Logic X Loudness Meter Part 2 and 3
Learn how and why you’ll want to be loading up Logic’s new Loudness Meter.
In the last post I introduced the Loudness Meter and talked about why it came into existence in the first place. In this two part tutorial I uncover every aspect of this plugin and teach you how to correctly set up and use the loudness meter for both broadcast and everyday mixing.
In this tutorial video you’ll learn:
- How the plugin works
- What all the meters mean
- How to use the Loudness Meter for professional broadcast
- How to use the meter for mixing to a target but more dynamic audio level.
Logic Pro X Loudness Meter Part 2
Logic’s Loudness Meter really is a great plugin that will help you to create better more dynamic mixes. It’s a great substitute for the level meter but not necessarily a complete replacement. For me I find using a combination of both for different reasons.
Logic Pro X Loudness Meter Part 3
Take a look at this video to see how you can use it for broadcast and mixing.
Momentary and Short Term ValuesI’ve picked 3 tracks from Logic’s sound library each one has a different average level for us compare, you can grab them from your own Logic library and check out the plug using Latino Neighbourhood, Hit The Road Long and Motocross
The momentary meter is great at catching the accents at the start of Latino Neighbourhood, much like Peak does with the Level Meter, the Short term value generally measures in a similar way to RMS and Motocross being a full on Punk Rock track has a little in the way of dynamic range so the values don’t change all that much because the music doesn’t vary all that much.
Grab the music from your sound library and check out the differences between the two.
Integrated values can only be read if you click the start button and play the music from the beginning through to the end. Logic automatically starts to analyse once you hit play.
The Loudness Meter’ Integrated values are usually slightly lower than Short Term because it’s measuring the average loudness of the mix from start to finish. This means that the Integrated reading is giving you an indication of exactly how loud we perceive the music to be.
The LU Range gives you a clue as to the dynamic range from the quietest to loudest elements in your mix.
A song with poor dynamic range will have a low value adding a limiter will always reduce the dynamic range of the music so the LU range is a great way to see how much you are crushing your music.
IN the video above I totally crushed Motocross and the LU range ended up being less than 1LU so it’s not surprising that the track distorted distorting! The limiter has completely crushed the dynamic LU Range. Next I looked at Hit The Road Long, which is an acoustic track, the LU once measured has a much greater dynamic range compered to Motocross folk music tends to have a far greater LU Range as it’s vastly more dynamic the punk.
So what does all this mean? Well Integrated values tell you how loud your listeners will perceive your music to be and the LU Range indicates you how dynamic your music is helping you to decide if wide dynamics is right for your music or not? You choose! Of course fully mastered tracks will have a smaller LU range than a mix depending on how much you limit the music.
There’s one aspect to this plugin I’ve not touched upon yet and it has everything to do with broadcast and that’s the draggable Target Level slider, which is the part of the plugin I’m going to discuss next.
In the US and here in Europe laws have been passed for compliant broadcast levels. It’s boring, I’m not going gonna talk about it here but in general terms the ‘target level’ agreed by the various law making bodies is –23LUFS for Europe and –24LKFS for the US. Don’t worry about why it’s –23 or –24 that’s for another lesson.
Basically, what you need to do is this set the target level by dragging the line up and down to whatever value you want but for broadcast it’s -24 and -23 by default the Logic Loudness Meter sets a value of –23.
Once set all you have to do is mix, dub or master to the target level, it’s that simple!
How do you mix to target?
When you exceed the target level a portion of the meter display turns yellow. This acts as a warning indicating your track is breaching the compliant levels. Integrated values must only exceed the target level momentarily and not by large degree, Short Term and especially Momentary values will sometimes go above the target level because it’s reading short transient bursts and not measuring whole mix average levels. Integrated values are key to being broadcast compliant.
If you find all the bars are constantly going into the yellow the mix needs to be turned down.
So what’s the point in all this?
The thing you will find is this, at –23LUFS your mix will feel very quiet, it’s 23dB below 0 but the reason for this is so that broadcasters can level different styles of music with different dynamics ranges without the need to over compress the signal. A film score often has a huge dynamic range but a pop or dance track doesn’t therefore if they are placed together at 0dBFS the pop track feels very loud in comparison because the average level is much closer to 0dBFS.
If both are leveled at an average of –23 then generally speaking we as good law abiding humans hear both pieces of music at the same level. In fact the orchestral piece probably sounds better because it will be less crushed!
Forget Broadcast use it to mix!
So at this point if you’re thinking I don’t do anything that gets broadcast or I don’t write music that needs to be bothered with compliant legal broadcast levels. OR that my music should be nothing more than as loud as I can possibly get it then…
- And with the greatest possible respect …. I think you’d be making a mistake the future is with metering systems like LUFS and LKFS across radio, TV, the internet, iTunes and other streaming services
- And two these metering levels will apply to all styles of music and will likely become the standard way of mixing and mastering in the future.
Loudness Meter For Better Mixing
But I think despite all that there is another way of using the plugin to help you create better sounding more dynamic mixes and masters.
With the Loudness Meter why not mix using the target line this means that by keeping an eye on the Integrated and Short Term meter bars you can easily mix a track without worrying about going into the red.
A good mix level to target is –18LUFS of course that’s above the compliant standards for broadcast but if you’re mixing music that’s not going onto streaming services, radio or TV then you don’t need to worry about it.
The purpose of setting a target number is to ensure peak levels always remain below the ceiling leaving plenty of headroom ready for the mastering stage! The mix will naturally come out with a peak of around –5dB which is perfect for mastering.
Without realising it Logic’s Loudness Meter will actually give you back more dynamic range because you’re not fighting to keep your mix below 0dBFS.
What Will It Do For You?
What this plugin won’t do is write a hit record for you or glue your mix together but I know you already have that covered, it won’t create a killer mix you have do that leg work and it’s not a colourful compressor that will make the mix buss thick, fat and warm.
What it will do is allow you to easily mix to target levels and empower you to create louder more dynamic mixes without blindly wondering what levels you should be aiming for. The Loudness Meter will help you safely target … loudness in Logic Pro X!
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Happy mixing and mastering