Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Metallica's Death Magnetic Poorly Mastered

Metallica's new CD, Death Magnetic, is pretty good.  Certainly it is better than St. Anger although I suppose that's not setting the bar very high.  This CD is closer to And Justice For All than anything Metallica has done in the last decade.  Unfortunately, the CD is mastered very hot. Basically, the CD is authored so loud that there isn't much range between loud and quiet and the loud becomes distorted.  Ryan explains this phenomenon quite well and in a lot more detail. 

The fact that Kotaku is running an article about this means it has gotten the attention of people beyond the audiophile community.  Their claim is that the Guitar Hero versions of the same songs is much better.  I've heard Amazon MP3s are a lot less hot than CDs generally.  I wonder if they fix this particular case.

We can only hope that the negative reaction this CD is getting in some sectors shows a trend and that CD mastering will go back to where it once was.  Having to turn up the CD to make it loud isn't a bad thing.


  1. Ugh, the loudness war ( rages on.  For some reason I thought the problem was relegated to rap, pop, and rave music; those types don't require as much of the subtle differences in sound anyway.  Is Metallica not a group of audiophiles, or is this just another way they can get publicity besides soap boxes among file traders?

  2. I agree. utterly unlistenable.
    It's just one fat square wave.
    Head up Rick Ruben, WHERE'S YOU HEAD AT????
    letting this go to authering so hot is a damn disgrace.

  3. I agree too. Metallica would have scored as high as the album is right now if they had kept more dynamics in their songs. I say "quality" always comes first. It has to be about the music and the sound of it, and not the loudness of it screwing the quality doen. Too bad the world is like this right now. Awesome album though :)

  4. well.. im not listening to it anymore.. I was worn out after a couple of tracks and since then I stayed away from it. You know..thats really a shame because there were a couple of good tracks on there..Stop the madness! It would be fun to be able to listen to a whole record at once sometime.