Saturday, April 03, 2010

A question for music lovers

Okay, I'm still working on cleaning up that LP of Holst's The Planets. I am at a quandary. First, I realize this isn't "classical" music but rather...uh...neo-classical or something like that. But the problem is this: I know that it is incorrect to normalize these pieces individually, because that will destroy the contrasting dynamics from piece to piece. For example, track 1, "Mars, the Bringer of War" is generally at quite a loud volume (peaking at -0.73dB according to Goldwave) compared to track 2, "Venus, the Bringer of Peace" (peaking at only -13.79dB). So if I leave them all at their original volume levels, the dynamic contrast will remain correct. However, if I leave them that way, I can't even hear "Venus," for example, unless I turn my volume up to about twice what I usually set it at. So I'm leaning very strongly toward normalizing all the tracks just so I can hear the soft ones, even though this goes against what little musical purity I have.

Maybe I should compromise and bring the soft tracks up to only 50% maximum or something, so there is still some dynamic contrast but I can still hear the music without having to crank my volume up to 11 (metaphorically speaking). I am open to any good ideas or even half-baked opinions on this.


  1. I hate having to fiddle with different volumes whilst listening to a single album. If I had the option, I'd crank up those low ones to the max, and then if I want
    to feel the original effect from time to time, I could always turn it down some!

  2. Normalize them. It's no use listening to the beauty of Venus if you can't hear it. And I say this as someone with extensive experience in classical music.

    Leave the full experience to a live performance, which, by the way, I highly recommend! If you ever get a chance to experience The Planets live, do it. It's mind-boggling how Holst managed to actually orchestrate a fade-out at the end of this work. I've seen the work performed once, and I left completely satisfied.

    Amazing stuff.