Author Topic: Loudness metering  (Read 3511 times)

Marrow Machines

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Loudness metering
« on: February 25, 2016, 02:06:15 am »
I had a conversation with an engineer for the local college campus i attend, and he said that my songs should be metered with -24 LUFS.

I've done a bit of reading, and the LUFS are directly proportional to decibels in terms of measurements.

I was wondering, why -24 LUFS in order to be heard on the radio?

Do they have their own "normalization" that is best optimized for radio projection?

Is this LUFS range only viable for radio?

How do I incorporate this into my mixing/self mastering?

Perhaps an expansion on the topic might be in order, since it is quite hot.
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FarleyCZ

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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2016, 07:10:16 am »
I work at TV broadcast company, you can trust me on this:
It's "recomandation" by EBU (European Broadcasting Union) called R128. It's targeted especially at commercials being much louder than the actual content at tv/radio.

That paper dercsibes three main things:

1) It defines LUFS. They are essentially full scale decibels, but with a twist. For meaturing LUFS manufacturers need to build precisely described high-shelf filter into their meters, that compensates ear's sensitivity around 3-5k. So if you measure 1k sine with LUFS, it will return same value as dBFS meter would. If you measure 5k sine of the same volume, it fill go up by I believe 4LUFS.

2) It defines integration times and measuring gates. That means it tells you (and meter's manufacturers) how to measure average Loudness across whole "program" you're making. ...leaving silent parts out of the measurement and so on...

3) It says that the recommandation is, for all TV's and radios, to normalize all their content to -24 LUFS. That way, in theory, you shouldn't have those huge volume jumps when commercial spot goes on.

...problem that I have with R128 is, that it's far from perfect, but engineers tend to praise it. It's totally useless for certain types of content (classical music, some football matches etc...). Lot of engineers (I guess including the one you spoke to.) think it'll save the world and they require everyone and everything to target at -24LUFS. But in music bussines, as far as I know, nobody gives a damn about R128, so you would end up with intentionally quiter mix than everyone else. ...I'd say, just leave this to radio station engineers. It's essentially their problem. :)

EDIT: If you're interested, here's the R128:
https://tech.ebu.ch/docs/r/r128.pdf
...and here's the ITU paper it refers to for definition of LUFS measurement:
https://www.itu.int/dms_pubrec/itu-r/rec/bs/R-REC-BS.1770-4-201510-I!!PDF-E.pdf
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 07:24:35 am by FarleyCZ »
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manducator

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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2016, 07:24:54 am »
Hey,

It's great to start a topic about this, I virtually don't know much about it.

I found this site though, it explains a lot:

http://www.r128audio.com/

I never encountered music that's mastered @ -23 LUFS but that's probably because it's a system for broadcasting, not mastering.

I bought this plugin (Hornet ELM128) and it can normalize your music to -23 LUFS and believe me, music that's normalized that way is almost inaudible in comparison to music that isn't normalized. But it's a great tool to compare different songs at the same loudness. Great to compare a mix and a master of the same song to each other, for example.

http://www.hornetplugins.com/plugins/hornet-elm128/


Marrow Machines

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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2016, 03:09:40 pm »
I work at TV broadcast company, you can trust me on this:
It's "recomandation" by EBU (European Broadcasting Union) called R128. It's targeted especially at commercials being much louder than the actual content at tv/radio.

That paper dercsibes three main things:

1) It defines LUFS. They are essentially full scale decibels, but with a twist. For meaturing LUFS manufacturers need to build precisely described high-shelf filter into their meters, that compensates ear's sensitivity around 3-5k. So if you measure 1k sine with LUFS, it will return same value as dBFS meter would. If you measure 5k sine of the same volume, it fill go up by I believe 4LUFS.

2) It defines integration times and measuring gates. That means it tells you (and meter's manufacturers) how to measure average Loudness across whole "program" you're making. ...leaving silent parts out of the measurement and so on...

3) It says that the recommandation is, for all TV's and radios, to normalize all their content to -24 LUFS. That way, in theory, you shouldn't have those huge volume jumps when commercial spot goes on.

...problem that I have with R128 is, that it's far from perfect, but engineers tend to praise it. It's totally useless for certain types of content (classical music, some football matches etc...). Lot of engineers (I guess including the one you spoke to.) think it'll save the world and they require everyone and everything to target at -24LUFS. But in music bussines, as far as I know, nobody gives a damn about R128, so you would end up with intentionally quiter mix than everyone else. ...I'd say, just leave this to radio station engineers. It's essentially their problem. :)

EDIT: If you're interested, here's the R128:
https://tech.ebu.ch/docs/r/r128.pdf
...and here's the ITU paper it refers to for definition of LUFS measurement:
https://www.itu.int/dms_pubrec/itu-r/rec/bs/R-REC-BS.1770-4-201510-I!!PDF-E.pdf
Thank you. If i were to send it to him, would I have to lower my volume to the reference of LUFS -20K weighted and get about -4 on that scale before sending it in to him?

