Loudness Wars - Logic vs Reason

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Troublemecca
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Post 20 Sep 2023

Here’s the deal. I follow the same audio recording strategy whether I’m in Reason or Logic… peak at -12dbfs, and hover between there and -18, pre-fader (in Logic at least 🤔), as best I can, then adjust everything to peak at -18 (again, pre-fader in Logic 🤔)… in Logic I do my mixdown, then just throw a basic gain plug-in (comparable to Selig Gain) on the master and things get as loud as I want it to… but in Reason, things appear to get loud, my Maximizer is doing its limiting thing, a Selig Gain at the end of the mastering chain reports I’m peaking at -1 dbfs, but my exported mp3s end up quiet… like I have to turn my iPhone volume up to 100% to hear them clearly… is gain staging so different in reason? What gives?

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jam-s
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Post 20 Sep 2023

Are you sure of your channels in Reason actually peaking at -12 dBfs? The channel meters in the SSL inspired mixer only show LU and thus not the peak level. To get the actual dbFS reading you have to use the "Big Meter" and set it to peak mode.

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selig
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Post 20 Sep 2023

Peak level alone is not an accurate measure of loudness, for one. If you measure the peak vs average (crest factor) or LUFS, you will get a better indication of relative loudness between the two mixes.
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avasopht
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Post 21 Sep 2023

Doesn't Reason default to displaying peak levels with a -6dB offset?

Reason most certainly outputs the same levels as Logic (so I've never had this problem), but if you're measuring it based on peak levels that are offset, you'll always be setting it to a lower level than you think.

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integerpoet
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Post 21 Sep 2023

Troublemecca wrote:
20 Sep 2023
my exported mp3s end up quiet…
Are the results the same when you export as AIFF or WAV?

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stillifegaijin
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Post 21 Sep 2023

The master fader on the mixer is the absolute last thing in the signal chain. So, if that is turned down you will never get up to full, peak volume, or -1db, whatever your preferred target is. I just had this issue yesterday. My final Selig Gain in my Master Section said I should be exporting with a peak around -3db, as I always do pre-mastering, but the exported file was -7db. Turned out it was a very old session from back in the day when I used to adjust the master fader, before I started pretending there was digital tape on it and never touching it, and the fader was at -4db. -3 + -4 = -7.

Since I don't believe Logic has anything like that, no built in mixer, I would guess that is the issue. I hope that helps.

avasopht
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Post 21 Sep 2023

Might help to share project file ...

Troublemecca
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Post 21 Sep 2023

selig wrote:
20 Sep 2023
Peak level alone is not an accurate measure of loudness, for one. If you measure the peak vs average (crest factor) or LUFS, you will get a better indication of relative loudness between the two mixes.
This… in Logic I use one of its various metering tools to get the lufs to about -15 for the streaming sites (and peak dbfs at -1)… is there a way to do this in Reason 11? I have the mixing rack extension package that propllerhead sold w it years ago.

Forgive me guys, I jumped ship a while back to learn something that played nicer w others. Still use Reason VST on every project, but I got frustrated mixing in Reason. Logic is just easier to navigate, and I would say, very powerful as is, for $200 + apple tax, indefinitely... That said it is far more clinical, and dare-I-say boring. Reason showed me my production/mixing sucked, and also what it was missing… but working all that out in Reason was exhausting, given a small tweak anywhere could ruin a mix, and you have to remember what you did, and use the ears you haven’t developed… ugh.

That said, I’m back in it, cuz she’s charming, and moaning a bit now that I’ve had more experience. Appreciate the words.
stillifegaijin wrote:
21 Sep 2023
The master fader on the mixer is the absolute last thing in the signal chain. So, if that is turned down you will never get up to full, peak volume, or -1db, whatever your preferred target is. I just had this issue yesterday. My final Selig Gain in my Master Section said I should be exporting with a peak around -3db, as I always do pre-mastering, but the exported file was -7db. Turned out it was a very old session from back in the day when I used to adjust the master fader, before I started pretending there was digital tape on it and never touching it, and the fader was at -4db. -3 + -4 = -7.

