Righteous2Demo is a universal binary Audio Unit plugin for the 2-buss.
It can be used on Mac DAWs like Logic and Ableton Live, Reaper and Digital Performer. It can be used in Pro Tools if you use the wrapper plugin Patchwork from Blue Cat Audio (79$).
And it is the first and only plugin that can do loudness maximization on YouTube AFTER they put in their ‘replay gain’ function.
And it does it perfectly honest and legit, too, by delivering what Google wants: but optimized.
YouTube is not going to stop turning down your music, by the way. They want to make people use auto-play and your loud masters get in the way. And they’re Google: they don’t have to listen to you, or to VEVO, or to anybody. It’s a level playing field and all the rules have abruptly changed.
Here’s how you cheat (except it’s not cheating: you’ll find some older classic tracks are coming across like gangbusters in the new YouTube regime)
Righteous was originally designed to force people to mix dynamically, at a lower target level than YouTube’s -13db RMS. (it’s now adjustable, so if they change it you can retarget! They won’t, though: their -13db parallels the loudness of full bandwidth pink noise, it’s kind of scientific as the loudest possible full-range dynamic sound)
Righteous also is designed as a final output stage for Pono, so it has an Airwindows fancy wordlength reducer set to 24 bit for such use (or any 24 bit export). It uses Naturalize out of Ditherbox, which is a $50 value already. It also includes a simplified version of Airwindows ADClip 4, without the techniques for sneaking clipped bass and treble energy back into the sound, and without the fancy bypassing when not actively clipping. That’s okay, all we really need is to soften the onsets and exits of clipping energy (most obvious at 44.1 or 48K)
That’s because Righteous, used as a loudness maximizer for YouTube, is set up to deliver full range clipped intense peaks on the hottest sounds. The key is to not try to limit or squish those ahead of time. Mix old school, allowing dynamics, make it big.
Then, once the framework’s in place and you’re bringing in the body and orchestration and lushness, be sure and set Righteous 2 at the correct target RMS level. It comes set for YouTube or you can set it for other systems if you know their target RMS. At this point you’re making decisions about how loud to make the fullness of the track.
If you hear Righteous 2 distorting, YouTube is already preparing to turn you down. Back off.
It’s that simple.
But it’s more than just an indicator. Because Righteous 2 applies its own saturation process (that dynamic peaks can punch right through to clip: true even for the original Righteous) it approaches YouTube’s target RMS value differently. It uses the energy lost from saturation to drive a warmth and bass shaper that gives even more fullness to the sound in a way that sneaks past the YouTube normalizers by being not as high-RMS as before… and because it’s the gentlest possible saturation, it broadens the ‘sweet spot’ for loudness a huge amount.
You can listen to the result in the youtube video I linked. There’s almost no audio except for the music, and that music is absolutely slammin’ and extremely competitive volume compared to what the normalizing is doing to modern high loudness masters.
Welcome to the future. By the way, just because you CAN use Righteous 2 to maximize YouTube loudness (no matter what they change: just target the RMS level they want you to hit) doesn’t mean you should. -13db is by no means obnoxiously overloud, but you can still allow for more open and dynamic sounds. You might like them! -13db is probably your best bet for not having your balances altered by YouTube, though.
Righteous 2 is $50.