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Marcello

Is this Master Too Loud? (LUFS/Youleanmeter)

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Posted (edited)

Yes John - I am totally with you here - Low frequencies can push your readings to the max (not me a different Max lol) - Your song might not sound loud if you have too much stuff down there!  Also 1k-3k can make it too loud. Voxengo Span is a great free app for looking at frequency balance/volumes.

 

I don't think this is that great of a list - but it has a few good ones listed. They left out several - ADPT Streamliner, Levels, MLoudness, Waves WLM Plus. One of my favorite.

https://www.musicradar.com/news/12-of-the-best-vstau-metering-plugins

Edited by Max Arwood
added info

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, John Vere said:

Maybe you should post the song or part of it so some of us can analyze it for you. It might just be the mix making it somehow quieter. Possibly you have to many sub frequencies pushing your levels but not sounding loud on most playback equipment. 

Example a kick drum can be almost peaking at -0.1 true peak but the LUFS are only -28. A kick is a very transient instruments. But a bass  which is more of a sustained sound, might be peaking at -3.0 and the luffs are -16.  In the mix  through smaller studio monitor or headphones these two instruments together sound correct to your ears. Your not hearing everything they are producing. 

Low frequencies can push your readings to the max and on a cell phone which doesn't play those sounds, the mix will end up quiet. 

 I use SPAN  and a sub woofer to check my low end. Its a common mistake to have too much low end in a mix and be unaware that this is why your mixes "sound" quiet. All that low end energy is pushing the meters and the readings. Slap a hi pass filter on your master buss and start moving it up towards 100hz and watch those levels drop. 

 

14 hours ago, bitflipper said:

^^^ Excellent point, Cactus. Excessive sub-bass can make mastering difficult. I wouldn't expect an automated mastering tool to be able to handle it.

Guys, thanks for the advices,

I did a master with LANDR where you just drag and drop basically and it's automatic, I didn't do anything.

Then I tried with Ozone 9 to make one by myself with EQ and stuff, but is the first time I do it.

Woud you take a listen? What's the best in your opinion? How's the LUFS and peaks are they ok? too hot? too loud?

Consider LANDR master is in mp3 high def, since I will just pay for the wav once I'm sure. The other is WAV.

Ozone 9:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zih7N970u5bafP2YI8NnUFJy1YgruRuP/view?usp=sharing

LANDR:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kwDKRtfo3DLAsNb8CZjrFZGGuZRlYJX1/view?usp=sharing

Edited by Marcello

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Your DIY master is definitely better. The automated one sounds dreadful, with obvious compression artifacts and distortion. 

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1 minute ago, bitflipper said:

Your DIY master is definitely better. The automated one sounds dreadful, with obvious compression artifacts and distortion. 

Really? thanks!

To me mine it sounds much thinner though compared to the other

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29 minutes ago, bitflipper said:

Your DIY master is definitely better. The automated one sounds dreadful, with obvious compression artifacts and distortion. 

On my master is just a problem with Left Right balance I think? not sure how should I adjust this.

image.thumb.png.3032f564cd81eca2d3bc5524841e5a9e.png

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I was just looking at this lufs stuff. It's easy to test it in youtube. And youtube has apparently the same level of normalisation as spotify, tidal etc.

Make a simple video of your song and upload it to youtube. Then right click and you see (the bottom line takes you to the control panel) how much it's been levelled. For example, if it shows 'content loudness 4dB' youtube then allows playback only at 60% of full volume.  If the reading is negative like -4dB youtube won't touch the level. So the normalising only works downwards. The recommended lufs are -14 but it depends what the peaks really are. I didn't notice any added compression, just volume change.

If your master is very loud but sounds good, don't worry, youtube makes the level correct for you. But if you want to look for the sweetspot between limited/compressed sound and a dynamic one, it's worth having a look before you make the final master for upload/streaming.

I think this is great. No need to bulldoze a mix to keep it sounding as loud as the next song in youtube. So now you can just focus on the actual sound quality.

