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  #31  
Old 07-09-2019, 10:22 PM
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I don't follow why you would even need to use a limiter on a solo guitar recording.
As a gain guide I use the K System metering system where I set the loudness meters
to where zero on the meter equals -14 dbFS.

Also just what does CD level loudness supposed to mean?
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Last edited by rick-slo; 07-09-2019 at 10:29 PM.
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  #32  
Old 07-09-2019, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
I don't follow why you would even need to use a limiter on a solo guitar recording.
As a gain guide I use the K System metering system where I set the loudness meters
to where zero on the meter equals -14 dbFS.

Also just what does CD level loudness supposed to mean?
There are different approaches, Rick. I agree, a limiter probably isn't needed for Anton's music, he plays quite consistently and maintains a nice even level just by his playing. What I tried to explain earlier was that my use of a limiter, that Anton referenced in his original post, was probably deceptive in my demo video - what I was really doing was pushing up the volume until it hit the desired level, which I could tell by noting that it was just shy of where the limiter would kick in. That said, some limiting/compression helps move a track forward, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find a commercially mastered CD, even fingerstyle, that doesn't have compression on it.

But the loudness stuff is a newish (last 10 years or so? Not sure, maybe even more recent than that) attempt at defining appropriate levels for different sources. Bob Katz' approach was a bit early, and people have taken it from there, I think. Katz' idea, as best I can tell, was to try to get you to fool yourself by changing the metering scale, and then mix like you did on analog gear - with the sound centered near "0" (which for you is -14). So you end up with an average level of somewhere around -14db, with peaks upward. The newer LKFS metering systems sort of automate that by just reporting your average level, while still allowing you to use meters that show actual 0db. Two different approaches, roughly the same result. Both are ways to try to measure the perceived average loudness of a track, not just peaks, which can be deceiving.

I'm sure Bob Womack, Joe Hannah and some others who mix professionally could offer a more accurate description. But my understanding is that there are some attempts at specs these days for broadcast, etc. CD's are apparently targetted at -15db (tho obviously no one is policing that, and I see lots of CDs with far hotter average levels, even fingerstyle guitar CDs)

Here's a reasonable-looking explanation from Waves.

https://www.waves.com/loudness-metering-explained
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  #33  
Old 07-09-2019, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Also just what does CD level loudness supposed to mean?
I guess that was a less than technical title. You know, the difference an unmixed recording and the final product, which is significantly louder.
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  #34  
Old 07-09-2019, 11:12 PM
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A common selling blurb on a limiter is how it does it's thing transparently. So the main thing is to simply increase the average volume of the music. Nevertheless there will be some distortion of the loudest transients where the limiter kicks in (though it may not be audibly apparent). So unless there are overs during the initial recording on a percussive instrument like a guitar I would rather use a volume envelope if there were some note or series of notes I would like to bring up or down in volume.
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Last edited by rick-slo; 07-10-2019 at 07:21 AM. Reason: correction added
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  #35  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:38 AM
Andy Howell Andy Howell is offline
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Tonebusters Barricade 4 is a pretty decent limiter at a very reasonable price. By far the best mastering plugin I use is the Leapwing Dynone - a mutiband compressor that always works in parallel
- and extraordinary tool.
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  #36  
Old 07-10-2019, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
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I guess that was a less than technical title. You know, the difference an unmixed recording and the final product, which is significantly louder.
I've always heard it referred to as "commercial level"..........? ie: suitable for radio broadcast, etc.
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  #37  
Old 07-10-2019, 08:05 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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I've always heard it referred to as "commercial level"..........? ie: suitable for radio broadcast, etc.
Funny you should put it that way -- when radio stations play a quiet record, they simply turn it up. And with everything else being more or less equal, material on the radio with a fair amount of dynamic range will usually sound more subjectively loud than a record that's been extremely brickwall-limited. Even though the brickwalled recording will be louder on your home stereo. Assuming you're one of the eleven people who still has a home stereo.
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  #38  
Old 07-10-2019, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I'm sure Bob Womack, Joe Hannah and some others who mix professionally could offer a more accurate description. But my understanding is that there are some attempts at specs these days for broadcast, etc. CD's are apparently targetted at -15db (tho obviously no one is policing that, and I see lots of CDs with far hotter average levels, even fingerstyle guitar CDs)
If one is learning to master today, they're more likely to be using a LUFS scale rather than db scale. They're essentially the same thing in that they're both measuring loudness, but LUFS has been deemed the more accurate because it takes into account perceived loudness, and we're seeing it used in metering plugins that have been developed more recently. I think this development comes in an attempt to create some kind of loudness standards in the industry but I'm not up on all the history behind it.

More detailed info here: What's the Difference between Decibels and LUFS?

Everything I've read tells -15db/-15LUFS would be a reasonable target for streaming applications but on the low side for a cd for which the target is the -8 - -10 range.

