• Soundcloud 'Mastering' and dynamic music
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Soundcloud 'Mastering' and dynamic music
on: November 10, 2020, 17:31:37
I thought I'd post up a graphic showing what SoundCloud Mastering (with Dobly !!!) does to a dynamic track.

I'm at the stage of mastering my latest orchestral piece Autumn at present. Since it goes from fairly quiet sections with solo woodwind and strings to full on timpani and brass in certain parts then it's quite dynamic. More than most pop songs for sure.

So I thought lets see what happens if I use one of my free mastering slots to do it.

I use a plug-in called Youlean 2 (the Pro version) so you can drop audio files onto it and it will do an analysis easily outside a DAW. This is the result below.

The one on the left is pre-mastered with the true-peak below -1dB.

The one on the right is the Soundcloud 'mastered' version. You can see the true peak is rammed right up against digital clipping 0dB. In fact looking at the waveform it looks like it's been brick-wall limited for the timpani and brass transients.

OK it sounds louder, with a -13.8 LUFS integrated Loudness, so it's in the recognised 'sweet-spot', but I listened to both side by side and adjusted for the same relative volume. Since it's a 32-bit float wave file I can't hear any digital harshness on the transients, but the selected flavour of 'Sunroof at 0%' seems to have managed all the subtle timbres of the instruments and made it sound a bit tinny to my ears.

So in conclusion, it's probably OK for EDM and stuff that is less dynamic, but I'm not sure it works for dynamic tracks. However, if a tracked mastered like this went to streaming sites then I wonder if there isn't enough headroom for their tweaking.

Food for thought perhaps ?

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