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Old February 18th, 2008, 08:00 AM   #1
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How loud should internet or DVD audio be?

How loud should audio (with a video) be for delivery on the internet or on DVD?

I'm working in Sony Vegas Pro 8.0b and Sound Forge 9.0e.

Based on some discussion on the Sony Vegas Video forum I'm thinking of keeping the peaks to "6" on the UK (BBC) VU/PPM meter in Sound Forge. Is this a good guideline and a good meter to use?

Thanks!
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Old February 18th, 2008, 05:17 PM   #2
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I think it depends on the content. Also, the Internet and DVD levels can be mastered differently.

Let's start with content. If it's just a voice track, you can let it peak fairly high and be done with it. If there are also explosions and orchestral tuttis, you want more dynamic range.

For the Internet, you will want to master on the hot side. Expect people to be listening on $50 speakers and earbuds in semi-noisy environments. Feel free to be pretty aggressive. I use Sound Forge 9, which comes with Izotope's mastering plugs. By selecting the right multiband compression and limiter profiles, you should be able to get the right balance based on your own ears. There are no rules on the Internet.

Regarding DVDs, there is a fair amount of latitude. A Hollywood action movie has huge dynamics. TV shows don't. I find that I watch movies with the volume twice as high as with TV shows.

A few years ago I analyzed some of the audio from the 3rd Matrix movie. Voices peaked at about -12dB. That's how I do my mixes, if not softer. You can then master to a -6dB level for "TV-like levels". For the Web go with -6dB or even hotter.

Take a look at a modern pop/rock CD waveform. Everything is mastered to 0dB. Zoom out and it looks like square waves. That's what you're competing with on a PC with iTunes.

I highly recommend some good mastering tools. They really simplify creating final products for multiple delivery paths.
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Old February 19th, 2008, 03:56 AM   #3
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High audio levels on music CD's

This link talks about this aspect.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/news/20070604_music.shtml
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Old February 19th, 2008, 12:09 PM   #4
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Here's an excellent analysis of some of Rush's albums over the years. If you're impatient, scroll down to see the waveforms:

http://www.prorec.com/Articles/tabid...7/Default.aspx
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