The Dynamic Range Day Award

And the 2015 winner is…

Steven Wilson for “Hand. Cannot. Erase.”

Last year was all about recognising that great dynamics were completely compatible with commercial success. There were plenty more examples of that this year – see the shortlist below – but instead we wanted to highlight the fact that for some artists, great dynamic sound is just business as usual.

Steven Wilson has been nominated for the DRD Award for the last three years, and it seemed high time to acknowledge that. And it’s not just his solo albums, Steven is incredibly prolific – he also mixes and produces many other albums and re-issues, and they all sound great.

And it goes without saying he makes great music ! Threat yourself, and take a listen to Hand. Cannot. Erase.

The full 2015 shortlist

  • Mark Ronson – Uptown Special (DR8)
  • D’Angelo – Black Messiah (DR8)
  • Aphex Twin – Computer Controlled Instruments PT2 EP (DR8)
  • Jack White – Lazaretto (DR10)
  • Opeth – Pale Communion (DR11)
  • Tir Eolas - Stories Sung, Truths Told (DR9)
  • Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase. (DR11)
  • The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream (DR8)
  • Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots (DR10)
  • Paulo Nutini – Caustic Love (DR9)

Honourable mentions also go to:

  • J. Cole – Forest Hills Drive (DR8)
  • U2 – Songs of Innocence (DR9)
  • Horrendous – Ecdysis (DR10)
  • Imogen Heap – Sparks (DR8)
  • Snarky Puppy – We Like It Here (DR9)
  • Shellac – Dude Incredible (DR11)

About the award

The Dynamic Range Day Award is given annually to a great-sounding, dynamic album - proving
that music doesn’t have to be crushed to be popular and successful.

To be considered for the award, an album must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • The overall Integrated Loudness must be no higher than -11 LUFS as measured with an R128 meter
  • OR the complete album must measure no less than DR8 on the TT Meter

Simply post your suggestion via Twitter or the Facebook page and we’ll take a listen !

How and why do we choose these values ?

Dynamic Range Day is all about the real-world sound, not the numbers – and to claim that DR16+ is a “requirement” for great sound simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

The aim of the award is to highlight mainstream releases which sound great and haven’t been “smashed”. Values of DR10 will probably sound better than the minimum requirements for the award, but it is possible to get great sound at even higher levels, so these values have been chosen to reflect that.

In 2014 the winner was…

(To no-one’s surprise !)

“Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk

We thought about being clever and giving the award to someone else, but that made no sense. This was one of the most successful albums of the year – AND one of the most dynamic ! If you ever wanted proof of the message behind Dynamic Range Day, you need look no further.

We genuinely hope this album will prove to be a watershed moment, a turning-point that we can look back on and say “the end of the war started here”. Only time will tell…

For more discussion about why this album sounds so great, and how dynamics play a key part in that sound (and it’s success) click here.

The winner of the 2013 award was…

“Blunderbuss” by Jack White (DR11)

To read a discussion of why this album made such a worthy winner, please click here.

Steven Wilson’s superb “The Raven that Refused to Sing” came a very close second !

The other nominees last year were:

  • My Bloody Valentine – “MBV” (DR11)
  • Steven Wilson – “The Raven that Refused to Sing” (DR9)
  • Ólafur Arnalds – “For Now I Am Winter”  (DR11)
  • Mumford & Sons – Babel (DR8)
  • Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite – Get Up! (DR9)
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Americana (DR8)
  • Orbital – Wonky (DR8)
  • Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man In The Universe (DR9)
You can hear tracks from many of these albums in this Spotify playlist:


The My Bloody Valentine album can be heard here

For even more great-sounding dynamic records from 2012, check out this list.

Previous years:

The winner of 2012′s award was Björk for “Biophilia”

(The winner needs to have an overall DR rating of DR8 or more)

The winner of 2011′s award was…

Elbow, for “Build A Rocket, Boys”

Watch a video of Craig Potter – Elbow’s keyboard player, mixer & producer – accepting the award on behalf of the band here.

A truly worthy winner, this album sounds superb and is crammed full of outstanding songs and performances.

Proving that great music can (and should !) be full of dynamics, the album overall measures DR8 with the TT Loudness Meter, with individual songs measuring DR10 or DR12.

Measurements are only ever a guide though, and to re-enforce this point, several tracks are as loud as DR6. In the context of the whole album, these huge moments just emphasise the emotion and power of the music – dynamics used as they were meant to be.

Elbow, we salute you !

More about the Dynamic Range Day Award

The idea of the award is to show that dynamic music can be both popular and successful, confirming that the so-called Loudness Wars are a myth – a modern fairy-tale.

Any of the nominees would have made a worthy winner – our hope is that more bands will follow their example.

Watch a recording of the live announcement

To see the announcement, click here


The full list of nominees was:

Laura Marling – “I Speak Because I Can”
LCD Soundsystem – “This Is Happening”
The Coral – “Butterfly House”
Elbow – “Build A Rocket Boys !”
Massive Attack – “Heligoland”
Neil Young – “Le Noise”
Mumford & Sons – “Sigh No More”
Four Tet – “There Is Love In You”
Norah Jones – “…Featuring”

Chosen by the Dynamic Range Day Panel 2011

Charles DyeSimon AskewBig Al WagnerJake JacksonNick Watson,
Friedemann TischmeyerIan Shepherd

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