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Normalization ???

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Normalization ???

Postby DigitalMusicProduction » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:34 am

Hi

Why in the recording process is it recommended to remain close to -6dB for online streaming when online streaming services provide Loudness Normalisation.
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:38 am

I have no idea. None of that statement makes any sense.
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby The Elf » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:51 am

Where have you seen this recommendation?
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby RichardT » Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:00 pm

I’m thinking you might be confusing recording level recommendations for each channel with what is required for the final level of the overall track.

For a completed track destined for streaming you need a peak level of -1dBFS, or sometimes lower (if you have a very loud track for example). For your solo piano pieces -1 is probably fine.
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby blinddrew » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:22 pm

It is frequently recommended to keep peaks below -3dBFS to avoid introducing any artefacts if the music is going to be subject to any very lossy compression codecs.
But -6 does seem excessively cautious. I'd normally be using that as a guide to send something to mastering rather than sending it for distribution.
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby DigitalMusicProduction » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:49 am

RichardT wrote:For a completed track destined for streaming you need a peak level of -1dBFS, or sometimes lower (if you have a very loud track for example). For your solo piano pieces -1 is probably fine.

I greatly appreciate all advice given, however
This whole input recording level scenario is very confusing, let me be plain.. if floating between -15 to -20dBFS with peaks no higher then -6dBFS, will this or will this not be accepted for online streaming services?

If not? Please explain what my solo piano recording levels should be at ?
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:33 am

DigitalMusicProduction wrote:I greatly appreciate all advice given, however...

As we've seen all along, you're still struggling with 'advanced' concepts because you haven't yet grasped the basics.

This whole input recording level scenario is very confusing

It's not if you have the underpinning knowledge... which is why I keep recommending you start with a good book and the basics...

...if floating between -15 to -20dBFS with peaks no higher then -6dBFS, will this or will this not be accepted for online streaming services?

The technical answer is 'possibly'... but it's the wrong question and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the purposes of different forms of measurement.

Streaming services will accept pretty much anything. But if that submitted material doesn't align with their target loudness value it may be adjusted. Loudness is measured in LUFS (or LKFS if you're American) and requires a dedicated loudness measuring tool or meter to assess the Integrated loudness over a complete track.

If the track's Integrated Loudness is too low it may be turned up (and probably have peak limiting applied) by the streaming service, but usually it is left alone. If it's too loud it will definitely be turned down to conform with the service's target loudness.

Most streaming services are working with target Integrated Loudness of around -14LUFS, with some being up to 2dB higher, and some as much as 2dB lower... but -14LUFS is a very good aiming point. And the other common restriction is that the True Peak level of a submitted track should not exceed -1dBTP. A loudness meter plugin will provide all this data from your finished/mastered track

The notion of having raw track signals averaging around -20dBFS with peaks no higher than -6dBFS applies to the initial recording and mixing stages of music production, and ensures the maintenance of a sensible working headroom margin.

As I have explained before, once you have successfully recorded your track, and edited or processed it as required, you can move into the mastering process where you optimise the track level and dynamics for the intended destination. And that's the stage where you fine tune the integrated loudness level.

It is almost impossible to record a performance and have it strike the right integrated loudness level for your desired streaming service. You have to go through a two-stage process of recording (and editing/mixing/processing), and then mastering. They have different requirements and different goals, and require different approaches.

Please explain what my solo piano recording levels should be at ?

Averaging -20dBFS with peaks to -6dBFS while tracking and mixing/editing. -14LUFS with peaks below -1dBTP when mastering for a streaming output.
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby RichardT » Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:36 am

The figures you're quoting are for recording a channel. It's good practice but I can see in your case in can be confusing because you only have one channel!

No, you shouldn't send something to streaming services peaking at -6dBFS

Your best option is to leave the piano channel peaking at around -6dBFS, and increase the gain on the master channel. Personally I do this with a limiter as I can then also manage the loudness of the material in LUFS at the same time as setting the peak to -1dBTP.

The reason for increasing the gain on the master bus is that this approach also works well when you have multiple channels.

dBTP refers to the 'true peak' level which can sometimes be a little higher than the dBFS figure. If you use a limiter with a 'true peak' option, you'll be able to stop the signal going above -1 dBTP quite simply.
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby Aled Hughes » Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:37 am

DigitalMusicProduction wrote:
RichardT wrote:For a completed track destined for streaming you need a peak level of -1dBFS, or sometimes lower (if you have a very loud track for example). For your solo piano pieces -1 is probably fine.

