-14 LUFS for streaming conundrum

I just realized that the in your face music I am currently making is way too loud for streaming services, I actually have to turn it down by -8db to reach -14 LUFS as required, that’s just crazy and if I remove compression etc. to make use of the 8db extra dynamic range then the sound is just flat… what in the world

What am I supposed to do, make long boring intros, breakdowns and outros?? What’s your take on this? :confused:

1 Like

Maybe remove or lower the amount of limiters/limitation/maximization? If you have peaks, then you need to be quieter, and then it already has reduced LUFS, I would assume. Then you might have to adjust volumes or eqing in a more fine manner. I don’t remember your songs now, but I guess it doesn’t sound squeezed like a sausage, so maybe not too hard to fix? Transient design can be very interesting for depth experience in a song. I think generally the ear likes transients for some reason (not always of course).

You also could ignore this, if you like your mix. Then it will be reduced in volume in Spotify, so what? Lot of songs are in Spotify, AFAIK.

1 Like

IDK, if a song is mastered to some target, then that is part of its sound. Changing the mastering to meet some requirement would change that sound. Listeners might be confused if the same song sounds different on different media/platform.

If you rip some songs from youtube, you will see that much music is mastered loud, and youtube just adjusts the volume down creating lots of blank headroom, so users don’t have to adjust volume between the vids… So no more loudness war going on, listeners are at peace and every tune has the same loudness, regardless of how it was mastered…

I think there’s nothing wrong with hot mastered dance music that gets volume adjusted in that way. After all part of the hot mastering is to make it sound good when it is played very loud. It will have same relative loudness like other tunes with the same target, just maybe less transients and dynamic range then some. But I feel this should not be a problem. You mastered it hot, it will sound hot, it will sound the same way even when the volume is adjusted down by the streaming platform, to match other songs. After all the listener or dj will decide which volume he plays the music at

On the contrary, if you remaster a dance tune to have lots of dynamic range and transients, it might no longer work well when cranked way up. The transients might also get too pokey. I often feel with hot mastered dance music though that is sound a bit too flat and distorted, and more dynamics could be beneficial. This is a matter of taste though.

I feel the -14 target is very good for accoustic or live music. That is different than electronic music, and will sound very different when played loud. You would not want electronic dance music sound like live music…the transients would just poke the ears in undesireable ways… I think the loudness targets (and adjusting of louder mastered music) has its meaning so that accoustic and live music can be enjoyed next to and at the same perceived volume like dance music. It is not thought so that people remaster their dance tunes to sound like accoustic tunes…


Thanks guys. Good point about transients getting pokey at high volume, makes me feel better about just turning down the massive amount of volume in this case, also I eased off the limiter a bit to where it’s okay so now “only” have to lower it by 5db :wink:

1 Like

You should use a loudness meter, so you can check how loud actually your song is, so its easier to target specific LUFS values:

For Limiters, maybe you could trying to use a limiter which allow you to target a specific LUFS value like the Ozone one. Ozone Elements was free for some time, maybe this will be offered again:

Dont forget that there is also true peak (which is quite different as “normal” peak), which most streaming services are also using.

1 Like

Yeah, I am using FabFilter L2 LUFS metering.

I like his loudness penalty plugin. Helps me find a good balanced volume.

1 Like

Looks like a good plugin - but that youtube show made me fall asleep early last night :smile:

My take away from all of this and what I’m going to do going forward with my “full tilt” music, is to make it sound like I want full-on attack with compression and limiting, then in the end dial all the limiting and compression back until I barely notice a difference in the sound just to get some “free” dynamics.

I’m sure I’ll be changing this along the way, but thank god the loudness war has come down to earth. (but I still go for it lol)

I tried research what to upload to Tunecore, CDbaby, DistroKid etc. but none actually explain what to upload in terms of loudness :confused: so I think I’ll target a louder LUFS maybe -12 with lover -2db TP and just have Spotify crap (I don’t like spotify for a multitude of reasons) etc. turn the volume down.

edit: I am reconsidering after reading the below post on gearslutz, think I’ll go for -8 LUFS and -1db TP. Screw this, let’s see what happens…

1 Like

Why should highly compressed and loud volume be correlated? You can make your track highly compressed (i.e. little dynamic range) but leave the volume low (low LUFS). If you turn up the volume on your speakers it will still sound loud and compressed. Am I wrong?

It’s about finding your place in the loudness war while still having good sounding music that plays well everywhere, it’s about matching your music to others so it isn’t overly soft.

My realization and eyeopener was that many music services turn down your music to fit a certain LUFS target, I didn’t knew and just target -0.3db TP, so you have to factor that into your loudness war fight, for me it means I probably should dial back the limiter a bit, it’s a balancing act. I was also confused what kind of material to upload to the streaming services, but I have come to realize what EATME also says, just make it sound good, but I will add a little bit more dynamic range in the future. I. Think.

Yes, I think Spotify just adjusts the volume based on the dynamics range(?) of the song, and only if that option was enabled (enabled by default).

I’ve never heard or experienced that this happens in youtube, too. But then, it also is volume only.

Yeah, Spotify adjust your song to match -14 LUFS (integrated) meaning they measure the average of the full length song, so as I understand it you can have a quiet song then suddenly go FULL MEGA BLAST for a short time and that’s fine and allowed… so it may change how you compose if you think about how to take advantage of it, right!? That’s why I am thinking to incorporate more quiet intros, outros etc… :thinking:

Don´t think so. They will change only the overall absolute volume and not the relative volume.

But now what would be an optimal lufs target for electronic musik? Like around 8-9? I feel that targetting around 4-6( as much edm seems mastered to this target…) will make stuff sound distorted and flat quickly (unless you are very skilled at mastering), and targetting the 14 it becomes kind of like accoustic music, and will sound laid back and cleaner, but not so good and driving at high volume?

Just a matter of taste. I have between -14 and -12 LUFS usually. I get headache from music when the meter is close to 0 dBFS and not moving at all.

1 Like

@OopsIFly: yeah I think 8 LUFS sounds about right for EDM stuff.

@lilith: From Spotify FAQ… Not sure what you mean actually… the point I try to make is they use LUFS which takes the average measurement over the entire course of the song.

  • Negative gain is applied to louder masters so the loudness level is at ca - 14 dB LUFS. This process only decreases the volume in comparison to the master; no additional distortion occurs.
  • Positive gain is applied to softer masters so that the loudness level is at ca - 14 dB LUFS. A limiter is also applied, set to engage at -1 dB (sample values), with a 5 ms attack time and a 100 ms decay time. This will prevent any distortion or clipping from soft but dynamic tracks.
1 Like

I mean that the relative loudness of your silent and loud parts of the track will stay the same. It not the way that silent parts get more gain that loud parts.

@lilith If your tune is normalized then yes that’s certainly true but that’s not the point, I mean the more soft parts your track has the louder you can make the loud parts at the composing/mix stage, because LUFS integrated is an average of the whole song. :thinking:

Have to think about it : :slight_smile:

This seems to be a good explanation

I am really starting to wonder if lufs acctually matter.
In my experience if i put some of my favorite tracks in my daw, And use youlean loudness meter to check their lufs. Most of them reach far beyond -13 or -14 lufs.
Like Xtal for example that song hit -8 lufs when i checked it and that song sounds fine to me.

1 Like