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A lot of tracks have very loud white noise, and it's often very easy to hear at the beginning of tracks before it actually starts. The noise usually gets stupidly noticeable and annoying if listened to in a very quiet environment or using IEMs with good isolation.

I know white noise is sometimes added on purpose, but it makes no sense to me that as much as half of the top songs today would do it.

I think we have enough noise without additional noise being added to the track itself. Wouldn't it make more sense to reduce the noise floor so listeners would be able to enjoy the whole track and not be annoyed about white noise making parts of the song impossible to hear?

Why does this occur so frequently, and what's the point of it?

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    Examples might be useful, & have you actually analysed these, or is this just a subjective opinion? – Tetsujin Aug 23 '18 at 6:28
  • You are referring to "dither" which is a technique used in part to shape quantization noise in digital recordings and to make low-level audio sound a little more acceptable - particularly in low-bit-rate digital environments. There is a possibility you are listening to your tracks too loudly. Take care of your ears - you only have two and you can't get any more when these break. – Mark Aug 23 '18 at 15:05
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    vtc as 'too broad' until we get more to go on. – Tetsujin Aug 24 '18 at 15:10
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An mp3 isn’t the only source of noise in a speaker. Static and white noise can come from just the cables connecting the player to the speakers. Especially with powered speakers you can hear it by turning up the volume all the way with no cables plugged into it at all. So it could be coming from your equipment not the recorded track.

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A lot of the time it's done to fill in noticeably empty space in the frequency spectrum, as a sort of "vinyl crackle" or "rain noise" but more faceless, without the information that those provide.

It was super common in the "brostep" wave when that was a thing, because while distortion fills in the spectrum pretty well, it's too harmonic.

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