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Loudness Meter when Mixing Question: Integrated + Peak + Range

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Loudness Meter when Mixing Question: Integrated + Peak + Range

Postby AMusicPlayerPlus » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:52 am

Mixing some composition on Cubase 10 Pro, and see Integrated Loudness Meter = -15.4 LUFS. I know recommended value is -23 LUFS. I know it's important from the other hand to approximate True Peak to -1dB and Range = at least 15 LU. Please advise, what is a right approach to get Integrated + Peak + Range correct. Thanks!
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Re: Loudness Meter when Mixing Question: Integrated + Peak + Range

Postby John Egan » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:05 am

I have recently started to get to grips with the Waves WLM loudness meter. I find with my tracks, I don't often get near a range of 15 LUFS, more like -10 maximum. However, I think that this is more down to the type of songs and the arrangements than the mixing stage. I was previously mixing and mastering for CDs to a -1 db peak, but have been experimenting with a lower setting down to -3 db. The jury is out with regards to the results, but I'm stilll at the experimental stage.
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Re: Loudness Meter when Mixing Question: Integrated + Peak + Range

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:12 am

The only absolute rule is that peaks should never go above -1dBTP ...ever...

...and where the material is likely to be passed through a lossy codec (eg, MP3 or any broadcast tranmission) a maximum true peak level of -3dBTP is preferable. (The extra headroom is needed to avoid internal clipping in the codec.)

Everything else is highly dependent on the specific situation and the style of music. Different musical styles will have different (dynamic) ranges and different true peak levels, regardless of the target integrated loudness value.

And while a target loudness of -23LUFS/LKFS is currently the standard for broadcast TV programmes as a whole... that doesn't necessarily mean a music composition intended for use within a TV programme should be mixed to have the same target!

In fact very little (if any!) commercial music would come anywhere near that... It is the dubbing mixer's job to balance and manipulate the music to fit at whatever level (and with whatever dynamic range) is appropriate within the overall programme mix.

Music streaming services generally have current target loudness levels of between -16LUFS and -12LUFS, most settling around -14LUFS at the moment.

So I'd say your current Integrated loudness value was pretty much already spot on.

The Range value can only depend on the dynamics within your composition... Personally, I like a wide dynamic range on appropriate material, but equally there are genres where a small dynamic range is more appropriate.

So I'd just focus on making the music sound good and 'right' within itself, rather than trying to force the mix to achieve a specific range value.

H
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Re: Loudness Meter when Mixing Question: Integrated + Peak + Range

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:18 am

I would add to Hugh's highly informative answer, that if you start trying to 'mix to the numbers' your mixes are going to suffer. Mix creatively, but understand that the files you deliver need to conform to certain standards. Or not, depending on where they're going.

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Re: Loudness Meter when Mixing Question: Integrated + Peak + Range

Postby The Elf » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:37 am

My take on it:
https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=70299&p=649457#p649457
Don't become a slave to the numbers - LN has given us *choice*!
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Re: Loudness Meter when Mixing Question: Integrated + Peak + Range

Postby John Egan » Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:26 pm

Hugh, Jack and Elf, those were very interesting replies and they certainly provide some reassurance that we shouldn't compromise how the mix sounds for the sake of a notionally "perfect" balance.
I'm currently experimenting with reducing the master voume on mixes, so that the peak limiter (set to -3 db) isn't called into play and I wonder what the downside - if any - there might be.
Regards, John
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Re: Loudness Meter when Mixing Question: Integrated + Peak + Range

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:54 pm

The track might sound slightly less loud than something that is banged up to the endstops.

But the upside is that it will sound nicer, and it will survive MP3 coding much better!
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Re: Loudness Meter when Mixing Question: Integrated + Peak + Range

Postby John Egan » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:03 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The track might sound slightly less loud than something that is banged up to the endstops.

But the upside is that it will sound nicer, and it will survive MP3 coding much better!


Thanks, Hugh. I hoped that might be the case.
Regards, John
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