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Youtube normalization vs album master

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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby ManFromGlass » Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:35 pm

If I was to buy you a gift, Martin, it would be a hand held magnifier with lights in it, that is until zoomable holographic projection CD jackets arrive! (next year.....)
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:26 pm

I'm surprised more people haven't taken advantage of Q codes to link a CD/Cassette/Record/USB stick or whatever directly to a website with full online material in a readable typeface size and with worthwhile images.

Even though I have well over 2000 CD albums and full-fat downloads on my NAS storage system accessible via iTunes and Sonos, all with cover art and basic details of composer, artists, date etc.... I really miss having access to the sleeve notes for more comprehensive information, and constantly find myself digging out the original CD to read the notes (usually to find things like recording location info for classical works, and contributors or occasional band members for other material).
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby blinddrew » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:06 pm

Bandcamp allows you to add additional material with downloads, we did a 'traditional' CD-type booklet download with the band EP last year but I must confess it's not something I've bothered with on my solo stuff because there's really nothing interesting to share! :D

[EDIT - Doh! hit post too early]
Meant to say Hugh, that's a really interesting point. I'm listening to a CD at the moment from a local musician who, presumably for reasons of cost as it's an independent release, hasn't included any kind of booklet. I'd love to have a quick way of jumping to an online version of a set of liner notes. Missed opportunity methinks, but one to file away for the future.
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby Matt Houghton » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:19 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
blinddrew wrote:
Matt Houghton wrote:Do people actually listen to whole albums on YouTube?
Regularly! :)

That's 'cos you're old... like me. We were brought up with the concept of a body of related music -- ie. the 'album' -- rather than disparate individual tracks.

I am regularly frustrated by my daughters' (both 20-somethings) complete disinterest in, or appreciation of, the concept of an album of related material and the idea of just sitting and listening to one artist's work for 20, 30 or 40 minutes. They live in a 'shuffle' world... and I think they are in the majority these days!

H

Alas, I'm no Spring chicken myself these days. My point wasn't the appeal (or otherwise) of the album. They were 'normal' when I grew up too, and I still listen to them. It was more about my surprise that people who care about this stuff are using YouTube as the preferred method of delivery...
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:15 pm

Yeah, there is that.
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby zenguitar » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:48 am

Matt Houghton wrote: It was more about my surprise that people who care about this stuff are using YouTube as the preferred method of delivery...

Maybe not a preferred method of delivery, but when your CD player has 'died' and (in the short term at least) repair or replacement isn't an option, there's a lot to be said for making use of YouTube when you have a quality AI already attached to your computer. ;)

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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby blinddrew » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:21 am

Tends to be when I'm at work for me. If I'm at home I'm generally still a CD fan...
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:02 am

I can only crank the tunes at my studio so mostly YouTube due to bonus video. It takes me totally out of any mix I am obsessing over.
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby Tasukete » Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:30 am

Hi everyone once again. I truly appreciate your replies :)

I think I made the original post unnecesarily complicated and not clear enough, as the responses you gave me were mostly in reference to something else...

CS70 wrote:In a way you have it the other way around, there’s no ‘right volume’ for a composition, but it’s the listener that decide what he or she wants

Ramirez wrote:It doesn’t matter that there is an overall change of -5dB or so because you don’t know what the listener’s volume knob at home is set to anyway. They might be listening at 5dB louder than you to begin with...

There is a right volume and a wrong volume, but I mean the listeners volume! Because all I want is for each person to hear my album at the exact same level they already have it set. Sure, each person will end up listening the album at a different volume, but it will be the right volume FOR THEM.

That's my point. What I was saying is that clearly there are parts in the album that are technically too loud and thus youtube turns the whole album down just to be safe (again, it's one entire mix, one video, not separate videos for each track). So technically it's safe but also it makes the entire album sound lower than it should be.

Zukan wrote:I suggest you get hold of Nugen's Mastercheck and mix to the meter using whatever streaming service targets you load

Thanks Zukan. I had tried this already and saw how much Youtube would reduce the gain, again making the whole album in general sound too low.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Now, as long as YouTube's normalisation process simply reduces the level of the entire album by a consistent 5.4dB (in your case), then there's no problem as the relative level differences and dynamics between the different tracks are maintained as intended.

I never said youtube changes the relative differences between the tracks, in that sense the entire album is left exactly as it is!

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Tasukete wrote:...my perception is that the volume I ended up with is basically the same as from commercial albums of different genres, give or take a db.

Perfect. The system works then! ;-)

I meant on my computer, but not on youtube.


Hugh Robjohns wrote: But they never will, because they all have their own volume controls and their own individual listening level expectations and requirements. Someone listening late at night, say, isn't going to want the replay level as loud as someone in the day, for example. You can't prescribe an absolute reference listening level for Joe Public. And you can't demand that your music should always be played back louder than someone else's.

Again, what I meant to say is that I want the volume to be leveled with whatever the listener has at that time. So if someone is listening at night at a low volume, when my album appears it is just fine, it is a good level for that moment, for that listener.

Tim Gillett wrote:
Have you checked by how many db YT lowers a range of other peoples' uploads?

I have, and for example commercial pop music I've seen anything from -0.7 all the way to -9.4db.


So again my question is whether you know how to reduce these peaks without altering the sound material. I precisely don't want to alter the dynamic range, I don't want to sacrifice any musicality, I would just like to find a way so that listeners can listen to the album just as they are normally listening to just about anything else. And again, in this case Youtube's normalization isn't doing that because it is taking those really high peaks as a reference and turning down the whole thing down as a result.

