10 years ago this year Russ Hughes started the AIR Users blog, which morphed into Pro Tools Expert in 2012. To kick off our year of celebrations we are running a competition with a Pro Audio gear and software prize pot worth over $28,000.
Enter The Pro Tools Expert 10th Anniversary Competition to be in with the chance of winning the Nugen Audio Post Production Pack worth $859, which includes VisLM-H 2, LM-Correct 2, ISL 2, Stereoizer, Monofilter, Stereoplacer, Visualizer, SEQ-S, and the DynApt extension for LM-Correct.
Nugen Audio VisLM-H 2
The Nugen Audio Vis LM 2 has a scrolling history, presets for all the common standards (and some of the less well-known ones too). It writes automation data, so you can see where there are problems in your project from the Pro Tools timeline. The Nugen Audio VisLM2 loudness meter.
What’s New In Nugen Audio’s VisLM2?
- A Timecode and Loudness Profile Memory Function that tracks and retains the timecode and loudness profile so that the overall loudness measurement can be updated automatically at any time. This profile can be saved with the session, and re-measuring and rebooting delays are eliminated.
- ReMEM(TM) Rewritable Memory Edit Mode allows program loudness over-dubbing for enhanced workflow efficiency. This memorises the program loudness profile so that only changes need to be measured. The changes are then integrated automatically and intelligently with the memorised loudness profile to provide accurate program loudness readings on the fly.
- New zoomable and scrollable history and log file capabilities that allow detailed inspection of the entire file history using customizable parameters. A text file summary can also be created.
- A fully re-sizable and configurable interface that is now completely adjustable to show exactly what is required with unsurpassed clarity, maximising precious screen real-estate.
This is my preferred loudness meter, it does everything I need it to do, I like the way it displays the data and that I can colour it and resize the window to suit my screen real-estate.
The Rewritable Memory Edit Mode is absolutely amazing. It enables me to make small corrections to a mix and not have to re-analyze the whole programme. I also love the way I can resize the window and all the additional options they have added to the plug-in.
For people working in film production and especially trailers, Nugen Audio have now included the Leq measurement that is included in the trailer delivery spec for specifying loudness of film trailers.
Using Nugen VisLM In Audio Post Production Workflows
This is a video tutorial I made back in 2012, in which I show how I use the original Nugen Audio VisLM Loudness meter in my audio post-production workflow.
Free Tutorial - Loudness Differential Monitoring Using Colour Bands In The Nugen Audio VisLM Loudness Meter
In this free video tutorial, with the support of our friends at Nugen Audio, learn from our own loudness guru Mike Thornton how to use loudness differential monitoring using colour bands in the VisLM loudness meter to keep within loudness targets.
Long before loudness workflows came along, I would always consider what the key narrative elements are in any program I am working on, and make sure that they are clearly audible even in the most challenging listening environments like a car travelling on the motorway where the ambient noise is very high. I know that other elements I add to enhance the narrative won’t be heard in high ambient noise environments but those in a quieter space will be able to enjoy those details as well, but I know that they key elements will be audible for everyone.
Loudness range can also help here and you should consider how your project is going to be consumed and choose an appropriate loudness range.
As you plan your mix, consider the comfort zone. This has come out of all the listening tests that went into the development of the BS1770 loudness standards, which form the basis of delivery specs like the EBU R128 and ATSC A/85. What they found is that there is a zone, within which, consumers don’t feel they need to reach the remote control to adjust the volume. This comfort zone is between +3LU and -5LU around the target loudness and is a useful guide to consider for the short term meter. Because the research showed that if the loudness goes outside this comfort zone for a significant period of time, consumers will reach for the remote control and that defeats the object of this new loudness workflow.
I use colour banding to help, and when I am working on radio documentaries and podcasts I tend to work on a comfort zone of +2 to -3LU and so I set up the Nugen Audio VisLM to have colour bands so above +2LU it is red, between +2 and -3LU it is green and then below -3LU it is blue and this is all set up in the Options window in the Nugen VisLM loudness meter plug-in.
