Loudness Penalty


New member
Anyone seen this site?

It's a nice concept, but I'm still not sold on what all these companies are saying about loudness on streaming sites.

For instance, I personally know and own masters of a couple of albums that were mastered to just around the -14 LUFS target that is being touted for streaming. And when I put those songs into this web site, it indeed says that spotify will turn them down only 1.2db. Indicating they are very close and even just a bit loud. So according to this web site and to spotify's own information, these songs should sound as loud as any other songs on spotify.

However, when I listen to these songs in spotify alongside other songs, they clearly aren't as loud.

I think I might still have a target of -12 to -10 LUFS for streaming songs.



Active member
I have read some folks that thought they were too low a LUFS got turned up by spotify. So you might also try going to -16 and see if you end up louder


Well-known member
One issue with integrated LUFS is that it doesn't deal well with dynamics. Something with a lot of -20 LUFS area and some -7 LUFS can integrate to -14. It won't sound the same as something massively compressed at a constant -14 LUFS.

The only way to know what a streaming service is doing is to measure and compare their version with the original master. If they are within about a dB or so, and it SOUNDS THE WAY YOU WANT, then there's no issue. I wouldn't compress something I've got sounding right with just to match numbers with somebody's heavy metal riff song.


New member
It's not about compressing anything I have to match anything anyone else has. It's a matter of understanding.

Some songs, in some genre's, can be mastered to -8 and sound pretty good or can be mastered to -14 and sound marginally better. By marginally, I mean close enough that many listeners wouldn't know the difference.

But I'm in the business of marginally better, everyone in the music business is, so understanding what happens to my music as it's converted and manipulated is important to me. Learning to take advantage of anything I can to make things as good as I possibly can keeps the lights on. :)



Well-known member
The extra headroom only actually matters if you use it, and if the playback system can reproduce it and if the listener can even tell or care that there’s a bit bigger transients here and there. If the difference between -12 and -14 is just shaving off the very tops of the snare or kick attack, I’m not sure most people most of the time could even notice the difference. But like also if your piece integrates to -14 but peaks at -2, it’s really -12 to begin with.

That said, even though the LUFS measurement is frequency weighted and does a bit better job of corresponding to our perceptions, it can’t be perfect, and especially if most of your average level is taken up by a bunch of low frequency stuff that most people can’t really hear and maybe you can’t really either which is why you cranked it up to begin with, then it WILL probably not sound as loud as something which is more carefully controlled in the low end once they are loudness normalized even if it has an extra 2db worth of transients here and there.