Similar to the the Pleasurize Music! project I mentioned a while, turnmeup.org is a website dedicated to increasing the dynamic range of new albums. Their goals are stated as: 1) Defining an objective measure of dynamic range on a record, 2) defining a level of dynamics that is considerably more dynamic than today’s agressively limited records, but not so quiet that it wouldn’t be an option for contemporary artists, and 3) establishing and putting into place a system to measure and certify records that would like to be considered for Turn Me Up! certification.
They’re letting people join the organization as supporters, submit albums to be certified, and become mastering houses capable or certifying records. This looks like an interesting project, and Vagrant Records (among others) is one of their corporate sponsors; I just hope this all leads somewhere!
Previously I wrote a little about the Blu-Spec CD - a red book CD burnt with a shorter wavelength blue laser. In theory, the digital signal on the Blu-Spec CD should be less prone to errors in playback.
The SMH-CD is a very similar idea: a red book compatible CD created through a new process to reduce errors on playback. In the case of the SMH-CD (Super High Material CD), the base material is a special polycarbonate plastic designed to increase the transparency on the data side of the disc. The increased transparency means less distortion on the signal read by the laser, and a more accurate playback.
I can’t find any SMH-CDs for sale, and there’s very little information about them on the internet. It looks like Prince’s catalog was reissued in Japan at some point in this format, and there’s substantial debate about the sound quality of the manufacturing process. If you know anything else about this format, toss it in the comments!
Pleasure Music Foundation Dynamic Range Meter
Peter Kirn at Create Digital Music did a post on the Pleasure Music Foundation back in March. The Foundation aims to put the pleasure back in music - pleasurize music! - by advocating for greater dynamic range in music. From their Aim:
p style=”padding-left:30px;”>Our aim is to improve the sound quality of music in its various recorded formats – including data compression methods such as MP3 – as well as music destined for radio broadcast.
Only music that provides a positive musical listening experience has real market value. The Foundation’s aim is to increase the value of music within the creative production process for the entire music industry.
The objective is to revive the willingness to pay for music and therefore to create a healthier basis for all creative participants within the music industry.
They’ve produced a Dynamic Range Meter that gives every recording a score, a function of the peak amplitude and rms level (though this is really the crest factor of the music, not the dynamic range). The meter is available for all platforms.