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Old May 14th, 2010, 03:37 PM   #1
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Broadcast Audio Levels

Hello.
How does one set broadcast audio levels in Vegas? What tool do I use and how do I set the levels? I'm new at this and have looked around other sites with no success.
I was told by the cable station that the levels need to be between -10 and -20dB.

Thank you.
Jim Bucciferro
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Old May 14th, 2010, 04:51 PM   #2
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there are lots of ways to set audio levels in Vegas. So I'll tell you what I do (I got some of these tips from DSE((Spot or Douglas Spotted Eagle)))

First every audio track is bussed to a seperate bus. A, B,C etc. You'll see that on the mixer. On the track header click on the little double box and you'll see a menu of the busses. Click on the one you want. BTW you'll need to insert a bus first and theres an icon on the mixer to do that. Now that each track is set to it's own bus you can do a numer of things. The first thing I do is open up the preset FXs on each track (little green icon on track header) and set the track compressor to -3db hard limit. I then right click on the pan control slider and set the level to -6db (no add-otherwise the volume levels add together at the master). I then set the bus that particular track is going to to -3soft limiter. You'll need to do that once and set it as a preset in the compressor menu. Thenfinally I go to the master bus and set it to -6 hard limiter.
Why so many limiters? That way no matter what happens on any track nothing can get by. IOW, no peaks can slip thru and it's a gradual limit.
Now the overall levels may still be high so you can either, 1) use a volume envelope on each track OR use the level slider on the track header OR use the slider on the individual bus.
This way you can have infinite control over each audio track and keep you're levels consistant.
Hope this makes sense to you.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 08:06 PM   #3
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Audio levels

Don,
Wow - thanks for the info. I'm going to try this for the next project. I appreciate your help.

Jim
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Old May 14th, 2010, 10:16 PM   #4
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Jim,
No problem. IF you get stuck give me a holler here or PM. I'm shooting tomorrow so won't be around but I'll be hanging around Sunday.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 11:23 PM   #5
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Broadcast levels are around -12dbfs rms, so the average levels are about 12 decibles below full output (0).

I use a UAD Precision limiter or Sony Oxford on the master buss and set the output to .5 db below zero. The UAD has a preset if you want absolute broadcast levels and it does a pretty good job of keeping averages right at -12dbfs. I don't do a lot of broadcast work though so I use the Sony Oxford more, I think it sounds better. I differ about using more than one limiter though, the fewer you use the less processed the signal and the better it will sound, Hope that helps.

Last edited by Duane Adam; May 15th, 2010 at 12:06 PM.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 01:11 PM   #6
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Limiter

Duane,
Thanks for the information. Is the UAD Limiter and Sony Oxford part of the Vegas install?

I will try your suggestions too.

Jim
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:02 AM   #7
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Ozone with Mastering Guide

The solution to all our audio problems is Ozone, now owned by mAudio.

It's a plugin that can be used as a "fix it all in a single click" by applying one of the hundreds of presets, or as an extremely powerful mastering tool.

It contains EQ, reverb, loudness maximizer, dither, multiband dynamics, harmonics and stereo imaging.
With this plug we get the bouncy voicovers, the "kick" in the music - everything sounds crisp and massive

They give away the "Mastering with Ozone guide"
http://www.izotope.com/products/audi...eringGuide.PDF

Homepage at
M-AUDIO - iZotope Ozone 3 - 64-bit Integrated Mastering System with Analog Modeling
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Old May 18th, 2010, 10:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bucciferro View Post
Duane,
Thanks for the information. Is the UAD Limiter and Sony Oxford part of the Vegas install?

I will try your suggestions too.

Jim
There isn't a broadcast quality limiter included in Vegas unfortunately. Neither the UAD or Oxford are cheap, but if you're doing broadcast work you'll need at least one good limiter. I was using a Weiss outboard limiter ($8,000) until I got the Oxford which although isn't as good, is pretty darn close. I have an older version of the Ozone (above post) and it is good, but there's no way to monitor rms output, maybe the new one can.

