[Music] Better Volume Normalization - normalize local files

Status: Case Closed

"set the same volume level for all songs" in spotify, does not take into account the subtle volume transients of an album that audio engineers have spent hours working on!

Solution - Add an option in settings for "Set The Same Volume Level Based On Albums". This will retain the intended volume differences between songs on an album (similar to the way replaygain album mode functions).



This solution is extremely quick for spotify developers to implement - Just take the individual track volume values in an album and you already have this information due to your "set the same volume level for all tracks", then get the average of these track volumes for that album and the result is your per album volume reduction value! Albums will finally sound like albums again.
IN THE FUTURE - When you select "set the same volume for all albums" then it should also read the metadata in your personal music files (when the tag is present). The Name of this tag in my mp3 and flac collection is "REPLAYGAIN_ALBUM_GAIN".


"Set The Same Volume Level For All Tracks" - (replaygain track mode) BEST FOR SHUFFLE MODE, OR LISTENING TO LOTS OF RANDOM SONGS)

Spotify already has "Set the same volume level for all tracks" in settings for songs that are streamed, which is the equivalent to replaygain track mode. This currently only works for streamed songs and it doesn't check to see if the tag "REPLAYGAIN_TRACK_GAIN" is present in your local audio file that you're currently listening to, a very simple fix indeed. 



When unticking "set the same volume for all albums" and "set the same volume for all tracks", all streamed and local music should not play with any volume adjustment on either streamed or library tracks, it is exactly the same effect as disabling "set the same volume for all tracks" that we currently have. There are many reasons for needing to turn of volume normalization (such as troubleshooting volume problems etc). Replaygain volume adjustments should be fully lossless when your dac is 24 bit.

Note to spotify - By using metadata, this should be totally seamless - E.g. If the exact same album is streamed, then local files should play at precisely the same volume as streamed files.


IF EITHER TAG IS MISSING FROM METADATA - "REPLAYGAIN_TRACK_GAIN" or "REPLAYGAIN_ALBUM_GAIN" then spotify should not make any volume adjustment and it should produce the same result as having album mode or track mode not TICKED.

When installing spotify, the default should still be set to "set same volume for all tracks" like it it just now


Updated on 2018-10-05

Hey folks,


Thanks for coming to the Community!


We're checking back in, to keep you updated on this Idea.

When you play an album, we normalize the loudness level of that album at the same time.
If you're interested in some further info on this, we'd recommend checking out this FAQ, which we currently have up for artists.

We also have some more information on Audio Settings here.
Under Music Quality, you can switch Normalize volume on, or off.

Right now however, it's not possible to normalize local files. For that reason, we're changing this to case closed, as this isn't something we're going to work on.



As an audio mixing and mastering engineer, I'm thoroughly disappointed with Spotify's dynamic range compression as is obvious when "Set the same volume level for all tracks" or "Enable Volume Normalisation" are enabled. The result is not true loudness normalisation, since instead of purely changing the level of each track or album to match loudness with others, the audio is actually being compressed, decreasing audio quality to the point that most users would probably rather have it turned off. In more dynamic songs, there is audible pumping or overall level reduction where there should be none, and turning the "normalisation" feature off completely alleviates the problem, but removes the benefit of normalising loudness between tracks.


My proposal is that Spotify completely remove the dynamic range compression processes, leaving nothing but true loudness normalisation to be enabled when using the "normalisation" feature in Spotify. The overall playback gain may be reduced, but there is no real gain to be preserved, as most users will simply turn up the volume on their devices, speakers, monitors, etc. The current EBU broadcast standard is -23 LUFS, roughly equivalent to an average level of -23 dBFS RMS. Spotify, on the other hand, is being measured at a level of -11 LUFS, give or take 2 LU. There's plenty of room to push down, since most music on Spotify will be much louder than the replay gain if the normalisation feature took the average level back to -14 LUFS.


I see no reason why Spotify couldn't do this and preserve the normalisation feature they currently tout as true normalisation. There's no reason for the dynamic range compression that is happening, and there's no reason why it couldn't be removed. Until this is done, all users that turn "normalisation" off to preserve audio quality (or stop "making it sound weird") will continue to be subject to the loudness wars, which this feature was initially intended to stop.


