Old 05-21-2019, 09:13 PM   #1
ryannn29
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Default LUFS for mp3s/downloads?

Hey all,
I'm working on mastering my tracks, and I've been learning how to target -9 and around -14 LUFS for CDs and Streaming.

But what about normal mp3 downloads from iTunes and Amazon Mp3? I spent so much time googling and no one article could give a straight answer.

What really surprised me is that I just checked out some tracks I purchased from Amazon Mp3 and some tracks imported from a CD, and both were playing at around -6 LUFS on my Fabfilter Pro-L 2's LUFS meter (and we're hitting around +1db on the master).
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Old 05-21-2019, 09:19 PM   #2
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Quote:
What really surprised me is that I just checked out some tracks I purchased from Amazon Mp3 and some tracks imported from a CD, and both were playing at around -6 LUFS on my Fabfilter Pro-L 2's LUFS meter (and we're hitting around +1db on the master).
Why is that surprising? You haven't heard of the Loudness War?
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:32 PM   #3
ryannn29
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Oh, I certainly have heard of it, but I also don't know what LUFS normal mp3 downloads would be at.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:55 AM   #4
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These are some lufs measurements I measured and use for reference. I'm typically at 13.5 lufs for my work as I can hear a difference at 12 with less dynamics happening. What's cool to me is a great sounding song in my book David Lee Roth, Yankee Rose, -14.8

Boston, Rock and Roll Band, -12 to -11 to -9.5
Donald Fagen, Morph the Cat, H Gang -20.5 to -17.6
Richard Marx, Hazard -20 to -14.1 to -12.8
Shania, WIM, You win my love, -14 to -12
Supertramp, Logical Song, -16.5 to -13 to -11
Rush, Moving Pictures,YYZ -19
Rush, La Villa Strangiata, -16
Pink Floyd, Time, -10 .5
Rush, Test for Echo, -9.8, -8.4
Shania, When, -9
Scorpions, Stone in my shoe, -8.2
Pink Floyd, The Wall, Run like Hell, -16.8
David Lee Roth, Ladies Night, -17
David Lee Roth, Tobacco Road, -14
David Lee Roth, Yankee Rose, -14.8
Boz Scaggs, JoJo, -14 to -12.0
Bon Jovi, Living on a Prayer, -8.5
Ac/DC, Back in Black, -11 to -8.5
Ac/DC, Let there be Rock, -12 to -11
Dixie Chicks, Wide Open Space, -12 to -7.5
Dixie Chicks, I Like it, -8
Dixie Chicks, Little Jack Slade, -12 to -11
Aerosmith, Sweet Emotion, -14 to -13
Aerosmith, Jaded, -9
Aerosmith, Love in an Elevator, -8
Aerosmith, Back in the Saddle, -13
Alice Cooper, Poison, -9.5 to -7.2
Spyro Gyra, Special Delivery, -9
Spyro Gyra, De La Luz, -11
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:56 AM   #5
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It's not important for downloads...

LUFS is for broadcast. As long as your songs don't have to fit in a row, it doesn't matter much.

For broadcast, the recommendation is -24 LUFS. For streaming, it has already been upped to -16, or even -14. Seems we can't appeal to common sense...
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:58 AM   #6
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By default the algorithms on their side maintain levels like this:

Apple Music -16LUFS
Youtube -13 LUFS
Spotify - 14 LUFS
Soundcloud -14LUFS
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepe44 View Post
By default the algorithms on their side maintain levels like this:

Apple Music -16LUFS
Youtube -13 LUFS
Spotify - 14 LUFS
Soundcloud -14LUFS
I recently uploaded to SoundCloud at -14, and it was so much quieter than other tracks on SC, I was amazed. There's 'integrated LUFS', 'momentary LUFS' (???). I couldn't get my levels in SC to an acceptable volume W/o Loudmaxing the crap out of it. I'm doing something wrong.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:53 AM   #8
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I have some tracks on Revernation. I asked them awhile back about their levels and I didnt get any response. Would you happen to know what their levels are?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pepe44 View Post
By default the algorithms on their side maintain levels like this:

Apple Music -16LUFS
Youtube -13 LUFS
Spotify - 14 LUFS
Soundcloud -14LUFS
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
It's not important for downloads...

LUFS is for broadcast. As long as your songs don't have to fit in a row, it doesn't matter much.

For broadcast, the recommendation is -24 LUFS. For streaming, it has already been upped to -16, or even -14. Seems we can't appeal to common sense...
That's what I was thinking--that it must just be for streaming since I couldn't find articles referencing LUFS for local mp3s/downloads. Thanks for confirming.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pepe44 View Post
By default the algorithms on their side maintain levels like this:

Apple Music -16LUFS
Youtube -13 LUFS
Spotify - 14 LUFS
Soundcloud -14LUFS
Yeah, I saw this; one thing important that I learned is that Apple Music references their streaming, not their downloads.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:46 AM   #10
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Even the Apple Music stream is not normalized unless users turn ON Sound Check in their iTunes preferences.

This is opposite of Spotify which has normalization on by default, and TIDAL strangely has it on by default in the mobile app, but there isn't even an option in the desktop app.

Generally speaking, the website versions of these services do not normalize.

It's a huge mess.

Just do what's best for the music and let what happens out in the wild happen.
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Old 05-23-2019, 02:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
For streaming, it has already been upped to -16, or even -14. Seems we can't appeal to common sense...
hm, this is the opposite I think... it used to be unlimited, so people would use a standard, loud LUFS such as the one used for CDs... -9 or -10 and now they try to limit the loudness war.

-24 dB is really quiet... try listening to a -24db LUFS file on headphones on normal, standard equipement, I mean, with no dedicated headphone amplifier... or even simply in your car... You'll need to boost the volume soooo much...
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winbe View Post
hm, this is the opposite I think... it used to be unlimited, so people would use a standard, loud LUFS such as the one used for CDs... -9 or -10 and now they try to limit the loudness war.
The aim of LUFS is getting the same level on broadcast sources. IE, stopping ads from being obnoxiously loud, leading to accidents when people are listening on their car radio. Or waking up granddad when he's asleep in front of the telly...

Quote:
-24 dB is really quiet... try listening to a -24db LUFS file on headphones on normal, standard equipement, I mean, with no dedicated headphone amplifier... or even simply in your car... You'll need to boost the volume soooo much...
The end user is still in control of the volume knob. I don't have any equipment that doesn't allow enough level to ruin your ears with headphones. Unless you are going deaf, of course.

The aim of LUFS is also to allow for enough dynamics for IE documentaries, with a clearly audible narrator and quiet background music. Watch Youtube and you'll find that one of the results of the loudness war is that a lot of vids have background music that is as loud as, or even considerably louder than the narrator, making them very hard to listen to.

Another consideration when developing LUFS was that a lot of people seem to have radio, or even TV, as a background. They are not paying attention to it, it's just on. And it's louder in general than the people who are really listening or watching. Very annoying for neighbours if there's an obnoxiously loud ad in between civilised programming.
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