- In the presets menu in VisLM I select the +9 Relative scale. This makes my target loudness 0LU which I much prefer to use.
- As the example is a podcast I will change the offset to -16 as that is my chosen target loudness for content played on mobile devices, and ties in nicely with the AES recommendations.
- Because I wouldn’t have a lot of low-level content I bring the bottom of the scale up to -39LU.
- Now I am ready to create by colour bands. I prefer that the top band is red. Click on the colour block and choose a red, then adjust the threshold to +2.
- Next the green zone, with a bottom threshold of -3. Set the next band to green from the colour palette and then adjust the threshold to -3LU.
There you have it, when I am mixing I aim to keep the key narrative elements inside my green zone and I usually end up with a Loudness Range of around 5 for this kind of content.
For drama, I would aim to work at the more normal comfort zone of +3 to -5LU. Consider splitting this expected zone into two shades of green, but ultimately, you choose what works best for you.
I find using the colour banding really helpful as I now only need to glance at the VisLM window to see how I am doing. But in reality, one of the easiest ways to produce loudness compliance mixes is to calibrate your monitors and then don’t adjust them. That way if it sounds too loud it is too loud and if it sounds too quiet it is too quiet.
Colour banding can also help with familiarity with a script, where because you know what is being said you can still hear and understand it. If I see my dialogue falling out of the comfort zone, I will review that section to make sure someone listening for the first time really will be able to understand what is being said.
Nugen Audio LM-Correct 2 With DynApt extension
In this video, Nugen Audio’s Paul Tapper takes Mike Thornton through the new features in LM-Correct 2 and we also got a sneak peak at the new ISL 2 as well which together with Vis-LM 2 will make up the new Loudness Toolkit 2 which Paul assured us will be released in April 2015.
The key addition to LM-Correct 2 is the Nugen Audio DynApt solution which has been an option on their batch processing solution LMB for intelligent repurposing of audio for TV and streaming at faster-than-real-time speeds. With the release of LM-Correct 2 the DynApt extension will also be included in LM-Correct 2, Nugen Audio’s quick fix compliance tool for workstations.
In this free video tutorial, with the support of Nugen Audio, our very own loudness guru Mike Thornton will show you how to use their LM-Correct 2 plug-in to produce multiple loudness compliant mixes for different delivery specs as well as repurpose content for use on different platforms.
In the LM-Correct 2 window, the left-hand side displays the overall loudness (integrated loudness) and maximum true peak level of the source file. The right-hand side displays the target overall loudness and maximum true peak level that LM-Correct 2 will output.
Integrated loudness and maximum true peak are the two pass/fail criteria for most loudness compliance content in music, broadcast and live streaming workflows.
In the middle of the window is a Presets button which offers an extensive range of presets that cover most of the delivery specs around the world, but if you need something different then you can type in the appropriate numbers into the Target boxes. You can also enable or disable either the overall loudness or maximum true peak options for maximum flexibility.
There is a new One-Click option which if enabled here in the Options window, enables you to analyse and process a file by simply clicking the Render button. If you would prefer to use the two-stage process you can first click the Analyse button, which will display the source file measurements and then if all is well, you can press the Render button.
This is great for making a mix that wasn’t quite compliance into a compliant mix. However, with the proliferation of channels and delivery systems, we need more and more to be able to deliver different versions of the same mix to be compliant to different delivery specs.
Nugen Audio has added a new feature in LM-Correct 2, which includes an intelligent true peak limiter as well as being able to constrain the short term and momentary values which you can enable and disable from the Options window. This feature is helpful for producing mixes compliant with the new EBU R128 S1 spec for short form content like ads and trailers.
In the main window, you will see that there is a new row of parameters and we can choose to display either the maximum short term or momentary measurements. For short form content, the EBU spec restricts the short term loudness, which is averaged over 3 seconds to a maximum of -18LUFS or 5LU above target loudness.
