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  1. One of the subjects of the thread on "Digital vs. analog" included a discussion of the loudness war (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war) and an online database that is systematically measuring the dynamic range of recordings: http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/. Anyone can query this database for their favorite CDs, SACDs, and vinyl rips to disk to see if their particular version of a recording has been subjected to Loudness War compression techniques. In order to do a database query, you put in an artist name and/or album into the search fields. The DR database allows its users to measure their own disks if they happen to not already be in the database using a freeware downloadable application called DR Offline Meter. You can then upload the results of their analysis of their own disks so that other may share with others and expand the database. Observations 1) CDs produced in the 80s and in 1990 uniformly have much more dynamic range than those produced/remastered in the last 20 years, particularly in the last 10 years. I've not been disappointed with most of my 80s-vintage CDs but I've been very disappointed with CDs from the late 1990s/2000s, especially "remasters". 2) Some disks that are recorded at a very quiet level sound "dull" if played back at levels that are typical for most of my other disks. However, when the preamp gain is increased, the recording comes alive. Horn-loaded loudspeakers, such as Klipsch, are fully capable of handling very dynamic recordings without accompanying audible distortion that is typical for direct radiator [cone-type] loudspeakers. 3) Disks that have very high DR ratings but that also sound very good without a great deal of boost typically have a great deal of relatively quiet instrumentation and a lot of dynamic percussion. The "James Newton Howard and Friends" CD is a gold-standard example of this. Other recordings include "Bolero" and "The Planets"--especially "Mars, the Bringer of War", which in both cases build to a very high SPL from very low SPL beginnings. These recordings are notable in that I find myself jumping up to turn the volume down at least twice during the performance when there is anyone else in the room that doesn't prefer to have loud music playing, or they want to hold a conversation. Chris
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