How To Make Your Audio Broadcast-Safe (ITU-R BS.1770-2 & EBU)

Over the last year I’ve had numerous requests for ‘…a plugin that would allow me to instantly conform my audio files to a particular loudness standard.’

The good news is: we have this feature built-in to Adobe Audition. The not-so-good news is that while I’ve shown this feature several times (in various tutorials), it’s always been part of another video (which makes it extremely hard to find, even for me!).

So, I’m happy bring you a standalone video on how to finalize your audio, in compliance with common Broadcast Standards using Adobe Audition CS6…

What’s also really cool? You can use Audition’s Match Volume feature to normalize dialogue tracks, compute average loudness across a host of music/underscore files, and instantly normalize (either peak or RMS) to any given value. Oh, and there are even MORE loudness options available to you as well (in a drop-down menu)

Blog on.

17 thoughts on “How To Make Your Audio Broadcast-Safe (ITU-R BS.1770-2 & EBU)

  1. You couldn’t have released this at a better time for me – thanks!

    One problem I’m struggling with is that for some reason my “scan” button in the Amplitude Statistics panel is greyed out and I can’t figure out why…

      1. Yep, amplitude stats is only run on individual files in the Waveform view…But, what’s cool is that it remembers each scan, even as you move across multiple files; so, if you scan file “X” (to check for peak amplitude, etc), and then switch to file “Y” and scan again, and then go back to file “X”, the scanned values are retained until you close the file, make a change (which it will indicate with an yellow exclamation point) or the application is closed entirely. –JL

        1. That’s handy – thanks for replying.

          I have a spec sheet from a broadcaster which mentions keeping the audio levels between -16dBFS and -20dBFS with high peaks between -10dBFS and -12dBFS and a maximum of three peaks per second.

          Is there an easy way of controlling these values in Audition? I’d love to be able to just apply “Match Volume” but I don’t think that’ll cut it for these specs.

          Any tips appreciated!

          1. Well, a combination of compressor/hard limiter would certainly achieve averaging out loudness and maintaining peak consistency. Granted, it’s a bit program-dependent, ie, if you’ve got news/dialogue vs. music/sporting events, there are different things to consider when limiting (which *is* effectively achieved via match volume, if you check the ‘use limiting’ feature). But again, I highly recommend testing it out/watching-listening, and that’ll steer you right. The brickwall limiter (that’s part of the Multiband Compressor) is very good, and has a very nice sound. The standard Hard Limiter is also great (though it can ‘sound’ a little more squashed, at certain settings). If you’re wanting to maintain some dynamics in the program material, then using a compressor (something like the tube-modeled compressor, with again, varying ratios depending on the content itself) will still give you some ‘air’ (ie, transient peaks here and there) and the hard limiter would squash the overall output maximums. Hope this gives you a little guidance. Best. –JL

  2. You are a gifted communicator and teacher. Thanks for helping out a senior citizen (who thought he was over-the-hill) learn this stuff quickly. It helps to be a musician and into sound, but still, you are most helpful as I try to compete with a much younger field of people vying for work in voiceovers. I am fluent and able Apple Logic Pro 9.1.8 and still use it just because I have been doing it for so long. My flow of work starts out in Logic (and this may change over time), but when I get want to really hone in on the waveform, I work on the file within Audition in part because I like the sound of the effects and – like Logic – I can use the same WAVE Mercury library of plug-ins in both apps. There are times it is a tossup for me on which app to use, and only time will tell. Habits and a proven flow are hard to break, but if the app really shines with sounding good or better—-well, time to form some new habits. For now, I will get back to you on which one wins out. I will tell you this: Keep up the great teaching and I will come to a conclusion much sooner than later… Thanks!! —– Yabo, Voiceover Artist / Musician

    1. Thanks, Yabo! Glad I could provide some inspiration and sound advice. The plan is to keep making more of these ‘short and to the point’ styled vids, so stay tuned. And, if you have any suggestions/requests, I’m always up for those. I’ve got my own short-list, but it’s great to get user feedback too. Keep up the good work. –JL

  3. Hello Jason! Thanks for a great tutorial. So refreshing to find a clear concise answer on a complex question!
    In an Operation Practice for Australian broadcast, normalisation to -24LKFS is required.
    The 1770 standard also specifies the true peaks of the audio for broadcast. (-2dBFS) Do you have any tutorial on true peaks, how to understand them and how to get it right in Audition? That would be really helpful!

    Big thanks,

    This is an excerpt from the broadcast standards:
    . BS.1770 also specifies a “True Peak” meter (previous Peak meter devices have
    largely been inaccurate). The display of this True Peak meter may be configured as
    a moving bar-graph, or, as simply as a warning light flashing when a preset level is
    reached. If such a meter is used, it is necessary to ensure that the True Peak level
    does not exceed -2dBFS i.e. that the material as measured does not go to 0dBFS.

  4. I like your tutorial but it didn’t go far enough for me. I get the part that going form Premiere-Edit-Edit in Audition-Sequence, gets my clip into Audition. I then analyze, Match Volume settings, set ITU to -23, run with export checked – now what. Is the file that is produced now conformed to the ITU -23 standard and can now replace the audio that it originated from on the Premiere timeline? How exactly does the new file differ from the original sound track? Does the program bring some spots of the audio volume up and others down? This is all new to me and I’m required to provide videos with LKFS -23 whatever that is.
    Thanks for your help,

    1. Hi Roman. Based on what you’re describing (and how you’re going about it) you’d probably want to send the finished mix from Premiere to Audition (via Edit In-Sequence, just as you did), perform a Mixdown of the entire soundtrack, and then run ITU Loudness Matching on the FINAL audio clip; doesn’t really make sense to make each individual file at -23LKFS per se, because ultimately, once all mixed together, you’d have to do it again anyway. In other words, performing the operation of matching to a specific loudness level should be the last step, and/or performed on the final/broadcast versions of the audio in question. Once you have the mixed/ITU file, you can re-import into Premiere, and should be good to go. You can use the TC Loudness Radar Meter to verify from within Premiere Pro. Hope that helps. –JL

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