If you have bought LM-Correct 2 with the DynApt option then LRA changes, can be made which is very useful when repurposing content for different platforms. For example taking a film mix and prepping it for TV or creating podcasts from radio mixes, which again you can turn on and off in the Options window. Also in the Options window, you have a choice of 4 presets…
- Default, which is suitable for most audio material
- Tight, that has a quicker response to loudness changes
- Smooth, with a slower response to loudness changes
- Music which is a setting designed for Music only programming.
Now in the main window, there are LRA Source and Target boxes. We need to make sure that all of the appropriate features are enables by checking these blue icons in the middle of the window.
In this example, I took a BBC Radio 3 documentary to re-purpose it for a podcast. I changed the true peak to -3dBTP so as not to overload the lossy codecs. The integrated loudness I changed to -16LUFS which s my preferred loudness for online content, and reduced the LRA down to 6.0, but as this is a long form documentary I did not enable the Short Term Max option.
Then it's a matter of pressing the Render button and LM-Correct 2 will produce a file that is not only loudness compliant but also dynamically optimised for online content suitable to listened to on mobile devices in noisy environments.
Nugen Audio ISL 2
In this video Mike Thornton takes a first look at the new version of Nugen Audio's unreleased True Peak Limiter ISL2. With the new loudness workflows it is essential that we use true peak limiting to make sure we don't hit digital headroom as we are often working less than a couple of dBs from digital headroom.
ISL 2 is designed to be an intelligent look-ahead brick-wall limiter that provides highly transparent True Peak limiting. It is designed to help you deliver content fully compatible with loudness normalization standards used by broadcasters like the ATSC A/85 and EBU 128 as well as music streaming services like iTunes Radio, Spotify and many others.
Because the risk of distortion from down-stream codec conversion (mp3, AAC etc.) is eliminated with ISL 2 on the master bus, there is no need to second guess your sample-peak limiter time and again, or deliberately increase headroom to avoid a downstream problem.
Nugen Audio ISL 2 Tutorials
In this free video tutorial Marcus Huyskens demonstrates how to use the Ducking & Steering meters within the ISL2 True Peal limiter to ensure there are no negative artifacts affecting your mix.
Nugen Audio StereoPack With Stereoizer, Stereoplacer and Monofilter
In this review, Mike takes a look at the three plug-ins Stereoizer, StereoPlacer and MonoFilter, that make up the Nugen Audio StereoPack bundle that are also in the Nugen Audio Producer Pack.
Nugen Audio Stereoizer Tutorials
In this free video tutorial, brought to you with the support of Nugen Audio, you will learn an alternative to panning that also places percussion tracks in the stereo image of mixes using Stereoizer by Nugen Audio. Percussion is often recorded in mono, but Stereoizer can transform these tracks into natural sounding stereo percussion tracks in seconds.
Stereoizer enables users to transform mono audio tracks into wide stereo audio and further into extreme wide audio resulting in very natural sounding wide stereo tracks that are also mono compatible.
Stereoizer features two clever width algorithms:
- Inter-aural Intensity Difference (IID) control zone
- Inter-aural Time Difference (ITD) control zone
Nugen Audio MonoFilter Tutorials
Watch the tutorial to see and hear how MonoFilter focuses wide stereo sub bass in a mix in preparation for mastering. We strongly recommend you wear a set of studio headphones to be able to fully appreciate the demonstration.
In this demonstration, we show you how to centre a kick drum that is more pronounced in the right side of the stereo image as this was the result of the Glyn Johns drum overhead configuration being used to record the drums.
Monofilter by Nugen Audio is a very powerful yet simple to use tool that enables users to control the stereo width and phase correlation of low frequencies.
Nugen Audio Stereoplacer Tutorial
In this free video tutorial, Marcus Huyskens demonstrates how to use Stereoplacer on a mono bongos track to widen the stereo image, as well as pull out some harmonic detail and add it to the stereo field.
When dealing with Audio loops or previously recorded material, we really don’t have too much control over the stereo spectrum or sonic qualities of the mix. This is especially true when it comes to mono audio files. There are some tricks we can pull out of our magic bags, like the Haas effect, and stereo width plugin, but these are still for the most part dependent on the program material.
