Podcast Loudness Standard - Getting The LUFS Just Right

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on a loudness standard for podcasting.

I always mention -16 LUFS in my videos and other podcasters - like Ray Ortega - have also mentioned this magic number.

The podcast levelling and mastering tool Auphonic appear to have -16 as their default for podcast loudness. Then there’s the FabFilter Pro-L 2 plugin that shoots at -14 for streaming.

This document from the Audio Engineering Society recommends anywhere between -20 to -16 for podcast loudness.

Then there’s also an Apple Podcast Authoring Best Practices guide that mentions -16 LKFS as the best loudness when mastering a podcast.

So now, over to you, what do you think? What is loudness? Does it really matter? Should every podcaster aim for the same loudness? Should we leave it to podcast hosting companies or Apple to enforce this and re-master podcast episodes to be compliant?

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What scaling range are your output level meters set to?

You need to set your meters to K14 first.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/meterplugs-k-meter

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I always go for -16 LUFS as that seems to be the most common standard. If I listen to my Podcast in the Apple podcast app then flick to another I’ve subscribed to them they seem to be a similar level so I’m happy with -16 LUFS.

I guess, like a lot of things on the internet, it’s hard to agree on a universally accepted standard though. Podcasting has been around a long time and before it took off you could be jockeying the volume regularly as you swapped between podcasts.

Maybe the only way to obtain a universally acceptable loudness standard is for Apple, Spotify and google to declare a common standard you must adhere to to be included in their directories.

I know friends who Podcast who record using their phones as mics, do a very basic edit in Audacity and just upload the finished mp3 with no actual finishing applied at all.

Last year there was one Podcast I attempted to listen to but had to give up! I was listening to a link sent to me in the car but the problem I had was the volume of the two people was nowhere near the same. If I set the volume at a level where the guest didn’t blow my speakers I couldn’t hear the host.

Hopefully now podcasting is becoming more common people will give more thoughts to the editing and final production.

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