New ways of mixing habits

I’m trying to get to grips with the new metering functions - especially the loudness meters.
In the “old days” I mixed so the peaks were -1-2 dB and loudness around 12-18 dB- depending on the material.
Now we have LUFS and LU and AES17 and recommended level is -23 LUFS.
If I mix a file that is -23 LUFS the peaks max at -10 and RMS at -20. Sounds much weaker than my old mixes.
And all the different meters scales - Digital, EBU,DIN, British, Nordic, K-20 etc… - very confusing… - what shall I aim for ?
I’ve been reading up on the subject but haven’t found an “explanation for dummies” - including the Steinberg videos.
Can anyone direct me to where I can find easy to understand comparisons ?
TIA,
Mads

Same problem here. -23 LUFS is too low. Should be more like -9. But Cubase meter is all in red then. They should make it so that it shows higher levels too.

Here is a tip for you. I rather use ReplayGain, my experience is that it works really well even with extremely different genres. If music is somewhat full song, then Replay Gain will find proper level for it. It fails a bit on solo songs, and in vocal only - those turn out too loud. Buth with usual full specturm music it works very well. I have my entire mp3 library scanned with ReplayGain, and most songs are arround -7 or -8. Some go to -11, but i think those are mastered to hot. And some go lower, even above 0dB, but those are very quiet. May experience is betven -7 and -8 is best with ReplayGain.

What I do is I usually mix as usual with some db of headroom, then I export temporary mixdown and check my levels with Foobar2000 my3 player, which has ReplayGain system built in it. I scan my mix, and note the level. My goal is -7 or -8 dB reduction in ReplyGain. If say, my temporary export has -3 dB, then I know i have to maximize it by another 4,5dB. So I return to Cubase, and push maximizer by 4,5 db more, so that I get final -7,5 reduction in ReplayGain. Then level is fine by commercial standards, no worry.

This is really simple method, and it works surprisingly well.

Hi and thank’s SS,
I’ve mixed down a 1 minute file with LUFS at -23 dB and LU at 2dB. Peak ampl. is - 10 and RMS is -21.
ReplayGain says Track gain + 4.64 dB ? - I’m still confused…
It’s a file with piano, bass and drums.
Mads

Sure it does - that’ s the basic idea behind EBU 128r loudness measurement. Get back some more dynamic range. Not necessarily for music production in at first place though.

Aim for what you think is necessary for your style of music with respect to the medium it will be released / distributed for / on. Common for anything: don’ t go above 0 dB FS.

Thank’s for good and informative answers, guys - it’s all a little clearer to me now. And I’m all in favor for bringing dynamics back into the music!
One more question in my head - if I mix for a CD should i still aim for -23 LUFS or keep the levels I’m used to - considering that the (few) people that still use CD’s probably will have a collection with higher levels ? - and then make another mix at -23 LUFS for streaming and radio/TV ?
Mads

Mix your music however you want to. The level matching into EBU R-128 is done on the broadcaster’s end (talking strictly about music here, of course). However, as said earlier, music that is heavily compressed will sound small compared to music that has more dynamic range. How much dynamic range you allow will depend on the style of music your mixing. For example, Classical music sounds best when it is less compressed and more natural sounding, while more modern styles (for lack of a better term) sound better when they’re a bit more compressed. What you want to avoid is over-compressing, that’s all.

As a guideline, what I do is record peaks no more than -12dBFS to -9dBFS, at most! More compressed sources, like heavily distorted guitars, can be recorded even lower since they are already compressed by “nature”. I try to stay withing those limits because, otherwise, you may drive your plugins harder than you may want to (especially those that emulate hardware). If a source was recorded too hot, then I grab the gain knob and lower it until I get around -18dBFS RMS, since that is the nominal level for a lot of those emulation plugins. As for the mix as a whole, I use one of the K-System metering options found in Cubase 7. Again, based on the material.

Stick to those basic principles and you’ll have mixes that are of good level and good dynamics. It all starts in the recording process though, not just in the mix. Other people may disagree, but that’s what I do and it works great for me.

HTH

EBU R-128 is a loudness standard in progress. Currently, it can be used when delivering audio to TV and broadcast companies, when these companies choose specific loudness, peak and dynamic range limits based on the standard. EBU R-128 will become more global when/if all radio stations, streaming websites and reprduction hardware all abide to the new standard. At that point, if it ever arrives, EBU-R128 becomes relevant to all stages of music and audio production. We are not yet there but some believe that this scenario is slowly being put in place. If we ever get to this point, pushing everything to max peak and hyper compressing would become bad practice, and would actually sound a lot worse when played via a radio station adhering to R-128, for example.

