Multichannel Fast-Acting Dynamic Range Compression Hinders Performance by Young, Normal-Hearing Listeners in a Two-Talker Separation Task.Stone, M.A., Moore, B.C.J., Fullgrabe, C. and Hinton, A.C. This is an fascinating report on a study aimed at determining whether high levels of fast-acting amplitude compression has a deleterious effect on auditory information processed by the human brain. To test this idea, two simultaneously presented sentences were played to young, normal-hearing students. They were required to report the keywords from these sentences whilst variably performing a distracting visual task. These sentences were either uncompressed, or were compressed by moderate or severe amounts. They found that cognitive performance worsened with the increasing amount of compression for the trials when the listeners had to perform the distracting visual task. One important finding what that performance was worse when the two sentences were compressed after mixing than when they were compressed prior to mixing. This suggests that part of the deleterious effect of compression was produced by cross modulation of the speech of the two talkers, which makes it harder to segregate the two voices perceptually. It is a very scientific article, written as scientific findings in the field of psycho-acoustics but it makes direct references to The Loudness Wars relevant to popular music production.
The Loudness War: Do Louder, Hypercompressed Recordings Sell Better?Vickers, E.
A journal article from the AES written about the increase in records with small dynamic range. It is written in a less formal manner than the previous journal in this review but contained diagrams and charts to illustrate the effect of massive compression on audio. It is clearly written in bias against the Loudness War but regardless of that bias, makes very strong points on how it is detrimental to music. For example, there is a section (including relevant diagram)...
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