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RMS, LUFS, and True Peak: Essential Metering Types in Music Production
Discover the three main metering types in music production: RMS, LUFS, and True Peak. Master their use and elevate the quality of your mixes across various platforms.


Understanding the different metering types in music production is an essential part of becoming a skilled audio engineer or producer. You might think of metering as the heartbeat of a musical piece—it gives you insight into the dynamics, balance, and overall sound quality of your mix. Today, we'll explore three prominent metering types: RMS, LUFS, and True Peak.

These mathematical models collectively provide a comprehensive perspective on the perceived loudness, frequency balance, and potential distortion in your mix. By understanding how to interpret these meters, you can make informed decisions on how to refine your mix and ensure it translates optimally across various platforms and speakers.

RMS Method

RMS, or Root Mean Square, is the method of measuring the average level of audio signals. RMS is essentially the measure of 'power' or 'energy' of the signal over time. RMS metering is instrumental in getting a rough sense of perceived loudness, primarily because RMS values align more closely with human hearing than peak metering.

This method helps you judge the average loudness of your mix, therefore assisting you in setting the proper microphone levels or monitor levels. It opens the doors for further sound refinement - because mastering the art of audio production means striking a balance to maintain a consistently good and clear sound, and RMS metering is a tangible way of doing exactly that.

LUFS Method

LUFS, also known as Loudness Units relative to Full Scale, is another crucial unit that measures perceived loudness. The LUFS meter factors in the human ear's sensitivity to different frequencies—just as our ears do, it gives less importance to very low and very high frequencies. This rms makes LUFS a more accurate measure of loudness than the RMS.

The LUFS meter typically provides three readings: short-term loudness, momentary loudness, and integrated loudness, but our primary focus is on the full-track metering - integrated loudness. This comprehensive measure provides the average loudness over the duration of an entire track. It's incredibly useful for maintaining a consistent volume across different tracks, making it a must-use for your mix and mastering stages.

True Peak Method

The True Peak metering type is another essential tool in your audio production kit. Unlike average level meters such as RMS and LUFS, True Peak meters detect the highest level reached by the audio signal, including those between samples.

The primary goal of True Peak metering is to prevent clipping or distortion, which can occur when the audio signal surpasses the allowable level (often 0 dB). By showcasing the loudest point in your mix, True Peak allows you to account for this and adjust your mix accordingly, thus maintaining audio quality.

Integrated LUFS as the New Standard

Arguably the most important of the LUFS readings is the integrated LUFS. This metric measures the average loudness of an entire track or program, providing a more holistic view of the mix’s loudness than momentary or short-term measurements.

Moreover, integrated LUFS has increasingly come to play a significant role in digital platforms' normalisation processes. Platforms such as Spotify and YouTube employ loudness normalisation to provide a consistent playback volume for listeners, often prioritising integrated LUFS as a measurement. By mastering to a specific LUFS value, you can avoid the pitfalls of excessive loudness and ensure your mix is optimised for output across various digital platforms.


Mastering the various metering types in music production—RMS, LUFS, and True Peak—can significantly improve the quality of your mixes. By understanding each of these meters' purpose and application, you’ll be equipped to make music that's balanced, dynamic, and translatable across a variety of playback systems.

Keep tuning in to our blog for more information on these fundamental aspects of music production. Next up, we'll dive deeper into delivering music with targeted LUFS and RMS values—ensuring your tracks aren't just loud, but also clear, dynamic, and compelling to your listeners.

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Rylan Talerico
October 20, 2023
Before founding Crate, Rylan Talerico was signed to Warner Records as a recording artist, producer, and songwriter. These days, Rylan enjoys spending time with his family and working on Crate building tools to empower musicians to be more creative and connected.
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