Okay, so this has been gnawing at me all day, since I finally decided to heavily research it. I hear people complain all the time about one producer's work compared to another, a lot of people say Bob Rock, who's style has been decidedly considered punk-unfriendly, has ruined the Offspring's latest record, for example. The thing is, I can never tell the fucking difference between two producers. The most drastic differences I can hear between two records of the past ten years, is that sometimes I notice a producer will leave in sounds that aren't very "clean," like the sound of the pick scraping against the strings, or a cough, or just some sort of human influence.
So I studied the ongoing phenomenon in music known as the "loudness war," in which producers are constantly trying to make music as loud as they can at the lowest volume possible, in order to make their records stand out from the rest and seem extra powerful. The problem, opposers say, is that it ruins the definition of the music and causes excessive clipping. This Youtube video gives an example:
What do you guys think? Honestly, I think my hearing must be bad, because I still can't notice too drastic of a difference. When I listen to that clip on the "loud" version, it seems like I need to turn it up louder to hear the drums better, only it doesn't work when I turn it up past comfortable listening level. It gets louder, but still no "punch" as the video says, the beat sounds kind of dull. Apparently, this pisses a lot of people off, but I think I could live with it even knowing the difference. The trend is probably going to continue.