Doing our part in the battle of the loudness wars…

We just got our mas­ters back this week for the new Secret Sibs album. I am so hap­py with how every­thing sounds. This record is def­i­nite­ly more straight-for­ward than our first record. Don’t get me right, the lay­ers are still there, but it’s more of a clas­sic rock sound this time out. We went for a clas­sic rock vibe in the mas­ter­ing process too…throwing the mix­es to 1/2 inch tape and run­ning every­thing thru a Neve-esque chain and then thru the Pen­du­lum 6386 vari-mu tube com­pres­sor on the 2-buss.

Alan Douch­es (as in “couch­es”) mas­tered this record as well as our first dou­ble-disc set. You may notice some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent when you hear our new record. We’ve made a con­scious deci­sion to allow this record to have more dynam­ic range than the last one. To the aver­age lis­ten­er, this means that our new record will sound “qui­eter”. After sev­er­al dis­cus­sions with Alan on the mat­ter and some care­ful lis­ten­ing on my part, I am in agree­ment that keep­ing the record qui­eter makes for a much bet­ter lis­ten­ing expe­ri­ence. It’s less fatigu­ing for longer lis­ten­ing at loud vol­umes too, which is super cool. In addi­tion, by not heav­i­ly brick­wall lim­it­ing the two buss, Alan is also able to retain some seri­ous­ly opu­lent* bass — so nice…

Alan’s words were some­thing like this…“Mike, this isn’t the new Tay­lor Swift record. You don’t have to ‘go-for-the-jugu­lar’ and make peo­ple pay atten­tion with­in the first 10 sec­onds of lis­ten­ing. Your new record is super dynam­ic, you need to leave those dynam­ics in there. That way, when peo­ple reach for the vol­ume knob and turn it up, they will get pum­melled in the chest by the bass and drums with­out their eardrums bleeding…without all the ‘harsh­ness’ that extreme brick­wall lim­it­ing can cause. This record is more “art” than “pop”…more clas­sic rock than mod­ern rock…let’s make it sound real­ly good and hope that peo­ple reach for the vol­ume knob.”

All that being said, it wasn’t an easy deci­sion to have our new record be on the qui­et side…it sort of makes me nervous…so, by all means, please TURN THIS RECORD UP!…we think you’ll be pleased with the results…

For a super in-depth dis­cus­sion on “The Loud­ness Wars” and dynam­ic range in mas­ter­ing, check out this blog post by Barry Diament or over here at TurnMeUP.org

*OPULENT - a : hav­ing a large estate or prop­er­ty : wealthy <hop­ing to mar­ry an opu­lent wid­ow> b : amply or plen­ti­ful­ly pro­vid­ed or fash­ioned often to the point of osten­ta­tion <liv­ing in opu­lent com­fort>


2 thoughts on “Doing our part in the battle of the loudness wars…

  1. Reminds me of the lin­er notes to “Tomor­row the Green Grass” by the Jay­hawks.

    The­se Songs…
     — wan­na crawl in your clos­et and live with you till next fall.”

    It takes some brav­ery, but it’s worth it to allow sub­tle­ty cen­ter stage in a project. Music some­times needs to be allowed to live with you for a while before you real­ly get it. Some music I’ve know for 20+ years is just now REALLY get­ting to me.

    Can’t wait to hear it Mike.

  2. I just saw you guys for the first time at Crowder’s Fan­tas­ti­cal Church Music Con­fer­ence. “Words To Build A Life On” real­ly spoke to my heart; me and the wor­ship band will be play­ing it tomor­row night at our col­lege min­istry. Any­way, being a musician/recording engi­neer myself, I’m glad to hear you are fight­ing the good fight in the loud­ness wars. I shud­der to imag­ine a world with­out dynam­ics!

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