Since I don't believe Logic has anything like that, no built in mixer, I would guess that is the issue. I hope that helps.
It’s usually something like that, but I checked, I think my problem is in the range of Selig’s point, I’m def metering wrong somewhere.
integerpoet wrote:
21 Sep 2023
[quote=Troublemecca post_id=649549 time=<a href="tel:1695250946">1695250946</a> user_id=13467]
my exported mp3s end up quiet…
Are the results the same when you export as AIFF or WAV?
[/quote]

Indeed!
avasopht wrote:
21 Sep 2023

Doesn't Reason default to displaying peak levels with a -6dB offset?

Reason most certainly outputs the same levels as Logic (so I've never had this problem), but if you're measuring it based on peak levels that are offset, you'll always be setting it to a lower level than you think.
Eh… is that normal? Can one turn that off?

RobC
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Post 22 Sep 2023

Regarding comments, I use Goldwave for example to set a LU level. When it comes to a song, a "dead" (wave) processor does this 100% accurately in seconds, or faster - instead of something vague that one may just eyeball with DAWs, sitting there for 3-5 minutes.

Audacity may do this, too. (Free, but dull IMO.)
Goldwave (Fairly cheap, and fun. I call it the Reason of wave editors. - Reason is the Goldwave of DAWs. : ) )
Soundforge (A bit expensive, but has a fancy name.)

robussc
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Post 22 Sep 2023

Troublemecca wrote:
21 Sep 2023
This… in Logic I use one of its various metering tools to get the lufs to about -15 for the streaming sites (and peak dbfs at -1)… is there a way to do this in Reason 11? I have the mixing rack extension package that propllerhead sold w it years ago.
I use the Youlean Loudness Meter VST as the final insert on the master buss for measuring the mix output level.
Software: Reason 12 + Objekt, Vintage Vault 4, V-Collection 9 + Pigments, Vintage Verb + Supermassive
Hardware: M1 Mac mini + dual monitors, Launchkey 61, Scarlett 18i20, Rokit 6 monitors, AT4040 mic, DT-990 Pro phones

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selig
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Post 22 Sep 2023

Troublemecca wrote:
21 Sep 2023
selig wrote:
20 Sep 2023
Peak level alone is not an accurate measure of loudness, for one. If you measure the peak vs average (crest factor) or LUFS, you will get a better indication of relative loudness between the two mixes.
This… in Logic I use one of its various metering tools to get the lufs to about -15 for the streaming sites (and peak dbfs at -1)… is there a way to do this in Reason 11? I have the mixing rack extension package that propllerhead sold w it years ago.
Let me stop you right there and ask an obvious question: are you using mix references when mixing? For example, what LUFS are the mixes in a similar genre as yours? If you don’t already know this, I would suggest it is an excellent place to start, and I think you’ll find that no one (unless you’re a acoustic jazz/folk or classical musician) is releasing material that low.
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avasopht
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Post 22 Sep 2023

Troublemecca wrote:
21 Sep 2023
avasopht wrote:
21 Sep 2023

Doesn't Reason default to displaying peak levels with a -6dB offset?

Reason most certainly outputs the same levels as Logic (so I've never had this problem), but if you're measuring it based on peak levels that are offset, you'll always be setting it to a lower level than you think.
Eh… is that normal? Can one turn that off?
Expand the Hardware Interface, and with the Big Knob, change VU offset. The default template has it set at -12dB (not the -6dB I mentioned). You can save that project and set it as the new project template in preferences/general.

I keep it at -12dB, as I find it much more useful. It corresponds more with the levels on real mixers.

I usually put an MClass Maximizer before the Hardware Interface to monitor the final peak dBFS levels. I sometimes even wrap it up into a combinator with a button to switch between the two.

That's just how I do it, I guess. I used Reason before it had the SSL mixer. I found that when I was outputting Reason via optical to a mixer, the mixer's peak levels were offset by about -18dBFS (many audio interfaces are offset by -12dBFS).

That is why Reason's default project template has a -12DBFS offset (so that your SSL level readings bear a closer resemblance to them), but I guess it's not so useful when you are not using the SSL mixer to mix :)

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selig
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Post 23 Sep 2023

avasopht wrote:
22 Sep 2023
Troublemecca wrote:
21 Sep 2023

Eh… is that normal? Can one turn that off?
Expand the Hardware Interface, and with the Big Knob, change VU offset. The default template has it set at -12dB (not the -6dB I mentioned). You can save that project and set it as the new project template in preferences/general.

