Perceptual Effects of Dynamic Range Compression in Popular Music Recordings

Jens Hjortkjær, Mads Walther-Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The belief that the use of dynamic range compression in music mastering deteriorates sound quality needs to be formally tested. In this study normal hearing listeners were asked to evaluate popular music recordings in original versions and in remastered versions with higher levels of dynamic range compression. Surprisingly, the results failed to reveal any evidence of the effects of dynamic range compression on subjective preference or perceived depth cues. Perceptual data suggest that listeners are less sensitive than commonly believed to even high levels of compression. As measured in terms of differences in the peak-to-average ratio, compression has little perceptual effect other than increased loudness or clipping effects that only occur at high levels of compression. One explanation for the inconsistency between data and belief might result from the fact that compression is frequently accompanied by additional processing such as equalization and stereo enhancement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Audio Engineering Society
Volume62
Issue number1/2
Pages (from-to)37-41
Number of pages5
ISSN1549-4950
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

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Audition
Acoustic waves
Processing
Popular music
Compression
Listeners
Enhancement
Music
Inconsistency
Hearing
Sound
Loudness
Clipping

Cite this

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Perceptual Effects of Dynamic Range Compression in Popular Music Recordings. / Hjortkjær, Jens; Walther-Hansen, Mads.

In: Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Vol. 62, No. 1/2, 01.2014, p. 37-41.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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