[Music] ReplayGain: Better Volume Normalization

"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).

 

"Set The Same Volume Level Based On Albums"(replaygain album mode) DESIGNED TO RETAIN THE SUBTLE VOLUME DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TRACKS ON AN ALBUM)

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. 

 

DISABLED MODE = NOTHING TICKED.

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: 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!

 



Related Ideas

Comments
Deeb
Casual Listener

I used to run the following code to convert tags in album mode to itunes "Sound Check", although Itunes "Sound Check" is now intelligent enough to know if you're listening in shuffle mode (the equivelent to track mode) or listening to an album (while retaining the subtle volume differences between songs as part of the album). See the following video for an example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehMo0JWRFC8

 

For .mp3 files "format value" COMMENT ITUNNORM

[$rg2sc($if2(%REPLAYGAIN_ALBUM_GAIN%,%REPLAYGAIN_TRACK_GAIN%))]

For .m4a files "format value" ITUNNORM

[$rg2sc($if2(%REPLAYGAIN_ALBUM_GAIN%,%REPLAYGAIN_TRACK_GAIN%))]

 

 

Spotify could eventually read iTunes tags using similar code.

Deeb
Casual Listener

Ok this post isn't as popular as I thought it would be (thought we'd have 200 votes already : P )

Rocio
Spotify Legend
Status changed to: Good idea, vote for it
 
weertt
Newbie

I don't need any replay gain stuff, simply being able to copy my flac collection to the local files and listen to them is enough.

Synth
Newbie

Ok, I entirely support this feature. And Deeb, the main problem this isn't that much liked is because not a lot of people are familiar with the name ReplayGain, or think this is some sort of normalization. Lots of people just want to listen to music, not understanding that ReplayGain saves them volume controlling effort or eardamage.

 

Then again, louder is better for a lot of people, so I guess they'd "normalize" their music by turning up the volume to match their last and loudest played track before their current.

Deeb
Casual Listener

synth - Thanks for your comment, I was initially confused that people wanted FLAC yet they're not interested in replaygain but you're right and that people don't underrstand. If replaygain or normalization was everywhere then we wouldn't have crap sounding audio because there would be no loudness war.
I read that the current main reason for the loudness wars is down to the fact that SoundCheck is not enabled by default in Itunes. Volume normalization could kill the loudness war.

 

The main reason I love replaygain though is because when I'm in the mood to play different tracks rather than whole albums, then I don't need to keep changing volume control every 2 minutes.

When I wrote that comment about this thread not being as popular as I thought it would be, there was only 3 kudos! So we're donig a lot better now.

Krustaro
Newbie

Good one Deeb.  Replaygain is a must for playlist and radio listening. I listen to Spotify playlists over a Squeezebox system, and the variations in volume really detract from the experience.  When listening to local files over the Squeezebox this is not a problem as it has very good Replaygain support.

 

I agree with Synth that there could those Spotify users that perceive a loss of volume (or, incorrectly, quality) as an issue, but others will appreciate listening to tunes withtout having to reach for the volume control.  Just ensure it can be enabled/disabled in the client.  Make it happen Spotify!

Deeb
Casual Listener

Please leave comments / suggestions below.

lozanoalex3
Newbie
In premium mode.... After a few skips the volume get limited to about 70% of the original level..... WOW as i type, the vulume returned to normal level.....
ianshepherd
Newbie

Spotify makes the replay volume of all songs similar. Broadly speaking this is a good idea (Although an "album mode" would be a great enhancement)

 

BUT

 

When Spotify lifts the level of "quieter", more dynamic music, it regulates the louder moments using a limiter, often with very poor quaity results. There are lots of posts here complaining about this problem.

 

I'd like to suggest two improvements to this:

 

1 - Reduce the reference volume level, ie. make everything play at a slightly lower volume.

 

This will reduce the need to add extra limiting, meaning people will hear more dynamic music the way it was intended. 

 

Apple's Sound Check feature already uses a lower reference level of roughly -16 LUFS, for example. The international standard for broadcast is -23 LUFS

[UPDATE May 2017 - See #3 below]

 

2 - Instead of limiting, just restrict the volume boost to prevent clipping

 

The limiter is only needed when boosting very dynamic music, to prevent clipping distortion. Instead, Spotify could prevent boosts beyond a point that would cause clipping, meaning the limiter would be unnecessary. This would completely solve the problem. 

 

Some very dynamic music wouldn't be normalised as effectively, but examples in popular genres would be rare, and most people listening to more dynamic genres wouldn't mind - classical is a prime example.

 

 UPDATE

 

I've been asked to join an AES technical group to help develop a white paper on streaming loudness, to provide recommendations for loudness normalisation for streaming providers like Spotify.

 

If any Spotify employees are reading this, please contact me so we can include you in this discussion.

UPDATE #2

The AES guidelines have been published, they recommend a maximum streaming playback level of -16 LUFS:

http://www.aes.org/technical/documents/AESTD1004_1_15_10.pdf

UPDATE #3

It looks as if Spotify have implemented Part 1 of this idea ! The latest version (May 2017) seems to be using a normalisation level of -14 LUFS, which is similar to TIDAL and YouTube. This is great news, thanks to everyone who voted for the idea !

We don't know yet whether they have also stopped using the limiter, though (Part 2) - more testing is needed. But so far, so good !