The Mastering Show

The Mastering Show Podcast

with Ian Shepherd and Jon Tidey

The Mastering Show #41 - The problem with loudness normalization - and TIDAL’s solution

November 10th, 2017 BY Jon Tidey5 Comments

This is huge. There’s a problem with loudness normalization, and TIDAL asked Eelco Grimm to find a solution for them. What he found in his research was unexpected and exciting.

Eelco has been involved with loudness measurement and the LUFS standard from the very beginning, and in this show we also talk a little about his story and how it involves:

  • Technology versus emotion in music
  • The origins of loudness research
  • Eelco’s TIDAL research findings (which you should know about, even if you’re not interested in normalization !)
  • His advice to TIDAL and
  • How they reacted
  • The future of normalization


Since recording the show we've heard that TIDAL have implemented all the changes we discuss in the show by default, in all new installs of their iOS and Android apps, with desktop to follow. For more information, click here.


Eelco Grimm
Grimm Audio
Eelco’s loudness research for TIDAL
Loudness units - LUFS
How loud, online ?

5 comments on “The Mastering Show #41 - The problem with loudness normalization - and TIDAL’s solution”

  1. Great talk. Lots of insight. The Album Normalisation seems the way to go. I was thinking that the Fletcher/Mundson curves would have something to say about it. Listening to music loud, medium or soft brings another level at which things could be changed, compensating for the difference in perceived loudness changes. Have you seen the new kid on the block expose?

  2. Great show on how an entire can fix (I hope). Radio in US markets have been fighting, market by market, range wars since Orban came along. I thinK radio caused a problem by squashing and maxing and FM overmodulation. Producers heard it as the old louder is better and had multi processors to "help". Artists heard that and pushed for more loudness.
    Those two production steps when played through radio processing let to more than a decade of the most fatiguing listening.since top 40 AM radio in the 60s.
    Confgats and good luck on getting the new normalization standards in place and saving quality sound interrnet audio for all concerned. is as.

  3. As someone whose primary mode of listening for the last fourteen or so years has been via iPod/iPhone playlists of my own making, and who has laboriously measured, adjusted, converted, re-converted and tagged all of the files I put in my iTunes for nearly that whole duration, just for the simple goal of effecting album normalization, and possibly not having done the best job of it either (I'm not a mastering engineer with a plethora or software at my disposal, just a musician and a little bit of a minor league audiophile, albeit of modest means), well can I just say that I'm SO READY for things to go this way.

    I just hope it's all implemented in the smartest way (e.g. educating users enough so that any potential push-back from track-normalization fans is minimized—you know, show them how to turn it off, and make the relevant button easily accessible). But your discussion here makes it sound like a fair degree of consideration is being given to all of the finer points, so... good! Bodes well.

  4. What about the people who enjoy loud music? Parties, festivals, clubs, cars and home systems? There will always be a normalization version for mass media verses the "director's" cut for individual's personal enjoyment.

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