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Author Topic: How iTunes Sound Check is changing mastering  (Read 2620 times)


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How iTunes Sound Check is changing mastering
« on: April 04, 2012, 02:08:10 PM »

Hey all, it's been a minute since I've been around these parts.  Wanted to share this op ed piece I wrote that just went on line where I put iTunes Sound Check to the test.  It was a very non-scientific method, and if I had more time I'd probably have done more (specifically more numerical analysis to confirm).  But I'm hoping this gets the conversation going and some of you will do tests of your own.  It's clear something is happening whether my analysis is right or wrong, and that something can change the way we approach mastering so have at it:

Never underestimate the power of quality music.

David Dodson

Greg Reierson

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Re: How iTunes Sound Check is changing mastering
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2012, 02:28:53 PM »

On balance I'd say it's a good article.

"Iím still on the fence, though.  In general, Iím not a fan of auto volume control.  Adopting a mastering standard that caters to them just seems wrong, even if I am (for the most part) on the side of ending the loudness wars. "

It's is not about adopting a mastering standard and it does not dictate in any way what the artist / producer / engineer team does with levels. The beauty of the system is that you can chose to crush a mix or leave it alone and it will play back at roughly the same level on the end listener's system (based around a -23dB LUFS center).

The only strict recommendation is leaving a bit of headroom to allow the decoder to work without creating overs in the decode process - and it's pretty hard to argue that decoder clipping is a good thing.

This is not a front-end prescription for how to make records. Rather, it's a back-end, retro-active fix for the lunacy we've been experiencing for the last 15+ years.
Greg Reierson
Rare Form Mastering
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