The new loudness standard for streaming
Streaming services automatically turn down tracks which have been mastered to be loud. The result is that a loud track may actually sound quieter on streaming services than tracks which have not been mastered to be loud. Even if it doesn’t get turned down enough to sound quieter, it certainly wont sound louder. However it will have less dynamic range and will probably sound more squashed, distorted and dull next to other tracks which were not mastered to be so loud. Below is a diagram to explain why this is the case.
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.
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 will no longer result in your music sounding any louder on streaming services.
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.