Adventures In Audio

How loud would you like me?

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This video compares loudness levels of -23 LUFS (European broadcast), -24 LUFS (US broadcast), and -14 LUFS (YouTube). Levels were set using the Waves WLM Plus loudness meter.

Please leave a comment on YouTube and let me know what loudness level you would prefer for my future videos.

Note that the entire video comes out at -16.4 LUFS, which is a little less than YouTube's preference but this is necessary to preserve the levels of the examples in the demonstration.

Music credit: Antitesis by Kant Freud Kafka (which seems to be the correct spelling)

Automated transcript

I have a question for you and hopefully you'll give me your answer in the comments the question is how loud do you like me right now i'm speaking to you at a level of -23 l-u-f-s that's loudness units compared to full scale or luff's as i like to call it so that's quite quiet i can go quieter this is -24 loves -23 is the standard for broadcast in europe -24 is the standard for broadcast in the usa you probably won't hear much difference from -23 -24 lofts like you hear me now may seem pretty quiet it is compared to youtube's preferred level you might want to turn down your volume now this is youtube's preferred loudness level -14 lofts that's a full 10 decibels louder than the broadcast standard in the usa and how do i know that -14 lofts is youtube's preferred level well if you right-click on any video you'll see an option to pop up a panel called stats for nerds don't worry i won't call you a nerd the statistic we need is found next to volume normalized don't bother about the percentages as they depend on the volume slider in the youtube player it's the content loudness figure in decibels that's interesting in this example i'll just play you a few seconds

you'll see a content loudness figure of 3.0 db what this means is that youtube considers the loudness of the audio track in this video to be three decibels too loud and they've turned it down by three decibels so the mastering engineers clever processing to make the track so loud has wasted three decibels of potential dynamic range and the limiting needed to get the loudness up has made the track sound harsher than it need be and this music doesn't sound as though it was meant to be harsh so back to the question and back to -23 looks now as you know i make videos that demonstrate audio techniques so suppose i make a video about compression and when i finished editing it i use a limiter to push the volume up to minus 14 looks so that youtube likes it what i've just done is ruined my demonstration by adding limiting on top of the compression that i wanted to demonstrate that's useless and a waste of anyone's time watching the video so if i want to make a video on compression i either have to accept some additional limiting or set the level low enough so there is no limiting but if i set the level low enough to avoid limiting then my video will be quiet compared to other youtube videos it's a well-known fact that people who are not audio specialists often equate louder with better and quieter with worse even with years of experience as an audio professional it's important to remind yourself that louder is not better it's just louder and it just seems to sound better so my question is what level would you prefer for my videos -14 loves so they're compatible with other youtube videos even though it might affect the audio quality or -23 lofts which is mostly quiet enough to avoid limiting or as loud as possible without limiting which nearly always will be lower than -14 lofts and probably quite a lot lower so over to you the comments section is just down there i'm david meller course director of audio masterclass thank you for listening.

Thursday March 10, 2022

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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