Mastering for Streaming Services: Compression Necessary?

Brent Larimore

New member
Hello Group:

To get a digital home recording (Tascam DP-03HD) to sound good on the streaming services is it
necessary to apply compression? I am working on a simple Fingerstyle steel string guitar track
with a vocal. The only other thing that may come into play may be the addition of an electric bass
part and possibly a second acoustic guitar track (a second fingerstyle part or some light lead).
It's a laid back type of piece. Pretty rather than driving.

Thank you to all responders in advance!

Brent
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
How do you define "sound good on the streaming services"? If you mean to make it sound as loud as some other person's compressed pop masterpiece, or a driving metal song, then, yeah, you'll need to compress the living crap out of it.

If you mean you want it to sound realistic, and retain the dynamics of the original recording, then the answer is no. Not all music has to be -14 LUFS with a dynamic range of 2dB from low to high. If the music has low and high levels and you want to keep that, then it might be sufficient to raise the levels and put a light limiter just to keep an occasional peak from driving down the average volume.

Mix it down and get it to sound the way you want, then check the LUFS levels and then tweak the mix if it is way out of whack.
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
It's a good idea to have a full dB of True Peak headroom on your wav file master so when it gets encoded to whatever compressed format the peak doesn't get pushed past 0 dB True Peak.

There's a reason I like to master around -14 LUFS for YouTube. If your level is lower, the listener has to crank their volume, and then when an ad plays it blasts them. That has happened to me and I immediately left that video. I'm not going to sit there and turn it up for the program and try to be ready to turn it down for the ads.
 

Altar

New member
Hi,
You may lower comp’ ratio whenever last step involving limiting occurs ; yet certainly dynamic control is not the sole aspect of mastering compression. So no, this doesn’t rule it out.
 
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