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  #31  
Old 05-02-2021, 02:08 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
Interesting chart. No agreement between platforms :-) What makes it harder is that it seems to be a moving target as well. For example, Spotify itself says they will set it to -14, period. Tho then they go on to say that premium users of their app can select anywhere from -11 to -23. (Which seems weird, don't end users have a pesky thing called a volume control? Why would end users be specifying a target mastering level?)
We're both right and wrong no matter where we choose to land. And you're right about it being a moving target. Streaming services change their target level anytime they want.

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Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I get the difference in genres. The OP was asking about solo fingerstyle guitar, not even singer/songwriter stuff, let alone bands.
I should have said something in post #15 that my comments were not specific to solo acoustic. I mentioned it in a subsequent post but I probably caused some confusion by not mentioning it earlier.

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I just pulled up one of my son's tracks for a different genre comparison. Punk rock stuff. -6 LKFS! Peaks and transients? Who needs peaks and transients when you can blast them with a solid wall of distorted guitars? :-)
That made me laugh.

One of the mix engineers who throws mastering work my way has a tendency to mix some genres very hot. By very hot I mean he gives me tracks to master that have practically no headroom at all. It makes it a bit more difficult to master and there's no reason for it but he insists that those tracks called for it. I give him crap for it all the time.
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  #32  
Old 05-03-2021, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
I am by no means a pro engineer nor have any formal degree , so my understanding is an amateur enthusiast only .
But as I understand it and as per the linked article below
There are two types of normalization One is peak normalization (which I think of as brick wall limiting) and one is loudness normalization (which I think of as compression often with gain) .

https://www.thebroadcastbridge.com/c...lization-works
I remembered that article (vaguely) when it was published. I'm suspecting that the leading streaming platforms may do a variety of things including compression with peak normalization. Just the other day I was noticing that one of my pieces sounded different on Apple Podcasts from how it sounded when streamed directly from my provider.
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  #33  
Old 05-03-2021, 09:54 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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It's one of those "I do not think that means what you think it means" things. What normalization is, or was originally, is "the loudest point in your file hits digital zero." But the term sounds like it should mean "your song's volume sounds just as normal as all the others."
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  #34  
Old 05-03-2021, 11:19 AM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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A completely different way of looking at Compression with three possible theories:
1. The Inverse Square law.
A prime example is with flash photography.
If you are taking a picture of someone indoors, and they are standing 10 feet from you, and a wall is another 10 feet behind the the person being photographed=
You might naturally assume that there is half the light reaching the wall as compared to the person being photographed. But this is not so. The inverse Square law states there only being 1/4 the amount of light, as there is on the Person being photographed.
I believe Sound goes through a similar path as the Inverse Square Law.
Is there not more dynamic range at a close distance than at a longer distance?
Compression, might actually be normalizing the close miked recorded sound, to emulate what we might naturally hear at 10, 20 feet away. From the Audiences perspective.
2. Close Distance Hearing
Are we able to hear the complete dynamic range in which we the artist are playing? Personally my ears are only about 10 inches away from the soundhole. I lean a bit into my guitar and sometimes even closer. We might not be able to hear the complete dynamic range at such close distances. There are several possibilities as to why this might be in regards to how our ears work.
"Here is how the ear works normally:
The sound waves are gathered by the outer ear and sent down the ear canal to the eardrum. The sound waves cause the eardrum to vibrate, which sets the three tiny bones in the middle ear into motion. The motion of the bones causes the fluid in the inner ear or cochlea to move.
"
Now who is to say if there are not differences in each of us in just how much our eardrum vibrates and how the cochlea moves.
And what about hearing loss? I certainly have some especially in the higher frequencies. So the big question is; if my levels are down at certain frequencies...can I differentiate volumes accurately at close distances?
3. Perception.
And to go one step further, let us look at a beautiful photograph of a vase of flowers. The Photographer does everything possible to compliment the flowers with a nice background. In real life, Those Flowers are just sitting on a table top. Yet, those flowers in our normal household table, still evoke great emotion. Does not our minds, when we play...compress the sound to some degree? Do we not overlook-refabricate in our minds to suit how we wish to hear the piece? Think of that American Idol kid who is auditioning and thinks he has a great voice, but in reality...it is horrible. His mind is turning it into something it is not. I know I have sung out of key...but when I was singing..it sounded good to me.
In the End, As the artist playing the instrument, compression just might be normalizing what we actually hear - (Think we hear) - ( or how are ears work at close distances)
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  #35  
Old 05-03-2021, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
A completely different way of looking at Compression with three possible theories:
1. The Inverse Square law.
A prime example is with flash photography.
If you are taking a picture of someone indoors, and they are standing 10 feet from you, and a wall is another 10 feet behind the the person being photographed=
You might naturally assume that there is half the light reaching the wall as compared to the person being photographed. But this is not so. The inverse Square law states there only being 1/4 the amount of light, as there is on the Person being photographed.
I believe Sound goes through a similar path as the Inverse Square Law.
Is there not more dynamic range at a close distance than at a longer distance?
Compression, might actually be normalizing the close miked recorded sound, to emulate what we might naturally hear at 10, 20 feet away. From the Audiences perspective.
Sound does indeed follow the inverse square law but it is in power, not dynamic range. Ie, power varies by the inverse square with distance. There are also the issues of high-end absorption as sound travels through air and bass decoupling as we depart the source.
Quote:
2. Close Distance Hearing
Are we able to hear the complete dynamic range in which we the artist are playing? Personally my ears are only about 10 inches away from the soundhole. I lean a bit into my guitar and sometimes even closer. We might not be able to hear the complete dynamic range at such close distances. There are several possibilities as to why this might be in regards to how our ears work.
"Here is how the ear works normally:
The sound waves are gathered by the outer ear and sent down the ear canal to the eardrum. The sound waves cause the eardrum to vibrate, which sets the three tiny bones in the middle ear into motion. The motion of the bones causes the fluid in the inner ear or cochlea to move.
"
Now who is to say if there are not differences in each of us in just how much our eardrum vibrates and how the cochlea moves.
And what about hearing loss? I certainly have some especially in the higher frequencies. So the big question is; if my levels are down at certain frequencies...can I differentiate volumes accurately at close distances?
You've entered into the realm where Quantum Mechanics has failed us. Before Quantum Mechanics was popular and when I studied audio, the definition of sound didn't include the receiving individual. It was simply, "Compression and rarifaction of air molecules." With the addition of the receiving individual into the very definition, the epistemological status of sound is reduced to a relative quantity, no?
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3. Perception.
And to go one step further, let us look at a beautiful photograph of a vase of flowers. The Photographer does everything possible to compliment the flowers with a nice background. In real life, Those Flowers are just sitting on a table top. Yet, those flowers in our normal household table, still evoke great emotion. Does not our minds, when we play...compress the sound to some degree? Do we not overlook-refabricate in our minds to suit how we wish to hear the piece? Think of that American Idol kid who is auditioning and thinks he has a great voice, but in reality...it is horrible. His mind is turning it into something it is not. I know I have sung out of key...but when I was singing..it sounded good to me. In the End, As the artist playing the instrument, compression just might be normalizing what we actually hear - (Think we hear) - ( or how are ears work at close distances)
Perception is an interesting critter. When we are standing in a room with a sound source, our minds tend to contextualize the experience. Sound of a passing car from a nearby road is understandable and so the mind isn't distracted by it. But record the primary sound source and thus separate it from the context and play it back: the mind no longer automatically filters out the context. That same car that drove by and you mind contextualized may drive you crazy when the context is removed. Add onto that a new context: listening on a car stereo or over earbuds in a subway. In those environments dynamic range may cause the music to virtually disappear in the new context's background noise.