However, Stereoplacer by Nugen Audio offers a unique perspective on dealing with this issue. Essentially, it allows you to place nodes on the EQ spectrum, and adjust their stereo width in the stereo field. In addition, it can also allow the user to further adjust the harmonics of a given signal and pull their harmonic detail out as well.
Nugen Audio Visualizer
Visualizer’s intelligent window facility lets you select multiple view combinations, automatically resizing and aligning windows to maximise visibility. No need to switch between plug-ins to get the combination of views you want. There are user configurable presets let you switch between setups and interface sizes to build the workflow that suits you best.
New Features In Visualiser 2
- You have complete freedom to resize the window to suit your workflow
- You can use Visualizer as a standalone application or as a plug-in in your favourite DAW.
- Visualizer works with the Nugen Audio Send plug-in so that you can compare multiple sources from within one instance of the plug-in. Eg. before and after mastering chain, or for notching out etc.
- There is a new Correlation by Frequency view which helps to see how FX processing can affect the phase at different frequencies.
- For Pro Tools HD users there is also an HDX Hybrid version of Visualizer.
- Visual solo controls have been added so that you can fill the window with a particular view.
In this free video tutorial, brought to you with the support of Nugen Audio, you will learn how to interpret the vectorscope view in Visualiser2.
For more information about Visualiser2 please visit the Nugen Audio website.
There are two views in the vectorscope:
- The Lissajous view plots the left channel on the x axis and the right channel on the y axis but the whole graph is rotated by 45 degrees so that the x and y axes are at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock with halfway in between (the centre of the stereo image) is at 12 o'clock.
- The Polar plot presents only the positive half of the Lissajous but offers more display options and a stereometer which displays information about the stereo position of the signal.
Watch the tutorial to see how the two views display test tones and a stereo piano recording with particular reference to identifying out of phase content.
Nugen Audio SEQ-S
SEQ-S is a spline based EQ, rather than offering a fixed number of bands with different filter types with which to construct an EQ curve, SEQ-S uses a system of "splines" - control points which can be directly manipulated and an overall EQ curve constructed. This linear phase EQ offers comprehensive control, one of its most useful capabilities being "Match EQ".
Match EQ allows the user to measure the spectrum of a reference signal and impose it on another piece of audio. This can be used to impose the sonic fingerprint of a mix and match the spectral balance of another track to that reference material or, as in this example, match the sound of one microphone to another.
Nugen Audio SEQ-S Tutorials
Match EQ allows the user to measure the spectrum of a reference signal and impose it on another piece of audio. This can be used to impose the sonic fingerprint of a mix and match the spectral balance of another track to that reference material or, as in this example, match the sound of one microphone to another.Watch the tutorial to see and hear how using Match EQ it is possible to match the sound of a voiceover recorded with a ribbon mic with one made with a condenser mic.
By capturing a snapshot of an instrument and using that as the source Snapshot but instead of selecting a destination snapshot to match to, you select and empty snapshot, an EQ curve is created which is the carves out an EQ cut which is based on the source snapshot. Watch the tutorial to see how this technique can be used to create space in a mix for a solo trumpet so that the trumpet remains clearly audible without its level needing to be raised as far.
Enter And Win In The Pro Tools Expert 10th Anniversary Competition
If you would like to be in with the chance of winning the Nugen Audio Post Production Pack worth $859, which is one of 18 great prizes on offer worth over $28,000 in total, then go over to our Win page and enter the 10th Anniversary prize draw competition and chose the Nugen Audio Post Production Pack from the list of prizes.
Terms And Conditions:
- One entry per email address; one win per person.
- No cash alternative
- You are responsible for any import and purchase taxes that may be applied by the tax authorities in your region.
- There may be some regions we are unable to ship to, in this case, you will not be offered an alternative prize.
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- Judges decisions are final. No correspondence will be entered into.
- Ends last day of January 2018