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Author Topic: NEW: Loudness  (Read 42188 times)

Matt

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NEW: Loudness
« on: December 20, 2012, 11:46:35 am »

Introduction
Loudness provides a more natural sounding volume control based on the frequency response characteristics of human hearing.

Human hearing does not have a flat frequency response as volume changes.  You can read more about this phenomenon here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fletcher%E2%80%93Munson_curves

When the Loudness feature is enabled in Media Center, it uses (roughly) the ISO 226:2003 curves as the volume is decreased to provide a more linear sounding volume.

This feature was added to Media Center 18.0.91.

Instructions
To use Loudness, you must also use Internal Volume.  This is because the Internal Volume provides the internal headroom necessary to do frequency corrections without clipping.  Also, Loudness requires knowing the volume level in decibels, which is only possible with Internal Volume (System Volume reports in percent, and there's no standard conversion to decibels that works with all hardware).  More on volume here: http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Volume

To enable loudness, click the little speaker to the left of the volume slider and check 'Loudness'.  The setting is also available from the main menu (under Player > Volume) and also in Options > Audio.

If you set the 'Reference level' for Internal Volume in Options > Audio, this will also define the zero point for Loudness.  Loudness correction makes no changes at or above the reference level (defaults to 100%).  It only engages as the volume goes below the reference level.

Technicals
At the reference level (100% by default), no correction is applied.  As the volume is lowered, frequency correction is applied.  Roughly speaking, the bass is turned down about half as much as the rest of the audio when the volume goes down.  The same is done, but to a lesser extent, at high frequencies.  This 'U-shaped' volume is roughly the inverse of the differences between ISO 226:2003 curves as the volume is reduced.

If you're curious, you can play pink noise (Tools > Advanced Tools > Create Test Clips...) and watch DSP Studio > Analyzer as you change the volume.  You'll be able to see the frequency correction taking place.

Doing a perfect job of loudness correction would be extremely complex.  It would likely need a real-time microphone at the listening position.  So it's important to remember this solution is an approximation.  It's a hopefully good approximation, but it's not aiming to account for all the complexities of the loudness issue.

More
The discussion that led to the addition of Loudness can be found here: http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=76060.0
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Matt Ashland, JRiver Media Center

Mikkel

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2012, 03:19:58 am »

You have done a great job, indeed. This is a huge improvement on perceived sound quality - and a necessary step towards good sound reproduction for those who do not listen to music or watch movies at the mixed sound level.

Not enabling this function certainly takes life out of the music and movies at lower volumes.


Best regards,
Mikkel
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J-a-k-e

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2012, 07:35:58 pm »

Question, what is the best way to set the reference volume? I see in the other thread the idea of -20db pink noise at the 83db for the Reference point with a DB meter or equivalent was suggested, is this still the case? Also is internal volume taken into the equation.
Thanks

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stewart_pk

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2012, 10:00:49 pm »

Just tried it, sounding good so far, thanks heaps!
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fluidz

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2012, 04:41:11 am »

Sounds way fuller on my Yamaha hs80m speakers, where did that sub come from, I don't remember buying one! lol.

Using reference 65%. Only problem i have now is i can hear the thud from the bass in my living room downstairs, not sure about the neighbours, yet.  :o

Thanks for this feature.  ;D


Update : Lowered the reference to 45, as loud as i push the speakers, and the bass sounds much better, not thudding as much, just a nice lift, more airy :)

Not quite sure what I'm doing to be honest, lol.
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Trumpetguy

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 12:32:50 pm »

I still struggle on how to understand and set reference volume (using Internal Volume). The first thing is my lack of understanding of what reference means in this context. From what I see onscreen is that when ref.vol = 100%, the volume slider is at 100% at 0.0dB attenuation. Vice versa, setting reference volume = 50%, attenuation of 0.0dB is reached when the volume slider is at 50% and cranking it all the way up to 100% gives a "positive attenuation" of +25dB. Does this mean my signal is way into the read, clipping >0dB range?

Secondly, what is the relation between Tools-optioons-Audio-reference level and Loudness?

