No Oasis For Dynamic Compression

Well, this post will be hackneyed and cliched by the time you read it but, please, allow me to vent.

I just got a pair of Kef LS50s. The original. The sound of my dreams. Nick Cave has grown another foot. His piano is 12 feet long. Vampire Weekend is whole new band. Who knew that they sounded so deep and rich? Where did all those guys come from that are playing all those instruments?

But I guess that speakers that giveth also taketh away. I’ve been enjoying “Be Here Now” by Oasis recently. My previous understanding was that the band collapsed after Morning Glory (or WTSMG as their fans would put it). I was happily proved wrong. BHN is terrific and absolutely belongs in the Oasis canon.
Then I played the album through the LS50s. Hey, some albums sound better than others, it’s a fact of life. But I never delved closely into the particulars. Plus, some albums—Sex Pistols, Ramones—are supposed to sound bad. But now I had run head-on into the dread compression monster. Through the KEFs there was no mistaking it. Where were Noel’s beautiful melodies that he had stolen so carefully from the Beetles? I heard them just the other day, through my cheaper speakers. Now they were buried under a wall of sound. This was the first time I heard the compression creature in all of its gruesome horrors. It was almost unlistenable.

A bit of googling taught me that a) there’s a whole legion of people dedicated to this issue as it relates to Oasis, and b) Oasis was a particular offender of this crime.

In their defense, I note that they didn’t do it to sell records. They became overnight sensations before they knew anything about music production, they hired engineers and producers who didn’t know anything about music production, and the band was too coked up to notice or care what the tapes sounded like. But at least they weren’t sell-outs. (They didn’t need to be.)

So while I’m luxuriating in the deep, rich, Uni-Q sound, have I lost BHN forever? Will I lose I lose all of Oasis? Will other bands follow? After all, the problem only got worse after Oasis’s day. That’s a high price of admission to real hi-fi sound.

Bothered In Brooklyn
Dynamic compression has been in use from the early days to get music to fit onto the limited space of those rotating grooved discs - first shellac. later vinyl.
With the arrival of digital recording, storage and playback those limitations no longer exist. But alas, recordings made under the old paradigm will still exhibit those same faults. 
A bandaid fix would be to use a dynamic range expander at home, like a DBX or RG Dynamics - with all the inherent colorations. You can't make a silk purse out of ...
Personally, I like to change the condition of listening to music occasionally, to a condition similar to the one I used to listen to in the past.
You're being overly dramatic.  It's not that bad sounding a recording.  At least the vinyl version I listen to.
There’s a whole bunch of people over at Steve Hoffman music corner forum dedicated to finding the best masterings of favourite albums.

If there was one thing I could change about the audio industry then it would be to insist upon the labels maximising dynamic range instead of seemingly trying to minimise it.

I bet very few of us have actually heard just what kind of range digital is capable of delivering.

I know I certainly haven’t.

One of these days I’m going to try to get hold of one of those +20DR albums mentioned on the Dynamic Range Database just to find out what digital can sound like.

How about John Cage - The Orchestra Of The S.E.M. Ensemble - Concert For Piano And Orchestra / Atlas Eclipticalis, anyone?

Not sure if anything can be done about Oasis though.

Further listening reveals that DM and WTSMG aren’t so bad. BHN is definitely the worst offender. I shouldn’t complain, though. This is music meant to be played in a club or on the car stereo while you’re driving fast and singing loud, not through some fancy, schmancy speakers. 

But oh! My new (used) KEFs! I do love them my so!
The Oasis CDs, particularly Definitely Maybe & WTSMG, with their ultra-high compression are said to have started The Loudness Wars. Brickwalling became all the rage after these releases. I’ll have to disagree with you, this engineer knew exactly what he was doing. The use of heavy compression was intentional to create a loud wall of sound.

My digital setup is revealing enough to easily hear the compressed dynamics of CD’s. Until the late 90’s there were many releases with good SQ and low compression.

With your LS50’s you’ll be able to hear the decline of rock ’n roll.