I keep it at -12dB, as I find it much more useful. It corresponds more with the levels on real mixers.

I usually put an MClass Maximizer before the Hardware Interface to monitor the final peak dBFS levels. I sometimes even wrap it up into a combinator with a button to switch between the two.

That's just how I do it, I guess. I used Reason before it had the SSL mixer. I found that when I was outputting Reason via optical to a mixer, the mixer's peak levels were offset by about -18dBFS (many audio interfaces are offset by -12dBFS).

That is why Reason's default project template has a -12DBFS offset (so that your SSL level readings bear a closer resemblance to them), but I guess it's not so useful when you are not using the SSL mixer to mix :)
VU offset has zero effect on peak levels, they are exactly the same as every audio system.

I have also output Reason via optical, and the levels read the same in both my Zoom L20 and my Midas M32r mixers. Every digital audio system has exactly the same peak level = 0 dBFS. Reason makes zero adjustments to the output level from their mixer, 0 dBFS on Reason’s mixer equal exactly 0 dBFS on any other digital mixer.

Note that the Reason “offset” you speak of ONLY affects the VU meters (not peak meters, and NOT levels in any way), and when setting digital levels every recorder I’ve seen from the 3M 32 track digital recorders I worked on in the 1980s to every digital tape recorder and audio interface I’ve used since then uses peak metering because thats the only way you know how much headroom you have. You can ignore the VU meters in Reason and work just fine in my experience.

No audio interface has an offset, what you may be thinking of is the VU alignment level (not peak) for calibrating ANALOG levels, which would not be in affect for optical signals. This ensure that when you use analog gear with digital gear you can ensure a similar level. Which is to say, a digital system clips at 0 dBFS while an analog system clips somewhere between 18-24 dB above 0 dBVU.

There is a difference between VU levels and peak levels, sometimes as much as +20 dB for signals like kick and snare. Meaning, if you set your kick VU to 0 dBVU, the peak level can be 20 dB or more HIGHER than the VU (average) level. On a tape machine this can produce sweet saturation on the transients, which can be desired. But on a digital system this can result in hard clipping. So peak levels are used for digital systems and VU for analog, with the most common chosen calibration point for most audio interfaces these days being 0 dBVU = -18 dBFS. All this means is if I have an analog console with a tone generator and VU meters, and set the test tone to read 0 dBVU on the console, it should hit -18 dBFS on the digital meters. It should also be mentioned that when using VU meters you would not likely hit 0 dBVU on every signal, especially anything with transients. In fact, when recording instruments like tambourine you will see the VU meters down around -20 dBVU which is barely moving (and still it can sometimes saturate and get crunchy quickly).

Sorry for the long rant, lots to cover and plenty of room for mistakes on my part (and I’m trying to remember experiences from decades ago), so please correct me if I’m wrong here!
avasopht wrote:
21 Sep 2023
Doesn't Reason default to displaying peak levels with a -6dB offset?

Reason most certainly outputs the same levels as Logic (so I've never had this problem), but if you're measuring it based on peak levels that are offset, you'll always be setting it to a lower level than you think.
Reason displays peak levels accurately, peak levels are never “offset” anywhere in Reason (or any mixer/DAW I’m aware of). Reason and Logic mixes will null with the same audio files loaded into both, so there is absolutely zero difference between how they handle levels (same for other DAWs as far as I have experienced). Their meters show the same level on the same audio files imported into either.

0 dBFS is the same on every DAW!
Check out this comparison of summing or playing audio in Reason compared to Logic. Spoiler - they are exactly the same.
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avasopht
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Post 23 Sep 2023

Note: I am not suggesting or claiming that the Mackie d8b meters do not start at 0 dBFS at the top, nor have I ever thought anything like that.
selig wrote:
23 Sep 2023

VU offset has zero effect on peak levels, they are exactly the same as every audio system.
I know they don't affect the peak levels (or output levels), but the VU offset will change what is displayed on the SSL mixer (at least the VU part) and I was just wondering whether that was where the confusion came in ;)

But I realize now, I didn't read the first post properly.

