Friday (20 May) sees the return of Dynamic Range Day (DRD), and founder Ian Shepherd has once again organised a competition with more than $6,000 of equipment on offer this year.
Shepherd is also using the occasion to generate awareness of a new Streaming Loudness Petition he helped set up with mastering engineer and author Bob Katz.
Now with nearly 5,000 supporters (at the time of writing), the change.org petition's purpose is to convince music streaming services to introduce proper loudness management and normalization, while implementing a level in line with Audio Engineering Society recommendations.
Items up for grabs in the 2016 competition include the Loudness Toolkit 2 plugin suite from Nugen Audio, comprising the VisLM-H2 Loudness Meter, ISL 2 Limiter and LM Correct 2; two SSL 500 format modules, the LMC+ and the VHD Pre; TC Electronic's LM6n Loudness Radar Meter and much more.
Now in its seventh year, Dynamic Range Day is an annual event promoting the ongoing issues surrounding the 'Loudness War', which DRD defines as "a sonic 'arms race' where every artist and label feel they need to crush their music onto CD at the highest possible level, for fear of not being 'competitive' – and in the process removing all the contrast, all the light, shade and depth – ruining the sound."
Shepherd commented: “Most people in our industry know about the loudness war by now, but I’m still shocked at how many people think "loudness” is still necessary in today’s market.
"Digital revenue exceeded physical sales for the first time last year, and streaming is the main driver of that. YouTube, Spotify, Pandora and soon TIDAL all manage playback loudness to create a better user experience – loud songs are turned down, quiet songs are turned up. And that means that the original level of the digital files is almost irrelevant – what’s important instead is to optimise the dynamics of the music to get the best-sounding result.
"We need some standardisation online though, which is why I’ve helped out together a petition encouraging streaming services to follow the AES recommendations on loudness – otherwise there’s the risk of a new loudness war breaking out online."
For more information on the event and petition, or to enter the competition, see the website below.