Mixonline talks to legendary mastering engineer Bob Ludwig about “the loudness wars, changing technologies, and more than four decades of musical inspiration”:
Hopefully this whole loudness war thing that we’ve been through with the CD, there’s no more room to go any louder. These things are just stupidly loud and annoying to listen to. There’s quite a big backlash.
I’m thinking people are realizing that there is a musical price to pay to have your iPod on “shuffle” and have your song be the loudest thing. I admit, to put out something that won’t sound as loud as what comes before and after it on a iPod shuffle does take a certain amount of guts as a producer, but more and more producers and artists are getting back into dynamic range again.
Ludwig knows what he’s talking about. He mastered Led Zeppelin II and tons of classic, great sounding albums. He recently mastered Chinese Democracy and was “floored” when they decided to go with his “full dynamics version” as opposed to the “loudness-for-loudness-sake versions” he also created: “I have already seen a new awareness and appreciation for quality from some other producers, I pray it is the end of the level wars.” We’ll see…