TikTok is really the only social media platform I’ve ever truly used, other than Facebook in the really early days, ie, from 2009 to 2012. I like using it a lot and even find myself posting there on a regular basis, however, like any platform, there are some things you’ll have to learn if you plan on using it.
One is the audio compression problem. The other day I found myself unable to figure out why the videos I was posting sounded so bad. I did all kinds of research and came up with practically nothing until I realized on my own that it was super simple. It has to do with the default audio settings.
To fix poor audio quality in your TikTok videos, go to the audio settings by clicking on the drop-down arrow on the right side of the screen after you’ve uploaded a video. Ensure the option “Noise Reducer” hasn’t been selected, otherwise, you could hear undesirable noise reduction and compression.
And that’s all I had to do to fix the terrible audio problem that I was encountering today and the days prior. I couldn’t figure out why my videos kept sounding like they were recorded underwater in a tin can, and it turns out that it was just because the Noise Reducer had been switched on by default. Now that I’ve shown you how to fix this problem in short form, I’ll walk you through a step-by-step process just in case you need it.
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Table of Contents
The Primary Solution For Fixing Bad TikTok Audio Quality
1) Open TikTok and Then Press the Upload Button
While you’re at it, you should probably ensure there are no weird filters or anything like that turned on in the toolbar on the righthand side.
2) Select the Video You Want From the Recents Folder and Then Choose “Next”
I’ve already imported the video into TikTok via the camera roll so I didn’t have to do it here.
3) Select the Downward-Pointing Arrow to Bring Up More Audio Settings
This will bring up additional audio settings and various configurations.
4) Look At The Noise Reducer Option And Ensure It’s Turned Off
Why Does Audio Sound Different on TikTok?
Generally speaking, audio sounds different on TikTok due to compression, limiting, and noise reduction. TikTok has put these in place to ensure that radio and video quality has been standardized across the application, otherwise, there would be considerable and unmanageable variation.
So what does this mean for you though? I’ve found it pretty difficult to find audio and video standards for TikTok on the internet, unlike Spotify, for instance, who tells users that audio should be -14 LUFS.
TikTok doesn’t have the same guidelines for uploading content to their platform which I find annoying. At least I haven’t found those standards yet. That said, if you’re able to upload something first to YouTube Shorts, you’ll probably be able to get it on TikTok without much problem.
But thankfully, we can use YouTube’s recommendations as a guideline for how to upload on TikTok. If you take a look at this article from Sweetwater, they say that YouTube has publicly stated you should aim for -13 dB LUFS to -15 dB LUFS, and to go no louder than -9 LUFS for transient peaks.
Transient peaks just refer to the moments during your audio recording where it’s louder than average. These are the peaks, which I talked a bit more about in my article on reference tracks. You can learn a good deal there.
On account of YouTube’s recommendations, it’s safe to assume then that you should aim for -13 dB LUFS to -15 dB LUFS when uploading to TikTok as well. Although it’s possible TikTok’s recommendations could be slightly different, they won’t deviate by much.
Notice how the recommendations for YouTube aren’t terribly difficult from Spotify’s audio recommendations. You can also find some great comments in this Reddit thread which discuss mastering social media platforms in detail.
Other Articles You May Be Interested In
- How to Download A TikTok Video Without A Watermark
- How to Fix Out-of-Sync Audio on TikTok [And Eliminate Delay]
- How to Record Guitar Videos for TikTok (A Complete Guide)
- How To Make YouTube/Instagram Videos With iMovie/GarageBand
- How to Upload Music To SoundCloud, YouTube, and Music
Important Things to Note About TikTok Audio Quality
1) Social Media Platforms Will Probably Decrease The Audio Quality Regardless
Regardless of how much you tinker around with the audio, I imagine that most platforms will degrade the quality of your audio no matter what. The reason is they have a lot of content going up every single day, and they can’t have these super high-quality file sizes. It would just take too much.
Until we figure out a way to get even smaller file sizes without affecting the quality at all (which will probably happen sometime in the future), you’ll just have to deal with the fact your songs don’t sound as good as they did in your DAW.
2) Use Other Sharing Platforms As A Guideline
As I mentioned earlier, YouTube Shorts and Spotify could probably be used as a benchmark in terms of how you should master your songs. Just aim for -14 dB LUFS like what Spotify asks of you and you’ll be good. Use the YouLean Analyzer if you must.