When mastering your electronic music production, reaching -9dB as your average amplitude (RMS) will ensure your song achieves optimal loudness!
Dynamic Range vs. Perceived Loudness
If a sound is said to be dynamic, it means it has a wide range in volume between the loud parts and the quiet parts. Dynamic range is desirable in a song as this is the rhythmic element which catches people’s attention.
The combination of loud parts and quiet parts over a duration of time will give you an average volume of the sound. This average volume is representative of the perceived loudness to the human ear. Since perceived loudness is the average of all volumes in a sound, this means if we have more louder parts for longer in the sound than quiet parts, the average volume will increase which ultimately contributes to loudness.
If we make the sound louder for longer, we will be sacrificing dynamic range as a result. There is a fine balance between enough dynamic range and enough loudness. This balance will greatly improve the mastering process if the mix is right.
To measure and determine dynamic range as well as loudness. Most digital meters offer a numerical peak reading and a visual average amplitude reading. Becoming aware of these two measurements will help with mixing and mastering.