SPOTIFY: Normalization vs dynamic range compression

Have you ever wondered what the 'Set the same volume level for all tracks' option in Spotify is really doing?  No probably not, but I have.

Googling didn't help to find an answer to this question because some people say that it works by normalization and others say that it works by reducing the dynamic range of the tracks that would originally have had a high dynamic range.

I hoped that it would only normalize* the volume to make all of the tracks seem equally loud. If this was done the full dynamic range (and thus the sound quality) of each track would be kept intact and it would simply balance the volume levels by reducing the volume of the tracks that have already had their dynamic range compressed.

So I decided to put it to the test myself by using the dynamic range meter in Foobar and comparing a track played via Spotify twice. Once with the 'Set the same volume level for all tracks' turned on and once with it turned off.

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EDITORIAL NOTE: The opinions expressed in the above post do not necessarily reflect those of our editorial team – just in case you wondered. Neil McCauley


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