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Method to Evaluate the Ballistics of Audio Meters

Strong interest in loudness normalization across the audio industry provokes questions about audio level measurement using available meters. This report describes a method for characterizing the dynamic response of any audio level meter using a pulsed sine test signal. For example, it shows how the dynamic response of an SVI (VU) meter is closer to that of a true RMS meter than to an average-responding meter, showing that in general classical VU meters provide a better representation of volume than today’s more common LED ladder semi-peak responding meters. This method exposes that the response of the different types of meters differ on their slopes in function of the crest factor of the applied signal. It allows the categorization of different types of meters by how they respond to the proposed test signal, making evident that a steady sine tone calibration at 0 dB gives no certainty of what is being measured dynamically by any particular instrument.

JAES Volume 63 Issue 7/8 pp. 583-589; July 2015
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AES - Audio Engineering Society