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Dynamic Compression and the "Lay Person"

2584 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  avaserfi
I thought this would interest a few people here. As we all know dynamic compression, almost always sucks. I decided to do a little study on the preferences of the "lay person" or non-audio nuts.

I took an extremely dynamic Steely Dan song and compressed it (just dynamics) and then perceptually level matched the original song and the compressed version and started testing on my reference headphones (chosen for their linearity in frequency response). Right now the study is in its pilot stage (the reason why I am not going into full details). I will say though so far even if the participants consistently fail an ABx test between the two files and hearing differences it is statistically likely that in a blind comparison the subjects do prefer the uncompressed file. Due to this being a pilot study the results aren't generalizable enough yet, but I am working on that.

Hopefully, next semester when I have more time to commit to this project I will get more subjects and perhaps even the recording companies will listen, but that is probably being idealistic.

Lastly, sorry if I have posted in the wrong forum, but music seemed the perfect place for this as its ruining our music as I am sure most of you know!
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Ya a compressed signal is more demanding on an amp because it will ask for more continuous high output. A compressed signal lacks dynamics you would normally find so the amp is not likely to clip but will have a more even output which could creat tremendous heat if played loud for long times. It has been my understanding that compression is used in recording and at radio stations to create the 'biggest' and 'loudest' sound that they can. They basically set the master recording volume very close to reference and then compress the snot out of it so that it neither clips nor dips into quiet.

On a side note - this is similar to what they do with tv commercials. The max volume for commercials is actually regulated to be lower than that for the program material but advertisers compress the commercials and set them as loud as they are allowed so they catch your attention. That's why they always seem louder than the show you are watching.
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