14 LUFS question

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by petrrr, Sep 12, 2022.

  1. petrrr

    petrrr Kapellmeister

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    when they say a track needs to be 14 LUFS and lets say i want to adapt to that

    does that mean i could have the chorus 10 LUFS and the verses 18 lufs so it balances to 14 LUFS (just an example that might not be adding up, just to get point across)

    thanks
     
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  3. Clayton123

    Clayton123 Producer

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    Best Answer
    Yes that's exactly right. When streaming services say they normalize to -14 LUFS, they are referring to the overall loudness of the entire track.
     
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  4. mk_96

    mk_96 Rock Star

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    Yup

    Also, streaming services normalize at a certain LUFSi (integrated) which is a cumulative thing. You could measure a chorus or verse this way if yo want but that could be a bit confusing, not to mention some meters require you to manually restart the LUFSi meter and if you don't restart it after a while it will not reflect what you're changing at all. That's what LUFS long/short term are for.

    I get that the numbers you posted are just an example and you're not necessarily measuring parts of the song, i just felt the need to clarify that there's more than one "LUFS" measurement and they beheave differently.
     
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  5. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    To be precise, they're referring to -14LUFSi @ -1(dB)TP. i = integrated means, the whole song, not parts of it (that would be LUFSm or LUFSs).
     
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  6. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    The point is someone misunderstanding what is meant by "Average".
     
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  7. petrrr

    petrrr Kapellmeister

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    is there a plugin that easily measures the whole project instantly? i'm using reaper as daw, thanks!
     
  8. mk_96

    mk_96 Rock Star

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    Render->Dry run(no output)

    It'll tell you all you need to know, it's kind of a "simulated rendering", it's not instantaneous though.
     
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  9. Ryck

    Ryck Platinum Record

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    you can take a look at Expose 2 from Master the mix. It is not a vst, it is a standalone. But I think it is useful for this kind of things. I haven't used it to be honest, but it looks interesting.
     
  10. Sylenth.Will.Fall

    Sylenth.Will.Fall Audiosexual

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    If you want an external one then Waves WLM (VST) is not a bad offering, however and here is probably going to be considered a contentious view but, if you take You Tube as an example and listen to the best (I think sound the best) sounding tracks, look at the specifics of the track and you'll find it will have anything from 4db to 6db worth of extra compression (with overall reduced loudness to compensate) created by YouTube itself*
    It wont make it cleaner but it will sound richer with far more body and oomph!


    * I need to explain this a bit better..

    When uploading a track to YouTube, if you aim for between -8 to -10 LUFS as opposed to -14 LUFS (Making sure on playback there is no audible distortion) then YouTube will bring down the volume of the overall track as explained nicely by @No Avenger accordingly, but it will give the impression of extra 4 to 6 DB of compression in place of volume, thus making it sound richer with more guts!


    The way to try this is by using the Waves VST I mentioned, playing through your mastered track and looking for -14 DB as the correct standard.. Then doing the same thing but mastering it @-8 to -10DB. thus creating the extra 4 to 6 extra DB of compression..
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2022
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  11. Qrchack

    Qrchack Rock Star

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    Why bother with Waves though. Free (unless you can't type -14 and need a ready to use Spotify preset, or need to be able to export an image with the loudness graph so you can print it out and put it on your wall) and possibly the best in business:

    [​IMG]

    https://youlean.co/youlean-loudness-meter/

    That said, you'll quickly find out that -14 is a generic guideline. There's no shortage of chart topping tracks that hit -8 LUFS (and for electronic music often -6 and even -5 LUFS) with true peak above 0dB. And if you ever send -14 LUFS to a radio you'll quickly find out that their multiband compression absolutely destroys everything and you need to send much quieter masters to account for that. If you're still doing CDs, these end up closer to -10 LUFS. And if you're working on an album/EP, the best LUFS for a song will be different depending on how dense the song is, if your sounds are thick and dark or thinned out to maximize volume. Having all of them at the same will result in a soft ballad being super loud and squashed, and a dance track being super raw and "unmixed". It's important to preserve some difference in loudness between these.

    Also, while all streaming services will turn your stuff down if it's too loud, not all will turn it up when it's too quiet. -14 LUFS sounds like a nice number to aim for, but really, the answer is: make it sound good. If it's peaky and raw sounding at -14 LUFS, there's no reason to let it stay there if -6 gets you closer to what the music needs.

    Worth a listen:


    and a read: https://productionadvice.co.uk/how-loud/
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2022
  12. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    Yes. "integrated" means an average of the entire track/song.

    But they lie when they say your track "needs to be -14LUFS". -14LUFS is NOT A TARGET FOR YOU!
    It's what they are normalizing to, when having the (-14LUFS) loudness normalization feature turned on.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2022
  13. Qrchack

    Qrchack Rock Star

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    The thing is, nobody says your track needs to be -14 LUFS. The only thing they say is that the volume they play music at is -14 LUFS. Yours can be any you want, and they will adjust to -14 LUFS.

    You don't have to be at -14 LUFS and in fact there's plenty of reasons specifically not to do so.
     
  14. petrrr

    petrrr Kapellmeister

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    can u give some examples please of reasons why not to, thanks!
     
  15. SineWave

    SineWave Audiosexual

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    mk_96 gave you a really good advice since you're using Reaper, it's got LUFS-I metering all over it, e.g. master meter can have LUFS-I RMS metering [I have it at -14dB LUFS-I and offset at 4dB to -10dB LUFS-I] and when you render the track it shows you all you need to know. :wink:

    Lots of great advices here, as always. We're great, knowledgeable, experienced crowd. :wink: Try watching Ian Shepherd's videos, that guy knows a lot about mastering and levels.

    I'm on the side of "make the mix sound great to you and then worry about levels", but I know how to mix and I'm using external hardware that automatically lowers my levels to ~ -14 to -18dB and instead of compensating for that I just level all the channels accordingly thus never having any problems with meters going into red anywhere. This way I always end up with a mix I can easily level up or down a few dBs, according to needs, or feeling.
     
  16. Qrchack

    Qrchack Rock Star

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    • streaming services don't use LUFS anyway so you're always going to be a bit off anyway
    • LUFS integrated (over the whole song) is just one number, if you have a quieter intro your LUFS of the whole thing goes down - do you make your chorus/drop way too loud to compensate?
    • TIDAL did research and found that even playing in shuffle people preferred to have a difference in volume between say death metal and classical music, instead of having it turned up to match
    • just like it makes sense to have dynamics inside a song, it also works for an entire album - you're reducing the impact of songs by having them all at -14 LUFS or any other level
    • the entire reason of them doing normalization is so you don't have to set your master to anything specific - if it shows you're going to be turned down a lot, you can try making it quieter and compare if it sounds better or worse to make use of what kind of dynamics you can fit in there, but it's a choice not a rule and it won't always be better
    • -14 LUFS is a conservative level that often will not work when compared with commercial releases that hit closer to -8, even -6. If you're after having something that fits right into that when on shuffle, you're going to have a hard time at -14
     
  17. AKAIBOY

    AKAIBOY Member

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  18. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    Simple general answer, it may not fit to the song. It's probably too low for modern EDM and Metal and too high for Blues, Jazz, Classical, ...
     
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