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I agree with Bit. The Lander master is sort of what I'd expect they slam it to a limiter make it overly compressed and punters will think this is good because now they are loud!  You can do this yourself with things like the free Loud Max or Boost11.  What a waste of money if you ask me. 

No doubt your left /fright balance will not be even when you hard pan guitars like that. If that's the mix you wanted don't worry about it. Oh, I can't really hear much of the drums at all. 

And Span confirms my theory. See all the low end in the Lander version, right around 150.  And look at all the low mid that's missing which on most playback systems is the most important..  your version was much better but looks a little peaky in the higher end. 

You're better off to use these tools and master yourself using the compression/ limiter and EQ of your choice. I'm always experimenting with different plug ins. Last go round was the Loud Max for limiting and the LP Multiband to dial in a frequency balance looking at span and the LP meters. 

Your version

124859377_Screenshot(101).png.03b583835de0de23ba92337e244c0999.png

 

Lander Version

946520448_Screenshot(102).png.e86b7b0a39e566299e8b9df51d8ab66d.png

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20 minutes ago, John Vere said:

I agree with Bit. The Lander master is sort of what I'd expect they slam it to a limiter make it overly compressed and punters will think this is good because now they are loud!  You can do this yourself with things like the free Loud Max or Boost11.  What a waste of money if you ask me. 

No doubt your left /fright balance will not be even when you hard pan guitars like that. If that's the mix you wanted don't worry about it. Oh, I can't really hear much of the drums at all. 

And Span confirms my theory. See all the low end in the Lander version, right around 150.  And look at all the low mid that's missing which on most playback systems is the most important..  your version was much better but looks a little peaky in the higher end. 

You're better off to use these tools and master yourself using the compression/ limiter and EQ of your choice. I'm always experimenting with different plug ins. Last go round was the Loud Max for limiting and the LP Multiband to dial in a frequency balance looking at span and the LP meters. 

Your version

124859377_Screenshot(101).png.03b583835de0de23ba92337e244c0999.png

 

Lander Version

946520448_Screenshot(102).png.e86b7b0a39e566299e8b9df51d8ab66d.png

Sweet then I'll keep working with Ozone 9, is pretty rad, but unfortunately I have it only for 10 days for free, it costs shitload of money

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Thanks for taking a closer look, which I was too lazy - er, too busy - to do. The pictures certainly reinforce what I heard: a scooped spectral imbalance.

First thing I'd do before commencing any mastering or master-bus processing at all, would be to do something about that 2K bump. The OP is probably being held back by his monitoring environment (headphones?) while mixing. That's where spectral images come in handy, showing you what you maybe can't hear well.

I'd also note that this type of composition can't be evaluated from a whole-song analysis, because it's sparse in places and full in others. OP picked a tough song to first try mastering on. I'd concentrate on the loudest part of the song when setting levels and dynamic reduction, as the quieter parts may well fall into place naturally.

 

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There are less-expensive mastering tools out there, Marcello. They won't be do-all suites like Ozone, so you'll have to run down individual plugins for EQ, compression, limiting, phase analysis, saturation, and all the other cool stuff Ozone does.

For example, there is Limiter No. 6. It's free and works well, with its only downside being it's complicated and not very user-friendly. Which just means its learning curve will be steeper than Ozone. But think of it as "sweat equity", trading your time to save money.

 

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On 7/21/2021 at 7:25 AM, Marcello said:

Hi guys!

one question, I have done a master with those online mastering tool automatically.

Now I want to check if it's too loud or not, I'm using Youlean Meter but I'm not sure how to use it.

It seems that is clipping but when I compare it with an artist reference track I have downloaded online in .FLAC format (so I suppose it's how it should be)  that's also clipping.

So, I know when you upload the track on the online streaming platforms it turns down the volume most of the times, like on spotify, but I suppose there should be a kind of "standard volume" for proper Albums?

That's what I would like I mean, I understand this can work for spotify but I also listen albums from downloaded tracks mostly in local so what would be the correct volume threshold? are these too loud?

If yes, why then  all the tracks I have downloaded in High Definition from different artists are also clipping if I check them out in Youlean Meter??

