John and I often have discussions about mixing, mastering, and dynamic range and one of the things that comes up is wanting to use a more vintage mastering style and preserve dynamics. We knew that Chipsurf Pipeline was probably not the best album for dynamics as it is a loud album, due largely to the genre – chiptunes and surf guitar have a narrow amount of dynamic range. We did try to bring out the dynamics where we could and think we did a pretty good job. How does one qualify dynamic range, though?
One method is to use the ideas from the Pleasureize Music Foundation. Trouble is, though I agree with their mission, their website is currently in a state of disrepair, making trying to find the tools they suggest using difficult to do – the Foobar plugin mentioned on the site is out of date and was a time limited release (oops). But with the help of a kind Redditor, we have finally been able to see how Chipsurf Pipeline stacks up.
Not terrible, and certainly better than the mastering of some modern hits. I did my own test of one in particular and it’s rating was DR5. Ouch! Either way, our next album should allow for even more dynamics. I really hope the DR rating system takes off, though I don’t have high hopes sadly. Regardless, John and I will continue to master our music as we see fit, and not to the incredibly loud and compressed benchmark that most modern music adheres to. That’s not how we think our music should be heard and, in fact, is not how we think most music should be heard.