A quite interesting read.
For 20 years, broadcast processor designers have known that achieving highest loudness consistent with maximum punch and cleanliness requires extremely clean source material. For more than 20 years, Orban has published application notes to help broadcast engineers clean up their signal paths. These notes emphasize that any clipping in the path before the processor will cause subtle degradation that the processor will often exaggerate severely. The notes promote adequate headroom and low distortion amplification to prevent clipping even when an operator drives the meters into the red.
About three years ago, we started to notice CDs arriving at radio stations that had been pre-distorted in production or mastering to increase their loudness. For the first time, we started seeing frequently reoccurring flat topping caused by brute-force clipping in the production process. Broadcast processors react to pre-distorted CDs exactly the same way as they have reacted to accidentally clipped material for more than 20 years—they exaggerate the distortion. Because of phase rotation, the source clipping never increases on-air loudness—it just adds grunge. The authors understand the reasoning behind the CD loudness wars. Just as radio stations wish to offer the loudest signal on the dial, it is evident that recording artists, producers, and even some record labels want to have a loud product that stands out against its competition in a CD changer or a music store’s listening station.
Thanks to Brad for the tip.Posted by Casper at April 3, 2005 11:09 PM