Now gather around, and check this shit out...
So I'm at this position where I sort of know what I want my senior thesis to be about, but not exactly what it is. In the broad sense, it is about mastering, but what about mastering? My original idea was to do a study of the rising "loudness" of masters in the past 2 decades, starting with vinyl releases, comparing them to original CD remasters in the laste 80's-early 90's, and then newer remasters from recent years. I would focus on the diminishing dynamic range of today's recordings, and look at how it affects the consumer at home (or how it doesn't affect, if that's the case). I would also look at factors that led to where we are now, and if there are harmful things that occur when pushing everything to 0dBfs.
However, I'm worried that this isn't sufficient enough. I'm going to try to broaden it out to include interviews with mastering engineers from across the board and eras, firsthand experiments, random tests to see what sounds better to people (i.e. playing a classically mastered recording versus a newer one at the same volume level and see which one they find more pleasing, or musically interesting). For all these examples, I would take it upon myself to record a band, mix it, and then do various types of mastering. Then I would make a DVD of it. Or something. Until I put it in front of the Honors Council, I really don't know if this will fly. I'm hoping that because Belmont offers nothing about mastering, that they will see that this is going beyond the average student here and beyond what the program here can give me. I really think that will be a selling point. Hmmmm. Let's hope this thing works.