In line with European initiative by EBU (R128 on normalisation in 2010, revised in 2014 and in 2020), AES is preparing to issue a major revision of recommendation TD1004, initially published in 2015.
This new publication is being redacted jointly with world class audio engineering experts and streaming services (namely Spotify, Apple, Tidal, Qobuz, SoundCloud) who for the most part have already agreed to following the recommendations.
The document is in the last stages of validation and should be available soon. Here is an overview of what its contents should be (subject to last minute changes):
- New, unified loudness target for streaming: -16LUFS
- New vernacular: distribution loudness is to be preferred over target loudness
- Minimum loudness level -20LUFS
- Short programmes (<1minute): short-term loudness can’t exceed target loudness by more than 5LU
- Maximum peak level -1dBTP
- Album normalisation (and playlist normalisation) allowing the preservation of internal, intended loudness differences in an album or playlist
- New educational website on loudness normalisation to be launched
NARAS (Recording Academy, aka Grammy Awards) will disseminate the recommendation to their members.
One can safely assume that with all the major players being involved in the process, this will put an end to the confusion that has been ongoing about mastering and normalisation best practices lately.
As some of you know, this is a subject that I am particularly interested in and I have been doing some personal research over the past year, which led me to personal exchanges with major experts on the subject, from whom I learnt about this. I thought some of you might be interested.