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Any LUFS Fans Out There?
#3027041 02/01/20 06:28 AM
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Been mastering to -11.0 LUFS lately. It's still maximized a bit, but retains dynamics. I tried doing my 2018 project Joie de Vivre to -14 LUFS to make Spotify/YouTube happy, but frankly, I'm happier with -11.0.

However...I am mastering the new jazz album from Martha Davis (the Motels) to around -13 LUFS or so. There's so much dynamics, and besides, it's ultimately for vinyl anyway so the cutter will decide the ultimate volume level.

But overall, the whole thing about mastering to LUFS instead of CRUSHING THE CRAP OUT OF STUFF WITH MAXIMIZERS works for me. I think it's a step forward.


Last edited by Anderton; 02/01/20 06:29 AM.
Re: Any LUFS Fans Out There?
Anderton #3027057 02/01/20 08:07 AM
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Wait...what? waitwhat

I don’t even know what LUFS is...what’d I miss? idk

dB

Re: Any LUFS Fans Out There?
Dave Bryce #3027092 02/01/20 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Wait...what? waitwhat

I don’t even know what LUFS is...


Get with it, man!
[L]oudness
[U]nits
relative to
[F]ull
[S]cale

It's a measurement of perceived loudness. We perceive loudness not just on peak or average amplitude, but also of frequency content (both of program sources and distortion), position relative to where we're facing, and what comes before and after it. When people got frustrated with TV commercials appearing to be much louder than the programs they were running, and also movie viewers who were annoyed by overly loud sound effects, laws were enacted to require more even loudness levels over time, considering a whole program - which could be a song, an album, a movie, etc.

TC Electronic and a couple of universities took it on to study how test subjects perceived loudness of various sources and came up with a system that takes all the things into account that they learned made a difference to the listeners, and out of that came the Loudness Unit. Check out their web site for articles and papers and dive as deep as you have patience for. Here's a pretty straightforward FAQ about loudness metering.

I remember a NAMM show, Dave, when you were hawking Adam speakers and the Music Police came by and told you to turn it down. You told the guy with the meter that the level was below 85 dB, and when he checked, darn if it wasn't just below the mark. But since perceived loudness isn't just about voltage or sound pressure level, now we have to use a more complex measurement algorithm to keep legal.

Re: Any LUFS Fans Out There?
Anderton #3027142 02/01/20 07:28 PM
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Depending on the genre of music, I am often doing multiple masters, especially with heavy rock or EDM. I will make the CD masters pretty loud and scale it back for streaming and vinyl. I keep checking LUFS to know where I am, but end up tweaking things based on the material (and what I knew certain clients are going to want).

Craig, that is super cool about mastering for Martha Davis!


Ronan Chris Murphy - Producer-Engineer
(King Crimson, GWAR, Ulver, Mafia III)
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Re: Any LUFS Fans Out There?
Anderton #3027175 02/01/20 11:18 PM
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I am back and forth between peak meter and LUFS. What I have learned from working with LUFS is how insidious compression is. It is no longer "hard" to make a "loud" recording. Back in the day, one needed to afford all kinds of outboard to make that happen, but with plugins, it is relatively easy to progressively layer compression at the track, bus, and master level to get something "very loud". I've never tried for the square wave mixes that the truly skilled can do.

I didn't really understand why some engineers would spend hours automating fader rides in microscopic ways on a vocal or instrument track, but now do. Those transients are so precious, and there is so much life in them. Whatever changes the transient, quickly takes life from the recording. Synth, guitar, voice, piano. Our recorders capture so much detail, and that is quickly lost through layers of compression. It is evident why so many plugins now have "mix" controls, and I have learned how to use the attack control to let those transients through before the compressor clamps down.

I get that altering the transients is a style choice. I have definitely done it and it can be "genre appropriate".

But, I'm much happier at -14 to -16 LUFS for "band" music. It can sound so dynamic and alive there, but agree with Craig, that good things still exist at -11.

Working in a calibrated space, it is easy to see how aggressively something has been produced by where the studio monitor gain is set. I like what happens when I turn the volume up on a -14 or -16 LUFS mix. The music can be so alive.

I do think the move to LUFS is beneficial to the industry, and am glad it is here.

Re: Any LUFS Fans Out There?
Ronan C Murphy #3027192 02/02/20 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Ronan C Murphy
Depending on the genre of music, I am often doing multiple masters, especially with heavy rock or EDM. I will make the CD masters pretty loud and scale it back for streaming and vinyl. I keep checking LUFS to know where I am, but end up tweaking things based on the material (and what I knew certain clients are going to want).


Yeah,. we're back to mastering for vinyl and cassettes smile

Quote
Craig, that is super cool about mastering for Martha Davis!


Martha and I go way back.. She's amazing on many levels that people don't realize, and she has an incredibly intuitive sense of technology.

Re: Any LUFS Fans Out There?
Dave Bryce #3027194 02/02/20 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Wait...what? waitwhat

I don’t even know what LUFS is...what’d I miss? idk

dB
Hey Dave - check out the article What is LUFS and Why Should I Care?. It's "a beautiful thing," in the immortal words of felon Martha Stewart smile

Re: Any LUFS Fans Out There?
Anderton #3027201 02/02/20 02:55 AM
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Thank you, Mike and Craig!

dB

Re: Any LUFS Fans Out There?
Anderton #3027240 02/02/20 05:15 PM
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I also an Instagram video on LUFS you might find interesting. There's a section where I compare something recorded a squashed sound at -9 and a version with more dynamics at -14 LUFS, then turned down the -9 version to -14. They both really did have the same overall perceived level.

Re: Any LUFS Fans Out There?
Anderton #3028665 02/12/20 07:40 PM
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This is a hard lesson to teach folks, but one that is more and more critical nowadays.

Streaming and broadcast services are going to screw with your levels on playback, and LUFS-based mastering does wonders for getting your stuff out there in those media with minimal damage (no damage is still too much to hope for). Mastering to –14 to –11 dB LUFS lets the tech work with your ears and preserves a lot more life in recordings, at least to my ears, and I am switching over to LUFS whenever possible.

It can be hard to explain to folks that crushing dynamic range actually makes your stuff end up sounding wimpier while destroying its character. The Loudness Wars are effectively over from a technological standpoint, but the wounds they've left in musicians' and engineers' instincts run deep.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, whoop de doo)
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Re: Any LUFS Fans Out There?
Anderton #3037083 04/06/20 04:25 PM
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I'll do a mix and think "man, this is loud", look over and it's around -18 LUFS.

Everything I've done to get to the -14 Youtube/Whatever LUFS limit makes me blanch, while at the same time makes me think "yeah, it's sounding more like the Sound of everything else" in the process.

I would think a lot of people are mixing to a LUFS value, regardless of what it sounds like. Surprised all compressors and DAWs don't have LUFs metering as the default.

Last edited by Chip McDonald; 04/06/20 04:31 PM.

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Re: Any LUFS Fans Out There?
Anderton #3037090 04/06/20 04:46 PM
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This is a great thread and topic.
The Presonus Universal Control software that came with my Quantum has a LUFS measurement function, still learning how to use it.
There might be tools in my DAW as well\, will be pursuing that option and other plugins.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...

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