There is now an AES recommendation for the maximum streaming audio loudness normalisation reference. Spotify should adhere to this at the very least, or they will be continuing to harm people's music listening experiences, which is the exact opposite of what a music streaming service should want to do.


So, it should be mandatory that Spotify normalises to -16 LUFS at the very loudest, and Spotify must reduce or cease any limiting that needs take place. The best course of action would indeed be to normalise to -23 LUFS, but that may be too drastic for some users, in which case someone has suggested there be a fixed "volume boost", or "High volume" option if normalisation is turned on, but this still should not exceed the AES recommendation.


Even with "Set The Same Volume Level For All Tracks" selected, volume seems to vary wildly. For instance, I put a bunch of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar albums into a playlist, select 'shuffle', and some tracks will be barely audible while the next track is blastingly loud! What gives? Kind of reminds me of that 'Walk' button at the intersection that doesn't actually seem to be connected to anything.


I´m all for volume normalisation but -23 is imho not the way to go. From what I have heard that figure has it´s heritage from the movie/tv scene where dialog should be kept around -23 so that there was enough headroom to "shock" audience with explosion blasts and other fx. 

Somebody mentioned -14. I´d say that would be alot better choise but why not let the user choose level. Just use the already existing well thought out K-levels. The geeks could choose -20, the deaf could choose -12 and the rest of us -14.

The limiter should be scrapped or at least limit increase of gain to not let peaks over 0dBFS.


Personally I have no problem with the current level. 98% of all music I listen to is pretty badly mastered too loud and squashed. So it get lowered by spotify anyway. In 99.98% of the cases Spotify is not the bad guy, grammy awarded mastering engineers are. Note, some albums are ridicoulusly loud and still sounding good. I guess that the mastering engineer in those cases yet has to earn his grammy.


What should be noted as the level of a song should be it´s loudest part. not the average level. Average level might be good for TV broadcast with 90% dialog.


Playing songs from an album page should activate album mode automatically.


Status changed to: Not Right Now
Updated: 2016-03-29

Hey everyone, currently we don't have plans for this in our timeline. However, if this continues to grow we will keep passing this feedback on to our internal teams. Thank you for coming to the Idea Exchange with your feedback!



I turned off "set the same volume level for all songs".
But I STILL hear strong dynamic compression.
It breaks my heart... it's like looking at a beautiful painting through smudged glasses.
Anyone else hear this or is it just me?

Here's an example

Starting at 0:35 it's pretty bad. It not only modulates volume with the kick drum, but you can hear the volume go steadily down from about 0:39 to 0:45.

Why not have a setting where they just leave the music alone???
Not everyone listens to Spotify with cheap headphones in a noisy environment.
It's bad enough that the majority of recordings have too much dynamic compression.
It's especially heart breaking because with the high bitrate setting Spotify has a lot less of the "swirly" sibilant sound of bitrate compression than other services.



Here's another example:


Listen to the drums in the intro.
Thy dynamic compression ruins it.

I have never noticed any normalizing of volume on my droid with the option selected. Many tracks are much louder than others. Please Spotify make this feature useful.

Loudness normalisation: YES!

Additional limiting at online music services: NO!

Spotify, please reduce playback level to avoid limiting.


Tonight I wanted to listen to New Order's Movement, and so I searched for it, and noticed to my horror that only the "Remastered Versions" came up.

I looked in my "Audio Test" playlist, because I have 2 songs from the album for testing changes to my audio system, because they're so awesome. They are from the "Collector's Edition" version of the CD. If I click on the album, it shows up.

I then tried typing "New Order Movement Collector's" in the search box, and it wouldn't come up.


The problem is MOST REMASTERS SOUND WORSE!  Why the human race is going backwards instead of forwards, I cannot understand.

Here you can see that New Order 2015 remasters have SQUASHED DYNAMIC RANGE:

Dynamic Range Database
(sorted by descending year)