Volume Levels for iTunes Random Listening

Brent Larimore

New member
If any of you add some of your original recordings to your iTunes library in order to listen along with
your purchased music, what -dBs do you Normalize them at in order for them to
be about the same volume as your purchased music?
I normalized mine at -5dB and most of my purchased music on my iTunes is louder than my
original tunes are.
Maybe I need to add some compression to these post-mixed? I haven't used any.
If so what is the most common type of compression added to songs after they have
already been recorded and mixed?
Thank you in advance!
 

bouldersoundguy

<div><p>&nbsp;</p></div>
To understand your numbers we'll need a specific scale. A dB number without a scale just indicates some difference in level. So is your -5dB in LUFS, RMS (square wave referenced or sine wave referenced), peak full scale, True Peak or some other scale? I'm pretty sure it's not LUFS or RMS as that would make it rather loud.
 

Brent Larimore

New member
To understand your numbers we'll need a specific scale. A dB number without a scale just indicates some difference in level. So is your -5dB in LUFS, RMS (square wave referenced or sine wave referenced), peak full scale, True Peak or some other scale? I'm pretty sure it's not LUFS or RMS as that would make it rather loud.
Hey BoulderSoundGuy: Thanks for jumping in to help! I have moved tunes from Maxell Cassettes into NCH software called: WavePad Sound Editor software. Then I normalized using: "Simple Peak Normalize" set at the top end of -5dB which is 59.5%. Hopefully that will give you the context.
 

bouldersoundguy

<div><p>&nbsp;</p></div>
Got it. I can see why that comes out low. Given that you're starting with analog recordings that get digitize then normalized without any other processing, you should be able to set it to normalize to -1dB peaks. That will get you a little closer to the norm, but perhaps not all the way.

To master them to iTunes specifications you're going to need to do a bit more work. You'll need a mastering limiter and a LUFS meter at a minimum, perhaps some eq and a general purpose compressor as well. So your processing chain might look like this:

eq -> compressor -> mastering limiter -> LUFS meter

If the iTunes specs are what I think they are (14 LUFS, 1dB TP), you would use the LUFS meter as your guide and set the limiter to increase the level to 14 LUFS while keeping the TP (True Peak) from exceeding -1dB. You'll need to play the whole song to measure the integrated LUFS value. The eq and compressor are mostly a matter of taste, but sometimes eq can affect how hard it is to get to the desired levels.

Most mastering limiters work by reducing peaks and raising the level to compensate. It's a much easier way to work than trying to make a general purpose limiter do the job.
 

Massive Master

www.massivemastering.com
As astonished as I still am about the whole thing, I'm still finding it hard to believe that the streaming services are actually putting a (rather impressive) dent in the loudness war. Don't get me wrong - I'm happy as hell about it. I just never would have expected the source. We're almost getting to the point where we're doing what best serves the sound again.

Ahhhhhhh....
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I have to say that I’m actually treating my classical music to a simple peak normalisation, and oddly -5 seems about right so this style of music matches similar on iTunes and Spotify. So I can play it on these platforms and not need to adjust the volume control when it suddenly plays somebody else’s music. it doesn’t work on deezer very well. The adverts are mega loud, but that platform isnt really for my music but interesting how their levels do need source material that is louder, squashed and compressed. My music doesn’t even touch a compressor, quite the opposite I’ve often got really quiet that ends up mega loud. Listening to it accidentally through the chain, with LUFS meters and processing for a modern track is very odd!
 

Brent Larimore

New member
Got it. Thanks for all your help.
As astonished as I still am about the whole thing, I'm still finding it hard to believe that the streaming services are actually putting a (rather impressive) dent in the loudness war. Don't get me wrong - I'm happy as hell about it. I just never would have expected the source. We're almost getting to the point where we're doing what best serves the sound again.

Ahhhhhhh....
MM: yeah, the whole loudness war thing was/is a shame! It just damages the overall enjoyment of music as an ongoing cultural joy and experience; when all of a sudden you get your ears blown out!! After all there is a limit to how loud we can enjoy sound anyway. Why push continually beyond that? Losing the affect of dynamics, etc. I know some music is more dynamically stagnant, but still.
 

Brent Larimore

New member
I have to say that I’m actually treating my classical music to a simple peak normalisation, and oddly -5 seems about right so this style of music matches similar on iTunes and Spotify. So I can play it on these platforms and not need to adjust the volume control when it suddenly plays somebody else’s music. it doesn’t work on deezer very well. The adverts are mega loud, but that platform isnt really for my music but interesting how their levels do need source material that is louder, squashed and compressed. My music doesn’t even touch a compressor, quite the opposite I’ve often got really quiet that ends up mega loud. Listening to it accidentally through the chain, with LUFS meters and processing for a modern track is very odd!
Very cool, Rob! Can I look up some of your music on youtube and give a listen?
 
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