Re: Loud enough??

Subject: Re: Loud enough??
From: B. Battey (
Date: Tue Mar 02 1999 - 15:44:05 EST

On Tue, 2 Mar 1999, KEVIN AUSTIN wrote:

> Bret asked ...
> >What gives?
> [snip]
> Among other things (eg listenging through $7,000 loudspeakers), loudness
> curves: frequency response of the ear is amplitude dependent. [Loudness
> is a psychoacoustic 'equivalent' of amplitude and frequency.]
> (Did you have an acoustics and psychoacoustic component in your ea/cm
> course(s)?)

The psychoacoustic knowledge is there (and I believe as you imply that it
is an important part of effective studio work). Yet the question I was
thinking through in the post was more in the aesthetic direction --> why
do I find XXX or YYY EA piece truly impactful **only** in a best-quality
and loud listening environment? Is this a "problem?"

(Of course, nothing is a "problem" unless we decide that it is.)

Is it just a problem of less than ideal psychoacoustic planning, or is it
something in the nature of EA music itself that makes it less forgiving of
poor playback than, say, traditional acoustic classical music. Is it a
matter of where the 'musical information' is focused? Can we establish an
aesthetic in EA music that is not so dependent on high quality and high
amplitude playback? Should we?

To respond to both the psychoacoustic and the aesthetic "problem" in the
studio environment, I'm currently challenging myself to monitor the fast
majority of the time at low to moderate levels -- and to keep massaging my
'orchestration' and composition details to be convincing at these levels.
I'm interested to see how my own work changes as I follow the rule: "If
its only convincing when its loud, it's not quite there yet." I've had
details in some previous pieces which were very important to the formal
convincingness of certain gestures -- but could only be discerned in the
"best" situation. Now I challenge myself to establish gestures that are
still convincing in not-so-loud and not-so-excellent playback. Interested
to see what arises...
-=Bret Battey

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