Radio 4 discussing Death Magnetic and the Loudness War - Mastering Media Blog

Thursday 9 October 2008

Radio 4 discussing Death Magnetic and the Loudness War

I will be taking part today in BBC Radio 4's consumer affairs show, "You and Yours". They are doing a short item discussing the controversy over the distorted sound of Metallica's "Death Magnetic" CD and the Loudness Wars, focusing on the unprecedented reaction of the fans who are unhappy about the way the disc sounds.

I'll be wearing my "boffin" hat and providing technical background and there will also be audio examples and interviews with fans, I believe.

Update: Just got back from recording my interview - it was basically done live, so I heard the whole "item" from beginning to end. I managed to say most of the things I wanted to (I think, it's a bit of a blur !) and the interviews with the fans were excellent. It's a hell of a lot of information to pack into 10 minutes of radio, but I think it really gets the message across, I hope all the fans agree.

Updated update: Well, having listened to the programme I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. I said more of what I wanted to than I remembered straight after the recording ! Thanks to Joel Moors at the BBC for doing such a sterling job putting the piece together, and to John Waite (the presenter) for making it such a painless process.

Update #3: Click play to listen to the clip here:
The show will be also available for a week on the "You and Yours" website here:

Look for the "Listen Again" section on the right-hand side and choose Friday's programme. Drag the slider to around 42 minutes to hear the item.


Blogwart said...

Just listened to it and I have to say: Good Job! You explained the issue very well in such a short time. I think it was a fair and balanced view of the whole thing.

I enjoyed it!

Scott said...

Nice work Ian. As you say I think you conveyed the major points in a short space of time. Thanks for the compliment regarding the fans' comments as I was one of them.


Blogwart said...


You were one of the fans? I thought it was good you pointed out that the issue is the sound and not the music. I thought that it was important this was in there, otherwise it could have confused people.

Thanks, scott and also the other fan (sorry, I forgot her name)!

ianshepherd said...

Thanks chaps - Scott, there's some great feedback about your contribution on this thread on the Metallicabb forums - go and soak up some glory !

I'm really pleased with the way it turned out, let's hope other BBC channels pick up on it.

Richard Tollerton said...


Scott said...

It would be great if this did help to get the ball rolling in the media. Enjoy the limelight Ian! :)

(Just for completeness so that Catherine is credited, I am c-chaos on that forum, I don't know what she is (no idea who dubnobass is))

mario said...

Hey Ian,
Thanks for raising "our" case so objective, great thing the BBC did the interviews on that, maybe some more people now notice whats going on here.

I am currently trying to mix the gh3 tracks, but i have a problem, i want to get the vox a bit more upfront, but since its in the track in combination with the drums its kind hard to do and not squish the drums. I used a short attack compressor with low values and it worked, but now it feels like i have a slight trail of sound on the hihats.
Settings: threshold -10.5, ratio 2.0, attack 10ms and release 10ms
Yeah Sorry its totally O.T. but i didnt know where to get information on that elsewhere and your blog was a very nice informative starting point to get into this at all... :-)

Ciao Mario

ianshepherd said...

Hi Mario,

Since the stems aren't available legally I don't think I'm going to get drawn into discussing them specifically.

However if for example I'm mastering a full mix and want to bring the vocals out, I try EQ first and then perhaps some gentle multi-band compression. That might help you too. I'll be covering multi-band briefly in my third compression article, sometime soon...!

If all neither of those work, some MS processing might do the trick - but that will have to wait for a later post :-)


mario said...

Thanks Ian, a good idea.
Over here in germany i can do whatever i want with software i bought, since i bought gh3 and the tracks i can legally change those for private use :-) just to clarify.

Mike said...

I found your blog while I was searching for information on the sound quality of Death Magnetic. You have a lot of great information here. As a general music fan, and not a professional, I appreciate your work in the "Loudness Wars." I've heard many albums that have been ruined this way. Keep up the good work!

As many have said, I think Death Magnetic is Metallica's best work in nearly 20 years. I just wish it sounded better.

ianshepherd said...

@mario - actually I think it would also be legal to do this here in the UK, I didn't mean to suggest you were breaking the law :-)

Unknown said...

I couldn't find an e-mail address to send you this link but Kirk Hammett has admitted that he hears the clipping:

ianshepherd said...

Hi Thomas, Thanks for the link.

Unknown said...

Your blog is attention-grabbing! Keep up the good work! I really love this. SoundHunter

Unknown said...

Keep on great working!! I didn’t expect that I will get such great thing from here. unblocked music videos

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