Would you like to set your OBS volume perfectly because in this post I show you how to use the free Youlean Loudness Meter?
Set OBS Volume Perfectly with Youlean Loudness Meter!
You can check your loudness on OBS to see if your volume is set in a good range by using the Youlean Loudness Meter 2. It’s a free VST audio plugin that you can put into OBS that will allow you to see exactly where your levels are at.
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This is very important for your user experience, whether you’re recording or live streaming because if your volume is too loud, it will be obnoxious and clip, and not sound good, and if it’s too quiet you’ll be difficult to hear and people will have to turn the volume up for you and that will be annoying.
You want to make sure you’re just about the right loudness, but you’re not too loud and going way over, but you’re not too quiet and way under.
The question is how do you get this just right?
What I have done over the years is just to test different clips that I record and play them on different devices.
Unfortunately, this is not a good standard way to do it, and the ideal way to do it is to get the loudness meter and see an absolute reading that will apply across any different device.
What you want your loudness to be like is in the negative 18 to negative 23 range, that is indicating that your loudness is at the right level.
When your loudness is at that level, it will be sounding good across all devices. You’ll have a good range if you need to scream and shout, and get a little loud, you’ve got room to go louder and if you need to get a little quieter, you’ve got room to go quieter.
You want that dynamic range in your audio where you can go up and down. This loudest meter will help you get it exactly right. You can see in real time on my audio as I’m talking where my loudness is.
I will show you how to set this up.
What I want out of mine is a little more consistency because if I talk a little quieter, if I’m not having my voice significantly raised and pushing the volume of what I’m saying, then often my audio gets too quiet. If I’m a little more relaxed, then my audio will tend to be way too quiet.
Thus, this loudness meter helps me get a more accurate reading. You can get this loudness meter if you go to Youlean.co, free loudness meter.
You can download it by hitting “Download Free/Pro.”
Once you download it, it is very easy to install on Mac. You just follow the installation instructions in the Zip file that it gives you. You copy the VST plugin over into your library and put it in that folder. If you’re on Windows, I imagine it’s very similar, the VST plugin needs to be in the folder.
When you’re on OBS, you will get into OBS and put it like this. You will go into OBS, click on whatever your microphone sound source is. You can also do this with other sources like game sound, or you can do it if you’re playing any other kind of sound besides microphone and game background, sound music, et cetera.
You click right here on the gear and click on “Filters.”
This is where you can add new plugins directly into your interface. I’ve got this Youlean Loudness Meter here. When I click on “Open plugin interface,” it shows me the interface that’s in the background here that you can see in order to add this in.
What I originally did is I hit “Plus,” I put “VST 2 plugin” right here. I hit the VST 2 plugin, then I titled it whatever I wanted it to be: “Youlean demo.”
I hit, “OK.”
Then, I select the plugin. If you’re not seeing your plugin here, that’s because it’s not in the folder. You need to go into your VST plugin folder and put that in there. If you’ve already got any plugins in there, you can simply search for where that plugin is. Otherwise, just look where the plugin folder is. This is where you select it. Then, you put it in there.
If you want to delete a plugin, you just hit “Minus” and put that there.
To get the interface, you hit “Open plugin interface.”
Now this is the interface for the plugin.
In order to get this to work correctly, you need to click on “Continuous.”
That will allow you to monitor the audio in real time. If you don’t click on “Continuous,” then it won’t work properly for doing OBS.
Once you’ve got this working, your target range where your short term audio should be in most of the time or your overall user experience should be in around the negative 18 to negative 23 area.
What you can do to start over is click on the red X and that will clear out anything previously.
What I can see now is my average loudness right here, I want it to be in the -18 to -23 range to know that I’m putting the volume out at an appropriate level. The longer I talk with it, the more I’m getting a total result here that’s appropriate.
The short-term result here gives us just the last few seconds while the integrated considers more longer approaches, it considers the whole time period. Therefore, you’ve got a better result.
You want to speak in a normal volume that you’re going to speak in and you want to try shouting, for example, something great happens in a game. You can test it out: “Yes, yes, I’ve got him dead. Right? That’s how you play Call of Duty. Yeah!”
You test that out and see where the loudness comes in.
