Friday, July 09, 2010

Tektronix and audio loudness measurement

I just had a rather splendid lunchtime presentation from Tek regarding the new firmware for WFM & WVR-series test sets. EBU rec 1770 has been around for some years but a couple of things have stopped it's widespread adoption.
  • It's integration time for short-period measuring is three seconds - Channel Four (who previously were the only UK broadcaster who got shirty about perceived loudness) always specified a Chromatek meter which used a four second rolling window.
  • It's long been understood that most archive material fails 1770 in it's original state but the inclusion of a silence gate mitigates this.
It seems like whole industry is tip-toeing around the dirty little secret that commercials producers mix audio with a very limited dynamic range so as to make them more punchy. It's in their interest (and the broadcasters who make their living out of them) to not embrace this. It's why my Mum complains to me about how loud the ad breaks are. The EBU should stop pretending this is about programmes, it's about commercials and the sooner they enforce loudness limits the better!
We got to have a play with the new Tek firmware and they have done an excellent job of interpreting the LUFS scale. They make it very easy for an operator to see where a programme is and if the Dolby DialNorm (dialogue) and Dynamic Range figures match what is measures.
More when I've got a copy to put into my WFM 7120.

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