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Apple Music - Same song with Atmos track is 10dB lower volume than Stereo ?

MasterApex

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Most songs I played in Apple Music are available in Stereo track and they sound good.

Some songs (for example New Light by John Mayer) are available with Atmos track and Stereo track.
When I play the Atmos track with just two stereo speakers, the volume level on Atmos track is ~10dB lower.

Some songs (for example Come Away with me , Norah Jones) are only available with Atmos track.
So, when I play this song, I have to crack the pre-amp 10dB more and sometime I forget to lower it when I switch to another stereo track song so the volume will be too loud.
This is very annoying.....that they changed some old popular songs to Atmos only and delete the Stereo track from Apple Music Library.

Does anyone have good idea to quickly level match the volume when switching songs between Atmos track vs Stereo track version?
Or, has someone notify Apple Music to have the Stereo track be available in addition to Atmos or make the Atmos track 10dB louder so it level match with Stereo?

Thanks
 
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abdo123

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What the comment above me said^

Luckily Atmos music is mixed with much more dynamic range than regular radio bullshit.
 

goat76

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Turn on SoundCheck in the settings. All albums/songs (Atmos and stereo) will be level matched to approx. -16 dBFS.
That should work, at least to get the loader stereo tracks down to -16 LUFS and leave the quieter tracks at their original level. Tracks in Dolby Atmos should stay at -18 LUFS (which is the max level for the format) or quieter as I don't think Apple will apply any positive gain to their normalization, at least I hope not because that would mean reduced dynamics of some songs and albums.
 
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ZolaIII

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DeLub

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I don't think Apple will apply any positive gain to their normalization, at least I hope not because that would mean reduced dynamics of some songs and albums.
I'm not so sure... Atmos songs sound approximately as loud as stereo songs, and the stereo songs sound similar to the period before Atmos. I still think they're normalizing everything to around -16dBFS. So Apple is probably applying positive gain. In theory this could mean that a limiter may kick in at loud parts of the song, but -16dB allows still for quite a large dynamic range, so I expect this would not happen very often.

Still I agree, to further reduce the chance of having to limit the volume, I would like Apple to normalize to -23dBFS (LUFS) so it aligns to R128. Or maybe even to -31dB which I believe (not sure though) is the Dolby dialnorm standard. As the Apple TV, AVRs and other hardware are usually working with at least 24 bits this shouldn't be a problem. On portable hardware this might be a problem due to the limited "amplification power". Perhaps the level to normalize to has to be user configurable (choosing from 3 presets for example).
 

abdo123

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That should work, at least to get the loader stereo tracks down to -16 LUFS and leave the quieter tracks at their original level. Music Dolby Atmos should stay at -18 LUFS (which is the max level for the format) or quieter as I don't think Apple will apply any positive gain to their normalization, at least I hope not because that would mean reduced dynamics of some songs and albums.
They do apply positive gain actually.
 

abdo123

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I'm not so sure... Atmos songs sound approximately as loud as stereo songs, and the stereo songs sound similar to the period before Atmos. I still think they're normalizing everything to around -16dBFS. So Apple is probably applying positive gain. In theory this could mean that a limiter may kick in at loud parts of the song, but -16dB allows still for quite a large dynamic range, so I expect this would not happen very often.

Still I agree, to further reduce the chance of having to limit the volume, I would like Apple to normalize to -23dBFS (LUFS) so it aligns to R128. Or maybe even to -31dB which I believe (not sure though) is the Dolby dialnorm standard. As the Apple TV, AVRs and other hardware are usually working with at least 24 bits this shouldn't be a problem. On portable hardware this might be a problem due to the limited "amplification power". Perhaps the level to normalize to has to be user configurable (choosing from 3 presets for example).
A limiter would never kick in because the songs will only go above ‘0dBFS’ in real life in the accoustic domain (when multiple speakers are playing) or when it’s downmixed to stereo, but i’m guessing their downmixer takes that into account.
 

NiagaraPete

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Or just turn Atmos off. Simple fix.
 

goat76

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A limiter would never kick in because the songs will only go above ‘0dBFS’ in real life in the accoustic domain (when multiple speakers are playing) or when it’s downmixed to stereo, but i’m guessing their downmixer takes that into account.
I'm sure the individual tracks in some of the Atmos mixes (at -18 LUFS) have their peaks just under 0 dB. If and when that's the case a limiter will be needed to limit the signal by 2 dB to prevent the signal from clipping, that is if "positive gain" is used by Apple to meet the normalization level of -16 LUFS. Do you mean that's a case when their down-mixer takes that into account and will not normalize that particular track?

