mastering volume

Production tips, tricks, questions and resources. Find them here.

mastering volume

Postby verdroid » Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:48 pm

I've got troubles with this. When i listen to music, i want all tracks in somewhat the same volume level.
in the past, i've made tracks that are mastered horrible loud or just too quiet. And this all depends on a lot of things. The samples used, the effects, channels volume, master volume,... ...
How do you guys work this out? How do you determine a certain level that's standard to all the other music in the world?
User avatar
Alumni Group Leader
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:12 pm
Location: Belgium

Re: mastering volume

Postby Vojeet » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:36 pm

I am matching the levels by ear and with Ozone.

I would personally match levels by ear. No algorithm provides the human factor, which can distinct between dominant part of mix.. sometimes you're balancing by perceived volume of lead vocal, sometimes drums.. sometimes by volume of first verse, because it is sequenced right after previous song. It is material dependent. Of course, current broadcast standards for loudness measurement are quite elaborate and usually provide good average results, I feel, it is usually done better by ear.

Anyway, just another tip without actually buying of anything, if you really want to use helper..
You haven't tell about your platform, but if you are on Windows, there is another way, how to do that.
Foobar2000 player has built in replay-gain scanner, which uses R128 loudness detection algorithm (so basically same as Nugen, etc.).. only difference is in target level, which is -18LUFS.
You can load your songs to playlist select all of them, hit right-click for context menu and use ReplayGain/Scan per-file track gain.. After completion, new pop-up with levels table appears.

Now, you can either
- enter that values in per-clip manner into your DAW (not big deal) and then possibly adjust all clips at once (so relative level differences are preserved)


- update tags and apply measured gain offset using Foobar2000 converter (generating new wav files)
to do that you need to setup built-in converter (accessible again via right click menu) for output to 32bit floating point wavs (so no dithering will be necessary and you ain't loose any resolution)

in converter processing section, you'll need to enable actual gain sourced from file tags

It looks like cumbersome solution, but it works well and that setup is necessary to do only one time, because you can easily save whole converter setup to preset. So then it became only two step process - detect ReplayGain and convert to new wavs via right-click menu.

Additionally, you can enter offset for gain apply, so if you don't need -18LUFS target level, you just modify it. Eg. for -23LUFS (broadcast), you just move first slider to -5dB and save it as another preset. ... songs.html

I am using Foobar, have to try this.
User avatar
El Capitan
Posts: 450
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:24 pm

Re: mastering volume

Postby Alojzy Kowalczyk » Sun Sep 25, 2016 12:15 pm

If you follow the same mixing technique each time, you should roughly end up with the same output volume for each track.

I do it by ear, turning everything down, then turning the track I know to be the loudest to around -12dB, then turn the others up so they match it nicely.
I usually do thise while also playing with the pan settings, as this also affects the volume in some ways, panning them a little bit (1% or 2%) to the left og right.


A trick I sometimes use when mixing, is turn all tracks down and mute them, add a track only playing pink noise, and then unmute a track and turn it up till it's barely listenable through the pink noise, and mute it again. Do this with each track. Then delete the pink noise and unmute everything.

I guess you could do this with full songs too. Load all your songs into your DAW in sequence, and put a pink noise track under them, and turn up or down the volume of each track, so they're barely listenable through the noise.

Pink noise technique
User avatar
Alojzy Kowalczyk
Posts: 154
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:38 pm
Location: A hole in the ground

Re: mastering volume

Postby Vojeet » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:15 am

User avatar
El Capitan
Posts: 450
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:24 pm

Return to Production Area

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests