AES Lecture, Thursday 2/10/2011
by on February 9, 2011 in Recent Activity

I’ll be giving a lecture for AES on Mastering and the Loudness Wars, on Thursday 2/10/2011, at Cogswell College in Sunnyvale CA, at 7 PM. Non-AES members are welcome. INFO:


“Never in the history of mankind have humans listened to such compressed music as we listen to now.”
(Bob Ludwig)

Audio Mastering is the final stage of quality control before music goes public. Mastering engineers traditionally make small adjustments to EQ, compression, gain and other parameters to help the recording sound as good as possible in different listening environments. Many people interpret this final processing step as the means to make music sound “more commercial”; or worse, to compete in loudness with increasingly over-compressed and distorted masters.
I’ll offer a quick and lighthearted introduction to the ideas and technologies behind audio mastering, show some examples of “good sounding” and “bad sounding” masters, discuss the future of commercial recording, and ways to stop the Loudness Wars.

7 Responses to AES Lecture, Thursday 2/10/2011

  1. Steve Williams says:

    Looking forward to this.
    I have been an audio installer, semi-pro live sound and recording engineer and lover of analog technology including records.
    From the days of horrible “peg the meters” over cut 45s to the present digital era I have long despised the loudness wars.
    I am currently a live sound mixer for an “artsy” church full of 20- something musicians in bands, all producing their tracks and on the quest for the “best mastering to make their sound the most commercial”. I try and share what I know with them that loudness and compression are not the major goal. I have even explained that mastering used to be what you did to make the record sound just like the master tape. Open, dynamic and with a great sound stage.
    Unless it was rock… 🙂

  2. James says:

    Several months ago, I found this video with Greg Calbi to be very interesting. And your presentation has a very similar title.

  3. Will you be posting this talk, Robert? It would be of great interest to a newbie like myself.
    Thanks, James, for posting the Greg Calbi link – I’ve shared that on our Ning community, where there’s been quite a spirited discussion on this issue.

  4. admin says:

    The folks who filmed the talk said they would give me a copy, and post some edits to youtube, but I haven’t heard from them yet. I’ll announce it once it’s available. I do have an audio recording of it now, but the video will be better. Thanks for your interest! – RR

  5. Beau says:

    Wonderful! I am so glad that people have been addressing this a bit more, though not nearly enough of us have much of a voice about it to be heard.

    In my opinion also; aside from the obvious already stated effects of listening to so much saturated compressed audio………it also does cellular damage, and is psychologically addicting to a great deal of the mass population with a negative impact.

    Indeed we need to set some standards back to real engineers with some training doing things again, and less button pushing on the laptop. It’s caused a great deal of issues, and caused the standards to become very low.

  6. Leo says:

    >”The folks who filmed the talk said they would give me a copy, and post some edits to youtube, but I haven’t heard from them yet.”
    Apparently they forgot about it :(. I tried to search recording of this lecture around YouTube, but found nothing.

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