I was advised on another thread that a good way to better mix my own stuff was to get a reference track and compare/contrast.
I used Soundflower to record Daniel Avery’s “Lone Swordsman” into Ableton Live 11, and put Swiss Army Meter on the track. Integrated LUFS -15, peak -5. Well UM, isn’t that exactly the mumber from Massive Attack’s Inertia Creeps?
OK, so Spotify normalizes volume, does that effect using a track for a reference? Probably not, as it is the relative balance of elements that I’m looking at, right?
But it made me wonder, so I paid for the AIF of “Lone Swordsman” from Band Camp (which I should’ve done anyway, cos I love that track) and dropped that In Ableton. Immediately it LOOKS totally different. LUFS at -8 integrated and > 0 for peak. It sounds way dirtier too, and the kick has more resonance and more release(?!) A lot of sonic differnces.
EDT: I also tried chucking a Utility on before and after a loundness meter to get the volume about the same as the Spotify version (couldn’t manage to get Peak and Integrated to match) and it still as a different character (to my ears.)
I guess my question is, how do you mix/master when the end product will be consumed sounding so different from your own finished version? (I admit this is moot for me, cos I’m still learning how to even make a basic track, but it has me thinking all the same.)
Is sound design itself different in the age of normalization? Cos the kick on Spotify and the one in the AIF are quite different sounding things.