Loudness management

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Re: Loudness management

Post by fluffy » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:16 am

jast wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:45 am
I think that normalizing loudness is a particularly tricky topic for submissions that have a really rough mix - e.g. the drums kick in late and are way overbearing, stuff like that. Inexperience can easily make for fluctuations of 6 dB, which would mean a departure of maybe 3 dB in the mean - so, part of the song is 3 dB louder than the rest, and the rest is 3 dB quieter. The same can happen for a song with two distinct parts - in a more dynamic mix, 6 dB of difference are not at all out of the question (and not as extreme as the examples brought up earlier). There's really no way to stop this without going into audio-level compression (which we seem to agree is not a good idea).
I mean. Yeah, the loudness will hopefully vary within a track. Dynamic range is a good thing that cuts down on ear fatigue. And 6dB isn’t that much variation in the first place.

Out of curiosity I tried YouLean on my wiener dog song and found that it had a LUFS of -8 with a peak of 0. So I reduced its pre-limited gain to get -14 and lowered the limiter peak to -1. Listening to it side by side with the version on Spotify, the overall level sounded the same and I didn’t notice any change to the bits that YouLean identifies as peaks, but it’s also a fairly simple song without a lot of dynamic range. I’m very curious to hear what this change would do to some of my older tracks, although I’m worried about falling down the rabbit hole of wanting to remaster (and rerelease) all the things.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by AJOwens » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:48 am

Interesting technical discussion -- and one that wouldn't have occurred if nobody knew some submissions needed fixing. Having my lack of loudness management on display is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. Otherwise how will I find out it needs improving?

If a track isn't loud enough for you:
1. Lean forward and turn it up, FFS. (Remember when you had to get off the couch to change the TV channel? Life was so hard back then!)
2. Mention it in a review, and maybe suggest how to fix it.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:13 am

AJOwens wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:48 am
1. Lean forward and turn it up, FFS. (Remember when you had to get off the couch to change the TV channel? Life was so hard back then!)
And then turn it back down when the next song is blaring and then down again when the mix that is super loud comes up and then waaaay back up for the next real quiet one. Which I do, btw, in the studio or on my home stereo. I don't do it on the phone/earphones nearly as much. I just tend to skip the song and think "I'll come back to it later when I can easily adjust volume" especially when I'm running which is a great time to listen. As I stated in another thread: "I would hate for a good song to miss out on a listen or a vote because it was too loud or too quiet compared to most of the other songs in a fight."

I'm not saying you don't have a good point but I don't think it is asking too much to have a goal to aim for or to spend a few minutes to learn how to get a consistent volume in our mixes. Ultimately it is an individual choice to do so or not.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by fluffy » Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:10 pm

Oh man I am so glad I got YouLean. Best money I've ever spent on a mastering-chain plugin. I love having a thing to keep my loudness in check which helps me to keep my mix honest; is it actually sounding better or is it just feeling better because it's louder? Now I know for sure!

I set up a standard mastering chain in Logic which is based on the "Broadcast Ready" preset but with the Exciter removed and YouLean added as the final step, set with the Spotify presets, and this is making it so much easier for me to keep my levels consistent across the album I'm working on.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:33 pm

I'm cheap. I'm using the YouLean meter but I'm waiting for a possible black friday sale before I purchase the full version. It's adding a bit of time on nailing the level, but for most of these songs I'm just ball parking -14 give or take a bit. I also just watched a reaper video on how to set the LUFS without a meter vst (just using the master track meter set to RMS) and get pretty close. That was interesting.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by fluffy » Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:36 pm

Yeah I think the free version of YouLean actually lets you do everything necessary, it just doesn't have the presets. You can set the target LUFS to -14dB and the true peak to -1dB, and if your DAW has the ability to store presets you can just, well, store a preset. I mostly bought it because there was the sale that jast mentioned in September and I wanted to support independent software.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Mon Oct 28, 2019 4:17 am

I haven't figured out how to scan the song without either playing it or rendering it. Otherwise I just look at the levels. Still, a good meter. I'll end up buying the full version either way.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by fluffy » Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:49 am

Those are the only ways to scan the song - it isn’t magic, it needs a signal to work with.

