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AES Munich 2009
Consumer Product Applications Event T6

Friday, May 8, 11:00 — 13:30

T6 - Loudness—Light at the End of the Tunnel

Florian Camerer, ORF, EBU Group P/LOUD
Eelco Grimm, Dutch Loudness Committee
Mike Kahsnitz, rtw
Ralph Kessler, Pinguin Engineering
Thomas Lund, tc electronic
Andrew Mason, BBC R&D

Audio levels in broadcasting have become increasingly diverse and different over the last decades. Despite clear guidelines and recommended practices the general use of peak measurement in audio metering and the development of more and more sophisticated level processors have led to over-compression of audio signals with the questionable aim of being louder than the competition. This attitude has especially impacted the audio quality of advertisements and promos with very little dynamic range. Already considered a hopeless situation, the introduction of loudness level metadata and especially the introduction of an international standard of loudness measurement (ITU-R BS.1770) is a light at the end of the tunnel. A few broadcasters and even whole countries have addressed the loudness issue thoroughly, and their experience shows that it is possible to solve that problem to the advantage of the consumer. It is long overdue to establish a new paradigm in audio levelling: the switch from peak normalization to loudness normalization. With widespread adoption of this approach consistent loudness not only within a channel, but also between different channels will be within reach—thus finding the “Holy Grail” of audio broadcasting.

In this session the current situation from the perspective of the EBU Group “P/LOUD” will be examined. Vendors will present their approaches to loudness metering.