I think I'd said compression at some point in the discussion but used limiter later on, but compression
is what I meant. And this particular station is a public one, not owned by a big bad fat cat megacorp,
so someone there should be receptive to listener input..the fact that they keep airing older
performances and not getting their heads handed to them could indicate that nobody's listening or that
their audience is brain dead. This wasn't a concert program (although the Concertgebouw broadcasts also
have their share of ghastly sounding transfers from old recordings), it was a commercial CD someone
programmed and aired at 6:40 in the evening. Ever heard the phrase "tune-out factor"?
The other thing I'll ban forever from the airwaves when I take over the world* is anything derived from
a telephone call. No contest winners, no requests, no listener comments....obits and emergency messages
should be the only telephone material broadcast.
* And the Meditation from Thais.
Tom Fine wrote:
> Hi David:
> I think you're talking about compression, not limiting. Compression -- the bane of commercial
> radio -- brings up what should be low-volume stuff like surface noise, rumble and tape hiss to
> intolerable levels, until it smacks down levels any time a peak comes along. End fidelity is worse
> than a bad cellphone. Hard limiting, which used to be more the norm of broadcasters, prevents
> exceeding FCC standards for the signal. Something like a classical station should stick to hard
> limiting, and set levels so it's used sparingly. Back in the OTR days, broadcasters would use
> tasteful amounts of compression (really, more driving the system and then having a limiter at the
> end so effective dynamic range was compressed from the harder-driven minimum to the limited maximum)
> to make voices and effects more intelligable. This also worked with live music in many cases,
> because true technical professionals were running the equipment and didn't push anything over
> reasonable levels. This pumping, super-compression came later -- I think it probably traces to 70's
> album-oriented-rock stations and was then taken to insane extremes by just about all formats.
> Someone sold the FM crowd a bill of goods that this "improves" the signal and "louder is better"
> because people gravitate toward the loudest thing on their dial. This is debatable and Robert Orban
> has a very good white paper online about why super-compression going into his FM processor is a very
> bad thing. But, the crunch-meisters seem to have won this debate for now. I can't stand most new
> music because of this, aside from the fact that I find a lot of it talentless crap. And the
> super-crunchers have even invaded the jazz arena, with some truly terrible remasters put out in
> recent times. Hint to mastering engineers -- just because you have a new digi-compressor toy doesn't
> mean it's appropriate to older music formats and recordings. What I consider a very good blend of
> being truthful to the old tapes and yet adding some improvements through modern technology are what
> Malcolm Addey and Ellen Fitton do with Mosaic's recent box sets. They're able to take a variety of
> tapes made at a variety of times and places in a variety of conditions and craft enough of a uniform
> sound that the box holds together and levels are consistent. But, each session's unique properties
> shine through and they're not heavy-handed to try and "fix" technical or acoustic conditions of the
> original sessions to suit modern tastes. Some specific examples are the new Dizzy Gillespie box set,
> the Johnny Hodges set from a couple of years ago and the Count Basie Verve set. Also all of the new,
> great "singles" album reissues. Special kudos to reissuing "The Brothers" sax-fest and "JJ" by JJ
> Johnson. Since I wore those records out a long time ago, I was thrilled to have better-sounding CD's
> to play.
> Anyway, bottom line is I totally agree with David -- modern FM processing techniques are totally
> inappropriate for older music recordings. Our words fall on totally deaf mega-glomerate ears,