Broadcast Loudness Murder

The concept of loudness in audio recordings has been a bone of contention for many producers for about two decades now, although the last ten years have seen it surge to such levels that prolonged exposure to some modern recordings can actually induce nausea (because of the audio rather than the music)…

Murdering The Airwaves

Despite the idea that broadcast compressors are theoretically supposed to bring all recordings to the same level when output from a radio station, Dublin band Murder Plan recently had to have their single ‘Drinking With The Devil‘ remastered after hearing it played on Irish national channel 2FM.

Even though the single was mastered at Abbey Road studios, when the EP version was played in sequence with other modern recordings on the radio, the dynamic original mix seemed rather quiet by comparison. A beefed up ‘radio master’ was then requested, which brought the recording in line with its companions on the airwaves.

But if you were listening at home, with the ability to use your volume control to set the recording to your desired listening level (as most of us have), it’s a fair bet you would find the ‘quieter’ recording a far more pleasing listening experience, as it has a greater serving of that endangered quality, dynamic range.

Setting Loudness Standards

Last June in Rome, a host of audio luminaries gathered to share experiences and ideas on audio loudness with respect to recording, mixing, mastering and broadcasting. Much of the two day seminar was focused on new ITU and EBU broadcasting standards. For a glimpse into why this is important, check out Florian Camerer from EBU’s PLOUD Group in the video below (first of a series – he gets down to the real business about four minutes in)…


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