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Youtube & Spotify Mastering Levels

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Youtube & Spotify Mastering Levels

Postby james090 » Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:42 pm

Apologies firstly for what must be one of the most asked questions in this current climate and age, but does anyone have a definitive db or level?

I have tried to research myself, but have come across some conflicting info..

I am talking more about voice over and voice recording for Youtube really, and if there was a sweetspot in compression etc when mastering the audio? that they then wont butcher and slam once its uploaded!

Thank you for any help
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Re: Youtube & Spotify Mastering Levels

Postby CS70 » Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:52 pm

Hi James,

it's never slammed - at most, the volume is turned down ("slam" sounds like compression. It's not compression). For services which gain up things, there may be a little limiting to avoid small overshoots that can happen as a result, but a) not all services gain up things and b) when they do, the limiting is small and usually transparent for normal material.

YT - last time I checked - did not gain up quiet tracks so better to err on the side of a little louder.

That said, in rough terms the whole "mastering" level is made pretty much irrelevant by loudness normalization. If you want to have an idea on how it sounds, get yourself the free Youlean Loudness Meter (or any equiv) and ensure your mastered track stays in the -14 LUFS ballpark.

But really: just make the best sound you can and that's all you need to worry about.
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Re: Youtube & Spotify Mastering Levels

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:27 pm

james090 wrote:Apologies firstly for what must be one of the most asked questions in this current climate and age, but does anyone have a definitive db or level?

Sadly, it's not that simple...

YouTube and Spotify are both 'loudness normalised', but they both use their own unspecified method or algorithm to assess perceived loudness, and neither are saying what the details are. Which means we can't replicate it accurately on our own systems and we can't therefore specify absolutely definitive values for LUFS or dBTP.

However, we certainly can get into the right ball park by working with the ITU standard loudness measurement algorithm (BS1770/R128 etc), and on that basis you need to aim for an Integrated Loudness of -14LUFS with true peaks under -1dBTP (and ideally under -3dBTP.

I have tried to research myself, but have come across some conflicting info..

I'd trust Ian Shepherd's advice over any other I've found on the interweb. For example:

https://productionadvice.co.uk/no-lufs-targets/

I am talking more about voice over and voice recording for Youtube really, and if there was a sweetspot in compression etc when mastering the audio? that they then wont butcher and slam once its uploaded!

In general, the more you squash the audio, the quieter it will seem in comparison to other work... But my advice is simply to make it sound good to you, with an eye on hitting an Integrated loudness of around -13 to -14LUFS.

You can also get a good idea of how your material might get modified by a streaming service from the Loudness penalty website:

https://www.loudnesspenalty.com/
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Re: Youtube & Spotify Mastering Levels

Postby ConcertinaChap » Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:22 pm

Quick question, Hugh. Would -2 LUFS make a difference? I've standardised on -16 LUFS, mainly because if I I use my ears only and then check it afterwards that's where the programme loudness always seems to end up. It seems to me the difference between -14 and -16 LUFS should be trivial for these purposes but I thought I'd ask.

TIA

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Re: Youtube & Spotify Mastering Levels

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:32 pm

I don't think it would be significant, no.

But if your mixes are consistently coming out at -16LUFS (which is perfectly fine) and you want -14LUFS then try turning your monitoring volume down by 2dB! ;-)
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Re: Youtube & Spotify Mastering Levels

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:42 pm

All of my stuff ends up on YouTube and - occasionally - Soundcloud.

Because of what I'm doing everything's going through a broadcast processor on a gentle setting. It works out at -16LUFS. Translates onto YouTube (as a video soundtrack) absolutely fine so I've never bothered putting in a 'LUFS reduction' stage.
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Re: Youtube & Spotify Mastering Levels

Postby RichardT » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:31 am

ConcertinaChap wrote:Quick question, Hugh. Would -2 LUFS make a difference? I've standardised on -16 LUFS, mainly because if I I use my ears only and then check it afterwards that's where the programme loudness always seems to end up. It seems to me the difference between -14 and -16 LUFS should be trivial for these purposes but I thought I'd ask.

TIA

CC

I average -16 LUFS as well. It definitely sounds better to my ears than averaging -14.
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Re: Youtube & Spotify Mastering Levels

Postby blinddrew » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:50 am

Mine tends to vary according to the material. Stuff generally ends up around -16 at the end of the mix process. Folky / acoustic stuff tends to stay around there, more rocky stuff tends to end up a couple of LUFS higher.
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Re: Youtube & Spotify Mastering Levels

Postby CS70 » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:55 am

RichardT wrote:
ConcertinaChap wrote:Quick question, Hugh. Would -2 LUFS make a difference? I've standardised on -16 LUFS, mainly because if I I use my ears only and then check it afterwards that's where the programme loudness always seems to end up. It seems to me the difference between -14 and -16 LUFS should be trivial for these purposes but I thought I'd ask.

TIA

CC

I average -16 LUFS as well. It definitely sounds better to my ears than averaging -14.

Gotta be the first time that someone likes something quieter instead of louder! :)
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