Helpful ReplyIan Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering

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Hangdog Cat
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2017/08/18 21:15:13 (permalink)

Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering

http://productionadvice.co.uk/lufs-dbfs-rms/
 
I'd be interested in hearing people's thoughts. I'm trying to get all of my tracks to master out at approximately the same volume,  and stay within loudness guidelines, and am getting more and more confused.
 
I downloaded his pink noise file, and it shows in Sonar as about 3 dB lower than the -11.5 dB he specified. I then changed my stereo panning law from -3 dB center to 0 dB center, but it made no difference in how the meter read the pink noise file.

 
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Steve_Karl
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/08/19 14:52:59 (permalink)
Good video.
I think I saw others by him before I ...
I got the Klanghelm VUMT meter a while back and have been using it on all projects.
https://klanghelm.com/contents/products/VUMT/VUMT.php

I'll be checking the pink noise file with that.
I don't really think the Sonar meters are very good for reading RMS.
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KingsMix
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/08/19 15:29:20 (permalink)
Hangdog Cat
http://productionadvice.co.uk/lufs-dbfs-rms/
 
I'd be interested in hearing people's thoughts. I'm trying to get all of my tracks to master out at approximately the same volume,  and stay within loudness guidelines, and am getting more and more confused.
 
I downloaded his pink noise file, and it shows in Sonar as about 3 dB lower than the -11.5 dB he specified. I then changed my stereo panning law from -3 dB center to 0 dB center, but it made no difference in how the meter read the pink noise file.


What's in your mastering chain?
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/08/19 23:13:07 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Steve_Karl 2017/08/20 18:16:30
Sonar's meters reading 3dB low compared to K system meters has been discussed before.

This thread from 2005 might be useful.
http://forum.cakewalk.com...-Metering-m382352.aspx

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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/08/20 00:09:34 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby synkrotron 2017/11/07 18:16:54
It has nothing to do with pan laws. Don't change them mid-project, it'll screw up your mix. Your best bet using bundled plugins in SONAR is Adaptive Limiter, which conveniently displays LUFS values.


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Hangdog Cat
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/08/20 00:38:02 (permalink)
"What's in your mastering chain?"
 
Usually just Ozone 6 Advanced. I tend to master in place, rather than export a stereo mix and then master that. I find that there's always something I want to change in the mix. Call me wishy-washy.
 
I just bought a UAD-2 Octo card, arriving Tuesday, and then I'll be getting several mastering plugins...compressors, EQs, tape emulations. I'm trying to mostly move away from Ozone because it's such a CPU hog. 
 
"Sonar's meters reading 3dB low compared to K system meters has been discussed before."
 
Thanks...I'll check that article out.
 
"It has nothing to do with pan laws. Don't change them mid-project, it'll screw up your mix. Your best bet using bundled plugins in SONAR is Adaptive Limiter, which conveniently displays LUFS values." 
 
I wondered if they were 2 separate issues. And I haven't yet gotten around to using the Adaptive Limiter, but I've heard nothing but good things about it.
 
Btw, that new help module is a gem. I've already learned so much from it. For those who don't know, just press "y" and it will pop up in your Browser. Hover your mouse over anything in Sonar and the module will display relevant explanatory text.
 
Thanks to all.
 
 
 
 

 
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JohnEgan
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/08/20 17:17:34 (permalink)
Hangdog Cat
I'd be interested in hearing people's thoughts. 



Hey good day, 
Thanks for this reference, This has helped me a lot to understand this concept in simple terms, and more so what levels I should be trying to achieve, or being considered standard convention.
Like you say with the pink noise sample file, Sonar meters appear at around -15 dB RMS, although difficult to see accurately, but Izotope Insight gives me a perfect LUFS integrated level of  -11.5.
Thanks again
Cheers 

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Paul G
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/08/20 19:44:41 (permalink)
Thanks for posting that link, Hangdog.

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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/08/21 02:19:55 (permalink)
Glad you guys found it useful.
 
One of these days I'll sort it all out and actually know what I'm doing.
 
'Till then I'll muddle through.

 
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/11/07 18:33:34 (permalink)
So glad I searched for LUFS first, before starting another topic on the subject.
 
I have just spent the last two years working to the K system, mainly K12, for my ambient stuff.
 
Then over on the other forum I frequent, a loudness discussion was started and LUFS was mentioned. I ignored it then, but it raised its head again with respect to someone's track.
 