Also if I just listen to the reference track I used on Spotify and compare it with the one I have downloaded in flac and analyzed with the youlean meter, it's exactly the same volume, so it seems that spotify didn't really turned the volume down, how come if in this analyzer is clipping? 

Only thing I notice is the Loudness range in my song is higher than the reference track, but if I just compare the tracks to my ears, mine is way more quite than the reference track.

These are the two songs mine and the reference track as you can see they both clips

image.thumb.png.cdfbb9b158ae2c9070971cb74eb1f2f3.png

REFERENCE:

image.thumb.png.ff184ad8b30524a0d3fc3ef5dfa08bad.png

Hi Marcello, I've been following this thread, maybe I can offer some help too.

YouLean loudness meter has a way to show you the true peaks in real time (not just the average or integrated levels). If you disable the Short-term loudness graph you'll see a different picture. If you have any large peaks (for example a kick that is putting out a high level in the sub-50 Hz range) you'll see it quickly.

Also, you mentioned the red lines/dots at the top of the meter; I believe those are spots where the peaks exceed the True Peak Max level setting. I'm using the free version and I think the preset for that is -1 dB. Any peaks higher than that will show up with a red dot. If you have the Pro version I believe you can set your True Peaks manually.

For me, looking at the True Peak loudness gave me a lot of information about why my songs were showing up as "too loud" even though they didn't sound loud.

 

True peaks.jpg

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I happily paid for the pro version for the drag and drop feature. I have used it hundreds of times on just about every track I record as well as my masters, my videos and testing old files. It’s a tool I couldn’t work with out now. 
The paid version also can be set using presets or your own custom peak levels. 
Those red lines tell you when both the peak or the LUFS exceeds your settings. It all adjustable in the settings. 
 

I bought Ozone on Black Friday sale and it made my mixes sound worse than if I do it myself. It is a good starting point for beginners but takes more work for me to get it to sound right. Collecting dust now 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Marcello said:

Sweet then I'll keep working with Ozone 9, is pretty rad, but unfortunately I have it only for 10 days for free, it costs shitload of money

@MarcelloI  just got a notification yesterday from PluginBoutique.com (a legitimate site handling only legal versions of plugins) with an offer for customers of PlugIn Boutique to get Ozone 9 Standard for $49 (80% off) as part of a Summer Izotope sale on various products (Only good until August 1st).  You can sign-up with PlugInBoutique today and "may" be able to take advantage of the offer by looking around the website for Ozone 9 offers. I am an owner of Ozone Essentials, but that does not appear to be the criteria for this offer.

Be aware that sometimes, not always, such large discounts may be related to a new version to be released, but I think the current version of Ozone 9 Standard is quite powerful and very usable (from my use of the demo) being a novice user, and I am going to purchase it. If you register on the site and don't find this offer, send me a note, and I can forward the email info I received.

Edited by NOLAGuy
additional text

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I see what I have is Ozone 9 Elements and I got it from same deal at Plug in Boutique last fall. But as I said it is gathering dust as I didn't like what it did.

As Bitflipper said lots of free plug ins including what comes with CbB, can do the same but just not automatically. That said it's this automatic thing that trashed the OP's song. It even LOOKs bad. No dynamics just 50% slammed to the roof. And yes my screenshots above were from this same spot in the song. As said it has quiet spots too. That does make it that much more tricky to master. 

Screenshot (103).png

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3 hours ago, John Vere said:

I see what I have is Ozone 9 Elements and I got it from same deal at Plug in Boutique last fall. But as I said it is gathering dust as I didn't like what it did.

As Bitflipper said lots of free plug ins including what comes with CbB, can do the same but just not automatically. That said it's this automatic thing that trashed the OP's song. It even LOOKs bad. No dynamics just 50% slammed to the roof. And yes my screenshots above were from this same spot in the song. As said it has quiet spots too. That does make it that much more tricky to master.

