Best Speaker Level for Audio Editing?

MadMaverick wrote on 5/17/2016, 3:48 AM
So I have some Mackie CR3 Multimedia Monitors like these:

A few members on here spoke highly of them, and I decided to purchase them sense I needed some high quality, yet affordable sound monitors for editing and whatnot. I'm quite pleased with them. The quality is great, and they're very loud.

This kinda threw me off with my sound editing, since there's a drastic contrast when it comes to these monitors, and the speakers I was using before, which were just cheap ones that came with my computer. I always figured that most people viewing my work (on YouTube) would probably have basic speakers like these, and that as long as it sounded good on mine, then it should sound good on theirs, as well as on their smartphones or tablets.

I'd have the knob on my old speakers turned half way, and that's the level I'd keep it for audio editing. With these new monitors of mine though, everything is so loud, and that's great. I'm not complaining. It's just that I'm not sure what level to have them set on when editing.

If I have the knob turned half way with these, everything is so loud. I usually barely even have to turn the knob all that far to hear music or videos with these. So how far over do you guys usually turn your knobs? Do you go nice and deep? ...okay, I was just messing with you with that last sentence lol.

Also, I've always found sound levels in video to be something of a headache. I always have trouble deciding how high or low different audio should be, and it's always seemed like I could never get it QUITE right. I guess this kinda thing depends on the ear of the beholder, but any tips here would be appreciated.

I've asked this on a separate video forum before, and was told that there's just too many variables to say "speech should be at this level and music at this level".

Another member used these basic guidelines:
"Spoken word peaking at 6db and siting between 12db to 6db.
When you have a spoken word with music try keeping music to between 18db to 24db or less.
When you have just music try keeping peaking at between 12db and 6bd or less.
With mixing audio it's a must to keep everything flowing with out jumps from one source of audio to another.
By keeping the spoken word peaking at 6db this gives you a bit of head room to move up 3db if required.
Also by using this as a guide this is easier to get a mix together.
Adding more tracks containing audio adds to the overall sound energy that is present. More tracks = more dbs."

Let me know if you agree with his guide or not, and what methods you use. Also, feel free to share any tips or advice. Thank you.


rraud wrote on 5/17/2016, 9:14 AM
Are you asking about your monitor volume in your speakers or the program level of your finished video.. or both? Best answer: 'it depends'. Generally the monitor volume should stay the same. deepening if it's for a theatrical release or Web streaming DVD or Bluray. Program level for the discs and web are 'recommended' to be -16 to -18 LUFS (integrated). Broadcast TV (USA) uses the ATSC A/85 loudness standard ( -24 LUFS), In my experience, this is usually strictly enforced and anything out of spec is rejected (and embarrassing).
Monitor volume is usually set to 85dB SPL C-rated @ -20dBFS using pink noise... however, I prefer 75dB SPL for TV and such. BlueSky has calibration level files available on their website.
Check out the ATSC A/85 standards and recommended practices... or the EBU R128 (European) standard if your on that side of the pond
Nothing will sound the same on 'all' PB systems. The best we can do is check the mixes on multiple systems and make some compromises.

musicvid10 wrote on 5/28/2016, 3:59 PM
Apple's audio specs for the web are almost exactly 6 dB louder than US long-form A85 specs, or -18 LKFS.

That's as close as we have to a benchmark for the web, since the only real limitation is peaks not greater than -1 dBFS. You can nudge that ceiling a bit if you are using TPFS (true peak metering), but of course with very much limiting and compression, that gets to be way to loud for many people.

Just pointing out, if one mixes at -24 LKFS, it will meet both US and EU128 broadcast requirements, 100% in my experience.