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I've got a dilemma- how loud to make my Fusion CD? Should I create a final mix that approximates the loudness and dynamics of my favorite albums from the 70's, or go with something more contemporary? I have a huge problem with modern mixes. I recently listened to Santana's new album. He's a great musician and this album has fantastic solos, excellent guitar tracks!

There's one BIG problem- dynamics. I have not measured the levels, but it feels like a barrage of sound, where everything comes at your ears in a fierce way. This has the effect of making the emotional effects more even and less dramatic. Modern recordings are generally louder, but less powerful. It's all ffff. So, how far should we go in the direction of narrowing our dynamic range? How loud should our average RMS be? Santana's new CD is ruined by its loudness. It's so loud that it is TIRING to listen to. ....Music should be listenable.

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Comment by Nigel Keay on December 18, 2010 at 4:48am

Do you know about the site: www.dynamicrange.de ? The engineer, Andrew Levine of blumlein records, who mastered our latest CD told me about this. One can see how a CD complies, then put a logo on the CD to indcate the rating, in our case a "DR11" (on the back cover).

Comment by Doug Lauber on December 4, 2010 at 12:37pm
Ian, thanks. That website looks interesting. I've bookmarked it. I'd like to see more discussions about recording techniques, compression, etc., over in the Sound Engineers group, here at the Forum. I didn't mean to single out Santana- just happened to be something recent. I think it's a good idea to perfect a mix and leave the mastering for professionals. :) I still prefer CDs from before 1990, in terms of loudness/mastering.

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