RMS average output for country Music

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Member Since: Jul 11, 2011

hello, I'am new to Mastering, and I'am starting my first one, I analysied my stero track and the average output was L=15.71 R=1528 and I was reading for dance music the RMS average output is 7 for pop Music, I guess this is a 2 part question first I would like to know what RMS stands for and second what would be the average output for country Music, I understand that the lower the RMS the louder the music. I know I have alot to learn, but I also learn that there is no such thing as a dum question. thanks

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Typo Szar
Since: Jul 04, 2002

Jul 14, 2011 05:24 am

Loudness, and how its perceived by humans is a pretty complex thing, which im sure u realize, apart from the RMS and peak levels, there is also the actual tone of the song, the frequency content and their relations will also impact how loud or atleast how 'powerful' something sounds. But ur right, there r no dumb questions.

RMS basically is the average energy of the sound over time, this is y the number is usually much lower than peak levels, which is how loud the signal is for that one brief moment ur looking at it. U can have peaks as high as 0 db on the digital scale, which is the maximum a digital system can handle, but the same song might have its RMS much lower. That is y the lower the RMS the louder something is, coz its closer and closer to the 0db top of the digital scale.

Thus, wat RMS level u want for any genre of music (disregarding the other factors that make up loudness) would just depend on how loud u want that song in the genre to be COMPARED to other songs. Comparing is important here, coz no matter wat ur RMS read is, remember that listeners can always just turn down or turn up their volumes, making that reading somewat meaningless. Having ur RMS close to other songs in the genre just makes it so that when the listener is giong from track to track, there isnt an abrupt change in volume.

Getting any certain RMS level is just about manipulating ur song (with compression usually) to average out at a certain level, but this is where it would be a disservice to u to speak in only simple terms. Another very important aspect of a song's volume and power is dynamics, which is the relation of RMS and peak levels as well as how the perceived loudness progresses through the song, and this is pertinent to ur question as well.

A dance track or a modern rock track might get away with tons of compression that make the differnece between the RMS and peak only slight, becoz listeners expect it and it conveys wat those songs want (loudness). In a genre like country however, u will likely want lots of dynamics, meaning ull use very little compression to allow instruments to pop and move more. That is just coz country listeners will likely want that.

MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Jul 16, 2011 12:06 am

I understand that the lower the RMS the louder the music.

The higher the RMS (or simply dBFS, dBVU, dBv, dBm, etc., etc., etc.) the louder.

Anyway -- Country is just like anything else. Some mixes are wrecked beyond repair and some are reasonably dynamic. The numbers mean diddly. Sparse ballads can have much higher RMS levels than a densely constructed mix - But the dense mix may sound much louder than the ballad.

Uh, at least one more time . . .
Since: Feb 07, 2007

Aug 14, 2011 07:50 pm

My wife listens to and buys a lot of the newer country stuff, and I can assure you that that music gets walloped by heavy-handed producers with tons of compression and limiting and vocal "treatments" just like pop, rock, and dance music does. If memory serves me, that goofy song "Save a Horse, Ride A Cowboy" drove me nuts, as did the rest of the songs on that CD. The vocals were remarkably, uh, strident for a "country" record. Someone must have convinced a lot of those producers and performers that "in your face" compression techniques were the way to crack the pop market.

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