Finally, what I would truly appreciate is a noob explanation of the things above and some method on how to determine the optimal ref level for me.  ;D
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dvdende

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 08:53:12 am »

I read about this interesting Loudness option and I noticed the following:

I set the 'Internal volume reference' to 80
I activated the Loudness option
When I adjust the volume to 100% there is no Loudness added in the Audiopath (just as expected)
When I bring the volume slider to 95% (+7.5) dB there is Loudness added

Where do I go wrong? I expected that Loudness should start from the 80% (+ 0.0 dB).

I have the 18.0.104 version.
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Matt

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 09:11:40 am »

I set the 'Internal volume reference' to 80
I activated the Loudness option
When I adjust the volume to 100% there is no Loudness added in the Audiopath (just as expected)
When I bring the volume slider to 95% (+7.5) dB there is Loudness added

Where do I go wrong? I expected that Loudness should start from the 80% (+ 0.0 dB).

I believe you found a bug with how the reference level is handled.

It will be fixed next build.  Sorry for the trouble.
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Matt Ashland, JRiver Media Center

hulkss

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 01:15:21 pm »

I still struggle on how to understand and set reference volume ........ what I would truly appreciate is a noob explanation of the things above and some method on how to determine the optimal ref level for me.

Using MC internal volume, increase the volume setting to the loudest you will listen at. It helps to use replay gain to keep this level consistent. Now use this volume setting as your "reference". As you turn down the volume, "loudness filtering" will be progressively added from this "reference" point.
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Trumpetguy

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 01:46:55 pm »

Using MC internal volume, increase the volume setting to the loudest you will listen at. It helps to use replay gain to keep this level consistent. Now use this volume setting as your "reference". As you turn down the volume, "loudness filtering" will be progressively added from this "reference" point.

Ok, thanks. This is what I did, and low and limited volume listening is actually way better than anytime before! I gather from another thread that there is a more scientific and correct way to do it, but that the gain/work ratio is too low to bother.

I am still not sure what happens when I turn volume above reference level. I have set ref.level=80%, and the volume slider is then at 0dB. Increasing further to 100%, the volume seems to have an extra +25dB added to it. Is that +25dB level actually 0dB (I do not know how to phrase it better)? It doesn't sound distorted at any level, so I am guessing the decibel scale is just different from what I am used to and referenced to the manually set ref.level rather than max output level. Right?
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JustinChase

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2013, 02:18:24 pm »

My understanding is that the "reference level" is the 'threshold at which lower volumes will have the filter applied', and anything over the reference level acts as ever before (no adjustment caused by the loudness setting).

So, once you get over the reference level, it will be as if it doesn't exist.
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Trumpetguy

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 02:39:29 pm »

My understanding is that the "reference level" is the 'threshold at which lower volumes will have the filter applied', and anything over the reference level acts as ever before (no adjustment caused by the loudness setting).

So, once you get over the reference level, it will be as if it doesn't exist.
`

Yes, I got that bit.
I am just not used to a volume scale that goes above 0dB.
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Matt

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 02:56:27 pm »

I am just not used to a volume scale that goes above 0dB.

How about one that goes to 11:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbVKWCpNFhY
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Matt Ashland, JRiver Media Center

mojave

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2013, 03:07:02 pm »

Trumpetguy, you are thinking of the maximum digital signal which is referred to as 0 dBFS. Some audio devices like external DACS will also use 0 dB to refer to maximum volume.

In Bob Katz's book Mastering Audio:  The Art and Science, he recommends that studios (music or movie) should calibrate their audio system so that limited bandwidth pink noise encoded at -20 dBFS will playback at 83 dB. Tones that meet this standard are included in Disney's World of Wonder calibration Blu-ray. This is called Reference Level. When I use these tones on my system, 83 dB is at about 91% depending on whether I am using convolution. I then set 91% as Reference Level in JRiver.

I am assuming that the music or movie was mastered while listening at this level and that no adjustment is needed via the loudness feature. When I listen below this level, now the loudness feature will boost the low end more and more as I turn down the volume. In this case, 0 dB just refers to the level that matches Reference Level and I can play above this level all I want.

In reality, music was probably mastered while listening even lower than Reference Level and I could set JRiver to 85% (or whatever) to only have loudness take effect below that. I could also use the ZoneSwitch feature and have music set with a different Reference Level than movies.

