Bob Ludwig
New York, NY (October 21, 2013)—The 135th AES Convention notably included the provocative subject of loudness in a number of Workshop and Tutorial venues. In Saturday’s “Loudness Wars: Leave Those Peaks Alone,” a panel of recording industry luminaries including Bob Ludwig and George Massenburg posed how contemporary music production, distribution and consumption habits have influenced countless engineers’ applications of excessive dynamics processing and encouraged the practice of data reduction, causing other overall negative effects.

There is a silver lining, offered the panel, as marketplace competition is sparring over quality and European FM radio stations are adopting loudness normalization standards.

Meanwhile, regular AES panelist and respected mastering engineer Bob Katz declared via press release issued at the Convention, “The debilitating loudness war has finally been won. I have just completed loudness measurements of iTunes Radio using iTunes version 11.1.1. iTunes Radio’s audio levels are fully-regulated, using Apple’s Sound Check algorithm.”

Katz states that he measured the output level of several iTunes Radio stations, determining the songs played over the span of “several hours” averaged -16.5 LUFS, within better than 2 dB, usually +/- 1.5 dB. “This is a very important development,” he offered.