Hey,

It's great to start a topic about this, I virtually don't know much about it.

I found this site though, it explains a lot:

http://www.r128audio.com/

I never encountered music that's mastered @ -23 LUFS but that's probably because it's a system for broadcasting, not mastering.

I bought this plugin (Hornet ELM128) and it can normalize your music to -23 LUFS and believe me, music that's normalized that way is almost inaudible in comparison to music that isn't normalized. But it's a great tool to compare different songs at the same loudness. Great to compare a mix and a master of the same song to each other, for example.

http://www.hornetplugins.com/plugins/hornet-elm128/
Thanks, can you normalize it to other reference points?

http://www.mzuther.de/en/software/kmeter/

i picked up this guy last night, and it was pretty interesting to use. I couldn't seem to get it to work when i had my plugs in activated, but i rendered out a master stem and popped it on my master channel and lowered the stem's volume to where it was -4 in the LUFS -20K range on the RMS level.

Would that be the equivalent to normalizing to -24 LUFS? (I know LUFS is a K weight.
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FarleyCZ

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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2016, 05:59:25 pm »
Thank you. If i were to send it to him, would I have to lower my volume to the reference of LUFS -20K weighted and get about -4 on that scale before sending it in to him?
This depends on the meter. Some of them have -24 (or -23, I believe it got changed in one edition of R128) set as 0. (Those should, in theory, measure in LU, not LUFS.)
...so simply grab any meter that can show LUFS correctly. (Like https://www.meldaproduction.com/plugins/product.php?id=MLoudnessAnalyzer) reset it, play the whole track from beginning to the end and the integrated value should stay on -23 LUFS at the end. (I think there is -+1db tolerance) If not, compensate the difference and run it again.

I believe there are some off-line tools for that, but I haven't searched for them yet.

EDIT: Oh, I'm sorry, wrong info. M-Loudness Analyser is by default also -23 = 0. ...but there's a LUFS preset ... or you can target that zero. :)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 09:04:39 pm by FarleyCZ »
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Marrow Machines

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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2016, 12:09:56 am »
This depends on the meter. Some of them have -24 (or -23, I believe it got changed in one edition of R128) set as 0. (Those should, in theory, measure in LU, not LUFS.)
...so simply grab any meter that can show LUFS correctly. (Like https://www.meldaproduction.com/plugins/product.php?id=MLoudnessAnalyzer) reset it, play the whole track from beginning to the end and the integrated value should stay on -23 LUFS at the end. (I think there is -+1db tolerance) If not, compensate the difference and run it again.

I believe there are some off-line tools for that, but I haven't searched for them yet.

EDIT: Oh, I'm sorry, wrong info. M-Loudness Analyser is by default also -23 = 0. ...but there's a LUFS preset ... or you can target that zero. :)

There's a preset that says: LUFS EBU R 128

My target range for -24 LUFS is to be the -24 on that scale?

Could I mix my song to be in decibels and then drop my volume, after a master render, to have an RMS at -24 LU?

Should mix at that level and then bring every thing up?
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FarleyCZ

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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2016, 07:08:28 am »
There's a preset that says: LUFS EBU R 128

My target range for -24 LUFS is to be the -24 on that scale?
Yep. That preset just shifts the reference point by offset slider by -23, so it shows LUFS. Or you can use the default preset and target that zero. Same thing.
Or you can use:
http://www.toneboosters.com/tb-ebuloudness/
http://www.hornetplugins.com/plugins/hornet-elm128/ (as manducator suggested)
...etc. These show full scale measurement right away.
Also if you have Ozone, I believe there's LUFS metering option in IO settings.

Could I mix my song to be in decibels and then drop my volume, after a master render, to have an RMS at -24 LU?
I gereally wouldn't recommend to take R128 in cinsideration while doing mixing descisions. So yes. Mix it as you used to and then do the loudness adjusment afterwards. Be careful, RMS is not integrated loudness as LUs are dependant on frequency content of the material. ...so you have to perform real loudness measurement, if you want to be R128 compilant. (Again, I see no reason to do it while making music though. But if the engineer requires it from you, off you go. :) )

Should mix at that level and then bring every thing up?
Naaah...
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 07:13:01 am by FarleyCZ »
"Earth is round right? Look at it from right angle and you'll be always on top of the world."
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Marrow Machines

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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2016, 07:13:52 am »
There's a preset that says: LUFS EBU R 128

My target range for -24 LUFS is to be the -24 on that scale?
Yep. That preset just shifts the reference point by offset slider by -23, so it shows LUFS. Or you can use the default preset and target that zero. Same thing.
Or you can use:
http://www.toneboosters.com/tb-ebuloudness/
http://www.hornetplugins.com/plugins/hornet-elm128/ (as manducator suggested)
...etc. These show full scale measurement right away.
Also if you have Ozone, I believe there's LUFS metering option in IO settings.

