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
Brick Wall Limiting in a Streaming World
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Brick Wall Limiting in a Streaming World

Greetings, I recently completed a mix and bounced it to a single audio file to be mastered. Before bouncing the mix, I slapped a meter on the stereo bus of the mix and the LUFS level peaked at -15.2 LUFS-S. The true peak on the mix peaked at +.1 (not good, as it should not exceed 0). I applied a “brick wall” limiter during the mastering phase and set it so the mix does not exceed -.2 true peak. Also, I set the limiter to observe that the LUFS level was not exceeding -14 LUFS (I use Spotify’s current LUFS benchmark). However, so far this is not an issue because the LUFS is only peaking at -15.2.

My questions concern songs principally intended for streaming. I don’t want to unnecessarily compress the mix anymore for loudness sake and also to better retain the quality and dynamic range of the song. I don’t think additional loudness is a worthy goal in light of the normalization processes applied by the streaming services. As such, it would seem that I would only be using a limiter to prevent the master from exceeding my -.2 true peak limit. I feel I do not need the limiter to control the LUFS level since it peaks at only -15.2 LUFS.

Based on this scenario, it seems I’m essentially using the limiter only as a means to keep the true peak below 0. My question is if I get the mix itself (before mastering) to peak at -.2 true peak or below, what’s the point of applying a limiter and adding the “mastering” process to the song? If I’m within the acceptable ranges for true peak, LUFS, dBfs, etc. can’t I just bounce this directly from the mix project (16 bit of course) and call it a day? Please note that I’m posing this question from a loudness perspective only. I’m assuming that compression for glueing, EQ, etc have been satisfactorily addressed in the mix itself. Since the streaming services employ normalization processes to achieve a consistent loudness do I have to “master” the mix if it is already below -14 LUFS and the true peak doesn’t break the -.2 limit I follow?

Also, in situations where the mix is peaking below -14 LUFS, (let’s use a hypothetical -21 LUFS) can I simply rely on the streaming service to apply their normalization process to bring up the level when the song is streamed? Finally, is there an LUFS level that is considered too low for streaming submissions or that would adversely affect the sonic quality of the song?

All guidance and recommendations are greatly appreciated.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Yes, thanks so much Saxnscratch. I greatly appreciate your prompt response and assistance. I read the entire thread and comments earlier and found it very informative. However, I still have the questions presented above. Let me modify my questions slightly. Based on this scenario, it seems I’m essentially using the limiter only as a means to keep the true peak below 0. My question is if I get the mix itself (before mastering) to peak at -.2 true peak or below, what’s the point of applying a limiter and adding the “mastering” process to the song? If I’m within the acceptable ranges for true peak, LUFS, dBfs, etc. can’t I just bounce this directly from the mix project (16 bit of course) and call it a day?

Also, (and I know LUFS is a moving target) is there an LUFS (or other level) that is considered too low for streaming submissions or that would adversely affect the sonic quality of the song?

Thanks again everyone. I appreciate your guidance and recommendations.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrmatic View Post
Yes, thanks so much Saxnscratch. I greatly appreciate your prompt response and assistance. I read the entire thread and comments earlier and found it very informative. However, I still have the questions presented above. Let me modify my questions slightly. Based on this scenario, it seems I’m essentially using the limiter only as a means to keep the true peak below 0. My question is if I get the mix itself (before mastering) to peak at -.2 true peak or below, what’s the point of applying a limiter and adding the “mastering” process to the song? If I’m within the acceptable ranges for true peak, LUFS, dBfs, etc. can’t I just bounce this directly from the mix project (16 bit of course) and call it a day?

Also, (and I know LUFS is a moving target) is there an LUFS (or other level) that is considered too low for streaming submissions or that would adversely affect the sonic quality of the song?

Thanks again everyone. I appreciate your guidance and recommendations.
If your mix is not peaking above 0 and you're not planing on getting more level (and/or density), you don't need limiter.

Now, if your song is below the target level of streaming platform, it wil either, get untouch and then be quieter than other song (you care or not), or be limited to reach the target level (which to me sounds like a bad idea)
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Great, thanks so much. I appreciate your guidance on this. This makes a lot of sense. I’m working with the limiter at this very moment. Have a great day, or I should say a great evening Saxnscratch!
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
SmoothTone's Avatar
 

What Saxnscratch said.

+

Spotify WILL apply limiting to bring your track up to the reference level. If listeners are using the 'loud' setting (approx. -11LUFS), this could incur several dB of limiting. You may or may not be ok with that.

You might also consider lowering your overall ceiling a little to account for the conversion to Ogg Vorbis.

But it sounds like your primary question is:

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrmatic View Post
what’s the point of applying a limiter and adding the “mastering” process to the song? [snip] can’t I just bounce this directly from the mix project (16 bit of course) and call it a day?
Of course you can.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Thanks SmothTone. So glad to better understand these concepts and practices. This helps a lot.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Verified Member
IMO you should not base your mastering decisions only on a theoretical level for streaming services. I would personally download 12 songs or so that are commercially successful in your genre and you really like from iTunes or whatever, and use them as reference masters. I found that in my genre (hip hop and electronic), most music is louder than 14 LUFS. Even if the streaming services are normalizing the tracks, things sound different if you bring your tracks to the appropriate level for what sound you are targeting yourself. Just to be clear I am not suggesting you go louder than 14 LUFS necessarily, I’m suggesting you directly compare your master to other commercially successful songs in your genre for guidance.
Old 2 days ago
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for your input. I greatly appreciate it.
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
captainhook79 / Music Computers
2
asterix2k10 / Post Production forum
27
thepilgrimsdream / Studio Building / Acoustics
26
Higgs / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show and Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
5

Forum Jump
Forum Jump