I had already come across the Ian Shepherd article and associated video, which I found very interesting and it does make a lot of sense.
 
As it happens I had already embarked upon no longer using any compression on any of my creations and even though I have Pro-L on my master buss, I only use it because I like the metering. If something is too hot, now I use automation, in some form or another, to tame any peaks.
 
That said, it appears that I am still mixing (I don't like using the term mastering because I really don't know what I am doing) a bit too high. Talk on the street is, for ambient stuff, I should be hitting between -18 to -16 LUFS, integrated (over the length of a track).
 
bitflipperYour best bet using bundled plugins in SONAR is Adaptive Limiter, which conveniently displays LUFS values.



Thanks for pointing that out, Dave. Because I already had Pro-L, which can display RMS to the K system, I didn't bother trying Adaptive Limiter when it was introduced into SONAR. My initial question about this tool is, it doesn't give me a peak integrated LUFS level and once a track starts to fade, or get louder, the LUFS value changes too.
 
Ian Shepherd used something called LCAST but that is something like $200 and I'm not sure I can afford that at the moment.
 
 
So I am now looking into what other tools are out there that I can use just to meter, in terms of LUFS.

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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/11/07 18:53:12 (permalink)
I am now trying this tool, which was mentioned in the ambient online forum:-
 
https://youlean.co/youlean-loudness-meter/
 
 
 

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synkrotron
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/11/07 18:58:19 (permalink)
This topic could do with being in Techniques...

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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/11/07 21:43:22 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby synkrotron 2017/11/12 08:07:50
Other really good free options:
 
TBProAudio dpMeter II
 
http://www.tb-software.com/TBProAudio/dpmeter2.html
 
MLoudnessAnalyzer (in the MFreeFXBundle)
 
https://www.meldaproduction.com/MLoudnessAnalyzer
 

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synkrotron
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/11/12 08:13:11 (permalink)
So, anyone got any ideas on what LUFS level we should be shooting for?
 
Personally, based on a discussion on the ambient online forum, I am currently experimenting with -18 LUFS.
 
When you look at various online documentation about this stuff, -23 is mentioned, plus LCAST and other meters seem to set this as a level for watching...

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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/11/12 08:27:48 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby synkrotron 2017/11/12 09:36:48
I think it depends a little on what streaming services you may be using. Apple for example like -16 LUFS. Apparently that is the level that the automatic soundtrack feature will strive for.  The level where it may do very little to adjust.
e.g. if a track is way louder than -16 LUFS then Apple will turn it down. And if its way lower than that then I assume it turns it up. Trying to get to the -16 LUFS reference.
 
-16 LUFS is very close to a K-14 master as long as the K-14master maintains much the same level all the way through.
 
Where things can get tricky is if a track is sitting at -14rms (or -16 LUFS) for say 2/3 rd of it but for a section then the overall level drops for say a 1/3 rd of the track. The LUFS reading will be lower then.
 
I think -18 LUFS might be a little soft.  As someone who is mastering tracks for people a -18 LUFS master would not be loud enough for them.
 
I have worked at K-14 for quite a long time and it seems now that it might be the perfect level to strive for.  The video and TV guys are wanting their soundtracks to be down at -23 LUFS which is also pretty close to a K-20 master as well. (Assuming overall constant level throughout) 
 

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synkrotron
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/11/12 09:42:34 (permalink)
Jeff Evans
 
I think -18 LUFS might be a little soft. 




Yeah, I know what you mean... I have gone from using the K12 system to this -18LUFS and it is a bit quieter. But, still okay, probably because of the material I have been used to listening to over the last couple of years.
 
At the end of the day, as long as a complete album is "finished" to the same system, all should be okay. The problem that will arise, of course, is when Peeps start adding individual tracks to play lists or using shuffle on their player.
 
One thing that has to happen, it seems, and I feel even more strongly about this now, more then ever, is that highly compressed music, that is, the "Loudness Wars" has to stop. Not that I'm big enough to stop it of course haha! All I can do is make a statement in my own creations.
 
 
cheers, and thanks,
 
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/11/12 15:02:51 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby synkrotron 2017/11/12 19:23:35
YouTube has settled on -11 LUFS. Spotify uses -14 (a recent change from -11). These are the target long-term values, above which they turn the material down. AFAIK none of them turn anything UP, only down. There would therefore seem to be no benefit in shooting for anything too far below those values.
 