It’s good to have some dynamic ranges. You also want to make sure your true peak does not go up into zero. You want to make sure you’re not clipping because that provides a very bad audio experience for everybody.
Notice that because I did that bit of shouting, that’s significantly raised the average volume on the entire whatever you want to call this video. If you have some shouting on your live streams like I frequently used to, this will significantly raise the entire volume on average for the whole project.
On the other hand, if I have some quiet time, it can significantly lower the volume on the whole project. You want to make sure that you’ve got a good range of the audio you’re going to use. That way, you will have a good experience in terms of diagnosing: Do you need to put your audio up a bit or down a bit to get it in range?
What you can use to get your audio and range better is compression.
A compressor helps you to focus the audio into this range. That’s why it’s called a compressor. If you’re talking too quietly, the compressor can bring the volume up. If you get to screaming too loud, the compressor will knock the volume back down a bit to keep it in this appropriate window.
If you are finding it’s consistently around the -18, -19, -20 or -21, as I’m finding, that’s a good range for my audio to be in. I know that my videos are coming out at an appropriate loudness. I like my videos to be towards the louder end, maybe -18.
You will notice my short term is actually -20 or -21, -22, that means I’d like to bump my volume up slightly. The downside is if I get to talk really loud and I get all pumped up, then it gets really loud, louder than it ought to be for that particular section.
In this case, what I can do is take the “True peak” down a bit. I can limit it so that none of my audio will go above -3, which will help it not to get any of those sections of audio that are really loud.
Since this is vocals and not something like drums or music, I don’t need to have any peak high audio experiences. What I can do in OBS to deal with this, if I see I’ve got my audio peaking too much, I’ve got a limiter in place.
I click on “Filters” and I can go over to my limiter and click on the “Plugin interface.” I can turn it down, I can turn the threshold out. I can turn that down or I can turn the threshold down a bit more on it.
I can use a different limiter if I want to. I can turn it down to three over here, and then that’ll make it so it’s not coming out as high.
I’m going to choose a different limiter in here because I want a comprehensive set of controls that’s more dynamic than what I’ve got right now.
If you really want to make your audio sound professional, you also want an equalizer.
An equalizer will allow you to make certain parts of your voice more brought out. It will also allow cutting some of the volume at the top and the bottom. For example, a low frequency “hum” in the background, a high pitch squeal outside. You can cut some of those unnecessary audio out and help it to be where your voice is really getting in the ideal experience.
All that said, your volume is also a big function of the mic you’re using.
I’m using the RE-20 microphone. It’s a function of where you’re putting the microphone as well.
The RE-20 microphone is a very high quality microphone, it gets beautiful audio and if you’re using a lower-quality audio, you may find it’s difficult to keep your quality sound and get your loudness just right. You can upgrade your microphone if that is an issue for you.
What I can see is that my short term is often coming down a bit lower than I like it. This means, it’s time to put some equalization on my audio to get the very best audio experience.
Audio is one of those subconscious signs, people hear audio and it sounds professional, it leaves us feeling good, whereas we hear audio that’s bad or doesn’t sound very good, and on a subconscious level we judge that whoever is putting this on, whoever’s live streaming or recording the videos is producing this quality.
Many would argue that getting the audio right is more important than getting the video right because the video, people often will tolerate lower experiences pixelating, things like that, whereas with audio, it can really turn people off if the audio is not on point.
Therefore, it’s important to use a loudness meter. Make sure you are at the right loudness, which should be around -18, -19, -20 or -21 on average for short term especially and for your integrated as well.
You can see mine is doing very well as I’ve tested and been doing this, and made thousands of videos. However, even there, I have more tweaks that I can do.
This is how you use the loudness meter.
You can also change the amount of time if you want to on here up to, for example, 30 seconds, 20 seconds or 10 seconds.
You can switch the modes.
For me, if I put it on mono it also changes it in OBS, therefore I don’t want to mess with that. I technically just have mono audio coming out of the stereo, which is fine. If you change this to mono, it will only change your channel and just put it in the left ear on OBS, and you don’t want that.
There is a Pro version. I don’t see any need for it right now because this is purely a monitoring software. I intend to use another plugin suite to actually adjust my volume, then look at how loud it is with the loudness meter.
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Edits from video transcript by Michel Gerard.