Loudness levels? 2 masters? What levels do you aim at?

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by Triple, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Triple

    Triple Member

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    Hi!
    Do you create 2 versions of a master? one for a CD release, and the other for online stores and streaming platforms? If yes, what loudness do you target at? (let's say for a pop song)

    Do you master your song so that it reaches e.g. -6dB RMS on a CD, and then you make a more dynamic mastering version for streaming and online stores which reaches e.g. -10dB RMS?


    Btw. When an artist uploads on iTunes a song that reaches -6dB RMS during loudest parts, iTunes will preview the song at a lower level (maybe around -11dB RMS...). But will itunes sell the song with the original loudness level? (-6dB)


    Do you use this site?
    https://www.loudnesspenalty.com

    Best!
     
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  3. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Platinum Record

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    I try to aim at around -14 to -12 LUFS, but I sill prefer to trust my ears and also use lot of referencing with other tracks I like
     
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  4. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    Firstly, current standard is LUFS, not RMS and you can find several LUFS meters for free.

    There is no thing like an overall/general LUFS target for music. Classical music and a lot of other genres generally have much lower LUFS than pop, EDM or Heavy Metal. So, the appropriate LUFS value depends on the track.
    Different platforms have different LUFS targets and they can change these whenever they want and to any direction they want (up or down).

    I try to avoid to master a song with less than -12 LUFS, I think it sounds dead if it's louder.

    All platforms with a LUFS target (iTunes -16, YT -14) will lower a track's volume when played (as long as it's higher, of course) but not affect the original dynamics. So, if you buy it, it should have the original LUFS value.

    And no, I don't use this site you linked. If you have a LUFS meter and know the LUFS target of the different platforms it's just not necessary.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
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  5. Moleman

    Moleman Kapellmeister

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    uhm.. this matter should be approached with a different philosophy:

    in my case, the mastering studio i work with requires me to deliver them audio material in 44.1khz / 24bit wav files* with a LOUDNESS/*DYNAMIC* RANGE margin of at least 6db or more! ...and yes, when you open up the file in some audio editor, the graphic representing the spectrum wave may look very tiny and it sounds very much "low volume". and this is exactly what the mastering studio needs! this offers them a larger "maneuvering margin and range" to refine dynamics, limit/compress/expand (if and what's needed) and equalize, when the "cooking" is done and it does SOUND great, then they can apply to the final product any "loudness" they want or need!

    and i don't even care about the "loudness" because it is what the mastering studio does for me and then it gets even further processed when it is being released on popular media platforms (internet, tv & radio) ..

    the what should matter is the SOUND of your production, not its loudness!

    (*= because they are using only analog gear and process it using real mastering 1/2" tape machine etc)
     
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  6. dbmuzik

    dbmuzik Platinum Record

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    Most of the platforms don't go out of their way to monitor and enforce their said loudness standard. For example, Spotify is supposed to be -13 LUFS.. and 99% of everything recent on there has a range between -10.5 and -11.5 LUFS. And YouTube having a standard of -14 LUFS is obviously not met. It probably only holds true if you have an exclusive marketing deal with a platform. Anyone can sell their songs/albums on iTunes. Generally, it's just an mp3 version of the master that gets submitted. And just about everything has a peak of 0 or -0.1dB when it's submitted regardless what the loudness average is.

    Btw.. LUFS is a better measurement for albums in modern times than RMS is. It deals with perceived loudness rather than just channel pressure. RMS matching makes it so if you had a club track followed by a slow jam with just an acoustic guitar.. the slow jam would murder your eardrums if they were the same RMS.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  7. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    I don't use average RMS. I aim at -12 to -10LUFS.
    Most platforms normalize to around -14, but I still think -12 to -10 sounds a bit better (depending on master/mix/genre/style/etc). I can take some loudness penalty.

    I also leave about 1dB of headroom on the master (at -1dBTP), to avoid additional ISP during lossy conversion. Spotify suggests 2dB of headroom.
     
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  8. dbmuzik

    dbmuzik Platinum Record

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    The standard for mp3 conversion is to drop the peak to -1.3dB before conversion to guarantee no overshoots. I said earlier, Spotify isn't normalizing, attenuating, or adhering to their so-called -13 LUFS loudness standard. Log in to Spotify.. play all 100+ songs in "New Music Friday" and 99% of them will have a peak that's kissing 0dB the whole time with an LUFS average of -10.5 to -11.5. I chose to check the standard of the material that's on there rather than take note of their rules and suggestions which they aren't enforcing. 99% of it is just CD masters converted to mp3, and nothing more is going on. So, you're doing the right thing by "breaking the rules" because if you didn't it would sound too quiet among everything else :)
     
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  9. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    Hey look Ma, I done good...or not?

    [​IMG]
     
  10. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    You were, are and will ever be the best. :yes:
     
  11. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    Yep.

    But Spotify does loudness normalization, if you have that option turned on (which I like to have).
    [holy shit! That's a big image]:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. dbmuzik

    dbmuzik Platinum Record

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    I see :woot: that's a big image. So, apparently 99% of those on Spotify aren't very fond of the normalization option. I'm glad to be aware of that, because I'll be sure to keep that option turned off if I put anything up on Spotify so it can "survive" on there.
     
  13. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    Get back to me in 5 years and let me know if you think the same then. :) The whole point of loudness normalization is that all dynamic ranges will "survive" amongst each other.
     
  14. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Platinum Record

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    spotify, similarly as any other lossy streaming services, cripples sound anyway, so why bother anything :chilling:
     
  15. dbmuzik

    dbmuzik Platinum Record

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    Preservation of the dynamic range is why I've avoided loudness normalization for a long time. Im a modern jazz head so I don't like anything sounding cold or restrained. I meet the LUFS target for each song individually rather than use a tool that's going to either brighten or darken one song in attempt to auto-match it to another. Peak normalization isn't so destructive, but loudness normalization is destructive as hell.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  16. Utada Hikaru

    Utada Hikaru Kapellmeister

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  17. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    Reading back, it sounds like you missunderstood what loudness normalization is. Maybe I'm wrong.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  18. Magic Mango

    Magic Mango Producer

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    Huh? I tend to keep it off. Kills monster fatbass sound 8(
     
  19. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    I just like dynamics. I hope for the loudness war to end soon (so I embrace loudness normalization). But that's just me.
     
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  20. dbmuzik

    dbmuzik Platinum Record

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    There is peak, RMS, and now even LUFS normalization. In that same order there is a difference between volume, gain, and perceived loudness. Peak normalizing all songs to the same peak is not going to alter the dynamic of any of the songs or match the perceived loudness of them at that peak. RMS and LUFS (loudness) normalization screws with the weight and the crest factor of the songs in addition to the just the peak. It will either compress or decompress songs to match their target, and that is totally destructive.
     
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  21. junh1024

    junh1024 Platinum Record

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