There's a metering plugin called Levels that I started using some months ago. It allows you to set your LUFS targets and alerts you when you go over. It has a menu for various target presets (cd, YouTube, Spotify, etc) so you can master for the intended platform. The presets are adjustable so you're not locked into the plugins recommendations. It also keeps an eye on your peaks, the stereo field, and the dynamic range. I find it quite handy.
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  #39  
Old 07-10-2019, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
Everything I've read tells -15db/-15LUFS would be a reasonable target for streaming applications but on the low side for a cd for which the target is the -8 - -10 range.

There's a metering plugin called Levels that I started using some months ago. It allows you to set your LUFS targets and alerts you when you go over. It has a menu for various target presets (cd, YouTube, Spotify, etc) so you can master for the intended platform. The presets are adjustable so you're not locked into the plugins recommendations. It also keeps an eye on your peaks, the stereo field, and the dynamic range. I find it quite handy.
I haven't tried that one, I'll check it out. TC Electronic's meter suggests -15LUFS for a CD (I think Ozone suggests -14, I'd have to check), but I agree, many CDs I see are much hotter than that. But it seems dependent on the material to me. For solo fingerstyle, like Anton's style, no percussion, tapping, etc, the -15 target as well as Rick's -14 K-scale end up creating a level that's pretty consistent with commercial CDs of similar style (not talking about super-compressed Candyrat-type stuff), and will probably have transient peaks just under 0db with little or no compression. I haven't tried, but I think it would be hard to get Anton's music to -8 without a lot of compression that probably wouldn't sound right.
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Last edited by Doug Young; 07-10-2019 at 12:32 PM.
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  #40  
Old 07-10-2019, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
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I haven't tried that one, I'll check it out. TC Electronic's meter suggests -15LUFS for a CD, but I agree, many CDs I see are much hotter than that. But it seems dependent on the material to me. For solo fingerstyle, like Anton's style, no percussion, tapping, etc, the -15 target as well as Rick's -14 K-scale end up creating a level that's pretty consistent with commercial CDs of similar style (not talking about super-compressed Candyrat-type stuff), and will probably have transient peaks just under 0db with little or no compression. I haven't tried, but I think it would be hard to get Anton's music to -8 without a lot of compression that probably wouldn't sound right.
I really wish the industry would come together and agree on some standards. There have been attempts but nothing formal and nothing really seems to have taken root. There's too much loudness deviation. I'm noticing it a lot lately because I got a new ipod to use in my car and created a bunch of new playlists with songs that span genres and decades. I'm finding myself reaching for the volume knob way too much.
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  #41  
Old 07-10-2019, 12:18 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
I really wish the industry would come together and agree on some standards. There have been attempts but nothing formal and nothing really seems to have taken root. There's too much loudness deviation. I'm noticing it a lot lately because I got a new ipod to use in my car and created a bunch of new playlists with songs that span genres and decades. I'm finding myself reaching for the volume knob way too much.
Radio stations and TV networks attempt to do that kind of evening-out, but the tech they use to do it is pretty crude and hands-off.

One of the goals of record-mastering, usually, is to deliver a sequence of songs where the listener doesn't have to fiddle with the volume control. But beyond that, I'm not bothered by the overall volume of one record being different from another.

If I was a playlist person like you, though, I might think about loading it all into my DAW, evening out the levels, and then spitting it back out. Like Rhino does with their compilations.
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  #42  
Old 07-10-2019, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
I really wish the industry would come together and agree on some standards. There have been attempts but nothing formal and nothing really seems to have taken root. There's too much loudness deviation. I'm noticing it a lot lately because I got a new ipod to use in my car and created a bunch of new playlists with songs that span genres and decades. I'm finding myself reaching for the volume knob way too much.
Car's are a tough environment, things seem completely different with various levels of road noise. Fingerstyle guitar usually gets lost in the sound of the tires...
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  #43  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:15 PM
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This is an article that has some relevant info regarding "loudness" standards and music streaming platforms:

https://unlockyoursound.com/online-loudness/

Here's a site where you can upload a track and see if, or how much it will be "penalized" by Youtube, Spotify, TIDAL, Pandora, and Apple Sound Check.

https://www.loudnesspenalty.com/
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  #44  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by catdaddy View Post
This is an article that has some relevant info regarding "loudness" standards and music streaming platforms:

https://unlockyoursound.com/online-loudness/

Here's a site where you can upload a track and see if, or how much it will be "penalized" by Youtube, Spotify, TIDAL, Pandora, and Apple Sound Check.

https://www.loudnesspenalty.com/
Interesting test site. I just uploaded a track from Anton's CD, mastered by Cass Anawaty. If I understand correctly, it says that Pandora and Spotify will turn the track down 1db, while iTunes will boost it by 1db. Of course, this is all streaming, not a CD.
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  #45  
Old 07-10-2019, 02:58 PM
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I just ran a couple of songs I mastered through the test site as well. The top was a master for cd; the bottom was a master for YouTube. The numbers are about what I expected.

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