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The Loudness Wars has invaded the streaming services.

Multicore

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So does that mean that an album that originally contained "loud" and "soft" tracks will have all the tracks normalized to the same level?
Yes, I think so.

Given the incredible internal dynamic range in DAWs and that you can now even export to 32-bit floating point, you kinda wonder why bother with careful tracking, gain staging and mixing when the product of your careful work is going to get pushed through all these layers of compression and normalization.

Maybe the first track in my next album should be a PSA with a lyric asking the listener to turn off the loudness normalization in the Spotify app. <sigh />
 

deweydm

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The Amazon Music app has a loudness normalization switch that's on by default. I suppose that's another dynamic effect that's part of the picture here. Or do you think each track has a pre-computed loudness value and the loudness normalization adjusts each track based on that?
Can’t comment on Amazon, but I think Apple Music must use a pre-computed LUFS value for everything it has access to. Playing a track with Apple Music I transferred to an iPad, a track that I don’t think is even available on streaming, with a LUFSi of -10.94, and as I toggle AM’s Sound Check on, it’s noticeably quieter. I’d assume by about -5dB, since Apple Music uses -16 LUFS for normalization. Turning Sound Check on and off like adjusting the volume down and up with this track.
 

deweydm

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Can’t comment on Amazon, but I think Apple Music must use a pre-computed LUFS value for everything it has access to. Playing a track with Apple Music I transferred to an iPad, a track that I don’t think is even available on streaming, with a LUFSi of -10.94, and as I toggle AM’s Sound Check on, it’s noticeably quieter. I’d assume by about -5dB, since Apple Music uses -16 LUFS for normalization. Turning Sound Check on and off like adjusting the volume down and up with this track.
Yeah, if I open Apple Music on macOS and look at the file details for this track in my library, it’s volume setting there is -5.6dB.
 

deweydm

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So does that mean that an album that originally contained "loud" and "soft" tracks will have all the tracks normalized to the same level?
Apple Music has a volume normalization value for each track, that varies from track to track, based on the track’s LUFSi. Even for things you rip from CD and import into your library that can’t be cloud matched apparently.
 
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danadam

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Maybe the first track in my next album should be a PSA with a lyric asking the listener to turn off the loudness normalization in the Spotify app. <sigh />
:facepalm:
There's nothing wrong with spotify's loudness normalization.
 

danadam

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No. But the fact that it's on by default neutralizes certain aesthetic options that have in other media been quite valuable.
What exactly does it neutralize? It's just a volume change and if you listen to the album, it's exactly the same change across the whole album.
 

Multicore

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What exactly does it neutralize? It's just a volume change and if you listen to the album, it's exactly the same change across the whole album.
Iiuc it is a per-track gain adjustment so that each track ends up with the same loudness when played. So if the tracks on your album as you mastered it had varying loudness, these differences will be neutralized by the app's loudness normalization.
 

danadam

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Iiuc it is a per-track gain adjustment so that each track ends up with the same loudness when played. So if the tracks on your album as you mastered it had varying loudness, these differences will be neutralized by the app's loudness normalization.
As I already wrote here a few hours ago:
it is per track only if you shuffle an album or if you put tracks randomly in a playlist.

For example, open Max Richter / The Blue Notebooks (spotify link) and:
  1. make sure "shuffle" is disabled
  2. play track 8 and pay attention to its loudness
  3. enable shuffle mode
  4. switch to another track and immediately play track 8 again
  5. listen and compare the loudness
Here's what you'll get:
spotify.volnorm.png
 
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