If you have a rendered wav file that you want to check you can run the standalone app and drag your output file to it.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:55 am

In the video they are hitting something and coming up with a number. "The Video" being whatever video I watched talking about it. I'll check it out further before purchasing. Thanks.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by fluffy » Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:02 am

I don’t remember seeing any video but it probably depends on the DAW or maybe they were showing how to use it with an already rendered file.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by owl » Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:13 am

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:55 am
In the video they are hitting something and coming up with a number. "The Video" being whatever video I watched talking about it. I'll check it out further before purchasing. Thanks.
I think it was a video Chumpy posted during Nur Ein, so maybe check his post history? I watched the video and remember noticing that as well and thinking "why don't I have that button?"
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Re: Loudness management

Post by fluffy » Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:19 am

This one? https://songfight.net/forums/viewtopic. ... an#p209704

That "Apply" button comes from Audacity and basically just runs the plugin on the entire audio file - equivalent to doing a render/listen of the song through your DAW. Sorry, it still isn't magic.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by fluffy » Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:24 am

also from this earlier post in the thread I learned that Logic has a built-in LUFS meter. Well, jeeze, wish I'd known that! Although YouLean does a bit more anyway so I don't regret the $26 or whatever I paid for it.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by owl » Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:32 pm

fluffy wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:19 am
This one? https://songfight.net/forums/viewtopic. ... an#p209704

That "Apply" button comes from Audacity and basically just runs the plugin on the entire audio file - equivalent to doing a render/listen of the song through your DAW. Sorry, it still isn't magic.
yes! That's the one I was thinking of (not sure if it's the same one Pigfarmer Jr was thinking of). I didn't know that was an Audacity button rather than part of the plugin itself.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by fluffy » Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:48 pm

Yeah. Anyway if you pay for YouLean you get the standalone app which lets you just drag a pre-rendered wav/mp3/etc. file into it, and does exactly the same thing Chumpy did in that video except with fewer steps. I don't find it very useful, personally, but it's good for spot-checking.

In Logic (and probably other DAWs) you can just keep the YouLean window open while you do the render/bounce/whatever and you get the final value at the end. The paid version also holds onto the entire song graph and you can export in a bunch of image formats.

Personally I just use it while playing the song in realtime since that gives me a better feedback cycle.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by Chumpy » Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:37 pm

I use Audacity to this day to for just that plugin 'Apply' feature. This essentially lets you run a plugin against an entire audio file in one shot, as fast as it can go, without having to bounce it out to disk. I find this especially helpful when my audio file is a stereo WAV of a 2+ hour podcast. I most often use it with Ozone's maximizer plugin in "learn" mode, where you set a target (like -14 LUFS) and it listens to your entire track and and figures out what the right maximizer threshold setting should be to hit that exact LUFS target. I also use it with the YouLean plugin to independently verify that I've mastered my track to the right LUFS target.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by fluffy » Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:42 pm

I can see that being useful for podcasts yeah
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Re: Loudness management

Post by Plat » Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:47 pm

In case it helps, I tried plotting the Integrated LUFS for the last ~600 songs prior to the I Used To Know You Better fight, which looks something like this if we round to the nearest integer.

To my eye, it centers out around -12, which I guess makes sense. It also tells me that If I submit beyond -16 or -8 I'm probably going to be lambasted for it. (I have, I was.)
recent600songs-by-lufs.png
recent600songs-by-lufs.png (39.29 KiB) Viewed 94 times
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Re: Loudness management

Post by fluffy » Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:11 pm

Ooh, neat. I'd also be really interested to see a time-series scatterplot or something, to see how it's shifted over time.
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Re: Loudness management

Post by Plat » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:26 pm

Here's an attempt but it's pretty ugly. This is a little misleading since it doesn't illustrate overlap very well (if 2 songs on the same date have the same LUFS Integrated rounded to the tenth, you won't see that emphasized here - it'll look like 1 song).

This includes the IUTKYB fight, and looks back 1000 songs instead of just 600. And that's assuming I parsed the archive file properly tonight. :)

Raw data is shared on Google Sheets in case you want to play. If you notice any discrepancies, please bug me. I didn't unit-test this as rigorously as I normally would, but spot-checks looked OK to me.
FightStartByLufsIntegrated-IUTKYB-Back1000.png
FightStartByLufsIntegrated-IUTKYB-Back1000.png (146.82 KiB) Viewed 84 times
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Re: Loudness management

Post by fluffy » Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:09 am

awesome. and thanks for making the data available!
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Re: Loudness management

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:26 am

Thank you for sharing the additional data. Much appreciated.
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