Mastering for YouTube

    • February 1, 2023 at 10:18 am #4527
      Bob Katz

        Here’s a letter I recently sent to a client who wanted a soundtrack for his YouTube Video AND a version for digital download (e.g. Spotify, Apple music, etc.)

        The louder I tried to make the master, the more the sibilance problems started to show up.

        Initially I felt your excellent mix had “tolerable” sibilance. Then as I started to push it to -14 LUFS to be competitive for YouTube, the more that the sibilance reared its ugly head. So I compensated for the extra sibilance to make a warmer presentation. It’s I think on the par for You Tube and I think it will be fine compared to the rest of the stuff up on YT and especially with the lossy compression that YT uses. Did I mention to you to export a video with a LINEAR PCM soundtrack for sending to YT? That will help produce the best soundtrack when reproduced on YT, avoiding an extra generation of lossy coding.

        But if you want to be a perfectionist like me and accept a slightly lower level, then start by listening to the 2496 Apple digital master. If you like it and agree with me it sounds warmer and nicer, let me know and I’ll SRC and dither it to 2448 for YT. It will be 2 dB lower than many of the videos on YT but I think will sound nicer and warmer than the YT master that I have currently made for you.

        The 2496 Apple Digital master is for all streaming platforms! Use an aggregator that can accept a single high res master for all the streaming services. One of the aggregators that you mentioned insists on getting a 1644 master for the streaming services. Take a look at [name of aggregators]. They will take the 2496 Apple Digital master and distribute it intact to Spotify, Apple, and every other platform. Spotify, for example, will take the 2496 ADM and downsample it to 44.1 for their current lossy platform, so again a single master approach is fine for all platforms and the distributors I mentioned, know what to do with a single master format.

        Check it out and let me know your reactions.



        • This topic was modified 1 year ago by Bob Katz.
      • July 23, 2023 at 5:51 am #5907

          Recently I got some songs recommended published on YouTube and various other streaming services on social media and I listened them and was shocked about the quality and then I had a look of the stats for nerds and wondered about the normalization was made.

          A fact nowadays is, the percentage of streaming in music consumption in Austria is almost 80% and the CD market is only around 11%. The streaming services have introduced normalization a few years to suppress large jumps in level and, for example, on YouTube there is a fine option to display how many decibels the original audio material has been reduced by.
          I suspect that a lot of music productions are no longer pressed on CD and only appear online and here the question arises, WHY are many things made so loud if they are turned down anyway???
          An example: a song that I subjectively found to be good with quiet passages in the verses bangs quite loudly and when it comes to the chorus, which is then supposed to stand out again in terms of level, it “breaks down” because the dynamics of the song have been “deadly compressed” , which is reflected in a normalization of 7.3 dB and this is not the maximum!

          I remembered that Bob posted a video on YouTube a couple of years ago:

          My doubts are, is normalization curse or blessing. I would say a curse and Bob said it years ago in the video and I fully agree: Loudness normalized media reveals that over compressed masters sound wimpy, small and distorted.

          Now I am curious what the community say to this topic.

        • July 23, 2023 at 8:30 am #5908
          Bob Katz

            Hi, Matthias. Perhaps it’s the language, but I would say that normalization is a blessing. With normalization, highly compressed and/or clipped music can more or less coexist with music that was produced with more headroom and less distortion.

            Hopefully YouTube and Spotify will join the ranks of Tidal and lower their targets to conform with the new AES Standard: AES77-2023: AES Recommended Practice Loudness Guidelines for Internet Audio Streaming and On-Demand Distribution

          • July 23, 2023 at 9:11 am #5909

              Thanks for your reply Bob!
              In many self tries I came to the conclusion that a small range of normalization (0,1 to 3dB) gives you a better quality with dynamic music that is not overcompressed and sounds almost good on streaming services. This means a maximum of -11 LUFS is far enough if you produce music that is provided on streaming services.

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