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August 24, 2006



Just because Dylan says and does some stupid things now (and in the past, for that matter), I don't think it's entirely fair to slate everything he's ever done. An example of sample bias at work perhaps?


I think he's talking about the Mastering process (after the recording and mixing)which over the last 15
years or so has resulted in reduced dynamic range and excess distortion.

Music recording forums discuss this problem all the time. Its all about having
CD's that sound loud with the A&R people overuling the engineers.

If you look at a modern CD in an audio editor (Audacity is free http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) a modern CD will look chopped off at top of the wave form as it hits 0dbfs (zero decibels below full scale) the maximum level for a digital recording system and older CD may not even hit 0dbfs at all, a modern CD will hit it 95% of the time or more.

Dig out an early 90's CD and compare to a modern CD of similar genre, you'll
have to change the volume. You rarely had to do that with LPs or early CDs .

The irony is that modern digital technology with 24bit resolution and 96 or 192khz sample rates give amazing sound quality in the studio which is then lost during mastering.

It afflicts all genres now (except possibly classical)

If you're interested check out Mastering Engineer Bob Katz site http://www.digido.com/ . Especially the CD Honor roll.

Paul Davies

Other than the facts that Andrew has provided, Dylan, as someone who's been there and done everything and been afflicted by more sycophantic sods than anyone else ever, is understandably keen for a release from it all - and his way is to piss off as many people as he possibly can (especially if they're his 'proper fans').

Everyone needs a hobby.

james higham

Afraid I agree with Rob - he wasn't there for his brainpower, Dylan. It was always his music and in the 60s, his lyrics. Springsteen was 70s and early 80s so it falls a little outside Dylan's range he was speaking of.


You kids with your music. Judas!

Best way to piss off Dylan fans is tout his Goldwaterism.

chris y

Andrew is right from the accounts I've read of this: he's talking about production techniques, not the music. He's quoted as saying that he wants to produce his own next record.

I have no dog in this fight, since I haven't listened to Dylan for 30 years, but the only reference to Goldwater I can think of is:

"Well I'm liberal, but to a degree -
I want everybody to be free,
but if you think I'll let Barry Goldwater
move in next door and marry my daughter,
you must think I'm crazy.
I wouldn't do it for all the farms in Cuba."

Not quite sycophantic


The Rick Rubin Johnny Cash recordings are certainly quite bizarrely overcompressed; listen to one of them side by side with the Folsom Prison set and you'll see exactly what Dylan was talking about (Rubin is a real offender with respect to this treatment; I doubt that he invented it, but he was very influential in making sure it became ubiquitous).

The single worst example of the genre, by the way, is "Definitely Maybe" by Oasis, which was specifically engineered in order to have no dynamics at all; it just maxes out at all frequencies at all times and thus sounds "louder" than any other record on a jukebox.

Rob Flaherty

Way to take his commenst out of context. He was talking about the sound quality of CDs versus old vynil. He also mentioned how his CD sounds bad a paragraph later. Don't get all up in arms.

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