The mistake is from my end, the problem is I don't know how to fix it, and I thought perhaps some of you have an idea what can be done.

Again, thanks :)
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:41 am

Tasukete wrote:What I was saying is that clearly there are parts in the album that are technically too loud and thus youtube turns the whole album down just to be safe (again, it's one entire mix, one video, not separate videos for each track). So technically it's safe but also it makes the entire album sound lower than it should be.

Youtube turns the level down to make it attain the same perceived loudness as everything else on Youtube. It's nothing to do with making it 'safe'; it's just about compatability and consistency.

You could completely avoid the apparent volume discrepancy if you mixed/mastered your material to be compliant with YouTube's target loudness, rather than peak-normalised. But bear in mind that YouTube haven't revealed exactly how their normalising system works. It could be based on the overall integrated loudness, or on the maximum level of short-term loudness, or on the maximum true-peak level, or any combination of all three... So keeping your true-peak value at or below -3dBTP might help minimise any applied attenuation for peak-protection, and keep an eye on the short-term loudness value.

If you don't want to do that you'll just have to accept that YouTube's platform is loudness-normalised, and your particular mix dynamic is being reduced slightly to bring it into line with YouTube's requirements -- along with those of a great many others who are equally non-compliant.

I get the frustration, but it's just something we need to learn to work with because it won't be going away. As musicians, mixers and producers get used to loudness normalisation they will start to increase the dynamic range of their material again...

So again my question is whether you know how to reduce these peaks without altering the sound material. I precisely don't want to alter the dynamic range,

If you want to reduce the 'peakiness' of the peaks you will, inherently, also be reducing the dynamic range. There's no getting around that. It is by reducing the peaks that you can then raise the average volume -- which is what you are trying to do -- and the overall dynamic range is reduced... except that the more you raise the average volume the more YouTube will attenuate your music to keep it in line with its target loudness... There will be a best compromise position where you sacrifice some of your dynamic range and accept some adjustment from YouTube's algorithms.

And as for reducing peaks, you can use limiters, compressors, manual manipulation/editing etc etc...

I don't want to sacrifice any musicality, I would just like to find a way so that listeners can listen to the album just as they are normally listening to just about anything else. And again, in this case Youtube's normalization isn't doing that because it is taking those really high peaks as a reference and turning down the whole thing down as a result....

I get what you're saying. It sounds like the basic problem is that you are comparing your music, which has a very wide dynamic range, with other music which has a smaller dynamic range. As a result of Youtube's integrated loudness adjustment, the quieter bits of yours then seems too quiet by comparison, and the loud buts aren't as loud as you'd like them to be.

So you have two choices: (a) leave it as it is knowing that the full dynamic range is being maintained, even if it is all being turned down a little overall... or (b) remix it with less dynamic range to gain greater compatibility of average levels.

At the end of the day, there are always compromises to be made when trying to ensure maximum compatibility across platforms.

H
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:09 pm

I wouldn't worry too much about 'purity'. We're all going to be mixing for cassette again soon... https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/feb/23/cassette-tape-music-revival-retro-chic-rewind

Why do we bother?

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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby blinddrew » Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:22 pm

Head - desk - interface.

If ever there was a format that deserved to die.
I mean, it served its purpose for a while, but really...
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:44 pm

I miss minidisk :(
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby Wonks » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:14 pm

It all went Pete Tong when they did away with cylinders.
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:35 pm

Are you sure? I thought he came along just as shellac was giving way to vinyl :D
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby Wonks » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:43 pm

A no-deal Brexit will see a return to shellac. And wind-up gramophones.
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby CS70 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:11 pm

Tasukete wrote:So again my question is whether you know how to reduce these peaks without altering the sound material. I precisely don't want to alter the dynamic range

Technically, you can’t. It’s like asking how to make a circle square. Dynamic range is by definition the loudest level minus the lowest level, so if you lower the peaks and leave anything else unchanged, you will be decreasing dynamic range.

However there’s a non literal sense to answer your question - you may want to cut the dynamic range without changing the feel of the music.

Now a lot depends on the specific of the music, but with gentle compression, and maybe more than one compressor in sequence , for certain tracks it’s possible to reduce the dynamic range a little without changing e the overall timbre so much, so that people gets the same feel (and the author is maybe the only one who can tell). But we’re talking quite little compression here and music where the peaks are basics mostly short transients well above anything else.

That said, first of all that won’t probably help with YouTube: if they allow only a certain range, and yours is higher, it will be reduced, just like you have to saw of the sides of a circle to make it fit a smaller square.

Second (and with all kindness) again I think you don’t fully understand why normalization is in place and why it’s a good thing. When you say that your music exceeds the technical limits, you make it sound like it needs to do that to be unique and special. But these technical limits are set in a way that all the dynamic range that makes sense can be accomodated. Exceeding it is simply a nuisance, which the listener will promptly correct by turning the volume down mid-track (or swearing out loud if he has his hands full, and probably never wanting to play the thing again).. there’s no way that makes your track unique or special... it’s like fitting a racing car with square wheels on purpose. Make your music dynamic within the reasonable range and it’ll sound magnificent, and people will not have to use the volume knob midway. That’s harder but if you get there you’ll be doing awesome mixes.

Best of luck!
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Re: Youtube normalization vs album master

Postby CS70 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:26 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:I wouldn't worry too much about 'purity'. We're all going to be mixing for cassette again soon... https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/feb/23/cassette-tape-music-revival-retro-chic-rewind

Why do we bother?

:roll:

Well as I find out when I did one, you don’t actually mix for cassettes :-)
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