Now I remember why I hardly bought any CD’s between 2000 and 2007. They sound like total crap! My car proves this very well. Yesterday, I decided to listen to Rush’s Vapour Trails on my morning drive into work and Kiss’ Psycho Circus on the way home. Both were mastered in that era under some muppet in the recording industry who believed that louder is better, telling the mastering engineer to crank the limiter up to where it all sounds like mush! There was way too much low end on those CD’s that were totally rattling my speakers to the point where I had to turn down the bass. Hell, the kick was obscuring the entire the song. I couldn’t hear any bass guitar. Heck, I couldn’t hear any vocals either. Then there was this sibilant treble that was just killing my ears to the point where I just turned it down. Talk about ruining the total experience!! I was bummed because after listening to them in the car, I listened to them again on my iPod with headphones and I started hearing that crap.
In contrast, I put on my ol’ David Lee Roth collection, which were done in the 80’s and 90’s, in the car and it sounded beautiful, no matter how I had the tone and volume controls. I totally enjoyed the ride and was able to turn it up the way I like it. It didn’t feel like mush and there were enough dynamics that I could get a huge snap out of the kick the pushes the bass guitar, rather than obscures it. Not to mention that the guitars are totally cutting through everything. And the vocals had presence on them. Even some of the lesser known songs sounded like hits by comparison. Even more so is that it sounds like that on my iPod. I was feeling excited because it just sounded the way I wanted it to sound.
It definitely makes me think as to how I want my CD’s to sound now. I’m at the point where I may back things off a couple of db on the limiter, only because I want to hear everything. I don’t want louder… I want better. I think it’s time to ease back on the compression and let the dynamics shine through. Who cares if it’s not as loud as Joe Blow’s CD… you can turn up the volume if you want it louder. Not to mention that I want it to sound the same on my iPod as well as my car… just like my pre-millenium mastered CD’s.
And the record companies think that louder is better… my rear!