Here are some limiter choices, you can download demos of some of these.

Sony/Sonnox) Oxford Sonnox Oxford Plugins

UAD (PCIe card required) Precision Limiter | Analog and Digital Audio Products and Plug-Ins | Universal Audio

Waves L3 Waves | Plugins | L3 Multimaximizer

Voxengo Elephant Audio mastering limiter (maximizer) plugin - Elephant - Voxengo

Ozone 4 iZotope Ozone 4 Complete Mastering System
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Old May 18th, 2010, 11:09 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info on the plugins - I will try a few - but basically I was hoping for something simple that was already part of Vegas. I also have Premiere and SoundBooth so they may have something too.

The output material will be on DVD - that's how they want it. Does that make a difference in the sound levels?

Jim
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Adam View Post
I have an older version of the Ozone (above post) and it is good, but there's no way to monitor rms output, maybe the new one can.
It has been added to Ozone v4 - serious voodoo no doubt...
http://www.izotope.com/support/help/...meters_i_o.htm

Quote:
Ozone level meters display the input and output level for the left and right channels. New for Ozone 4 we added support for Bob Katz' K-system metering. This very powerful approach to metering and monitoring allows you to subjectively analyze the apparent loudness of your mix for different listening environments.

Note: You can set these options by opening the Options Dialog and selecting the I/O Options tab. The available options for calibrating Ozone's I/O meters are listed below.

RMS: RMS (Root Mean Square) is a software-based implementation of an analog style level meter. Using different integration times, you can model popular VU or PPM meters. The RMS meter displays the average level calculated over a short window of time. The result is a meter that is appropriate if you are intersted in tracking the overall loudness. The RMS meter readout will typically be lower than an equivalent PPM meter (Digital/Analog), since it is averaging peaks into the overall loudness.

Peak: The Peak meter is a fast meter that measures instantaneous maximum sample value OR peak analog waveform values, depending on the "detect inter-sample peaks" checkbox. If you are tracking the peaks for possible clipping the Peak meter is appropriate.

RMS + Peak: This is a combined RMS and Peak meter. This meter displays a lower bar representing the average level (RMS) and a higher bar representing peak level. There is also a moving line above the bar representing the most recent peak level or peak hold.

*K-System metering

We now support Bob Katz' K-System metering with simultaneous peak and RMS displays. There are three different K-System meter scales, with 0 dB at either 20, 14, or 12 dB below full scale, for typical headroom requirements. The three K-System meter scales are named K-20, K-14, and K-12. These meters represent three switchable scales: K-20 with 20 dB headroom above 0 dB, K-14 with 14 dB headroom, and K-12 with 12 dB headroom. The dual-characteristic meters have a bar representing the average level and a moving line or dot above the bar representing the most recent highest instantaneous (1 sample) peak level.

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Last edited by Magnus Helander; May 18th, 2010 at 01:14 PM. Reason: Link to page
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:24 PM   #11
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Wow that's great news. I'm a big Bob Katz fan and his K system works well for mastering to specific levels. I'll have to download the new Ozone version. Hopefully they've improved the audio as well as the previous version, while very good, wasn't quite transparent enough for mastering.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bucciferro View Post
Thanks for the info on the plugins - I will try a few - but basically I was hoping for something simple that was already part of Vegas. I also have Premiere and SoundBooth so they may have something too.

The output material will be on DVD - that's how they want it. Does that make a difference in the sound levels?

Jim
If the file isn't too large, I'll be happy to master it for you and return set to broadcast levels. No charge. BTW is it 2 track or 5.1?
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #13
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Plugins

This is great information. If I end up doing more broadcast work I will have to invest in one of the plugins or even the UAD device. For now if I can get away with setting the levels natively in Vegas, or PP, then I will do that.

Thanks for the info.
Jim
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