Metallica is officially the loudest band in history. That might not be a surprise, though it might blow the minds of fans who are into hard rock and heavy metal to find out that third on that loudness scale is Nicki Minaj and fifth is Taylor Swift.
Yes, an explanation is coming.
The blog, Production Advice, is a tech music blog written by music mastering engineer Ian Shepherd. On the blog, Shepherd recently posted an infographic showing not only some of the loudest albums ever produced, but also some of those that were the most dynamic.
As previously stated, at the top of that infographic is Metallica and their 2008 release, Death Magnetic. Second, is Skrillex with Recess. Third is Nicki Minaj’s The Re-Up, fourth is the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication, followed at number five by Taylor Swift’s latest, 1989.
Though those albums might be the loudest, that doesn’t necessarily make them the best, explains Ian Shepherd.
“As a result of the so-called loudness wars, mainstream pop releases are being pushed onto CD and into mp3 files at such high levels they’re technically much ‘hotter’ than some of the loudest acts in history, in an attempt to make them stand out from the competition. Why is it crazy? Because it doesn’t work. None of these ‘loudness’ differences will be audible in any of most popular places we listen to music.”
What are the loudness wars, you ask? Shepherd refers to the Loudness Wars as a ridiculous attempts by bands and record companies to make their albums as “loud” as possible, diminishing all sense of dynamics, tone, color, and sound.
Here’s a video by Ian Shepherd that explains the Loudness Wars in-depth.
Shepherd goes on to say that in most of the places consumers hear music these days, the “loudness” of an album doesn’t even matter. Whether you’re listening on iTunes or Spotify, most digital players automatically “normalize” the playback so that we, as consumers, don’t have to worry about turning down that next Metallica or Nicki Minaj track — the player does it for us automatically. Shepherd says that there’s a handful of producers out there who are starting to realize that dynamics are much more important than volume.
@officalexhedges Lossless vs 320MP3 is irrelevant right now. They should be championing the end of the loudness wars, much bigger difference
— Aerocity // Reece (@AerocityMusic) April 26, 2015
The loudness wars were a mistake. Jesus, why did people think it was a good idea to brickwall everything?
— Edward G (@32BitPhoenix) April 24, 2015
[Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images]