Mastering for all formats?

One question I still have about mastering that I haven’t found an answer for even though all the courses/tutorials etc that I’ve taken is how to master in a way to have the music be at the right levels across any and all platforms—it’ll be at the right levels whether it’s on YouTube or SoundCloud or Spotify or wherever.

Is there a special mastering process to normalize the audio so it fits across the board?

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IIRC, there is at least one solution for actually automating that, but I don’t remember which one… Either way, that seems a bit risky if you include platforms with substantial loudness differences. You’d probably want to master manually, so you don’t have the limiter ruin everything for some of the targets.

Anyway, for analyzing and checking the levels for various platforms, you might want to check out MeterPlugs Loudness Penalty and Dynameter, and ADPTR Streamliner. The last one can also emulate the whole encoder/decoder chain of the respective platforms, so you can preview how things will actually sound, not just in terms of loudness.

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Thanks David. I might check out that last one you mentioned. I currently use Mastering The Mix Expose and Reference which have target presets for SoundCloud, YouTube, Spotify, Netflix and basic CD.

What I find though, is even hitting the target LUFs and matching a reference track on LU peaks and such, my tracks still don’t seem to be loud enough compared to what I assume are more professionally mastered tracks, and the levels are hit or miss when listening from headphones or speakers or a mobile device etc.

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Hi Matt, I usually try to tune my master using a variety of listening environments, ie. in my studio, on an office PC, and most importantly in my car going 55-60 MPH. I will then note and compare where the differences are and use Ozone 9 Advanced to find a sweet spot that sounds reasonably well across all environments. Ozone is really good at using reference tracks too so if you are looking for a particular sounding master you can load up that track and have Ozone balance against it. In particular I really like the new master rebalance in Ozone 9 Advanced which allows you to bring out Drums, Vocals or Bass from a two track source. It is pretty amazing when used in small nudges. Don’t really think there is one ring to rule them all however finding that middle way is spot on.


Thanks Stuart. I’ll need to look at upgrading to Advanced since I currently am just using the Ozone9 essentials. I was just seeing if there was a way where you didn’t need to create 4 different masters to fit each platform.

I use TC Electronics Finalizer for mastering, this allows you to select across levels for the platforms and names the platforms so you get the right volume and eq suited to the platforms. Took me a few goes and listening on the platforms although you can listen in test mode to see the levels. Like you I haven’t found anything else like this.

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I may have seen that one while browsing through the Waves catalog. Sounds familiar.