Konrad Skirlis (Supervisor), Steph Singer (Gospel song provider), Tiago Esteves (Rock song provider), Olivia Wilson-Zarganis (Penelope Wilson (Proofreader).

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File Size and Duration

1.41MB; 34 pages


Dynamic-range compression (DRC) has been increasingly applied to music over the past few decades in pursuit of achieving the highest possible levels of audio signals recorded onto the final delivery media format (vinyl, CD, file-based formats, etc.).

This trend has been developing into a constant race, where everyone wants to be louder than everybody else as they are encouraged by the conviction that louder music is always preferred and therefore more competitive. However, many producers, artists, engineers and audiophiles have shown a contrary viewpoint, arguing that the ‘loudness race’ has been detrimental to music quality due to the aggressive process that needs to be applied to the music in order to achieve such levels. Furthermore, they claim that this trend is motivated by the insecurity of not being commercially competitive as opposed to the belief that ‘louder’ is actually better.

The purpose of this study is to exhibit some of the main claims against the ‘Loudness War’ and conduct an investigation in the form of a surveyed listening experiment, to find out the public’s opinion about three levels of DRC (light, moderate and heavy), for three music samples that differ in genre (Rock, Gospel and Afrofunk).


General (G) - suitable for everyone



Recommended Citation

Reis, A,P,S. (2015). The loudness war: How listeners tend to react to the side effects of hyper-compression, limiting and waveform clipping [Bachelor's Major Project, SAE Institute]. Creo.