Why are some songs on Apple Music louder than others?

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Original poster
Nov 14, 2011
20,739
22,787
I really noticed this when listening to radio stations in Apple Music. Why is that? It’s so annoying because you constantly have to adjust the volume up and down.
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,152
3,858
Atlanta
Adding dynamic range compression to already overly compressed music is NOT the answer. Music is NOT a TV commercial and preserving as much SQ as possible is important to many people. Apple does have an optional program called Mastered for iTunes.

https://images.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/docs/mastered_for_itunes.pdf

https://search.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZContentLink.woa/wa/link?path=masteredforitunes
[doublepost=1550413911][/doublepost]Actually just remembered that Apple does offer you the option to turn on compression if you want. It is called Sound Check. Bad for SQ but it does help do what you are asking for.

IMG_6443.jpg
 
Last edited:

oratowsky

macrumors newbie
Jun 3, 2008
19
5
Adding dynamic range compression to already overly compressed music is NOT the answer. Music is NOT a TV commercial and preserving as much SQ as possible is important to many people. Apple does have an optional program called Mastered for iTunes.

https://images.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/docs/mastered_for_itunes.pdf

https://search.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZContentLink.woa/wa/link?path=masteredforitunes
[doublepost=1550413911][/doublepost]Actually just remembered that Apple does offer you the option to turn on compression if you want. It is called Sound Check. Bad for SQ but it does help do what you are asking for.

View attachment 822285
Sound check doesn't apply compression to the music.

It detects the average loudness level of the song ("RMS" level) and adjusts only the the playback level of different songs so that their perceived loudness is more similar to each other.

As an aside, streaming services are actually great for those who care about music dynamics because a lot of services (like Spotify) level match songs so that they play at -14 db RMS, which is lower compared to commercial pop music from a few years ago.

So there's far less incentive for engineers to slam and limit songs anymore, since they would just be reduced in volume on playback on a streaming service.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Original poster
Nov 14, 2011
20,739
22,787
Gonna try soundcheck and see if it solves the problem. Thanks.
 

onethinline

macrumors member
Apr 27, 2015
98
64
San Francisco
Indeed, Sound Check does not compress music, it just adjusts the gain (volume) as needed. It works pretty well, but (like the equivalent on Spotify) it's not a PERFECT solution and you'll still have some tracks sound quieter because they're otherwise mastered so loud that the gain correction turns them way down. This should actually encourage mastering engineers to stop brickwalling music (the classic Loudness Wars stuff), leaving plenty of headroom and dynamic range, and sounding good on streaming services which have volume normalization.