Jünger Audio will use the 2015 International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) to show a prototype audio monitoring solution that allows broadcasters to check the quality of all immersive audio transmissions, regardless of format.
The hardware-based product, which will be demonstrated on Jünger's IBC stand, 10:A49, is designed to "offer a future platform to host all the emerging immersive 3D audio encoding formats from different vendors, including MPEG-H TV audio system and Dolby's [Atmos] immersive audio system". It will also help broadcasters to maintain compliance with existing loudness regulations while avoiding "the known processing artefacts of traditional loudness-control approaches".
Comprising a combination of hardware containing I/O, decoding stage, monitoring functionality, audio control software and an advanced user interface, the unit allows for monitoring and auditioning of up to 16 channels of audio. All metadata, including dynamic description of included objects for 3D projection or personalisation of audio services, can be handled and controlled. A variety of physical input and output formats, including SDI, MADI and AoIP, will be offered.
For object-based encoded content, the graphical interface allows the user to perform 3D panning for audio objects to move and pan them around the screen. There is also the option to personalise services through the selection of alternative audio objects such as commentator languages.
"Building on our long-term experience of designing and manufacturing dedicated audio processing products for digital TV production, we are actively engaged in developing this multichannel immersive audio monitoring processor ready for the next generation audio for TV broadcast," says Peter Poers, Jünger Audio's managing director. "We envisage that this solution will be deployed not just in production and post-production, but at all stages of the audio workflow where programs running future immersive audio standards need to be controlled or monitored effectively.
"Our solution is truly agnostic in terms of encoding format. It will be positioned between the mixing console and the transmission chain and at any point where real audio must be monitored again. At the push of a button, users will be able to configure it to work with any codec on the market."
The system will be shown work with the Fraunhofer IIS MPEG-H TV audio system (pictured). The integration of Jünger Audio's loudness control features into MPEG-H means that broadcasters can easily identify content that has already been processed or levelled for loudness control and content that hasn't, enabling them to avoid multiple levelling passes that can affect the overall quality of the audio.
Robert Bleidt, division general manager at Fraunhofer USA, adds: "We are excited to work with Jünger Audio on this product as it will enable broadcasters to offer better audio quality while satisfying their viewer’s desire for consistent loudness. It is an example of how working with an open standard such as MPEG-H allows rapid innovation. One application we see for this is control of loudness at network affiliates. The network signal may be levelled prior to distribution, and not touched by the Jünger Audio processing. Only the local ads and programming inserted by the affiliate will be processed, preventing double compression of the audio."
IBC 2015 takes place on 10–15 September. Registration opened on 28 May.