last update: 22 March 2011
Here is a short and simple description for Dynamic Range, which could be used in music magazines, music download shops with DR labeled music and on CD booklets:
"DR (or Dynamic Range) is a term for the degree of dynamic variation within a piece of music or album. Low values (e.g. DR3) reflect a high abuse of compression. Tracks that are DR3 have a range of three decibels between the average and peak program signal. A natural recording, with a low amount of dynamic processing, would have a much higher DR value (e.g. DR12+). The DR system is intended to avoid black and white judgment of dynamic quality. While DR7 is low for rock music or very low for Jazz, it is quite acceptable for electronic club music which has nowadays often values below DR4. All values above DR12 have generally a high dynamic quality."
The Pleasurize Music Foundation began operations in January 2009 and is a nonprofit organization based in California, USA.
Our aim is to re-establish dynamic as essential part and most important means of expression of all genres of music.
Our aim is to improve the sound quality of music in its various recorded formats – including data compression methods such as MP3 – as well as music destined for radio broadcast.
Only music that provides a positive musical listening experience has real market value. The Foundation's aim is to increase the value of music within the creative production process for the entire music industry.
The objective is to revive the willingness to pay for music and therefore to create a healthier basis for all creative participants within the music industry.
The Pleasurize Music Foundation is a global umbrella organization that integrates all music related groups. The PMF represents specific interests of music listeners, musicians, composers, producers, engineers, music instrument manufacturers, consumer electronic manufacturers, proaudio companies, record labels, retailer and broadcaster. On the one hand we create quality marks to reestablish trust into the product "music" and support consciousness for high fidelity sound experience through education on the other hand. This supports a healthy basement for the whole audio related branch.
We are not surprised by the fact that music listeners are losing the willingness to legally acquire music, because of the fact that contemporary releases are mercilessly over-compressed* – a situation that turns off even the biggest music fans. For example, no natural dynamic can be heard in recent CD releases from groups such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers (for example: Stadium Arcadium). The masterful drum performance by the drummer in the band Garbage (Bleed Like Me) is totally distorted. Madonna's Hard Candy generates aggression and leads to distortion when played on disco sound systems. With Metallica (Death Magnetic), the level meter needle permanently sits in the red range!
The same applies to the so-called quality criteria of surround sound recordings. Nine out of ten surround releases sound worse that the original stereo mixes or are cheap up-mixes with surround simulation – this is no way to entice music listeners to move to a new high-resolution format based on Blu-ray technology.
(* here we speak about dynamic compression and NOT data compression! Please be aware about the difference)
We provide the conditions for:
- natural and dynamic sound on current releases, just like during the age of vinyl and the very beginning of the introduction of the CD (DYNAMIC RANGE)
- a label of quality for audio surround mixes, providing listeners transparency and trust in the products they buy
We educate and inform all interested parties about the advantages and disadvantages of data compression and provide the basis for an intelligent application of high resolution formats.
Beneath the collection of research results in the domain of psychoacoustics within a PMF knowledge database and the support of PhD researches through our Board of Research be will establish an interdisciplinary research center. The aim is to combine medical and audio researches to answer numberous questions about the interaction of audio in it´s different formats and consistency with the human being in regards of stress, concentration, loss of hearing, tinnitus and other phenomena.
We need your help! Pleasurize Your Music!
YOUR help is needed! It is only with joined forces that we can achieve that current music releases sound dynamic and alive again, and that thereby the enjoyment of music products and sales volume increase. Sign up and become ACTIVE MEMBER with a donation starting with just USD 30,- (€ 22,-) for individuals. Additionally Active Members enjoy several benefits like access to Active Member areas (read more in menu membership).
To become Active Member just tick the "Active Member" box when signing up. Than just go to menu "Active Member" and klick the donation button. As soon as we´ve received the donation we will change your member status and you will have access to all areas including the download area (up from 1 July 2009).
A Sign Up is also possibile without becoming an Active Member. Just don´t tick the box when signing up. You support the PMF on a "moral" base in a sense of a petition. This makes it easier to convince record labels of the sense of dynamics and sound pleasure. It has been already proofed by academic reseaches that there is no correlation between loudness and sales. There is a proven tendency that compression is limiting commercial success. The idea of over-compressed music leading to sales is only a widespread myth. The truth is: loud sells less.
Please read the FAQ menu to learn more about the psychological background. In addition, we ask you to recommend this information to other people interested in the quality of sound.
DYNAMIC RANGE and the end of loudness insanity!
The TT DYNAMIC RANGE METER Plug-in is an open source plug-in (VST, AU and RTAS) which is perfectly suited for many applications used in modern music production. Additionally we supply the TT DR Offline Meter Software (PC) which will be used for the fast and convenient offline calculation of the official DR value of releases. In this way, anyone involved in music production has a tool for creating more dynamics in their productions.
