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Linear Acoustic introduces DTV audio manager at 2010 NAB Show

At the 2010 NAB Show, Linear Acoustic made available its new audio/loudness manager, a 1RU device that allows stations and mobile-DTV program originators to automatically control audio level and intelligibility for the best experience on typical small mobile devices. The goal is to deliver the most satisfying experience to the viewer while preserving the intent of the program producer.

According to Linear Acoustic founder and President Tim Carroll, was designed to address the challenges inherent in audio for mobile TV. Because of the tiny speakers and loud environments typically involved in mobile device video, the dynamic range “comfort zone” used for mixing TV audio is for viewing on stereo or surround in-the-home TVs. Background noise in many environments will define a relatively high loudness floor — if the volume is increased for acceptable intelligibility on soft passages, loud passages run the risk of causing hearing damage.

Thus, the processing issue, according to Carroll, is one of enunciation. “Unfortunately, that took us back to the drawing board. We couldn’t just take one of our products and rebrand it as a mobile device,” he said in a press conference, “but that got us back into some psychoacoustic research. And it turned out that some of the things that are done for hearing-impaired people actually work for people listening in noisy environments. There’s a difference not just in level, but in the character of the audio. That’s really important.”

As a result, the new employs Linear Acoustic’s newly developed Mobilizer processing, enabling content to remain highly intelligible even in noisy environments on small mobile devices. is a 1RU device with dual power supplies; it can process two independent programs simultaneously. accepts mono, stereo or 5.1 channel audio via HD/SD-SDI, and the output is dual stereo on HD/SD-SDI.