Be the loudest

BE THE

LOUDEST

YOUR MUSIC, THE WAY YOU INTENDED (5/6)

Relative loudness

Loudness normalisation means that your music can no longer be heavily compressed and limited to make it louder than the next track - the playout system simply turns it down, so the end result of heavy limiting is reduced dynamics and transient content. How dynamic you make the mix is now a matter of creative choice.

 

Micro dynamics, as discussed in the previous article, is perhaps the most obvious consideration, but not the only one. As well as considering the dynamics of your track on a “micro” scale, it can also be useful to view this on a “macro” scale. Essentially, macro dynamics refers to the relative loudness between different sections of a track, rather than the individual transients.

 

Information accurate at the time of publishing - last edited 10 October 2018

As loud as you like

It is perfectly possible to have a piece of music with an integrated loudness of -14 LUFS but with some sections (a particularly climactic chorus, for example) which average significantly louder, as long as there are quieter sections to balance this out. Streaming services do not generally include significant dynamics processing within loudness normalisation, therefore as long as your track meets the loudness target overall and the True Peaks don’t clip, individual sections can be as loud as you like.

 

 

This image shows two tracks which share the same integrated loudness. As you can see, the first example stays at more or less the same level for the entire track. The second example demonstrates macro dynamics and utilises much more of the available headroom; quieter sections at the start and end of the track allow this example to peak significantly higher, even after loudness normalisation.

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