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I'm working with a tight group of film makers, all local, but a very dedicated bunch. I have been searching everywhere for info on mixing dialogue, foley, and music and happened upon the -20DBFS pink noise to 85 RMS mix standard. For anyone familiar with this, I think I get it, yet I wonder if I really do.

My understand is that you are supposed to playback a -20DBFS pink noise signal and then, from your listening position, adjust your monitors to 85db RMS. Let me just first say, this seems insanely loud to me. I then found another reference stating that, for small rooms (I'm sure mine qualifies as such) with near field monitoring, 79-80 db is the acceptable range. I'm thinking still too loud but maybe that's just me.

So if I have the above info correct, then am I supposed to assume that you then mix everything to the level that you would be expecting to hear in a theater? I can tell you that with -20 pink noise coming out at 79db, it would be one of the quietest mixes I've ever done.

Maybe I have something wrong here, but could anyone help me or point me at some authoritative info on this subject? I also wonder what delivery levels are standard on the mixdown. I should also mention that I'm only talking about 2 channel stereo, not 5.1 or more.


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pcrecord Sun, 08/23/2015 - 12:50

Hey Eric !
If we are talking about mixing and not mastering, how loud your monitors are is independant of the finish product's loudness.
You can do as most mix engineer do, mix at low levels and check at high levels once in a while to be sure the bass frequencies are ok.
Even a mastering engineer don't listen to the project at full levels all the time. (at least not all of them)

If you are doing the finished product, you can still work at lower levels but be sure your output levels are at standard peaks. (sorry I don't have the exact numbers the industry obeys to.)

If the product is going to youtube, they are now using LUFS measurements which sums the whole files and ajust the volume according to their norms..

bouldersound Sun, 08/23/2015 - 17:53

You need to study up on Dialnorm. It's a way to accommodate the requirements of different types of productions for the amount of headroom above the dialog level. The default is 27, with a data range of 1 to 31 representing a gain range from odB to -30dB. The default value allows for 26dB of headroom above the dialog level. The dialog level would be measured using Leq, A weighted, a long term average level method.