All these considerations plus more (for instance reproduction systems) must be factored in to producing a consumable, enjoyable recording.

Bob
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  #36  
Old 05-03-2021, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
I am by no means a pro engineer nor have any formal degree , so my understanding is an amateur enthusiast only .
But as I understand it and as per the linked article below
There are two types of normalization One is peak normalization (which I think of as brick wall limiting) and one is loudness normalization (which I think of as compression often with gain) .
More or less though compression can be a continuum depending on compression ratio. Up around ten or so gets to be somewhat like a limiter.
Then there are the attack and release settings regarding say how much initial transients you want to get through and how much you want to
keep one note from affecting the next note.
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  #37  
Old 05-03-2021, 07:08 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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A question for Bob, Because he is a professional engineer and who's replies I always enjoy;
How does LUFS register when using Parallel compression? Does it register only the uncompressed signal...as the uncompressed signal has a greater range?
As an example...if you split the signal right down the middle...and half of your content is Uncompressed and half is compressed...then how is it perceived-measured Technically? While the parallel compression offers compression to the piece, Theoretically the uncompressed signal is still offering a greater range?
Hmmm? writing it out is always good as I may have somewhat realized an answer to my own question. The uncompressed signal volume is down as it is now split(not really split but the effect is near the same)? so the registering of that signal is also down? Well there has to be more to it than that. Cause it is still using both a compressed signal and an uncompressed signal.
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  #38  
Old 05-04-2021, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
A question for Bob, Because he is a professional engineer and who's replies I always enjoy;
How does LUFS register when using Parallel compression? Does it register only the uncompressed signal...as the uncompressed signal has a greater range?
The LUFS standard is a measurement of signal density. Parallel compression splits the signal into two channels, one uncompressed and the other compressed. Typically what is done on the compressed channel is high-threshold limiting to remove the transients. Once the transients are squashed, the compressed signal is blended back in with the uncompressed signal at a level higher than it could be without compression. The whole point of parallel compression is to allow some of the lower level persistence portion of a signal to be brought up higher in relation to the transients. You are thus increasing the density of the signal. Visually, look at the first example in Doug's post and think of it as raising up the material between the whiskers of the transients.



