After a thorough process of evaluation that incorporated both measurement and listening tests, SBS Broadcasting in the Netherlands has installed Jünger Audio’s Level Magic solution for loudness processing across all of its TV channels.
SBS was prompted to investigate loudness control to comply with the new EBU R128 loudness recommendation. SBS has invested in a Jünger Audio modular C8000 solution that incorporates a suite of DSP and I/O interface cards, enabling it to completely integrate workflow for managing surround sound and Dolby-coded 5.1 audio signals in production, ingest and playout. These include HD/SDI de-embedding/embedding with VANC, Dolby E resynchronization with in-built video delay and Dolby Metadata generation. Because of its modular nature, customers can choose the exact type and amount of input and output interfaces and processing they require for their particular facility.
All C8000 systems include Jünger Audio’s Level Magic adaptive loudness algorithm, which is based on a multiloop dynamic range control principle. This enables slow changes (AGC), fast changes (transient processing) and look-ahead peak limiting to be handled simultaneously, thus offering level management with exceptionally high audio quality and without coloration, pumping, breathing, distortion or modulation effects.
“Our main reasons for choosing Jünger Audio’s solution were its outstanding performance and amazing ability to control huge loudness jumps while still preserving the essential natural sounding properties of the audio content without audible colorization and distortion,” said Josbert van Rooijen, manager of broadcast and IT at SBS. “We also appreciated the clear user interface, the versatility of the system, the GPI programming functions and the variety of configurable options within the C8000 concept. The C8086 solution added practical advantages by combining HD-SDI interfacing, Dolby AC-3 encoding, video delay and options to process metadata in a one rack system. It was also very competitively priced.”
Loudness normalization requires adaptations to the whole broadcast chain, from production through consumer equipment in the home. It also sets completely new requirements for processing equipment in the studio. Van Rooijen noted that like many broadcasters, SBS is now in a transitional phase where the processing equipment still has to deal with huge loudness jumps between programs stored on the playout server and in the archives.
“It is extremely difficult to design a processor that can handle that well without giving a completely different impression once new material is passed through the chain in the alternative transparent mode,” he said. “During the assessment, Jünger Audio made some adaptations to its software based on our test experiences. This changed the assessment into a cooperative process, which yielded significant advantages. Jünger Audio was able to act very quickly on our comments and has developed a solution that does the job remarkably well.”