Last timne I entered a discussion with you, I was banned until June 19th 2017. I have no plans to let that happen again.
I am sure, since you are the font of all recording knowledge you will understand the difference between mastering something to -14 LUFS with mastering something to -11 lufs.
An algorithm has been developed to measure loudness in terms of human hearing. Each loudness unit is equivalent to 1db, so if you measure a recording at -12 LUFS (LKFS in the USA) and you want to drop it by 1 LUFS you can simply drop the fader by 1db and it will have the desired effect.
Even up to the current day some (and in the 90s the majority) of recordings were mastered ‘loud’ or ‘hot’, on the mistaken notion that they would be heard above other recordings and thus sell more.
I wrote a dissertation on the topic a couple of years ago. By and large it is still relevant.
Now, loudness normalisation is the way forward. Services such as YT and Spotify apply the algorithm to recordings and lower the level (or occasionally boost the level with limiting if the recording is too quiet) so that all recordings play back at the same level, thus effectively ending the loudness wars.
In the USA the CALM act is now law. All TV broadcast material including adverts and trailers must measure -24 LUFS. It’s only ‘best practice’ in the EU but it will soon be law by all accounts. Also law in Oz.
Limiter/compressor/whatever. If your recording is quieter than the service’s threshold, it will be processed in some way to make it louder. Unless there is headroom in the recording that allows a simple increase in level, it will involve some sort of compression.
Correction about Australia, I don’t think it’s law there, just best practice like Europe.
Aj, why do a lot of old recordings i have from bands like Tull etc always seem quieter?
Did it have sonething to do with mastering for vinyl?
I kind of like the old way with loads of headroom remaining.
But i wont get into the loudness thing.
But did they used to master at lower levels?
Mastering loud is not a new thing, it goes back to the fifties at least, but you are right, the physical limitations of vinyl prevented recordings from getting any louder.
When CDs came in, the massive headroom was supposed to pave the way for extended dynamics, instead, the extra headroom was gobbled up through the practice of hypercompression solely to make tracks louder, ironically resulting in less - not more - dynamics.