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  #39  
Old 05-04-2021, 09:17 PM
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Unless what you're releasing is going to cd or is club music, there is no need to engage in the search for loudness. The popular online streaming services all normalize to whatever level they've chosen (usually somewhere around -14 LUFS) and your music won't be louder or softer than anyone else's because of that.

Sort of - yes, but also no.


If you don't limit your LRA your -14LUFS average will feel a lot less impactful than a mastered track. It's just the way the whole integrated loudness thing works. If you're LRA (new version of Crest Factor) is too big, you will be arriving at the integrated loudness sooner than tracks that have been mastered to control the LRA & hit the LUFS target the way they want to. It's so much better to handle the integrated loudness yourself (or with the help of a mastering engineer) than to let some algorithm figure it out for you. Averages are just that, averages...and there are many ways to arrive at an average.

So, while 2 tracks will arrive at the -14LUFS regardless, a mastered track will feel louder and more impactful because it has controlled the LRA. Therefore having a larger portion of the track closer to the top of the range than an uncompressed, unmastered track.

We all want to see the loudness wars go away - they won't just yet. Perceived loudness is complicated. We're certainly in a better place than before, but the system can still be manipulated.
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  #40  
Old 05-04-2021, 09:43 PM
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Another thought - While compression can be a "technical" thing, like a tool to help reach a specific integrated loudness target, it should first be a "feel" thing. It has to be musical. It has to help the track breathe.

I'm training a new assistant at the studio & we had a long discussion about compression the other day. What helped her understand the benefit of compression in mastering or on a master bus or stem submix was when I told her to think about compression, not so much in the technical sense of reducing peaks to allows the overall volume to be increased, but to think about it as taking all those sounds in the mix and squeezing them a little closer together. That's the idea behind the "glue" compression everyone talks about. You're forcing the sounds to cozy up to each other. The audio equivalent of a Gaussian blur in Photoshop. A very slight blur just reduces the "separateness" of all the elements.

I don't know a single Grammy winning mixer who doesn't compress their 2-bus, and I know a few of them. This is the reason they do. Not for the technical, but for a musicality of it's feel, and that's how they describe it and talk about it.

So, regardless of how you want to approach the loudness standards, there is a ton of benefit in adding some compression with a really nice sounding compressor.
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  #41  
Old 05-04-2021, 11:14 PM
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Another thought - While compression can be a "technical" thing, like a tool to help reach a specific integrated loudness target, it should first be a "feel" thing. It has to be musical. It has to help the track breathe.
For solo guitar, I typically put an LA-2 compressor on the track, with the compression light enough that the meters don't even move. It might be adding a half db or so of compression, but the point has nothing to do with achieving a loudness target, I just like the very subtle effect it has on tone and/or feel.
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  #42  
Old 05-04-2021, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by DupleMeter View Post
I don't know a single Grammy winning mixer who doesn't compress their 2-bus, and I know a few of them. This is the reason they do. Not for the technical, but for a musicality of it's feel, and that's how they describe it and talk about it.

So, regardless of how you want to approach the loudness standards, there is a ton of benefit in adding some compression with a really nice sounding compressor.
True, and I'll bet if you asked, many, if not most, would say they're mixing INTO the 2 buss compressor rather than applying it near the end of the process. They may be tweaking it throughout the process but it's likely on from the beginning.
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  #43  
Old Yesterday, 04:36 AM
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True, and I'll bet if you asked, many, if not most, would say they're mixing INTO the 2 buss compressor rather than applying it near the end of the process. They may be tweaking it throughout the process but it's likely on from the beginning.
I may be an exception then. When I entered the field back in 1981, my first boss said to me, "If I ever come in here and find you mixing with a compressor across the two-mix I will personally choke you!" Hilarious. I learned to mix without the bus compressor and then later learned that it tightened things up. My method is to build the mix and add the bus compressor near the end of the process. I used the SSL 4000 bus compressor when I had that console in my room and I use it as a plug now.

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  #44  
Old Yesterday, 08:00 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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True, and I'll bet if you asked, many, if not most, would say they're mixing INTO the 2 buss compressor rather than applying it near the end of the process. They may be tweaking it throughout the process but it's likely on from the beginning.
If you don't start mixing into it fairly early in the process, when you slap it on it's going change your balances. Maybe dramatically. If that happens and you've already started to write automation, you pretty much have to start over. Why put yourself through that extra work?
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Old Yesterday, 08:31 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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When I entered the field back in 1981, my first boss said to me, "If I ever come in here and find you mixing with a compressor across the two-mix I will personally choke you!" Hilarious.
Interesting. So people were doing it as far back as '81. I thought it was something that began trending over the past decade or less.

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If you don't start mixing into it fairly early in the process, when you slap it on it's going change your balances. Maybe dramatically. If that happens and you've already started to write automation, you pretty much have to start over. Why put yourself through that extra work?
The first time I heard/read (I can't remember which but maybe about 2-3 years ago) someone's thoughts on the subject, it made perfect sense to me.
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