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Mastering, Loudness and Limiting

Interesting presentation:

I'm not deaf, I'm just not listening.


  • This is depressing.  12dB of dynamic range and 20% distortion verses the old school days of 60% dynamic range and 0.3% distortion.    We are the Borg; all of your music will be assimilated (streamed)! 
  • That's not exactly the message I got from the presentation. There's a problem with dynamic range and distortion is recent years, but the medium is not to blame, rather poor mastering choices. The fact that Streaming services force some level on all the tracks, might actually be a step in the right direction. Towards the end of the presentation around 25:30 there appears to be a dynamic range improvement that can be had here, in the loudness war the least compressed track becomes the loudest. To be honest with all the modern technology available I think the entire mastering process could be automated by mass audio analysis by neural network programming stuff. Give it some time I guess, it may still become a reality.

    There's a big issue with the fact that music over the years has been mastered a lot differently based on the media it was distributed on. As the market is now in Streaming, there's yet another "correct" way to master for that medium, but it presents a bit of a problem in the audio quality of anything older in the streaming service library that was mastered for CD, vinyl, tape, which still makes the overall experience inconsistent. This issue is not new, as we've seen music originally released on Vinyl, when re-released on CD was ruined a bit, and old classics that have been "re-mastered" that are far worse than the original recording.

    I'm not deaf, I'm just not listening.
  •  17:05 --->   "It's like the Borg..."   All music will be ingested by the Borg loudness algorithm and returned with the "appropriate" dynamic range.   Resistance is futile!   :o
  • The algorithm currently just raises or lowers the overall track level, it doesn't apply compressors to limit dynamic range.
    I'm not deaf, I'm just not listening.
  • edited February 29
    I was curious, so I read through the information that Spotify provides:

    It's funny, this is very similar to what I was doing to my own music library before music streaming was a thing. The great thing about replaygain is that it doesn't affect the bits of the audio at all, it just writes a gain value in the file so your software can adjust the level when the file is played back. This ensures that when you change albums or hit shuffle that there's no great difference between tracks. And there's two seperate gain values applied, a "album gain" to adjust gain of each track on an album relative to each other, as well as a "track gain" which applies when you are shuffling songs that span multiple albums.

    I'm not deaf, I'm just not listening.
  • On a related note, if anyone wants to learn how to mix and master, there's a live training session on Youtube tomorrow:

    I'm not deaf, I'm just not listening.
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