Compression: Wow! A Program director who knows what happens to overcompressed music on the Radio!

Bob Katz Leave a Comment

From: “George D. Graham”

Dear Bob:

Thanks for the message. I just spent a while reading your excellent piece on compression from a mastering engineer’s view. Very well put! If you would not mind, I would like to put a link to your site from my compression article.

It really is discouraging hearing the state that CDs have gotten to, in terms of ruined dynamic range and “fatigue” factor. As a Public Radio music director (as well as a recording engineer/producer), because of the glut of relatively worthwhile new releases competing for airplay, I have the luxury of taking audio quality into consideration when choosing material to program on WVIA-FM. If given a choice between two CDs of roughly equal musical merit, I’ll go for the more “open” sounding, less compressed one any day, even over a record that might be a bit better musically. Even with the Orban Optimod in our on-air program chain (set with light-to-moderate compression, by broadcast standards), a relatively uncompressed CD really does sound better on the air, and it more in keeping with the station’s “sound.”

A good example is the recent Kate Rusby CD on Compass Records. It’s a wonderful Celtic/English record with acoustic instrumentation and almost no dynamic range, no ebb and flow, all squashed and wimpy. I like the music a lot and it’s the kind of thing our Public Radio listeners really go for, but the sound of it is very unpleasant, so I have pretty much given up on airplay long before it would have run its normal course.

That’s an example you can tell your customers.

I also often raise the dynamic range issue in my album reviews.

Best regards,


George D. Graham

People, I suggest you take a visit to George’s site to see his point of view and essays on the subject:

World Wide Web:  
Where he has an essay, a plea for dynamic range on CDs.

Best wishes,


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