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The first question you’ll have to answer is “Is Spotify quieter than Apple Music?” The answer to this question depends on the quality of your personal monitoring system. Most people can get away with normal and quiet modes, but if you’re in an environment with a lot of noise, then “Loud” mode is for you. While Spotify will still use positive gain and limiting to prevent hard clipping of dynamic material, it’s worth noting that many masters are already recorded at louder than -11 LUFS.
Spotify renders its music to an average volume of -14db integrated LUFS
When comparing songs in Spotify, the latter plays quieter than the former and is comparable to most commercial material. While it’s no longer necessary to compress music to the point of blowing our ears, it does free up audio producers from having to make everything louder than everyone else’s. They can use compression and limiting techniques, but their output won’t be as loud as everyone else’s.
While the song collection format has become less popular, albums remain common. LUFS metering is a useful tool to maintain consistency across all songs in Spotify, and encourages a truce in loudness wars. As long as you’re listening to music with a low dynamic range, Spotify won’t let you crank up the volume on individual songs.
The decision by Spotify to render its music to an average volume of -14 LUFS will likely impact the way we hear music in streaming services. While CDs can be mastered to any volume, past this level, most of the dynamic range is lost. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to master your music to -6 LUFS to ensure its quality on streaming services.
It uses LUFS value to inform resulting loudness normalization
When you listen to music through Spotify, you may notice that your audio is a little quieter than it was previously. This may not be too surprising, as the loudness of commercial music is generally higher than it was when you first heard it. But the fact is that the level of your music has a lot to do with how it sounds, and the correct sound settings can help you improve the overall quality of your music.
Most streaming services do not use LUFS to measure loudness. Instead, they use a system called “ReplayGain” or a formula based on their own proprietary formula. Only Tidal has adopted LUFS as their loudness standard. Therefore, it is difficult to match the target level with a LUFS meter. Luckily, Spotify plans to switch to a new normalization standard soon.
A good Loudness level is defined as a number of decibels higher or lower than the average of the listeners. Spotify specifies a range between -14 dB LUFS and -14 dB TP, whichever is higher. By using the LUFS value to inform resulting loudness normalization, Spotify is able to play back dynamic audio material while ending the urge to produce over-compressed mixes.
It compensates for your personal monitoring system
One concern is that Spotify may have similar privacy issues to Cambridge Analytica. A reporter for Billboard examined the way the music streaming service collects user data and discovered that major labels can control and view user accounts. While this practice does seem a little creepy, Spotify has taken steps to limit the amount of information it collects. In an apology statement, Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek promised that the company wouldn’t use user data to track users.
Moreover, Spotify does not know what personal monitoring systems look like, so it may normalize the track differently based on the LUFS value. Because nonlinear playback systems may boost or suppress certain frequencies, the perceived loudness may not match the integrated LUFS value. Because Spotify uses the LUFS value to normalize track loudness, the service may adjust the volume level unexpectedly, resulting in an unwelcome change.