How loud will it be? The new loudness standards

The new loudness standard for streaming

Because of the new international EBU and ATSC loudness standards, the days of super loud masters are all but over.   What does this new standard mean?  In short it means that if your master is too loud, it will be automatically turned down on streaming services and youtube.  The result may be that it actually sounds quieter than other songs on these services.  Even if it doesn’t get turned down enough to sound quieter, it certainly wont sound louder, but it will have less dynamic range and may sound more squashed and dull than other tracks mastered to the new standard.

Why is this?

There is only one way to make a master louder and that is to compress the dynamic range.  The dynamic range is the difference between the loudest sounds and the quietest sounds in a piece of music.  The louder you make the master, the more you need to compress (reduce) the dynamic range of the music.   A very loud maser will have a very small dynamic range.  This means that the level of sounds half way between the loudest and quietest sounds (the mid average level) will have been brought up to be nearly as loud as the loudest sounds.

What you need to know

This processing basically shaves off all the loud peaks in the music.  It’s a very destructive process and can audibly degrade the sound, especially for jazz recordings.  The new standards mean this kind of destructive squashing of music is no longer necessary, because on the streaming services or youtube, it will no longer result in your music sounding any louder.

The choice is yours

You can have your music mastered to sound really loud on CD if you don’t mind the way it affects the dynamic range.  We are happy to give you two versions, a reduced dynamic range master for CD and a fuller dynamic range version for streaming and vinyl.