So no, I wasn't suggesting it would change the output level.

And yes, the alignment is what I was talking about. For example, in the Mackie d8b which I used, it was something like 0 dBFS = +18+24 dBVU on the LED meters.

I only brought up the VU offset as a possible explanation for the conflicting outputs after measuring for 0dB.

---

But after going back over the first post, ... I might have jumped the gun a bit.

I'd be curious to know what LUFS the metering tool measures on the Reason mixdown ...
Last edited by avasopht on 23 Sep 2023, edited 1 time in total.

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selig
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Post 23 Sep 2023

avasopht wrote:
23 Sep 2023
selig wrote:
23 Sep 2023

VU offset has zero effect on peak levels, they are exactly the same as every audio system.
I know they don't affect the peak levels (or output levels), but the VU offset will change what is displayed on the SSL mixer (at least the VU part) and I was just wondering whether that was where the confusion came in ;)

But I realize now, I didn't read the first post properly.

So no, I wasn't suggesting it would change the output level.

And yes, the alignment is what I was talking about. For example, in the Mackie d8b which I used, it was something like 0 dBFS = +18+24 dBVU on the LED meters.

I only brought up the VU offset as a possible explanation for the conflicting outputs after measuring for 0dB.

---

But after going back over the first post, ... I might have jumped the gun a bit.

I'd be curious to know what LUFS the metering tool measures on the Reason mixdown ...
I’ve worked on the Mackie D8B and it’s meters start at 0 dBFS at the top, just like every digital console I’ve ever worked on. The calibration is 0 dBU = -20 dBFS but that’s only for analog signal. Just checked the owners manual online to confirm.
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avasopht
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Post 23 Sep 2023

selig wrote:
23 Sep 2023
I’ve worked on the Mackie D8B and it’s meters start at 0 dBFS at the top, just like every digital console I’ve ever worked on. The calibration is 0 dBU = -20 dBFS but that’s only for analog signal. Just checked the owners manual online to confirm.
I've never claimed or suggested that the Mackie d8B meters do not start at 0 dBFS at the top or any other digital console.

Neither said nor implied.

The manual says:
Mackie d8b manual wrote:LED ladders displaying 24 channels, 24 LEDs per channel from –50 to 0 dBFS (0 dBFS = +20 dBu)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but dBu is not the same as dBVU.

7.746 Volts RMS = 20.000 dBu = 16.000 VU according to this chart.

Btw, when writing my last post I also looked at the manual just to confirm as well (so I already knew that) ... I incorrectly used the figure for -20 dBu = -24 VU instead of the figure for +20 dBu = +16 VU.

ButI was talking about the exact same thing you were (what was in the Mackie manual). I wasn't saying anything different.

This is all very strange. And before it's assumed: no, I am not suggesting anything about digital signals or analogue signals in the Mackie d8B, or any other possible detail other than the exact thing that is in the manual. Nothing else. That was all I was referencing with regards to the Mackie d8b.

I'm not in disagreement with you. And I never suggested it was not 0dBFS at the top. Not once.

Neither said nor implied.

This is really strange and out of character.

---

Note: nowhere will you find me saying or suggesting (either this thread or any other):
1. Changing the VU meters changes the output level from Reason.
2. The Mackie d8B meters (or any other digital device/mixer/microwave/hairdryer) do not start at 0dBFS at the top.

If anyone can quote me saying that (including my PUF account), I'll donate a copy of Reason 12 to RT to give away at a competition. I'll even throw in, ... erm, ... Sonic Reality Gold Bundle and Miroslav Refills. Even better, I'll also give away my SSL2+ audio interface, ... and a Maschine Mk3. I'm that confident I've not said anything even remotely like this.

Struggling to see how it could have been read like that.

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Post 23 Sep 2023

avasopht wrote:
23 Sep 2023

...

But I realize now, I didn't read the first post properly

...

But after going back over the first post, ... I might have jumped the gun a bit.

I'd be curious to know what LUFS the metering tool measures on the Reason mixdown ...
Anyway, ignore what I said about the VU offset meter. I didn't read the first post properly.

