Where to loosen when you don't need to be so loud?

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by Ideado, Oct 19, 2021.

  1. Ideado

    Ideado Noisemaker

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    Hi.

    I'm preparing some masters for Spotify.
    The thing is that all of them go about -7/-8 LUFS

    I understand that a Spotify mix doesn't need to be so loud.
    My question is:

    Where should I focus to lose a couple of LUFS?
    Compressor? Limiter? Fader?

    Thanks a lot!
     
  2.  
  3. Alexander Foxx

    Alexander Foxx Member

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    That -14 lufs thing is bullsh!t, master your music at the level you want and then check how it will perform against other mixes ( you can use the site loudness penalty), if you want your mix to sound at the right level against commercial records you need to have a well balanced mix
     
  4. Ideado

    Ideado Noisemaker

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    Let's say that I agree with you in the -14 LUFS bullshit... even though I'd like to loosen up my masters... where should I let go?
     
  5. Olaf

    Olaf Producer

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    Why would you do this in the first place? The playback loudness won't change, since it's normalized anyway, but the sound itself will.
    The whole thing about the normalization on all major platforms means, you have to compress your music as much as you need to get your desired sound, but not to increase loudness anymore. If your master sounds the way you want it (i.e. the "best") at -7 or -8 LUFS, then it's how it is and you're done. Why would you want to make it sound different (i.e. "worse"), just to be at -12 LUFS or so? It doesn't make sense, right?
     
  6. Ideado

    Ideado Noisemaker

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    Well, I think I'm getting it...
    (If it's about streaming services) make it sound the best and forget about LUFS.
    I'll think about it... :bow:
     
  7. BEAT16

    BEAT16 Audiosexual

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    Spotify: -12 LUFS

    Long Answer
    Target Loudness depends on the destination platform. The EBU R 128 recommendation is specific to the broadcast platform, and is not a standard for music production yet.

    • - 23 LUFS as a target level is primarily for broadcast content.
    • - 9 LUFS is generally the target for “old school” CD mastering.
    There are two issues with these targets for modern music makers. First, - 23 LUFS falls below the AES recommended minimum target level of -20 LUFS for streaming. This is because current portable media devices (especially those adhering to European regulations) do not have sufficient gain to hear these levels in day to day situations like commuting. Second, who listens to CDs anymore?

    Seriously though, - 9 LUFS might be loud enough to (theoretically) compete on the dancefloor, but it’s much louder than the loudness levels used by at least three major streaming services online:

    • iTunes (Soundcheck and Radio): -16 LUFS
    • Youtube: -13 LUFS
    • Spotify: -12 LUFS
    So, why is this an issue? Streaming through, or from, a mobile device is how most of your audience will engage with your music outside of Live/DJ sets, so optimising for streaming makes sense. Crucially, it is more beneficial to have a dynamic track turned up than to have a loud, compressed track turned down, so mixing and mastering to -9 LUFS for online audio is not a great idea. It will get turned down, converted along the way, and possibly hit limiters (of questionable fidelity) on those systems, further degrading your sound. So if - 23 LUFS is too soft, - 9 LUFS is too loud, and -12 LUFS is outside of the AES recommendations, what should we aim for with dance music?

    https://www.macprovideo.com/article...dards-relate-to-edm-and-club-music-production
     
  8. nctechno

    nctechno Ultrasonic

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    Yeah thats all nice and good but especially for club music almost no DJ is going to play your tracks if mastered to -16 or -23 because they want to see a big red sausage in traktor so most tracks end up -6 to -9.

    Whats also wrong is
    "Crucially, it is more beneficial to have a dynamic track turned up than to have a loud, compressed track turned down, so mixing and mastering to -9 LUFS for online audio is not a great idea. It will get turned down, converted along the way, and possibly hit limiters (of questionable fidelity) on those systems, further degrading your sound."

    Yes, it will get turned down if you are over -14 LUFS, but there will no additional limiters be used, because there is no need for it. On the other side when you send a file below -14 and it gets turned up THEN they may apply additional limiters to prevent the peaks from clipping so usually you are trying to at least reach -14 to prevent that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
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  9. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    If that's what you really want, the answer is simple: where you have the greatest gain reduction.
     
  10. Ideado

    Ideado Noisemaker

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    Good approach... makes sense
     
  11. demberto

    demberto Platinum Record

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    Many popular songs (Spotify Top 50 for example) aren't mastered to meet any particular loudness standard. Many are around -8 LUFS, depending on how dense the instrumental is. I forgot the website but it shows the LUFS and other such details about many popular songs. And seems not many like True Peak either
     
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