[LAU] metering, mixing levels was Re: Ardour: exporting woes

Chris Caudle chris at chriscaudle.org
Mon Apr 11 03:05:30 UTC 2016

Probably the best article I have found on metering, setting levels, etc.
during mixing is the article written by Bob Katz around 2000 and published
in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society.
Bob has made a slightly updated version available on his web site in two


The short version is use the same technique as film mixers, use a
consistent mixer gain calibrated with band limited pink noise and a sound
pressure level (SPL) meter and mix so it sounds good.

On Sun, March 20, 2016 4:06 pm, jonetsu at teksavvy.com wrote:
>    What does it mean when taking into account that the listener
>    will play other tunes and then this one ?

Unfortunately there are no standards for CD mixing and mastering practice,
so your choice often becomes make your mix sound good, and the listener
will have to adjust volume between different recordings, or compress the
dynamic range so your mix sounds like current rock recordings, which will
probably reduce the quality of the sound.

Film soundtracks tend to be more consistent, and I think it is a valid
argument to say that your mixes are made for optimum sound quality on a
quality stereo (or surround) system, but obviously not everyone feels the
same as evidenced by the number of recordings which are so compressed they
sound distorted.

The AES has published a recommendation for streaming normalization which
could, if adopted, help reduce the desire to make recordings seem louder
by extreme compression (the recommendation would result in such recordings
having gain reduced while streaming).

Chris Caudle

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