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Very confused about LUFS and RMS; can someone please clarify

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Re: Very confused about LUFS and RMS; can someone please clarify

Postby CS70 » Tue Jun 02, 2020 10:27 pm

RichardT wrote:Good post by CS70.

The only comment I’d make is that Spotify for example will change the sound of your track if it is at less than -14 LUFS and needs to be louder. In their own words:

Negative gain is applied to louder masters so the loudness level is at ca - 14 dB LUFS. This process only decreases the volume in comparison to the master; no additional distortion occurs. (...This is exactly what Cs70 was saying)

Positive gain is applied to softer masters so that the loudness level is at ca - 14 dB LUFS. A limiter is also applied, set to engage at -1 dB (sample values), with a 5 ms attack time and a 100 ms decay time. This will prevent any distortion or clipping from soft but dynamic tracks.

Thanks, didn't know! Even better :)

I _think_ I remember that one of the major platforms (YouTube?) doesn't but I am not certain, and these things can change one week to the next as new features are added in these companies continuous development cycles. So maybe they all do now..
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Re: Very confused about LUFS and RMS; can someone please clarify

Postby blinddrew » Tue Jun 02, 2020 10:39 pm

Yep, youtube turns down but not up.
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Re: Very confused about LUFS and RMS; can someone please clarify

Postby DanDan » Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:04 pm

The Loudness War is a dirty game. Many Mastering Engineers made lots of money by finding their own little loudness tricks. Clipping etc.
Unfortunately this all happened around the MP3 era. MP adds up to 2dB. So if your CD Master was rammed up to say 0.1dB the resulting MP3 would be rammed a further 1.9dB into the Over World. Now wonder Hipsters thought Vinyl sounded better.
Artists and Record Companies, paranoid about not being as loud as whoever kept pushing their pet ME's for more. The old notion of Hi Fi, which was often coupled with real music fans, died. Coincidentally the Record Business died too. Decades later, the Loudness War initiatives did some good for a while. Elbow etc. But it has crept up to absurd levels again.
Radio stations have sophisticated level management. One does not hear significant volume changes between Grace Jones and Sia.
A client of mine had a 'hit' here, over a month at number one on the significant Radio Playlist Chart. It sounded just the same as everything else. There were some specific positive comments about the sound of it. It was Mastered at -17 LUFS -1dBTP We just didn't like how it changed if pushed about that level.
The original MFiT standard was -16 but the pressure has caused a revision to -14 in Apple Digital Masters. I start to hear artefacts, ones I don't like at -16. These days I kinda have to work to -14LUFS -1dBTP as I am Apple Digital Masters certified. I find this level not too bad. A bit of a kick to it which is welcome on some weakly mixed material, I can live with the squeezy feeling. My clients are not coming back saying.... it's not as loud as.....
Radio auto levels. iTunes auto levels. The Apple spec works will with all Streaming platforms. Anyone with a decent system still playing CDs is changing volume all the time. A good 10dB or more differential over the decades. So why bother volunteering in a Loudness Army?
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Re: Very confused about LUFS and RMS; can someone please clarify

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:39 pm

I have a related question and thought I would piggy back it onto this thread instead of starting a new one. This pertains more to mixing than mastering, but they are related:

I am setting up mixes for my next album, and it looks like I am averaging with the mix peaking at -8dBFS and averaging -22 LUFS. Is this sufficient to get to a mastering engineer to get it to -15 LUFS without being too low in level?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Very confused about LUFS and RMS; can someone please clarify

Postby James Perrett » Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:46 pm

Ben Asaro wrote:I am setting up mixes for my next album, and it looks like I am averaging with the mix peaking at -8dBFS and averaging -22 LUFS. Is this sufficient to get to a mastering engineer to get it to -15 LUFS without being too low in level?

Looks like very sensible levels to me. If the peaks are really no more than -8dBFS then you've got the room to just turn up the level to give you -15LUFS without any further processing.
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Re: Very confused about LUFS and RMS; can someone please clarify

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:50 pm

Yes. Your mastering engineer would have a very easy time of it because simply boosting the level by 7dB would take your peaks to -1dBTP and the integrated loudness would be -15LUFS... So spot on....

Edit: typing too slow -- James got there first.
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Re: Very confused about LUFS and RMS; can someone please clarify

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:44 pm

Thank you both for the quick and thorough responses! I prefer to err on the side of caution and let the mastering engineer take the wheel. In terms of my monitor levels, the mix level feels great, but I wouldn't want to hand off something that could be even easier to work with by a simple change on my end ...

Thanks again!
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Re: Very confused about LUFS and RMS; can someone please clarify

Postby DanDan » Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:21 pm

Mastering Engineers can turn things down as easily as up. The advice to keep levels low is an attempt to stop people putting on a little bit of L2 or 2Buss Compression etc. etc.
We have much better tools which we work with every day.
Your levels are perfectly friendly though.
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Re: Very confused about LUFS and RMS; can someone please clarify

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:31 pm

Thanks, DanDan!
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