How loud should my master be?”—this is the age-old question that has dominated every mastering discussion through the decades, and one that we’ve covered in great detail over the years at the iZotope website. It’s a deceptively simple concept that can be as complex as music itself. To simply answer this question, there’s no ONE recipe for making all masters loud. It really depends on the music. But the good news is, you can constantly achieve optimal loudness through a healthy combination of critical listening, practice, and an understanding of the key factors that directly influence loudness in mastering.
In this article, iZotope’s Director of Education Jonathan Wyner shares his insight on every facet of loudness in mastering. We will also be linking to previous iZotope mastering articles that allow you to explore every topic we cover in greater detail.
What is loudness in mastering?
Loudness is a concept that’s often misconstrued as a purely numerical value. When we think of loud sounds, we often associate it with high sound pressure levels—an aircraft taking off roughly measures 110 dB SPL, for example. But in reality, loudness in music has more to do with how sound is received by our ears and brain. It occurs in our heads based on the perception of how music hits us. Ultimately, loudness as we seek to assess it is not a concept that exists purely in a vacuum as a simple numerical value.
Especially in mastering, understanding loudness in this context of human perception can be powerful. It opens a lot more doors for the mastering engineer to employ creative strategies for making impactful, loud-sounding records that go beyond simply pushing the limiter. Let’s go explore several factors that can directly affect loudness at the mastering stage.
Factors that directly influence loudness in mastering
Monitoring & metering
Accurate monitoring and metering are fundamental to the mastering process. We rely on the accuracy of our listening environment and metering tools for us to make conscious, effective mastering decisions that best serve the music. This also ensures that the loudness we’re aiming for in mastering translates effectively into the marketplace and to the listeners’ ears.
Metering tools such as……..
To continue reading, click here:
NOTE: Some of the links you click on may be affiliated. Clicking and purchasing using these links helps support and fund The Beat Community. Thanks for your support.