BCA Show Preview - 47
SHOW PREVIEW | 26-28 June 2018
A part of
MARINA BAY SANDS * SUNTEC SINGAPORE
Broadcast Audio Processing Strategies
to correct a clipping or distortion problem.
traditional controls in different ways - AGC
drive may not perform the same on different
products. If you are uncertain about a control,
you may wish to carefully sweep that control
through its range while monitoring its effect.
Be careful if you do so, as some controls
can yield significant changes, and make sure
to return it to its original position. If you're still
uncertain, call the manufacturer's technical
Document everything before you change
anything, and document each change along
the way. At some point, you'll need to back
up to a previous setting as in "I like the way
it sounded last Thursday." For analogue
processors, create a chart tabulating the
control parameters, and the date of each
change. If you have a digital audio processor,
save each change to a preset. That way you
can revert to precisely the way it sounded last
Use an incremental approach to adjusting
the audio processing. Making large changes
to many parameters in one session is difficult
to manage: if the results aren't satisfactory,
which parameter should be modified? What
went wrong? The downside to making small
adjustments is that differences can be too
subtle to notice.
Considering your on-air presentation, this
approach is less precarious.
Listen. Allow plenty of time to judge the
effects of your changes. Sometimes the
consequences will not be immediately
evident. What sounds fine on a few songs
may sound wretched on another. What
sounds great on your US$10,000 monitoring
system may sound wimpy on a car radio. So,
listen to many selections, from many sources
and programme types. Listening over time will
also give your ears an opportunity to rest, and
time for you to formulate an opinion.
Where and when to stop. Ask yourself
"how will I know when I'm done?" If the
present on-air sound is far from your goal,
it's relatively easy to judge changes to the
audio processing. However, as the processed
sound approaches the goal, subjective
differences from the ideal become smaller,
and increasingly subtle.
What to do if your station's sound is
First, determine where the problem begins.
If the programme output of the audio console
sounds fine, does it sound okay at the output
of the processor? At the output of the STL?
If the audio sounds bad at the STL output
feeding your final audio processor, it's unlikely
that any amount of knob twisting of the latter
will compensate for the former.
Next, determine if the problem is due to a
component failure, or due to maladjustment.
That same STL problem may be the result of
simply being overdriven. If the problem seems
to originate from the processor, the best way
to determine if it's functioning properly is to
restore all settings to the manufacturer's
recommended positions (or recall a factory
preset). You'll have a good idea of the nature
of the problem at this point.
If the on-air sound is unsatisfactory, but
it doesn't sound broken, what then? It will
depend upon your specific system. If the
system has numerous processors, bypass
them one by one and compare the overall
sound both ways.
Orban OPTIMOD 8700i
Define your on-air audio goal as much as
possible. Break the adjustment process down
to manageable steps, both in the number of
system components, and in the parameters
changed in an adjustment session. Expect to
over-adjust and be prepared to revert to some
previously documented setting.
Finally, don't get caught in a processing
war that turns into an ego war between two
engineers or programmers. The worst thing
you can do is to forget the interests of your
audience in the heat of the battle. Processing
wars can be fun for aggressive personalities,
but the audience is the loser. Never forget
that they have other entertainment options
including CDs, and if you deliver obviously
distorted, squashed, and pumped audio, they
may respond by tuning out.