Turn Me Up: an attempt to end the loudness wars

Turn Me Up is a new initiative whose aim is to restore dynamics to recorded music. Currently many, perhaps most new and remastered CDs and downloads suffer from excessive compression, the result being a sound that is fatiguing and lacking in dynamic range. It is a problem that is well documented, but mastering engineers feel intense pressure to make CDs that are as loud as the competition, so the situation continues.

The organization explains that:

…it’s not our goal to discourage loud records; they are, of course, a valid choice for many artists. We simply want to make the choice for a more dynamic record an option for artists…Today, artists generally feel they have to master their records to be as loud as everybody else’s.

The idea of Turn Me Up is to promote the benefits of mastering with full dynamics and to communicate this to the purchaser with a logo. This also explains the “Turn Me Up” name. This is the proposed text:

Turn Me Up!™ Certified

To preserve the excitement, emotion and dynamics of the original performances this record is intentionally quieter than some. For full enjoyment simply Turn Me Up! (www.TurnMeUp.org).

Unfortunately the site does not reveal who has formed Turn Me Up or how much support it has within the industry, though according to this story it was founded by Florida-based Charles Dye, who has mixed CDs for Bon Jovi, Ricky Martin and Sammy Hagar. Apparently a new release from John Ralston, called Sorry Vampire, which is mixed by Dye, uses the Turn Me Up text on the CD.

I’m not sure what chance of success Turn Me Up has, but it strikes me as a sensible approach and worth supporting.

3 thoughts on “Turn Me Up: an attempt to end the loudness wars”

  1. If you like dynamics in your music, here’s an album I can wholeheartedly recommend:


    By a hip-hop artist, even.

    I’m trying to appreciate musical dynamics as much as possible while I can, because my last hearing test seems to be indicating that I am starting to suffer from our familial curse of hearing loss (at the higher and lower frequencies).

  2. Hi Tim,

    Charles Dye here of Turn Me Up!™

    We are working hard to make this a reality + we greatly appreciate your help spreading the word. Thanks!

    In fact, your excellent article “How CDs Are Remastering the Art of Noise”in The Guardian actually kinda got the ball rolling. (I’m assuming you’re the same Tim Anderson.) Once the mainstream press started to publicize the ever decreasing dynamic range of modern records, I knew the time was right to try to give artists back the choice to release more dynamic records.

    Thanks again for your efforts to raise the public’s awareness of the loudness war.

    All the best,

  3. Woo hoo! Talk about the pen being mightier than the sword…you’ve started a movement that could not just enhance our appreciation of music but also lead to a more pleasant world for us all to live in!

    It has my blessing, anyway.

    Happy New Year, Tim.

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