June 18, 2008

How to Identify a Well-Mastered CD: The Definitive Test

Posted at June 18, 2008 01:53 AM in music .

It seems nearly every CD has fallen victim to the Loudness War. I could go on a rant about how much talent is being thrown away at the mastering studio, but instead, I'll share a quick bit of advice for identifying a CD that is the victim of the Loudness War.

If the CD sounds good in your car -- you can hear detail and the album "rocks" -- the CD has a highly compressed dynamic range and is a victim of the Loudness War.

Since my new speakers arrived a few months ago, I've been listening to old CDs and purchasing new ones en mass. What I've quickly learned is that any album that sounds amazing in my living room sounds like crap in my car. Conversely, albums that sound like crap in my living room are amazing in the car. I have yet to find one album that sounds great in both locations. Of course, "great" is now highly skewed because of the quality of my living room setup, but I digress.


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