fi speakers, Car speakers, studio monitors, and mobile phone speakers).
The aim of this is to determine whether a pattern will emerge when it comes to the candidates choosing a preference between the two mixes, or whether they notice a difference at all. It also gives me a chance to reflect and improve on my skills as a mixing engineer.

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