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Thread: Two songs with exactly the same LUFS but one still sounds louder?!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Two songs with exactly the same LUFS but one still sounds louder?!

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    as we all know streaming services are using loudness normalisation these days. but it doesn't really work since when listening to music on youtube/spotify i still hear a big (perceived) loudness difference amongst songs. eg. check these two songs having exactly the same LUFS (you can check a song's LUFS on youtube by right clicking in the vid and then chosing "stats for nerds" and then checking the volume/normalized section):

    Song 1: Don Goliath - Freein Up De Herb (ft Chuck Fenda) (Future Jungle Mix) (Official Music Video) - YouTube

    Song 2: Sub Focus - Solar System - YouTube

    Song 2 sounds much louder to me. Now i have two questions for you all:

    1. Why does song 1 sound louder than song 2? I suspect it has to do with their the tonal balance (with song 2 having more top end which is perceived as louder) and/or the transients (hence the drums) being mixed more upfront? It can't be the dynamics of the songs since i especially chose an example with 2 songs having the same LUFS value.

    2. Do you agree with me that it is nonsense that the streaming services use loudness normalisation since even the new LUFS measurement system obviously doesnt work since there are still big differences in perceived loudness? I am wondering why no measurement system can be build to sort this issue. I mean LUFS actually was built to take into account criteria such as tonal balance (outdated fletcher munson curve or uptodate ISO 226) as well as dynamics (measuring already better than RMS) but still LUFS fails to measure how our ears perceive loudness. Can't this be done properly? And if it can't what's the point of using loudness normalisation anyways?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanked 68 Times in 48 Posts
    #1) This is why just using LUFS to determine how loud a song sounds is utter B.S. It will get you in the ballpark +/- 2dB, but that's a wide variance. No mastering engineer I've ever worked with (I've worked with a lot, and some of the absolute top tier folks) rely on LUFS to set volume levels. You have to go by ear. LUFS is very useful for film/tv/multimedia/etc. It's almost worthless for music. At some point, a bunch of music journalists decided to push LUFS for DIY artists mixing and mastering their own music because they needed something to write about and it would grab a lot of attention. But I can tell you in the REAL world, I almost (always?) NEVER hear anybody utter the word "LUFS."

    #2) To the best of my knowledge, none of the major streaming services use LUFS. They all have their own proprietary algorithms that are similar to LUFS.
    Chris 'Von Pimpenstein' Carter - Major label mixer/producer

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