Making sure you're compliant with loudness standards has now become just as important as the quality of your output. Whatever medium you work in - from audio for post-production to broadcast TV - it's essential you have an audio monitoring and metering solution in place. Bearing that in mind, we've put together this guide to monitoring hardware, software and speakers, picking out a range of products from top manufacturers like TC Electronic, Waves, DK, Yamaha and Genelec that will suit all workflows and budgets.
If you're new to the noisy subject of acceptable loudness standards for broadcast audio, it's now a must for broadcasters to maintain consistent volume. Essentially, watchdogs have clamped down on jumps between levels, especially on TV, which has led to the introduction of loudness level metadata (dialnorm) and an international standard for loudness measurement (ITU-R BS.1770).
Most studios will now have a solution in place to monitor loudness levels, and these can range from low-cost software plug-ins that complement your DAW to high-end external hardware. Either way, you also need to couple these with decent quality reference monitors to hear your content back. Here are the top solutions we recommend to fit in with your workflow, from outside broadcast to small studios.
Loudness monitoring hardware
TC Electronic DB6 Broadcast Loudness Processor. A TV and OB Broadcast processor that allows you to handle every aspect of loudness management, from monitoring to processing, to ensure complete compliance. Up- or down-convert to output both stereo or 5.1 streams simultaneously and deliver to any platform and any codec, be it HDTV, Mobile TV, Digital Radio or Podcast using AAC, Dolby, Ogg Vorbis, Lossless or Linear. £5995 ex VAT. Learn more.
TC Electronic TM7 TouchMonitor. Our most popular solution, this is a fully configurable standalone monitor, compatible with all major broadcast standards including ITU-R BS.1770, EBU R128 and ATSC A/85. Optional Loudness Radar software lets you see how loudness varies over time, which is vital for long programme material. The TM7 is suitable for both surround and stereo material. £2735 ex VAT. Learn more.
RTW TM3 TouchMonitor. A 4.3" touchscreen stereo loudness audio meter which is ideal for smaller edit suites, offering loudness metering to the following standards: EBU R128, ITU BS.1770-2/1771, ATSC A/85, and ARIB, with bar graphs and numerical readouts. A 6 channel version is also available and all models feature analogue and digital inputs. £1155 ex VAT. Learn more.
DK Technologies DK1 Master Stereo loudness meter. Simple, compact and expandable, the DK1 is about the size of a smartphone and is easily positioned to show you a realtime loudness readout, via Horizontal/Vertical Bargraph, FFT, Vectorscope, Phase correlation, StarFish, JellyFish and Horizontal/Vertical Moving Coil Emulation. The DK1 is compliant with all major loudness standards (BS1770-2. A/85, R128, ARIB and more). £929 ex VAT. Learn more.
Loudness monitoring software
Dolby Media Meter. Featuring Dialogue Intelligence technology and conforming to ITU-R BS.1770-1, the Dolby Media Meter is an ideal tool for monitoring loudness in dialogue-heavy transmissions. £599 ex VAT. Learn more.
TC Electronic LM6 Loudness Meter. The LM6 plug-in brings TC's cutting edge Loudness Radar Meter technology to any DAW or NLE edit station, making it perfect for anyone creating output in Avid Pro Tools or Media Composer. £429 ex VAT. Learn more.
Waves WLM Loudness Meter. The WLM Loudness Meter from plug-in makers Waves provides ITU, EBU, and ATSC compliant loudness measurement and metering for broadcast, movie trailers, games and packaged media. £279 ex VAT. Learn more.
We offer a huge range of studio monitors from the likes of Focal, Genelec and Yamaha, so get in touch if you're looking for something specific, but by far our best selling speaker bundles for loudness monitoring are the following. All of them are available in either stereo or surround setups.
We provide a whole range of solutions to give your production professional sound, from recording right through to the final edit. As an Avid HD Dealer, we can offer their full One Avid production line-up, so you can seamlessly integrate your audio (Pro Tools) with video (Media Composer and Symphony). We also provide a range of shotgun mics, radio mics, wireless field recorders, full voiceover kits, and metering and loudness monitoring solutions - as well as consultancy, installations and preflights.
Want to know more about loudness monitoring and metering solutions? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. You can also follow @Jigsaw24Audio on Twitter or 'Like' us on Facebook.