Just looking at the process you've described, I'd take Selig's direction regardings LUFS.

RobC
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Post 24 Sep 2023

selig wrote:
22 Sep 2023
Troublemecca wrote:
21 Sep 2023


This… in Logic I use one of its various metering tools to get the lufs to about -15 for the streaming sites (and peak dbfs at -1)… is there a way to do this in Reason 11? I have the mixing rack extension package that propllerhead sold w it years ago.
Let me stop you right there and ask an obvious question: are you using mix references when mixing? For example, what LUFS are the mixes in a similar genre as yours? If you don’t already know this, I would suggest it is an excellent place to start, and I think you’ll find that no one (unless you’re a acoustic jazz/folk or classical musician) is releasing material that low.
Even Youtube's LUFS limit is -14 LU. Even Bob Katz recommends something around that for pop music as a quick Google search resulted.
Dan Worrall won the loudness war. : )

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selig
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Post 24 Sep 2023

avasopht wrote:
23 Sep 2023
selig wrote:
23 Sep 2023
I’ve worked on the Mackie D8B and it’s meters start at 0 dBFS at the top, just like every digital console I’ve ever worked on. The calibration is 0 dBU = -20 dBFS but that’s only for analog signal. Just checked the owners manual online to confirm.
I've never claimed or suggested that the Mackie d8B meters do not start at 0 dBFS at the top or any other digital console.

Neither said nor implied.

The manual says:
Mackie d8b manual wrote:LED ladders displaying 24 channels, 24 LEDs per channel from –50 to 0 dBFS (0 dBFS = +20 dBu)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but dBu is not the same as dBVU.

7.746 Volts RMS = 20.000 dBu = 16.000 VU according to this chart.

Btw, when writing my last post I also looked at the manual just to confirm as well (so I already knew that) ... I incorrectly used the figure for -20 dBu = -24 VU instead of the figure for +20 dBu = +16 VU.

ButI was talking about the exact same thing you were (what was in the Mackie manual). I wasn't saying anything different.

This is all very strange. And before it's assumed: no, I am not suggesting anything about digital signals or analogue signals in the Mackie d8B, or any other possible detail other than the exact thing that is in the manual. Nothing else. That was all I was referencing with regards to the Mackie d8b.

I'm not in disagreement with you. And I never suggested it was not 0dBFS at the top. Not once.

Neither said nor implied.

This is really strange and out of character.

---

Note: nowhere will you find me saying or suggesting (either this thread or any other):
1. Changing the VU meters changes the output level from Reason.
2. The Mackie d8B meters (or any other digital device/mixer/microwave/hairdryer) do not start at 0dBFS at the top.

If anyone can quote me saying that (including my PUF account), I'll donate a copy of Reason 12 to RT to give away at a competition. I'll even throw in, ... erm, ... Sonic Reality Gold Bundle and Miroslav Refills. Even better, I'll also give away my SSL2+ audio interface, ... and a Maschine Mk3. I'm that confident I've not said anything even remotely like this.

Struggling to see how it could have been read like that.
Sorry for any confusion, allow me to clarify for the sake of accuracy since there’s some confusion on this thread.
You said:
“I found that when I was outputting Reason via optical to a mixer, the mixer's peak levels were offset by about -18dBFS (many audio interfaces are offset by -12dBFS).

And

“ And yes, the alignment is what I was talking about. For example, in the Mackie d8b which I used, it was something like 0 dBFS = +18+24 dBVU on the LED meters”

As for the first comment, it suggested the Mackie’s peak meters were reading -18 dB differently than Reasons, which should not be the case. A level of 0 dBFS on Reason, output digitally to a digital mixer (or exported/imported as an audio file) will also read 0 dBFS. Plus, you said you were outputting optically (digitally) then said it was the interface that caused the offset (digital signals are not affected by analog calibration levels). I’ve never heard of an interface offsetting levels, what am I missing here?

To your second comment, which I read to say that 0 dBFS [output from Reason] = +18+24 dBVU on the LED meters [on the mackie], suggesting that 0 dBFS from Reason was reading 18 or 24 dB HIGHER than that on the Mackie meters.
There aren’t many/any meters that show +18 or +24 dBVU! I was just clarifying the Mackie LED meters don’t show levels that high.