Could I mix my song to be in decibels and then drop my volume, after a master render, to have an RMS at -24 LU?
I gereally wouldn't recommend to take R128 in cinsideration while doing mixing descisions. So yes. Mix it as you used to and then do the loudness adjusment afterwards. Be careful, RMS is not integrated loudness as LUs are dependant on frequency content of the material. ...so you have to perform real loudness measurement, if you want to be R128 compilant. (Again, I see no reason to do it while making music though. But if the engineer requires it from you, off you go. :) )

Should mix at that level and then bring every thing up?
Naaah...

Big up, great information that can be verified.
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manducator

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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2016, 07:28:19 am »
Thanks, can you normalize it to other reference points?

No.

FarleyCZ

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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2016, 08:11:15 am »
Oh and if you want to get really fancy, then companies recomanded by EBU (and the whole broadcast indusrty) are RTW and TC. They both usually make (really similar, lol) hardware meters, but they sniffed out opprtunity and made also plugins. I think this is most R128 compilant as you can get:
https://www.rtw.com/en/products/software/rtw-loudness-tools.html
http://www.tcelectronic.com/lm1n/

Edit: ...and when there is a buck to make, Waves appears rather quickly. http://www.waves.com/plugins/wlm-loudness-meter :D
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 08:18:15 am by FarleyCZ »
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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2016, 08:50:25 am »
Good info, guys. Ian Shepherd made a Loudness Meter too: http://meterplugs.com/dynameter

http://productionadvice.co.uk/how-to-avoid-over-compressing-your-mix/
http://productionadvice.co.uk/lufs-dbfs-rms/

Currently trying to mix my songs to peak at an integrated value of -12 LUFS/DR8--but it's hard! Especially for synth-based stuff where a lot of the sounds are already compressed.

How do you guys compensate for the loss of volume in your final master, or is the Loudness Wars truly over already and this no longer matters?


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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2016, 08:59:38 am »
How do you guys compensate for the loss of volume in your final master, or is the Loudness Wars truly over already and this no longer matters?
This is a million dolar question, right here.

My opinion: It's more peaceful, thanks to stuff like R128, but it's not over. People are used to brickwalled tracks, so any non-brickwalled one will stand out as too quiet. It's definitely over in broadcast industry, but unless you educate the usual listener about loudness war and why it's bad, it's not gonna be over soon in general.

May be that's the reason Marrow Machines heard about it on college campus. They probably try to teach it to people oficially now. :)
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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2016, 09:05:28 am »
How do you guys compensate for the loss of volume in your final master, or is the Loudness Wars truly over already and this no longer matters?

I would stay away from the loudness wars, some genres just sound better with some dynamics.
Then there is kick & bass, people just try to make that as loud as possible.
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FarleyCZ

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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2016, 09:17:27 am »
How do you guys compensate for the loss of volume in your final master, or is the Loudness Wars truly over already and this no longer matters?

I would stay away from the loudness wars, some genres just sound better with some dynamics.
Then there is kick & bass, people just try to make that as loud as possible.
We have to distinguish between "staying away from loudness war" and "being R128 compilant". The first mans leaving some dynamic range, but still controlling the dynamics. The second one means, whatever dynamics there are, your integrated (average) loudness should be on -23LUFS. ...which essentially means forcing yourself to making moreless 23db of headroom for any kind of dynamics you can have there. (thus making it intentionally really quiet) ...and whether there is dynamics or not depends on where you made R128 correction. If pre or post limiter. ...so it depends on sound you're after I guess.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 09:28:55 am by FarleyCZ »
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Re: Loudness metering
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2016, 11:25:57 am »
This is a million dolar question, right here.

My opinion: It's more peaceful, thanks to stuff like R128, but it's not over. People are used to brickwalled tracks, so any non-brickwalled one will stand out as too quiet. It's definitely over in broadcast industry, but unless you educate the usual listener about loudness war and why it's bad, it's not gonna be over soon in general.

May be that's the reason Marrow Machines heard about it on college campus. They probably try to teach it to people oficially now. :)
It's good if everything can get standardized to a single set of specs but as you say, it's not going to happen overnight. We just have to adapt with the curve, as we producers have always done.

I would stay away from the loudness wars, some genres just sound better with some dynamics.
Then there is kick & bass, people just try to make that as loud as possible.
Loudness Wars is pretty dumb anyways, it's the song that matters. Loudness doesn't make a badly written song any better.