Loudness for ukulele/vocal recordings

UkingViking

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Hi Forum,

I am courious as to what loudness more DAW savvy people go for for videos.
I read that to "compete" with other songs on youtube, you should aim for LUFS - 14db (integrated) . You can go louder if it sounds better, but youtube will turn it down. If you go quiter it will not be turned up. Right?

The thing is that with just one acoustic stringed instrument and vocals, I find it hard to get a decent sound even just trying to get to - 14 without clipping.

I tried Googling what to do, and some suggest that for something like that it will probably not sound good louder than - 14 db. But how about quiter? My recordings usually sound better at - 21 to - 24 before compression.

Those people in here who use compression and look at a lufs meter - do you keep it quiter or reach the - 14?

Perhaps i need to work on my mastering skills, perhaps I dont need - 14.
 

Brad Bordessa

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If I recall, this video series talks about Youtube's leveling and a lot about loudness:


Probably will answer your questions. And if not, you'll learn a bunch. I did. I should watch it again. If you're into recording, mixing, mastering, I'd recommend watching everything by Dan Worrall you can find. He's absolutely brilliant and a fantastic presenter.

My DAW (Mixbus) has a built in K-14 meter and I aim for peaks at 0 just for consistency's sake. Not sure what the LUFS is. Seems to stack up fine against other audio.

As long as it's not impossibly quiet, who cares? That's what volume knobs are for.
 

UkingViking

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Thaks for your reply.

The video you link actually end up mentioning the LUFS.
It is a loudness measurement that takes all the stuff into account that he talks about. I downloaded the free Youlean LUFS meter to analyse it in my DAW.

I struggle to get an integrated LUFS value at the desired -14dB, because there is so much space between the notes when I pick my ukulele and sing. Compressing enough sounds like cr*p on my vocals. Yesterday I recorded a quick take of a song with some guitar arperggios and some busy uke strumming, and the LUFS value here were quite a bit higher out of the box, simply because of the denser sound.

I think I will move on to only analysing the peaks, and be happy with inegrated values closer to -20dB for the song as a whole, as long as the short term LUFS get above -14dB. After all, it is not dance music i record, more crooning.
 

Arik

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If I recall, this video series talks about Youtube's leveling and a lot about loudness:


Probably will answer your questions. And if not, you'll learn a bunch. I did. I should watch it again. If you're into recording, mixing, mastering, I'd recommend watching everything by Dan Worrall you can find. He's absolutely brilliant and a fantastic presenter.

My DAW (Mixbus) has a built in K-14 meter and I aim for peaks at 0 just for consistency's sake. Not sure what the LUFS is. Seems to stack up fine against other audio.

As long as it's not impossibly quiet, who cares? That's what volume knobs are for.
This great! Thanks for sharing this.
 

Brad Bordessa

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Thaks for your reply.

The video you link actually end up mentioning the LUFS.
It is a loudness measurement that takes all the stuff into account that he talks about. I downloaded the free Youlean LUFS meter to analyse it in my DAW.

I struggle to get an integrated LUFS value at the desired -14dB, because there is so much space between the notes when I pick my ukulele and sing. Compressing enough sounds like cr*p on my vocals. Yesterday I recorded a quick take of a song with some guitar arperggios and some busy uke strumming, and the LUFS value here were quite a bit higher out of the box, simply because of the denser sound.

I think I will move on to only analysing the peaks, and be happy with inegrated values closer to -20dB for the song as a whole, as long as the short term LUFS get above -14dB. After all, it is not dance music i record, more crooning.
I'm not quite following why this is a big deal for a uke player uploading to Youtube. 🤷‍♀️ As long as you don't mix down at a level so soft that my volume knob can't keep up, you're in the ballpark. If the sound is just bad that's one thing, but if it's just quiet... It's just quiet. I can turn it up.

Maybe Cynthia or The Ukulele Teacher are slamming for volume because their audience are Gen Z'ers used to that sound/attention grabbing. But for the rest of us, somewhere in the middle is just fine.

Try listening to some videos you like and then listen to your DAW mix without touching the volume knob. Do your ears tell you it's in the ballpark? I know right where I want my volume knob to be for comfortable listening. Don't really know or care what the LUFS say as long as I'm not clipping. My podcast runs all over on the LUFS, but my volume knob stays in roughly the same spot.

If you want, I can give you some feedback on your signal path if you can document it somehow. Maybe you're missing a gain stage somewhere? I always end up turning things down because I'm smashing the output, not trying to get more out of it.
 

UkingViking

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Before I went from Audacity to Reaper, and didn't have a lot of options, I used to just do like that. Not monitor levels, just adjust volume and compare to an online video. And except for a few times when it clipped or was too quiet, I often like the results better than I like them now when I have a lot of tools at hand that I feel I ought to use.
Reaper doesnt like to share my PCs audio output with my browser, so comparing to online videos would not be simple now.
 

UkingViking

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Thanks for offering to look at my audio path. I might post something next time I feel like something wont work.
I usually have a chain like:
Recording uke and vocal into one mic.
EQ - optional, trying presets that sound fitting because too many buttons.
On to Master track
Compressor - also experiments
Master limiter - keep it from clipping. I only turn it on after seeing how much I can raise levels before clipping without.
Lufs meter - see if it needs more compression/higher levels before the sound level suits me.

This is where I have been staring too much on the lufs.