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Loudness Descriptors to Characterize Wide Loudness-Range Material

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Previously we introduced the concept of loudness descriptors – key numbers to summarize loudness properties of a broadcast programme or music track. This paper presents the descriptors: Foreground Loudness, which measures the level of foreground sound, and Loudness Range, which quantifies the variation in loudness. Wide loudness-range material may benefit from level-alignment based on foreground loudness rather than overall loudness. We propose to use these descriptors for loudness profiling and alignment, especially when live, raw, and film material is combined with other broadcast programs, thereby minimizing level-jumps and also applying appropriate dynamics-processing. Finally, we introduce the “zap test” which can objectively characterize the quality of loudness-balancing schemes, based on statistics of the potential loudness-jumps. A study of loudness-jump tolerance is presented, considering loudness-jumps from a subjective point of view.

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