Because I used the K-14 scale for years, it was natural to adopt -14 LUFS. But lately I've been targeting -11 because it works better for CDs. If played on YouTube it would not be lowered, and on other services it would only be turned down by 3 dB.
 
If you want to hear what a difference it makes, go to YouTube and listen to music videos. First listen without knowing its loudness and note whether it sounds clean or muddy, dynamic or flat. Then peek at the actual loudness value (right-click on the video and select "stats for nerds"). It'll be given as -X dB where X is the difference between the raw audio and the YouTube target loudness.
 
Here's one that was apparently mastered specifically for YouTube. It's one of a series, every one of which is mastered to the exact same loudness target. And it sounds lovely.
 

 
 


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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/11/12 19:32:16 (permalink)
bitflipper
YouTube has settled on -11 LUFS. Spotify uses -14 (a recent change from -11). These are the target long-term values, above which they turn the material down. AFAIK none of them turn anything UP, only down. There would therefore seem to be no benefit in shooting for anything too far below those values.
 
Because I used the K-14 scale for years, it was natural to adopt -14 LUFS. But lately I've been targeting -11 because it works better for CDs. If played on YouTube it would not be lowered, and on other services it would only be turned down by 3 dB.
 
If you want to hear what a difference it makes, go to YouTube and listen to music videos. First listen without knowing its loudness and note whether it sounds clean or muddy, dynamic or flat. Then peek at the actual loudness value (right-click on the video and select "stats for nerds"). It'll be given as -X dB where X is the difference between the raw audio and the YouTube target loudness.
 
Here's one that was apparently mastered specifically for YouTube. It's one of a series, every one of which is mastered to the exact same loudness target. And it sounds lovely.
 

 
 




Thanks for the info, bit, and the video link... I'll do as you say and check some stuff out.
 
And, as you say, if YouTube is settling on -11 LUFS and Spotify on -14 then, yeah, -18 LUFS would be a bit daft.
 
Good thing is, once you have "mastered" a track/album to a certain LUFS value, it is dead easy to increase/decrease the level to suit. One LU is the same as one dB so all I would have to do to get a track or album up to -11 is raise levels by +7dB.
 
The important thing, I think, going off what I have read and from Ian Shepard's video is to drop the K system and use LUFS meters, because the way the "integrated LUFS" level is measured is different, and supposedly "better" than RMS, and who am I to argue that point? haha!
 
Cheers, and thanks again,
 
andy

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Jeff Evans
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Re: Ian Sheperd's Article on Loudness Metering 2017/11/12 19:33:30 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby synkrotron 2017/11/12 19:46:30
There are plug-ins that let you hear your mixes under the influences of what the streaming services ref level checking and adjustment might be doing.
 
https://www.nugenaudio.com/mastercheck-playout-loudness-and-dynamics-metering-aax-au-vst_41
 
For a track that is fairly even in level overall, the K system value is about 2 dB higher than the LUFS level. So a K 14 master is producing close to -16 LUFS.  Aiming for a -14 LUFS master is similar to K-12. Which Andy likes to master to.  It is still important to know where rms levels fit in and how they relate to LUFS levels.  Working with VU levels right from the start will set up you nice for a great target LUFS master.  I say dropping VU level reading is not good advice at all.  If used wisely it can set you up for a great sounding mix.  Nothing to stop you from using several measuring systems.  I tend to work with VU rms for a lot of the production. It is actually easier and faster. Are you going to fiddle around with LUFS readings on tracks for example? I end up with perfectly balanced loudness wise tracks for an album using rms readings. Then in mastering you can bring in extra reading systems. e.g. LUFS and I also like checking on a dynamic range meter (DR) as well. 
 
I work at the same level for all the mix production.  That is either -14 or -20 for me.  It is in mastering that I make the final change.  I think in time it will be the norm for mastering levels to be much more sensible.  I think -14 is an excellent level.  It has a good balance of loudness , dynamics and transients.  
 
The -23 LUFS ref level is also very versatile too.  If you make -23 the constant level for a soundtrack for a film say, it means a whopping 23 of headroom is available if you needed it. (They certainly achieved it in Blade Runner 2049!)  It is also very close to K-20.
 
The thing that makes LUFS interesting is the time over which the reading is taken. It tells you a lot more about the overall level of something. Over much greater time.  VU rms is still longer and slower than peak values but over much less time than LUFS.  They are all relevant here. Peak reading, rms reading and now LUFS reading. We need them all.

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