Lithuania’s Sport1 Selects Junger Audio To Solve Loudness Issues
By Kevin Hilton
Loudness is on the minds of all broadcasters right now, but sports channels in particular are well aware of the problems it can cause, especially when dealing not only with numerous sources but also with peaks and lows within the same signal. In Europe, the ITU algorithm forms the basis of many audio-leveling systems, and the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) is building on that through its P/LOUD working group. But broadcast companies are still able to choose methods that suit their situations best.
In Lithuania, sports channel Sport1 is using the Junger Audio Level Magic C8000 processor, based on an adaptive level-control algorithm. Whereas many broadcasters are using peak meters to identify volume discrepancies in program material and then make adjustments, Junger says Level Magic is able to automatically do something about the problem as well.
Sport1 is a satellite-based service that broadcasts to Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania as well as Lithuania. Its co-owner is high-profile Russian businessman Vladimir Romanov, who also holds Lithuanian citizenship. Although most of his money has come from manufacturing and banking, Romanov is also a sports entrepreneur, with stakes in three football clubs: Lithuanian team FBK Kaunas, FC MTZ-RIPO of Belarus, and Scottish club Hearts.
The Level Magic C8000 is used at Sport1’s transmission center and was installed by Junger Audio’s Latvian distributor, TILTS Integration. The unit is able to handle an I/O source, analogue and digital, and can work with SDI, HD/SDI, and Dolby 5.1, along with the relevant metadata. Levels are monitored by an automatic-gain-control (AGC) circuit, a transient processor, and a “look-ahead peak limiter.”
According to Sport1 Technical Director Julijus Jakutavicius, the system’s automated operation was among the reasons for selecting the unit. “We chose Level Magic,” he says, “because it provides a safe algorithm for controlling the audio level of our programme material and does this without causing distortion or applying severe dynamic processing to the sound.”
Sport1 is also using two Junger Audio MIX4 digital audio consoles for program production. The four-channel stereo desks are able to de-embed sound from raw footage, mix it with other audio material, including voiceovers, and then mix it back into SDI.
Other broadcasters using Level Magic include France’s Canal+ and New Zealand’s TV3.