IBC Wrap up: Audio metering and monitoring

By Kevin
Hilton

Audio metering and monitoring does not usually have a high profile during IBC
Conventions but with the growing adoption of 5.1 surround sound for broadcast
television During this year’s show two leaders in this somewhat arcane field
made significant introductions; DK Technologies added a test tone designed by
BSkyB engineers to its MSD 600M meters, while TSL launched a 1080p compatible
monitoring system in response to demand from “a major European broadcaster”.

The
MSD 600M range now offers the BLITS 5.1 surround sound test tone sequence that
was designed by the senior sound supervisors at Sky who oversaw the
implementation of 5.1 audio on the broadcaster’s coverage of Premier League
football for the end of the 2005/2006 season.

BLITS
is named after Martin Black and

Keith
Lane (Black & Lane’s Ident Tones for Surround)
and was coined by another Sky sound supervisor, Joe Medhurst. The short source
identification tone sequence runs through the loudspeaker system of an OB truck
or studio control suite to check the stereo line, channel phase and the six 5.1
audio channels, L, R, C, LFE, Ls and Rs.

The
tone sequence is now the standard test mechanism for

OB
trucks used to produce Sky Sports’ HD coverage of Premier League HD football,
cricket and rugby, as well as being used in the broadcaster’s HD production
studios and post production studios.

TSL
is currently unable to reveal the name of the “major European broadcaster” that
requested an audio monitoring device that was compatible with 1080p
transmissions but the AMU1-CHD Dolby is able to de-embed and decode Dolby E bit
streams in both HD and SD video feeds.

The
unit has dual HD/SD auto-sensing video inputs featuring down-converted,
re-clocked and composite video outputs to allow easy integration with other
systems. The input audio can be chosen from any one of four de-embedded groups,
which make a total of 16 channels, with four AES digital and two anallogue
stereo inputs.

The
AMU1-CHD Dolby is also designed for multi-channel signals that are not 5.1
surround sound mixes. These include alternative sterfeo language mixes or
M&E (music and effects for deliverables), both of which can be monitored as
pairs. “We believe this new 1080p unit is the smallest and most powerful dual
scale system currently available,” said David Phillips, chief executive of TSL.

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