Mastering for Spotify® and Other Streaming Services Are You Listening S2 Ep4 – (part 2)

30.07.2020 By 35a6un7v

I'm going to use the master assistant in Ozone as a way of illustrating one of the best practices. So I'm going to hit play (garage punk music) on a track that I might be working on and make sure that the destination is selected as streaming. I'm going to disregard some of the other choices right now because I just want to focus on this one particular decision point. So the master assistant is going to do some thinking about tonal balance, it's going to do some thinking about the musical dynamics within the track, the technical dynamics within the track, the overall level setting of the track, but there's one thing that is going to do that is very specifically tied to this idea of streaming and lossy audio. ♪ Tie the shirt into another bow ♪ ♪ Take a dip into the stash you stole ♪ – I'll click Accept, and stop the audio and I'm going to look at the maximizer limiter. Typically, the limiter is the last thing in the chain, and the ceiling is the thing that defines the level of the audio, and you'll notice it sets it to minus one dBFS. The reason for that choice has to do with what happens to the audio when it gets encoded into a lossy file format.

If I check the audio, and look at my output meter, (garage punk music) I'll see that the peak level is minus one, if I implement a lossy codec, for instance, MP3 at 192 kilobits per second, ♪ Taking measures to defend ♪ ♪ Me cause you swore you'd always treat me like a friend ♪ ♪ And now I always fall ♪ ♪ A little short in front of you ♪ – Now I'm gonna listen through the codec, and set the codec for playing back as if I was sending this out as mp3, at 192 kilobits per second, and you will notice that the peak level now, on output, is somewhat higher, than it was before. (garage punk music) – Okay ♪ So I woke up with a curse ♪ – This is a natural byproduct of taking a WAV file, or AIF file, and turning it into a lossy file. The peak level ends up being different at the output, than it is in the lossless version. You can't avoid it, but we can prepare for it by lowering the level of our master, so that when it gets turned into a lossy file, it won't overdrive the output. If you're working on genre that's very, very, or if you're working on a track that's set to a very high RMS level, and there's a Low Crest Factor, between peak and average, then you may notice that you still get some overlevels, even if you set the output to minus one. Our goal here is not to completely eliminate distortion in the lossy file, but at lest to reduce it. So, this is one of the implications of mastering for streaming services and thinking about streaming services. The other aspect of this that we think about has to do with loudness, and here is where things get, well, somewhat controversial.

In a perfect world, you would be creating a master for a playback, a presentation to a listener that would be accorded to a peak normalized paradigm, and one that would be set for the loudness normalize playback of whatever streaming service someone is listening to. You should also understand the streaming services offer, not all of them but some of them, the possibility of turning off loudness normalization, or turning it on. The implications of this are maddening because it means that you can't know for sure, whether a listener is gonna go from your song to the next song they listen to in a way where the streaming service is gonna match the level, or it's not gonna match the level.

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