I’m very much a newbie to mastering. I’ve been reading about mastering for streaming services and the general consensus seems to be a bit contradictory. There seem to be two basic themes :
a) master with dynamics that sound good to you
b) target -14 LUFS
With my music, which is jazz-based, targeting -14 LUFS means I have to reduce the dynamic range considerably and the result is not good (I’m using Fabfilter’s Pro C2). The music sounds much less natural. Without compression on the master bus, most of my pieces fall naturally in the range -21 to -18 LUFS when peaking at around -1dB.
Am I misunderstanding something fundamental? Is there a way out of this conundrum?
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You wouldn't normally use a compressor like C2 to raise the level because, as you have found, it will change the sound too much. You would normally use a limiter to tame the peaks which would sound more transparent. However, there is only so much you can do, even with the most transparent limiter, and you may find that your music simply doesn't work at a higher level. In which case, I'd either accept that it needs to stay at a lower level and not worry too much or send it out to a professional mastering engineer who may have other ways of increasing the level.
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