The Mastering Show

The Mastering Show Podcast

with Ian Shepherd and Jon Tidey

The Mastering Show #31 - What IS Loudness ?

March 27th, 2017 BY Jon Tidey3 Comments

Everybody wants their music to sound loud. But does it need to be loud in order to sound loud ? What does that mean ?

Well, it takes us about 30 minutes to really nail the answer to that question in this Dynamic Range Day themed episode, but we get there eventually - and we cover some pretty interesting ground along the way !

For example:

  • How to make things sound loud without making them (much) louder
  • The trick of balancing loud and quiet songs against each other
  • When to turn things down
  • What is "loudness potential" ?
  • How to get the right balance of loudness before mastering
  • The most common loudness issue Ian faces when mastering, and
  • The 100% successful strategy he uses to solve it


Dynamic Range Day

TMS #20 - Ian talks to Steve Lillywhite

Ian demonstrates binaural recording

Father Ted - Cows

How to make a song loud - and the price you pay

Why the Loudness War HASN’T reduced ‘loudness range’ !

Dynameter review mentioned in the show

Ian's Dynameter Plugin

3 comments on “The Mastering Show #31 - What IS Loudness ?”

  1. Hey Ian and Jon,

    In the midst of listening to the show on Loudness here. Fantastic as usual by the way...

    I think the term you guys were looking for when explaining how an instrument or voice sounds different (or loud) was "timbre" or character. Bundled in that is all the things you were referring to - extra harmonics, frequency content, etc.

    Anyway, keep up the good work!


  2. My experience confirms that you get absolutely better results working on compression at the mixing stage instead of crushing the mastering with a Brickwall Limiter!
    The sound will be surprisingly more powerful in the end, yet being more detailed.
    Ten years ago I believed, from my readings around the Internet, that the Brickwall Limiter was the central piece of mastering and of making your sound "BIG" but now I use it just for rare remaining peaks.
    My advice to young 'home studiists' who want their sound bigger would be to use a tape emulation plugin to gently redesign the peaks instead of a brutal Brickwall Limiter.
    Thanks Ian!

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Thanks to Caeli Lohr for letting us use his song "Beautiful As It Could Be" as our theme tune - check out his music here.


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