This is a condition for ending the Loudness War!
For those who are not familiar with this term, here's an explanation: the Loudness War designates the senseless competition between record companies which involves releasing music with increasingly high amounts of dynamic compression (the "compression" of dynamic levels so that originally quiet passages are as loud as the loudest parts of a song). This results in products which are increasingly obtrusive in order to fight for the listener's attention.
What does the DYNAMIC RANGE METER do?
Here you see the TT DR Offline Meter Software (PC) which serves for fast measurement of the official DR value of a sound carrier. The DYNAMIC RANGE METER displays the inner dynamics of a recording in whole numbers or more precisely the inner grade of compression (micro dynamic). The macro dynamic (difference from pianissimo to the fortissimo in a song) is not considered, because it wouldn´t deliver usable information about the degree of density.
For technicians, this is the average cumulative difference between peak and loudness (RMS) over a specific period of time (duration of a song or album) and is a whole number value given in decibels. Just the top 20% of the loudness are taken into consideration to ensure that songs with a long intro and and over compressed refrain doesn´t appear with a too high DR value. The DR value represents the grade of compression of released music in an easy to understand and standardized whole number system.
An analyzed song or album might have a value of DR4 (DYNAMIC RANGE 4) for example. This represents an effective dynamic range of 4 decibels.
This is a very small amount and the music appears to be superficially punchy, but when listened to more closely, it is distorted, blatant, and tends to make the listener aggressive after a certain amount of time spent listening to it. Such a master suffers from being played back on radio stations or converted to MP3.
(Please read more on this under FAQ. You can also simply search for "loudness war" or "loudness race" on the Internet where you will find a great deal of interesting and independent information.)
Less compressed music would be indicated by maybe DR14 and would be perceived as being pleasantly musical and natural.
The additional TT Dynamic Range Meter Plug-in serves as real time true peak meter to protect recordings from undesired overs and therefore distortion on consumer hifi systems during the production and mastering process. Additionally an estimation of the DR value is displayed when running on the loud passages of the song. In each situation during the production process the engineer has an idea of the inner dynamics on one glance independent from the applied total peak level.
The Plug-in does NOT serve to measure the official DR value!
Just use the Offline Meter for official DR value measurement!
Together with the Recording Industry: Putting an End to the Sound Crisis
Transforming the Loudness War into a state of healthy competition for dynamic sound can only work if the recording industry is part of this process.
To accomplish this we have developed a two-phase plan:
Phase one begins officially on April 1, 2009. We will inform music listeners around the world about the advantages of a more dynamic music and show them how to recognize this on recordings.
The DR logo provides a quality label recognizable by everyone inside and outside the industry. The logo is already available on this site for download and license-free use until 30 June 2009. Up from 1 July 2009 the logos are exclusivly and license free available for Active Members. It exists in several variations and will be visible on the back side of CD jewel cases (on the inlay cards) and tells the consumer how much dynamic range the album contains.
At the same time record companies which have already signed the voluntary Commitment 1 begin to furnish CD releases with a small info sheet (b/w, booklet dimensions) and will print the DR logo on the back of the CD. This way music consumers will be able to see how much music they really have in their shopping cart.
Phase 2 begins on July 1, 2012. At that time, all record companies which have agreed to Commitment 2 will release albums with a minimum dynamic range of DR14. Less dynamic CDs will be given an appropriate amount of headroom and will be labeled with the dynamic range they contain.
For example, if an album with DR8 is released, it will also be labeled with DR8 and given 6 dB of headroom, so that it will be as loud as DR14 releases. In this way, different releases will have the same loudness when played. Producers and record companies have an incentive to really use the available dynamic range in the next release.
See the menu entry "Agreement" for further information.
More dynamics = Better sounding MP3s and radio broadcasts!
One thing is for sure: a song with DR14 which is sent through the processing chain of a radio station sounds just as loud as a song with DR6. In addition, it undergoes substantially less damage from the station's compressors! Actually DR14 occurs with more impact and pressure.
On the other hand, the inherent loudness relationships (dynamics) in an already over-compressed DR6 track will be degraded and distorted through these processes. From a commercial point of view, there is no reason to over-compress CDs. In addition, unwanted audio artifacts resulting from levels that are too high or distortion in general is no longer a problem when encoding MP3s with DR14 music; musical enjoyment is significantly higher when listening to MP3s! Pleasurize Your Music!
In commercial key situations, where music customer compare short sequences of songs, a louder sequence could attract more on the first glance and lead to a purchase. To avoid this loudness war supporting situation the PMF offers consultation for online shops. There are technical solutions for automatic psychoacoustic loudness normalization available which are already used by some online shops. In this shops louder songs will be revealed as less powerful and mushy.
Suggested min. DR values for different typs of music