The Loudness War: Background, Speculation & Recommendations

Earl Vickers

This presentation discusses the audible effects of hypercompression and looks at the loudness war in terms of game theory. After presenting evidence questioning the idea that louder recordings sell better, it suggests some possible ways to de-escalate the loudness war.

This video is based on a presentation given by Earl Vickers at the November, 2010 Audio Engineering Society Convention in San Francisco. Additional information and sound samples are available at sfxmachine.com/docs/loudnesswar/ .

  • Loudness is not correlated with sales figures
  • Loudness has almost no affect on listener’s preferences when comparing different songs
  • Listeners tend to dislike the side-effects of hyper-compression, and prefer more dynamic music
  • Content trumps loudness, especially on the radio
  1. brokewhorerecords posted this