Dynamic Range Confusion - and what it means when buying music

Hi folks, I’m hoping to either learn something OR pick up some useful tips on how to buy “better” versions of music. I’m comparing what the Dynamic Range Database (http://dr.loudness-war.info/) is showing to be “available” for a given album/release against what Roon calculates as the dynamic range. I’ve made several purchases now thinking a “better version” was out there… I’ll start with an example. It’s a “dumb” example but it’s one I decided to use to try to “work the problem”

Gin Blossoms - Allison Road
According to the online database, the original album that this song was on (New Miserable Experience) had an average Dynamic Range of 11 dB, and this specific track was right at the average for the album (11.09 dB).

Several years ago I purchased the 20th Century Masters “Best of” album, and it’s devoid of dynamic range. That album and the re-mastering of this song both are at 2 dB. So, because of what I saw on the database, I went looking to get “the original” album with the 11 dB shown on the Database.

So I bought “New Miserable Experience”. NOT the “rarities” edition of New Miserable Experience (with 19 tracks). One that doesn’t say “rarities” on it. It only has the original 12 tracks. The inner booklet has “copyright 1992” inside it. I don’t see anything indicating a re-mastering or re-release. It’s definitely a little better than the craptastic (1.6 dB) version that was on the 20th Century Master’s Best Of, album but Roon only measures 2.2 dB of dynamic range. A long way from 11 dB.

I also went ahead about bought the Outside Looking In best of album, just to compare (it was only a couple bucks)… and that version of Allison Road measures 2.0 dB in Roon.

I used Allison Road by Gin Blossoms as an example for this post, but I’ve had this problem while trying to buy other music that is shown as having better dynamics with the original version… Rage Against the Machine’s s/t album. Soundgarden’s Superunkown. Etc. Skillet’s “AWAKE” Hi-Rez (HD-Tracks) version rather than the CD… I buy a second copy of an album I already own because I think I’m going to get a better-mastered more dynamic version of the album, but when I get it it doesn’t sound much (any?) better and it doesn’t measure much (any) more dB of dynamic range than the one I already had…

Is this as simple as the Dynamic Range Database is user-sourced and unreliable? Or am I not comparing apples-to-apples when I compare what I see on that website against what Roon reports?

Thanks in advance.

There are some atrociously mastered albums notably in the early 2000’s, late 90’s, the worst culprit for me being Californication by the Chili Peppers, so bad it’s unlistenable for me, which is a shame as I like the music.

Different methodologies. The Dynamic Range Database uses a differing methodology (Crest) than does Roon (R128 standards). The two numbers do not correspond. There have been many threads about this, if you search the forum.

First, Read the Roon FAQ: https://kb.roonlabs.com/Dynamic_Range

Then, my very long post and the ensuing discussion: