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Sound Designer, Freelance / Self-employed -Media/Entertaiment

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Why is loudness so attractive?

Hello my fellow TEDians.

I am currently writing a short paper on the very controversial "loudness wars" in the media, particularly the games industry and I would like to hear others people's opinions on a simple question.

"Why is loudness so attractive?"

As I've been researching, all the evidence seems to point towards companies boosting the levels in their commercials, music or film by using hyper-compression to basically grab peoples attention.

But I haven't been able to find a good explanation on why loudness is so attractive? Is it just because it stands out? Or is there a acoustical/psychoacoustical/scientific phenomena which the reason why its so popular?

If so, what is the line between attractive and unbearable/dangerous?

Any analysis from a scientific, theoretical or even spiritual standpoint would be great!

All the best!


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    Jul 11 2012: I think what attracts out attention is the relative, or comparative, power level of the sensory assault in question. Silence can be as attention-getting as cacophany.
    • Jul 15 2012: As stated in my question above, I agree with the silence being as attention grabbing. I think it is perhaps even more so.

      Not total silence mind you, as this is near impossible in todays society, but quiet ambiences and room tones especially. Combined with loud jabs of noise, it makes the loudness stand out more, which comes back to the "loudness war" in music, where everything has been so hypercompressed in music, it takes out the dynamics.

      Dynamics grab my attention the most.

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