@John Vere I agree that there are more than adequate free or low-cost plugins that can match Ozone 9, but as you say, not as easily novice-friendly as an integrated mastering product. And that is what I'm searching for... an integrated mastering product that others have successfully used and continue to use, which can help my understanding and learning curve in the Mastering process. There may be a much more useful product than Ozone 9 Standard for that $50 level or less that would fit my needs. I'm not a professional musician and started  doing vocal recording and building background tracks to support the vocals, in Dec 2019, having been a user of Cakewalk to build MIDI tracks since it's very early days. I've made it my main hobby and being retired can devote many hours to building recording/mixing/mastering knowledge and skills.

So any suggestions, guidance, or cautions which any on this board are willing to offer will be greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, I'll stick to the simple mastering basics of using EQ, Compression, and Peak Limiting.

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The best investment you can make in your mixes will be bass traps. Real bass traps, not the foam chunks masquerading as bass traps. They are actually really simple to build.

  • Thanks 1

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18 hours ago, NOLAGuy said:

@MarcelloI  just got a notification yesterday from PluginBoutique.com (a legitimate site handling only legal versions of plugins) with an offer for customers of PlugIn Boutique to get Ozone 9 Standard for $49 (80% off) as part of a Summer Izotope sale on various products (Only good until August 1st).  You can sign-up with PlugInBoutique today and "may" be able to take advantage of the offer by looking around the website for Ozone 9 offers. I am an owner of Ozone Essentials, but that does not appear to be the criteria for this offer.

Be aware that sometimes, not always, such large discounts may be related to a new version to be released, but I think the current version of Ozone 9 Standard is quite powerful and very usable (from my use of the demo) being a novice user, and I am going to purchase it. If you register on the site and don't find this offer, send me a note, and I can forward the email info I received.

Thanks for the tip! Ozone 9 standard is at 100 Euros,  quite good considering it costs 450

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Mike Z said:

Hi Marcello, I've been following this thread, maybe I can offer some help too.

YouLean loudness meter has a way to show you the true peaks in real time (not just the average or integrated levels). If you disable the Short-term loudness graph you'll see a different picture. If you have any large peaks (for example a kick that is putting out a high level in the sub-50 Hz range) you'll see it quickly.

Also, you mentioned the red lines/dots at the top of the meter; I believe those are spots where the peaks exceed the True Peak Max level setting. I'm using the free version and I think the preset for that is -1 dB. Any peaks higher than that will show up with a red dot. If you have the Pro version I believe you can set your True Peaks manually.

For me, looking at the True Peak loudness gave me a lot of information about why my songs were showing up as "too loud" even though they didn't sound loud.

 

True peaks.jpg

I see man thanks but I have the free version where you cannot select Spotify settings.

In any case I can see it in the meter.

The problem with my track is that if I set the true peak at -1 and set the Limiter Threshold so that the track won't exceed -14 LUFS integrated (as suggested on Spotify website) ,  it will sound too freaking QUIET!!!

I made a low version then when I upload on Loudnesspenalty.com it shows me thet Spotify won't decrease my volume, so fine right? no indeed cause it's too quiet comparing to those artists song on spotify!

Then I did another one higher in volume, and on Loudnesspenalty.com it shows me thet Spotify will decrease the volume of -6 db! So too loud right?

But when I listen to the other tracks on spotify (different songs) comparing them with this version it sounds like the same volume!!

SO How come?? This doesn't make any sense to me honestly.

Edited by Marcello

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7 minutes ago, Marcello said:

The problem with my track is that if I set the true peak at -1 and set the Limiter Threshold so that the track won't exceed -14 LUFS integrated (as suggested on Spotify website) ,  it will sound too freaking QUIET!!!

and that's the crux of the matter... so some experimentation might be needed. for example, if you "master" your song @ -10 LUFS, and you upload it to Spotify, what happens to it? does it really get cut -6 LU? (50%?)... this is where an experienced master engineer is worth their weight because they can a) spot issues with the mix that will be problematic in just about any situation, b) any negative impacts from online platform normalization schemes, c) do the work to ensure best competitive levels on your material to work across platforms...

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