Are you sure Apple's normalization uses positive gain?
I looked around for information about that but couldn't find any.
 

abdo123

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I'm sure the individual tracks in some of the Atmos mixes (at -18 LUFS) have their peaks just under 0 dB. If and when that's the case a limiter will be needed to limit the signal by 2 dB to prevent the signal from clipping, that is if "positive gain" is used by Apple to meet the normalization level of -16 LUFS. Do you mean that's a case when their down-mixer takes that into account and will not normalize that particular track?

Are you sure Apple's normalization uses positive gain?
I looked around for information about that but couldn't find any.
Here is proof of the positive gain:

1644176068275.png


Whether it occurs before or after the binaural downmix of the Atmos track I'm not really sure. the positive gain is perhaps exclusively used when the peaks are not normalized to 0dBFS only. I don't really know.
 

kongwee

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I test Logic Pro X demo, Montero, -13.4 for stereo, -18.8 for Atmos.
 

DeLub

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Whether it occurs before or after the binaural downmix of the Atmos track I'm not really sure.
I would expect after the downmix. Somewhere else on this forum found out that the binaural downmix is a separate stream, and the normalization is done on the device.
 

goat76

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If Apple is limiting quieter songs just to get them to the same level as everything else with their normalization, I suggest that you all turn "Sound Check" off.

Spotify used to apply positive gain to quieter songs as well but has stopped doing that madness, it's better to do it the Tidal-way and let the songs with their full dynamics stay intact without any volume adjustments. Absolut level match from song to song is in many cases not even desired according to a research Tidal did, some songs like ballads are expected to have a quieter level than a full-blown rock song.


With an album-based normalization and the level at -14/-16 LUFS, the volume mismatch between different albums should not be too extreme anyway not using positive gain, I think. :)
 
OP
M

MasterApex

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Turn on SoundCheck in the settings. All albums/songs (Atmos and stereo) will be level matched to approx. -16 dBFS.
Thank You....I did not realize there are additional settings under the Setting > Apps > Music.
I was just messing with the audio setup at Setting > Audio level

FWIW I called Apple Music support and got escalated to SME but the person did not have solution, simply asking to accept that every songs will have different level of volume :)
 

goat76

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@goat76 I can confirm that Soundcheck does not boost beyond 0dBFS. only to -1dBFS which makes sense for lossy formats.

View attachment 185195

View attachment 185196
Nice work! :)

By that example, it seems safe to use Apple Sound Check without it killing the dynamics and should be a good solution for OP to deal with the volume mismatch. In most cases probably just a 2 dB difference between the stereo tracks and Atmos tracks.

If you run that specific version of "Billie Jean" through the Youlean Online Loudness Meter, what's the integrated LUFS level of that track?
(click Analyze From File -> Select Files...)
 

abdo123

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Nice work! :)

By that example, it seems safe to use Apple Sound Check without it killing the dynamics and should be a good solution for OP to deal with the volume mismatch. In most cases probably just a 2 dB difference between the stereo tracks and Atmos tracks.

If you run that specific version of "Billie Jean" through the Youlean Online Loudness Meter, what's the integrated LUFS level of that track?
(click Analyze From File -> Select Files...)

This is a digitization of the first print LP of the album so it's probably the most dynamic out there.

06 - Billie Jean.mp3

Momentary Max = -15.41 LUFS
Short Term Max = -17.22 LUFS
Integrated = -19.41 LUFS
 

goat76

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This is a digitization of the first print LP of the album so it's probably the most dynamic out there.

06 - Billie Jean.mp3

Momentary Max = -15.41 LUFS
Short Term Max = -17.22 LUFS
Integrated = -19.41 LUFS

With the Integrated level of -19.41 LUFS and the positive gain of just 0.3 dB for that track, it surely indicates that Apple is not using limiters on quiet tracks just to reach their normalization level of -16 LUFS. They only seem to apply positive gain if a track got some headroom before it reaches its peak margin at -1 dB. That's good news. :)
 
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