People are loving the Loudness Penalty website – but some of them have been saying
Who cares what the numbers say ? The important thing is – how does it sound ?
And of course we agree !
Which is why we’ve added a new feature to the site – Live Loudness Preview
To see it in action in less than 30 seconds, check out the video above. But in this post I want to take a little more time to explain why we’re so excited about this new function. (Which, by the way, works on mobile as well – and, the whole site is significantly faster this time around)
DON’T compare the different services
I mean – sure, you can, but what’s the point ? We all know ‘louder is better’ so the chances are YouTube will sound a little better than the others, but that’s not very valuable conclusion. (The site doesn’t emulate the streaming codecs, just the loudness differences.)
What is really valuable is to use the new Loudness Preview function to compare the song you’re working on with reference tracks on YouTube itself.
Provided you have the volume slider all the way up, you’ll be making a real-world comparison between the reference and your song, almost exactly as it will sound if you actually uploaded it.
And now we get to the really good part…
DO compare alternative versions of your songs
This is where the real power of the site comes into play. Say you’re under pressure from a client to master something louder than you think it needs to be. If you make two versions of the master – one at the louder level and one at your preferred level, you can send both versions to the client and ask them to Preview them using Loudness Penalty. You can even open both versions at the same time in different tabs of your browser.
If you do, chances are you’ll hear one of two things:
- There isn’t a big difference – because loudness normalisation ! Once the loudness is matched, there’s no real benefit to making things loud in the first place. If there are genuinely no down-sides, then you can go for the louder version, but keep an ear out in case:
- The louder version sounds worse Sometimes this is subtle, sometimes it really isn’t. Sometimes the less heavily processed version actually sounds louder ! And even if it doesn’t , chances are it will sound more 3D, more open, more spacious – clearer, wider and sweeter.
Spread the word
And that’s why we’re so excited – because this idea is so easy to share. When it was all just numbers, people had to really take the time to understand what was happening, and why it mattered for their music. Now they can hear it for themselves ! And make informed choices about loudness.
(It’s also super-quick & easy to use – like a kind of Lite version of my Perception plugin, almost)
My hope it that eventually the Loudness Penalty site becomes the new standard way to compare new mixes and masters – and if it does, perhaps people will start to hear that louder actually doesn’t sound better, online – and start choosing more balanced dynamics for their music as a result.
If you like the idea too, please share it and help spread the word !