The theory of the standard is an important development in audio. EBU-R128 is a loudness based standard as opposed to a peak based standard and provides a very accurate loudness measurement of an audio signal. It is a far more intelligent metering technique than any of the peak based standards and is much closer to how our ears respond to sound. It simultaneously incorporates momentary, short term, integrated, loudness range and true peak measurement. The -23LUFS (+/-1LU) loudness guideline refers to the integrated level, which is a long term measurement, and the loudness range is a very important value which gives an idea of the dynamic range within the program material. Using EBU R-128 is not at all the same as using a peak paradigm style meter. EBU-R128 metering also uses sophisticated filtering and gating.

When considering EBU R-128 it is worth comparing various commercially released music tracks. The loudness and loudness ranges vary enormously, and this is part of the current problem… we currently have loudness anarchy. Private Investigations and IGY come in close to EBU R-128. Note that four of the tracks show well over the limit for true peak (EBU recommended max = -1dBTP), meaning that if a file of this music was converted to MP3 or some other compressed format, the result would almost certainly include some distortion (probably nasty distortion to the trained ear). Examples of released CD tracks:

Private Investigations - Dire Straits
Loudness: -24.4 LUFS (-1.4 LU)
Loudness range: +15.9 LU
Maximum short-term loudness: -15.8 LUFS (+7.2 LU)
Maximum momentary loudness: -12.3 LUFS (+10.7 LU)
Maximum true peak: -1.1 dB

Five Man Army - Massive Attack
Loudness: -17.6 LUFS (+5.4 LU)
Loudness range: +4.7 LU
Maximum short-term loudness: -15.8 LUFS (+7.2 LU)
Maximum momentary loudness: -13.7 LUFS (+9.3 LU)
Maximum true peak: -2.5 dB

WILL YOU BE THERE - Michael Jackson
Loudness: -11.0 LUFS (+12.0 LU)
Loudness range: +19.1 LU
Maximum short-term loudness: -4.5 LUFS (+18.5 LU)
Maximum momentary loudness: -2.9 LUFS (+20.1 LU)
Maximum true peak: +1.0 dB

I.G.Y. - Donald Fagen
Loudness: -19.3 LUFS (+3.7 LU)
Loudness range: +3.7 LU
Maximum short-term loudness: -16.9 LUFS (+6.1 LU)
Maximum momentary loudness: -14.3 LUFS (+8.7 LU)
Maximum true peak: -1.3 dB

Psychosocial - Slipknot
Loudness: -5.9 LUFS (+17.1 LU)
Loudness range: +3.0 LU
Maximum short-term loudness: -3.9 LUFS (+19.0 LU)
Maximum momentary loudness: -3.2 LUFS (+19.8 LU)
Maximum true peak: +1.2 dB

LOSE YOURSELF - Eminem
Loudness: -7.9 LUFS (+15.1 LU)
Loudness range: +10.7 LU
Maximum short-term loudness: -6.0 LUFS (+17.0 LU)
Maximum momentary loudness: -4.7 LUFS (+18.4 LU)
Maximum true peak: +1.0 dB

Music - Madonna
Loudness: -10.6 LUFS (+12.4 LU)
Loudness range: +6.5 LU
Maximum short-term loudness: -7.6 LUFS (+15.4 LU)
Maximum momentary loudness: -6.8 LUFS (+16.2 LU)
Maximum true peak: +2.6 dB

One disadvantage of a loudness meter for mixing is that the metering does not show the relative levels of the channels for stereo and multichannel programmes in the same display. The designers would probably argue that this is intentional because it is designed to show loudness information only. An even more intelligent meter probably could have shown left/right loudness (or multichannel loudness) and overall loudness simultaneously, like the master meters show peak and rms simultaneously.

Keep it coming guys - I’m learning all the time :slight_smile:
Usually I mix peaks to -3dB’s (leaving a little headroom for mastering…) and RMS to -12-18 depending of the material. It’s mostly acoustic jazz/folk or classical music and these levels seem to work fine. I mix for CD and downloads/streaming.
Maybe I shouldn’t change anything at all ?
Mads

Good idea.

Just a quick pointer. The short term value on the loudness meter is a rough equivalent of an RMS value, and in many ways is a more accurate reading.

Can anyone point to a Loudness for Dummies type article that explains the basics. About half of this thread makes sense to me and the other half not so much :question: :confused: :question:

thanks

Thanks. Very informative. I had a general understanding of the inter-relationship between loudness and compression, but was not making the leap to loudness metering vs. peak metering. This cleared it right up.

I tend towards using pretty light compression, so this is nice change to see coming. Now I should re-read the thread.

Don’t have anything to add except thanks. Super informative thread.

And Bredo, thanks for that. Great explanation and wry humor too.

For mixing, let’s not overlook the Katz scales
http://www.aes.org/technical/documentDownloads.cfm?docID=65
also
http://ehartmusic.info/music/bob-katz’s-k-system-in-monitoring/

Glass sounding like farts… awesome :smiley:

The best place to learn to mix habits is a nunnery. :laughing:

O’RLY? :laughing:

the radio in .no modulates following the EBU? not where i’m at, i only ever have to ‘do the EBU’ for TV.