I believe some of the in-car audio "loudness" systems were originally 
designed to LOWER the volume from a pre-determined "highway level", when you 
slowed down or stopped, so you didn't have to reach for the knob.  I can 
imagine how horrible they must sound if they're instead trying to beat down 
ambient noise by outshouting it...


Mark Durenberger

-----Original Message----- 
From: Tom Fine
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 2:52 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Analog to digital dBFS standards

Very much agree with Don that a car sound system should include a built-in 
dynamics compressor with
a user control. The Delco unit in my 2003 Chevy S-10 has an automatic 
"loudness control" that seems
to have a built-in mic to determine background noise and then boost level 
accordingly. It doens't
seem to be compressing anything, just making everything louder. Given the 
junky power amp in the
system, this leads to unpleasant distortion quickly on noisy metro NYC 
roads. So I don't use this
"feature" at all. What would be nice is a built in FMR Really Nice 
Compressor, default-set to the
"really nice" setting (all knobs at 12 o'clock). There a guy on the Ampex 
List who makes all his car
CD's as analog transfers, going through a RNC with those exact settings. He 
drives the compressor
pretty hard from the playback side, thus ending up with pleasantly squashed 
dynamics, akin to really
good FM radio processing (not the current garbage heard on most airwaves 

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Don Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 3:23 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Analog to digital dBFS standards

> On 19/10/2012, Richard L. Hess wrote:
>> Hi, Don,
>> In a perfect world I would agree with you. However I receive
>> complaints when I hand out a CD that doesn't work in the kitchen or
>> the car. So, I make compromises.
> I don't think it is possible to make one CD that will work both in a car
> and on a good audio setup. The noise level in a car is so high that
> compression is essential.
> If the equipment in cars included a compressor (with a control knob)
> there would be no problem, as the driver could adjust it to suit
> himself.
>> For my most recent concert (last Saturday), I'm doing the manual
>> tweaks to the 96 kHz and 44.1 kHz files where the entire symphony
>> (Beethoven's 7th) was normalized as a whole (and kept a hair below the
>> "Russian Easter Festival Overture"). The Franz Strauss Horn Concerto
>> was raised a bit more than the Russian Easter Festival Overture, but
>> the former is still not as loud as the latter.
> So if I was listening to the recording, the horn concerto would sound a
> bit distant.
>> For the MP3s, additional multiband compression was added prior to
>> encoding the files.
> You can do whatever to MP3s as this is not a serious listening format.
> It is in the same league as commercially duplicated cassettes.
>> The actual master recording is kept at the same level throughout the
>> concert UNLESS I see a train wreck coming (which is infrequent). I do
>> record part of the rehearsal and use that to inform my final level
>> setting.
>> I won't disagree with Tom about normalizing to -1 dBFS--I just do it
>> to -0.5 dBFS and have had no complaints.
>> Cheers,
>> Richard
>> On 2012-10-19 2:09 PM, Don Cox wrote:
>>> In a classical work with several movements, one would want to
>>> normaise the work as a whole, not each movement separately. Otherwise
>>> a quiet movement would come out too loud relative to the loudest
>>> (typically the finale).
>>> If recording a concert, it would be best to keep the same level
>>> throughout the concert, not normalise for each piece.
> Regards
> -- 
> Don Cox
> [log in to unmask]