iZotope Insight takes aim at CALM Act

I’ve been a fan of iZotope for awhile. These guys are smart, they understand music, and they have an ability to see where the gaps are in music technology. The company’s newest product, Insight, is aimed squarely at the audio post production market. Broadcast Engineering spoke with Insight product manager Brett Bunting.

Broadcast Engineering: Now that the mandates imposed by the CALM Act are in full effect, many software and hardware manufacturers are releasing products designed to help broadcasters conform to the new standards. What distinguishes Insight from its competitors?

Brett Bunting: “I've seen a trend towards products that "fix" your audio and force it comply with the CALM Act after the mixing stage. This type of processing supersedes an audio engineer's ability to accurately monitor audio as it will be broadcast in homes. The goal of Insight is to instead allow people working with audio to ensure their audio is in compliance with loudness standards from the beginning of a project. If Insight metering is used during the creation of a soundtrack it becomes simple to not only comply with loudness standards, but also to create dynamic audio. Additionally, Insight is much more than just a loudness meter. By incorporating loudness meters, a graph of loudness values overtime, true peak meters, a vectorscope, a surroundscope, a spectrum analyzer, and a spectrogram into one suite, Insight allows you to monitor all essential information about your audio in one customizable and resizable window. Users can create their own suite of meters that suits their workflow and workspace.”

BE: Over the last decade or so, some of the audio processing that was initially carried out by third party plug-ins (mastering tasks, for example) has been incorporated into digital audio workstations. Is iZotope preparing for the possibility that this could happen with metering?

BB: “Many common mixing and mastering tools such as compressors now ship with any DAW and yet every year we see more compressors released as plug-ins. As tools become more standard there tends to be more demand for better or specialized versions of these tools. I have no doubt DAWs will continue to add metering functionality however, there are many innovative features in Insight like the 3D spectrogram that I think go well beyond any metering functionality you can expect to see ship with DAWs any time soon.”

BE: Anything else you’d care to mention?

BB: “The underlying motivation behind the CALM Act was to reintroduce dynamic range to broadcast audio. However, if the regulations aren't embraced by audio engineers and are only addressed further down the chain, the true benefits of these type of regulations won't be experienced by audiences. While mixing with the CALM Act in mind can seem daunting, a tool like Insight makes the process transparent and can be seamlessly integrated into any workflow. I'd urge anyone working with broadcast audio to take steps to incorporate loudness metering at the beginning of their workflow to see how liberating the CALM Act can be in practice.”

iZotope is a research-driven audio technology company based in Boston, Massachusetts. iZotope technology is directly integrated into products made by Adobe, Avid, and Sony as well as a growing number of mobile phone applications. For more information on iZotope products please visit www.izotope.com.