The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Mastered for iTunes with Classical Music Dynamics Plugins
Old 6 days ago
  #1
Mastered for iTunes with Classical Music

Hello,

I have a few questions regarding loudness normalization, plugin use and metering when producing Classical content for iTunes.

My first question involves Normalizing my files before I start adding any plugins. Currently I peak normalize all of my files to -.3dB; I have also heard I should normalize to -1dB, as well as -3dB. Is there a "Best Practice"?

My next question involves Limiting. My signal flow right now is a Manley Vari-Mu for a little light (and mostly dry) parallel compression, followed by some EQ from a Massive Passive. Sometimes I also use a multi-band compressor depending upon the material. My files are all mixed to -23 LUFS before I start mastering. Then I use the UAD Precision limiter with the output set to -1dB and tweak the input until my Integrated level is correct for -16 LUFS. Is this a good practice to get my levels up to the iTunes standard or should I not use a limiter for this?

My third question is about EBU standards and metering plugins. I am currently using the Melda MLoudnessAnalyzer plugin, but I have thought about switching to Insight 2. How accurate is Melda? What EBU mode (+9, +18, +27) should I set my metering plugin to? I have my target set to -16 LUFS. (Melda has a couple of "iTunes" presets; how accurate are the presets?)

My final question; Are there any recommended books I can read that talk about loudness normalization, mastering, and mixing/mastering for classical music.


-Side Note-
When I am doing my mixing (for any material) I usually move all of my automation as a group after I have created my mix to get the levels to -23 LUFS. Is this a normal practice? It seems to work well for me, but I'd love to hear others thoughts.

Sincerely,
Theron
Old 6 days ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
eternalsound's Avatar
Mastering Classical is not very common in mainstream music culture unless it's some sort of film soundtrack. I can't see where things would be a whole lot different though, other than the more dynamic aspects of the style. I would just use a Classical reference track and go from there.
Old 6 days ago
  #3
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I don't get the normalisation before adding any (if any are needed) plug ins.

Unless it is a compilation of classical pieces most performances either studio recordings or live will have a flow , i.e a symphony will have an intrinsic dynamic between its movements.

We do not normalise files, usually a bit of equalisation if needed and a very clean an neutral digital limiter as a safety net set around -1 dBfs. No limiting at all bar for a very limited cases of "wild" performances where the odd -0.3/0.5 may occur on loudest peaks.

Most of the releases we work on go out betwen -17 and - 14 so around -15 as an average. Experience and listening is key, no books I am afraid in this case at least.

Files for DR (Digital Release) are then passed on to the client or uploaded to Label Services or Aggregators at 24/96. For those that do not accept 24/96 we convert to 44 16.

Classical music is not my main field, last year I did only about 50 classical releases so other may have different opinions and or workflows.
Old 6 days ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Ben F's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I wasn’t aware that there were LUFS standards for iTunes published by apple. Where did you get this information?
Old 6 days ago
  #5
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Addendum to my post above where I gave figures of recent releases we have worked on, these number are not in our case dictated by Apple.
Old 5 days ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
I wasn’t aware that there were LUFS standards for iTunes published by apple. Where did you get this information?
Streaming Service Playback Level
Apple Music *Soundcheck On*
~ 16 LUFS
YouTube
~ 13 LUFS
Spotify
~ 14 LUFS
Tidal
~ 14 LUFS

Source; Mastering for Soundcloud, Spotify, iTunes and Youtube. | Mastering The Mix
Music Streaming & Loudness Normalization — Ryan Schwabe
What are the “Mastered for iTunes” requirements? – CD Baby Help Center
https://images.apple.com/itunes/mast...for_itunes.pdf
These are also the figures that I was taught in classes in school. I am still trying to locate actual numbers from Apple's website. There is also the Loudness Penalty: Analyzer website that checks the LUFS of your pieces.
Old 5 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
NReichman's Avatar
 

Lots of things to talk about here. Forgive me if I hit these fast:

-don't normalize anything. Normalization rewrites the file, and unless all the files are 32-bit, it won't sound as good as simply using a good plug-in to change the gain to what you want.

-all the discussion about SoundCheck, and LUFS is what we talk about with loud pop music mixes. For most classical pieces, there is increased dynamic range, and probably lower overall LUFS value. YOU decide what an appropriate LRA and LUFS is that suits the piece. Find a similar album that you want to emulate and chase the sound. Don't look at the LRA meter.

-all the plug-in modes you're referring to are more about hitting broadcast specs, etc.

-if you are submitting music for the MFiT program, you need to be certified by Apple. It's not hard, you just need to have a complete understanding of their AAC afclip roundtrip and resolution requirements. Once you understand afclip, you're good to go.

-if you're not MFiT certified, hire someone who is to check your masters before they go out.

-Don't overthink it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by That_Violin_Guy View Post
Hello,

I have a few questions regarding loudness normalization, plugin use and metering when producing Classical content for iTunes.

My first question involves Normalizing my files before I start adding any plugins. Currently I peak normalize all of my files to -.3dB; I have also heard I should normalize to -1dB, as well as -3dB. Is there a "Best Practice"?

My next question involves Limiting. My signal flow right now is a Manley Vari-Mu for a little light (and mostly dry) parallel compression, followed by some EQ from a Massive Passive. Sometimes I also use a multi-band compressor depending upon the material. My files are all mixed to -23 LUFS before I start mastering. Then I use the UAD Precision limiter with the output set to -1dB and tweak the input until my Integrated level is correct for -16 LUFS. Is this a good practice to get my levels up to the iTunes standard or should I not use a limiter for this?

My third question is about EBU standards and metering plugins. I am currently using the Melda MLoudnessAnalyzer plugin, but I have thought about switching to Insight 2. How accurate is Melda? What EBU mode (+9, +18, +27) should I set my metering plugin to? I have my target set to -16 LUFS. (Melda has a couple of "iTunes" presets; how accurate are the presets?)

My final question; Are there any recommended books I can read that talk about loudness normalization, mastering, and mixing/mastering for classical music.


-Side Note-
When I am doing my mixing (for any material) I usually move all of my automation as a group after I have created my mix to get the levels to -23 LUFS. Is this a normal practice? It seems to work well for me, but I'd love to hear others thoughts.

Sincerely,
Theron
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
MatthewGarton / Mastering forum
6
iworkalone / Mastering forum
35
AcoosticZoo / So much gear, so little time
7
sluttypat / So much gear, so little time
8

Forum Jump
Forum Jump