Loudness standards

The one main issue everyday people have with their TV’s is that we are always reaching for our remotes to turn up the program we’re watching and to turn down some commercials and turn up others, this isn’t because the producer of the ad is bad at being able to meet a standard, it’s because they want their ad to be the loudest and most seen ad on TV with their catchy theme song used making sure it’s as loud as possible. It is noticed that a lot of old music used in today’s ads are softer compared to other produced tracks which are made a couple of weeks beforehand.

“Operational Practice 48 (OP 48) has been the standard when mixing for broadcast on Australian TV. OP48 is a little vague and is generally enforced differently, depending on which TV station your soundtrack is being broadcasted on. OP 48 is also based on VU and Peak level which is more a measure of the electrical signal of the audio rather than how loud the soundtrack actually seems to the listener. This meant that by using a bit of multiband compression and EQ you could make the sound seem louder while keeping in check with the OP48 requirements. The new OP 59 requirements that came into effect on the 1st of January 2013 in Australia and New Zealand aim to move Australia into line with the US, Europe and many other places in the world who now measure soundtracks based on the average perceived loudness of the soundtrack.” (Milne, n.d.)

“The VU and PPM meters were both developed some 70 years ago. Simply put, these meters do not measure loudness. Today, more accurate measurement of audience perception of loudness can be achieved with an audio control regime based on loudness measurement and true-peak level measurement.
Loudness is a human perception that can be difficult to quantify and thus to measure. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) utilised very extensive human testing to devise an algorithm which provides a good approximation to human loudness perception of programme audio i.e. television and radio audio. It is important to note this algorithm does not measure an acoustic signal but rather the electrical signal as do VU meters and PPMs.” (Campaignbrief.com, 2010)

Another important standard that is met is the ITU BS.1770.

“The ITU standard concerns Loudness and True-peak Level. The loudness part is based on a Leq measurement (K-weighting), which is a frequency weighting developed by the Communications Research Centre (a federal research institute in Ottawa, Canada). The standards: ATSC A/85 (US), EBU R128 (Europe), OP-59 (Australia) and TR-B32 (Japan), are based on the ITU standard.” (Loudlab-app.com, 2011)

Hopefully this can be the solution to having to buy new remotes just because our volume button is broken and people these days wouldn’t have a clue how to turn their TV up or down any other way, when in fact a lot of new modern TV’s have a little joystick at the back of the TV for this reason. But the solution could be:

“Rather than counting the samples, the level should be measured by how loud the listener perceives a given piece of audio – in other words, Perceived Loudness in combination with a new, improved way of measuring peaks called  True-peak is the solution to the problem. For this purpose, a number of international broadcast standards have been developed based on thorough research and circumstantial listening tests performed by independent organizations such as Communications Research Centre (CRC) and McGill University in Canada. Further, expertise from external research institutes and manufacturers in the film and music industry – including Dolby and TC Electronic – has been brought into the equation as well.” (Tcelectronic.com, n.d.)

What every TV broadcasting station needs to use:

Video by iZotope, Inc.


Milne, S. (n.d.). OP 59 and Loudness Standards for Australian TV | Sound and Code. [online] Sandymilne.com. Available at: http://www.sandymilne.com/op-59-and-loudness-standards-for-australian-tv/ [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].

Campaignbrief.com. (2010). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. [online] Available at: http://www.campaignbrief.com/2012/11/21/OP59_Measurement_and_management_of_Loudness_in_Soundtracks_for_Television_Broadcasting_-_Issue_1_-_July_2010.pdf [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].

Loudlab-app.com. (2011). Introduction to Loudness Standards. [online] Available at: https://www.loudlab-app.com/sonicatom/en/21.html [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].

Tcelectronic.com. (n.d.). Loudness Explained | TC Electronic. [online] Available at: http://www.tcelectronic.com/loudness/loudness-explained/ [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].

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