Monthly Archives: August 2017

Late Night

Hi folks. I came across an article on the web through Twitter, about a feature which makes music louder on an iOS device. This was quite recent and in fact, I found it a couple of days ago. This feature is called Late Night and is in the EQ section of the settings app for the music app, on your iOS device. To get to it you can go to settings, go to Music and look for EQ. Go to Late Night, tap on that and it’s ready to be used.
The article said that with your iPhone (or whatever iOS device you have) the setting makes the music louder from the speaker. It’s true but the real fun is when you hear the music with this feature on, using your earbuds, headphones, EarPods and maybe even The new AirPods. What this does is take all the dynamics out of music and with the loss of the dynamics it makes you able to hear quieter parts equal to the loudest parts of a song. For example: the song Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen is a perfect song to try this with because, there are so many parts to it. If you know the song well, there are three sections: the ballad section, the operatic section and the rock section. Obviously, the ballad and opera sections have the most shifts in dynamics and gives this feature a real work out. If you have a song in your library or can stream it, just take a listen and you’ll here what I mean. In fact, it will sound like the song is being played on the radio and that is why I purchased the song in the first place because, I like hearing songs on the radio like that with many shifts in dynamics. It’s a real shame that today’s music has none of that because of the compression and every song having the same loudness and in general, sounding the same.
Another band who has songs with shifts in loud quiet dynamics is The Smashing Pumpkins and especially the albums Siamese Dream and melancholy And The Infinite Sadness. I will give you an example from both albums, where you can use this feature.
Siamese Dream has many examples of this loud quiet dynamic but the best one is in the track Silverfuck, which has many shifts in loud and quiet. For example there is the traditional drum bass and twin guitar attack from Billy Corgan and James Iha. In the first verse there is the bass, vocals and tribal drumming from Jimmy Chamberlain, with the chorus going back to the guitar bass and drums, with Billy’s shrieking vocals. The next verse is where we see Late Night at work. In this verse there is a haunting bass line with some equally haunting vocals and carefully placed guitar feedback. Well this is going on, the drums are plotting away quietly. After a few minutes of this, the instruments cease and we hear Billy singing the line repeatedly four times (By himself with echo delay) “bang bang you’re dead… Hole in your head”. After this the band finally kicks back in, with backwards echo on the first word Billy sings.
The next example is from the album Melancholy And The Infinite Sadness and it is the track 1979. It’s not the best example but it’s a classic. What really makes this song stand out as an example is that the song fades in, with electronic beats. If you have the song in your collection you know that but if you’ve only heard it on the radio you know the song starts immediately. To make Late Night work for this song, put the song in a playlist where the previous song has a fade out which is Close enough to make the transition as seamless as possible. If you do that you will hear the electronic beats at nearly the same volume as the song, as they fade in to start the song itself.
For TV shows I have one example I can give you right off hand. If you’ve watched the episode Waldorf Salad from the British TV show Fawlty Towers, you know that there is a part where the guests are complaining to basil about the myriad of mess ups which occurred throughout the episode, including the loud American guest. Near the end of the complaints the American guest says “satisfied customers. Huh? Hot dog!” and laughs in triumph. Meanwhile we see basil getting angrier and saying quietly at first “this is typical… Absolutely typical… The kind of arse I had to put up with from you people.” during the quiet part when basil says “this is typical… Absolutely typical… The kind of…” you hear more of a hiss from the audio and the voice at normal loudness as if he was speaking at a normal volume. When basil screams the word “arse” The audio reverts back to normal loudness without the hiss. If you heard it normally without late night that part would be quieter until the word arse was spoken.
I was one of the first people I know of, to put The word out about this feature on the web three years ago. However, I’m glad that somebody else discovered it along with myself and hopefully others use this feature before it changes or is killed off. I have a lot of fun with music with dynamical shifts and unfortunately with today’s compressed loud music of any type, the days of dynamics are pretty much gone. As much as I love some sub genres of heavy metal, I find them boring because there is no real switch in volume in some cases. However, with a band like Slipknot there are some songs which have such a range to them such as The Shape. However, the best examples are mostly in classic rock and all of its genres within such as: Art rock and progressive rock. Check out the progressive rock. Of Genesis and you will hear some very interesting music.
It’s very sad that today’s music is so boring, bland and loud and lacks interest. Yes, I’m old but I like music which has something to keep me interested, while listening and not just to make me dance and jump around. Even recent jazz records are sounding more compressed and they too, are lacking in dynamics which is very wrong. Well, I guess that is the way music is going these days so I guess I will have to get used to it. One of these days musical sound so compressed and squished together it will be unintelligible. I’m kidding about that but you know what I mean, when I say that eventually the musical become so compressed it will sound very different from what it was meant to sound like. The instrument which is most affected is the drums, because they keep the beat and in jazz they provide the most interesting parts when the drummer takes a solo. Now they sound more clattering and dare I say, harsher. Anyway, I digress.
I hope that someday music will get back to its dynamics again, so we can use Late Night as it should be used through our speakers or headsets. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the original albums of the classic songs and listen to them, to hear them louder and to hear the dynamics taken out by choice.

Advertisements