I greatly appreciate all advice given, however
This whole input recording level scenario is very confusing, let me be plain.. if floating between -15 to -20dBFS with peaks no higher then -6dBFS, will this or will this not be accepted for online streaming services?

If not? Please explain what my solo piano recording levels should be at ?

You need to mentally separate the recording levels and delivery levels. Your input recording levels does not need to dictate your final mix level for delivery to streaming services.

Set your input recording levels so that you have plenty of headroom to record without fear of clipping, as you have described. You can then remove this headroom if needed (simple gain boost), or you can gently compress/limit the mix as well if needed.
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby The Elf » Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:43 am

Also let's not forget that the OP is (or certainly was) talking about a sampled piano - there is no 'recording level'...
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby CS70 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:46 pm

DigitalMusicProduction wrote:
RichardT wrote:For a completed track destined for streaming you need a peak level of -1dBFS, or sometimes lower (if you have a very loud track for example). For your solo piano pieces -1 is probably fine.

I greatly appreciate all advice given, however
This whole input recording level scenario is very confusing, let me be plain.. if floating between -15 to -20dBFS with peaks no higher then -6dBFS, will this or will this not be accepted for online streaming services?

If not? Please explain what my solo piano recording levels should be at ?

There are three stages when producing music: recording, mixing and then mastering.

With recording and mixing (doesn’t matter with software instruments or physical ones or microphones) you want to stay in the -18 ballpark to give yourself working space. For example if you boost some frequency with an EQ, you will increase the level so if you are near the ceiling you will overshoot and create distortion. Also when you mix individual tracks, the sum will have more level, and you don’t want to overshot either. So you keep your initial levels much lower to avoid any risk of distortion either in processing individual tracks or on the whole mix.

Once you’re done mixing, your track will peak much higher than -12dBFS, but there still may be some “space” (headroom) left. Here’s where the last step - mastering - enters the picture, bringing the levels to what is right for the expected playback format (CD, streaming, etc).

So first do proper recording and mixing (at low level), the bounce the track, load it up n another DAW session and “master” it.
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby DigitalMusicProduction » Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:43 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Streaming services will accept pretty much anything. But if that submitted material doesn't align with their target loudness value it may be adjusted.

If the track's Integrated Loudness is too low it may be turned up (and probably have peak limiting applied) by the streaming service, but usually it is left alone. If it's too loud it will definitely be turned down to conform with the service's target loudness.

That being the case, why then would one need to comply "be concerned" with volume streaming target levels when streaming platforms have a dedicated tool to solve volume issues?
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby RichardT » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:20 pm

DigitalMusicProduction wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:Streaming services will accept pretty much anything. But if that submitted material doesn't align with their target loudness value it may be adjusted.

If the track's Integrated Loudness is too low it may be turned up (and probably have peak limiting applied) by the streaming service, but usually it is left alone. If it's too loud it will definitely be turned down to conform with the service's target loudness.

That being the case, why then would one need to comply "be concerned" with volume streaming target levels when streaming platforms have a dedicated tool to solve volume issues?

Because that's just how they work at the moment - in 10 years things could be very different. Your music needs to work properly without relying on anything the streaming services do, as that puts you at their mercy if they change things, which they undoubtedly will.
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby blinddrew » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:21 pm

DigitalMusicProduction wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:Streaming services will accept pretty much anything. But if that submitted material doesn't align with their target loudness value it may be adjusted.

If the track's Integrated Loudness is too low it may be turned up (and probably have peak limiting applied) by the streaming service, but usually it is left alone. If it's too loud it will definitely be turned down to conform with the service's target loudness.

That being the case, why then would one need to comply "be concerned" with volume streaming target levels when streaming platforms have a dedicated tool to solve volume issues?
1) because not all services do.
2) because if your music is not dynamic enough it will sound boring.
3) because if your music is too dynamic it will put off listeners.
:)
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Re: Normalization ???

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:50 pm

DigitalMusicProduction wrote:That being the case, why then would one need to comply "be concerned" with volume streaming target levels when streaming platforms have a dedicated tool to solve volume issues?

In addition to all that everyone else has said... it's because you want to be in control of your product and make sure that the end users hear it as you want them to.

It seems a little bizarre to me that you've fretted extensively over the minutiae of virtual mic placement and room acoustic options in your sampled piano recordings, but then appear to want to abrogate the responsibility of mastering your material correctly for your chosen release format.
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