The fact there is actually no difference how peak meters display levels on digital system. 0 dBFS is always the same on every digital system, no matter any other variables at least as far as I’ve ever heard/seen.

Since this entire thread was about answering the question “Is gain staging so different in Reason”, I wanted to be sure there was no confusion on the matter: there is no difference between the gain structures of any DAW. Hopefully things are all cleared up now?
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selig
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Post 24 Sep 2023

RobC wrote:
24 Sep 2023
selig wrote:
22 Sep 2023


Let me stop you right there and ask an obvious question: are you using mix references when mixing? For example, what LUFS are the mixes in a similar genre as yours? If you don’t already know this, I would suggest it is an excellent place to start, and I think you’ll find that no one (unless you’re a acoustic jazz/folk or classical musician) is releasing material that low.
Even Youtube's LUFS limit is -14 LU. Even Bob Katz recommends something around that for pop music as a quick Google search resulted.
Dan Worrall won the loudness war. : )
That’s not accurate to say it is a “limit”, it’s a suggestion (which most commercial releases ignore).
Also from a google search, found at Sweetwater:
“YouTube guidelines remind us to aim for a target of -13 to -15 LUFS in overall loudness (often shown as “integrated” or “long-term” loudness) and no louder than -9 LUFS for transient peaks (often shown as “peak” or “short-term” loudness).”

Here’s a great article (often quoted) that explains why -14 LUFS is not a “limit” or even a good“target”:
https://www.mixinglessons.com/lufs-loud ... integrated.
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RobC
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Post 24 Sep 2023

selig wrote:
24 Sep 2023
RobC wrote:
24 Sep 2023


Even Youtube's LUFS limit is -14 LU. Even Bob Katz recommends something around that for pop music as a quick Google search resulted.
Dan Worrall won the loudness war. : )
That’s not accurate to say it is a “limit”, it’s a suggestion (which most commercial releases ignore).
Also from a google search, found at Sweetwater:
“YouTube guidelines remind us to aim for a target of -13 to -15 LUFS in overall loudness (often shown as “integrated” or “long-term” loudness) and no louder than -9 LUFS for transient peaks (often shown as “peak” or “short-term” loudness).”

Here’s a great article (often quoted) that explains why -14 LUFS is not a “limit” or even a good“target”:
https://www.mixinglessons.com/lufs-loud ... integrated.
Considering your response and the link, I can say:

Sound is #1 for me, too.
And to some degree, I'm willing to compromise dynamic range, to get at least close to given platforms' loudness requirements (as long as it doesn't make the sound worse). Especially if I can post both a dynamic and loud version. : )

I just meant that there's definitely a point where for example youtube will either raise or reduce the volume.
If the sound is perfect, but too loud, then oh well, so be it.Of course, if there's unused headroom due to loudness, we may use an expander (or compress less).
If we're too quiet, we may limit, clip, etc. to our taste, instead of staying too quiet.

avasopht
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Post 24 Sep 2023

The condescending tone (with the video) and persistent nitpicking are pretty disappointing, Giles.

I appreciate that we all go through our own personal and private struggles and that we don't know what another person might be going through, but this is all so small, ...
Last edited by avasopht on 24 Sep 2023, edited 4 times in total.

avasopht
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Post 24 Sep 2023

.
Last edited by avasopht on 24 Sep 2023, edited 6 times in total.

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integerpoet
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Post 24 Sep 2023

selig wrote:
23 Sep 2023
0 dBFS is the same on every DAW!
This is definitionally true.

Except when a DAW has a bug. :-)

avasopht
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Post 24 Sep 2023

Could it just be down to a difference in the quality of the Gain plugin being used?

What happens if you use the Gain plugin from Reason inside logic via RRP? ... And if the Gain plugin used in Logic is available as a VST, what happens if that plugin is used in Reason?

Basically I'd rather compare identical plugins rather than similarly described plugins.

Excuse the ads in this link, but here is a list of free alternatives: https://integraudio.com/5-best-gain-staging-vu-plugins/

This way you can compare like for like.

Other than that, the community will help you get to the bottom of it


...


Oh, and the same sample rate output? And same MP3 converter?

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