Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mastering Adam Ayan Q&A Loudness target goal of streaming services

  • This topic has 6 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 8 years ago by Magnus Johansson.
Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Author
  • #6309
    Magnus Johansson

      Hi Adam

      With todays levelcompensated streaming services some say Loudness War has ended. I like to think it´s optional to attend.

      For what I have been told/found on the net, Spotify have the highest compensated loudness target and also a limiter in it´s path kicking in if they need to add some gain to the audio to get it closer to their target level. Therefor I think of them to be the goal to aim for. Let´s say I went for Apples -16 dB target level. Then audio could be turned up 5dB by the Spotify player. I don´t want that. What I want is to have my audio loud enough so that Spotify lower the volume as little as possible leaving as much dynamic range as possible. I´m talking regular pop and rock mixes.

      Questions in short. have you seen any "white paper" from them stating the exact level of their loudness target? -11 seem to be a very good qualified guess but still, just a guess. Some think they do "ReplayGain" wich would do for a target of xdB RMS instead of LU. Do you have the facts?

      Adam Ayan

        Hi Mange,

        Thank you for the question!

        I have not seen or heard of any white paper from Spotify, re: target loudness.

        I can say that there limiter can be turned off by the user, and the folks I have spoken to at Spotify have recommended doing so for best fidelity.

        As I mentioned in my blog post - I am hesitant to set a target RMS value for anything, as I believe every recording/mix has a loudness potential, and I prefer not to push it one way or the other - I just want to do what feels right for each recording.

        Last thing of note - I am finding that it may be worthwhile to lower the overall level of final masters when providing them for Spotify, much like what we do of Apple with Mastered for iTunes. My experience has been that full level Ogg Vorbis encoding, especially of "hot" pop masters can cause distortion. Lowering the level by some predetermined value when creating final production masters for Spotify can remedy the situation.



        Jared Sherman

          Can you explain in more detail what you do for Apple's "Mastered for iTunes"?

          Adam Ayan

            Hi Jared,

            Here is a link to more info directly from Apple, as well as tools that they provide for the Mastered for iTunes process:


            In a nutshell, we provide 24 bit masters that are lower in level to compensate for the limitations of the lossy AAC encoders. Believe it or not, when done correctly Apple can encode a 256 kb AAC file that sounds amazingly just like the 24 bit master it was made from!

            Steve A

              That last sentence regarding AAC... Yes, I feel that of all the 'lossy' formats out there, AAC (m4a) is superior to the rest of them.. and I can believe that a 256 AAC can sound very, very close to the original lossless.
              I read many papers and articles on this very subject years ago, and what I read confirmed, in my mind, that the folks who invented it took the most important things about audio into consideration, and came up with , like I said, the best codec out there..
              As always YMMV.. This is just my (educated) opinion..

              Patrick Schindler

                Not white paper stuff, but still very helpful info on the topic is here:


                Magnus Johansson

                  Yes, that´s a good one. Have it nailed to the wall;). I just wondered if Adam had some more to add to it. But I didn´t want to point him to it in my original post. That´s all cool now. Great info for everybody.

                Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
                • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.