 
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Matt

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2013, 03:09:36 pm »

In Bob Katz's book Mastering Audio:  The Art and Science, he recommends that studios (music or movie) should calibrate their audio system so that limited bandwidth pink noise encoded at -20 dBFS will playback at 83 dB. Tones that meet this standard are included in Disney's World of Wonder calibration Blu-ray.

Maybe Tools > Advanced Tools > Create Test Clips should create a volume calibration file at this standard?

I'm not quite sure how you quantify "pink noise at -20 dBFS", or even "pink noise at 0 dBFS" for that matter.
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Matt Ashland, JRiver Media Center

Trumpetguy

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2013, 04:05:33 pm »

How about one that goes to 11:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbVKWCpNFhY

I remember that one, hilarious!  ;D And I have played with sufficiently many guitar players to know its actually like that  :D
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J-a-k-e

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2013, 04:09:34 pm »

I have a silly question I suppose but one I want to clarify anyway. Is the replay gain adjusted volume of a playing track taken into account when the loudness function is applied?
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Matt

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2013, 10:25:56 pm »

I'm not quite sure how you quantify "pink noise at -20 dBFS", or even "pink noise at 0 dBFS" for that matter.

I believe you create full volume white noise and then pinkify it (rougly a 3 dB/octave lowpass).

So the reference level is defined by the level of the white noise that you start with.
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Matt Ashland, JRiver Media Center

pluto

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2013, 05:42:28 am »

I'm not quite sure how you quantify "pink noise at -20 dBFS", or even "pink noise at 0 dBFS" for that matter.

Pink noise at -20dBFS usually refers to its absolute peak level being at -20dBFS.

I can e-mail you some -20dB pink if you wish, to see if it agrees with your definition.
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Matt

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2013, 08:40:56 am »

I can e-mail you some -20dB pink if you wish, to see if it agrees with your definition.

Yes, please.  I'm matt at jriver dot com.

I'd like to make it easier for users to calibrate to reference level.  Adding to our test clip creation system, and writing a wiki is probably all that will be required.

Thanks.
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Matt Ashland, JRiver Media Center

Trumpetguy

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2013, 10:19:48 am »

I'd like to make it easier for users to calibrate to reference level.  Adding to our test clip creation system, and writing a wiki is probably all that will be required.

Sounds great! +1
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preproman

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2013, 07:28:47 pm »

Where can I find this loudness option?
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nwboater

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2013, 07:52:24 pm »

Where can I find this loudness option?

In Standard View near the upper left is a small speaker icon. Click on that and Loudness enable will be at the bottom: But only if you are using Internal Volume, which is selected from the same icon.

Rod
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Matt

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2013, 05:01:53 pm »

I put directions for volume reference level calibration here:
http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Volume#Reference_Level_Calibration

Please note that you'll need MC18.0.108 or newer (coming soon).

There's some disagreement about the level in a "-20dB pink noise file."  I calibrated our pink noise generator to match the reference file that ReplayGain is built around.  It would be helpful to see if ReplayGain agrees with the Blu-ray calibration discs mentioned above (hopefully it will, or else I think it'd be a ReplayGain issue).

This is the standard ReplayGain -20dB pink noise calibration file:
http://replaygain.hydrogenaudio.org/proposal/ref_pink.wav
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Matt Ashland, JRiver Media Center

hulkss

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2013, 09:09:03 pm »

I recommend using the files freely available here courtesy of Bob Katz and Digital Domain:

http://www.digido.com/media/downloads/category/12-general.html

Use the Pink Noise 500-2K -20 dBFS RMS files.

Improved measurement accuracy if narrow-band pink noise is used
There are many sources of inaccuracy when determining monitor gain when using pink noise. Using wideband (20-20 kHz) pink noise and a simple RMS meter can result in low frequency errors due to standing waves in the room, high frequency errors due to off-axis response of the microphone, and variations in filter characteristics of inexpensive sound level meters. For the most accurate measurement, use narrow-band pink noise limited 500-2kHz, whose RMS level is -20 dBFS. This noise will read the same level on SPL meters with flat response, A weighting, or C weighting, eliminating several variables.
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sKiZo

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2013, 04:25:57 pm »

Been hoping this would come along. Rather than white or pink noise, how about a sweep? Much more accurate for RTA, but I guess it would be a bit hard to spot on an SPL meter - unless it has peak hold available, like my trusty old BSR.

A bit off topic, but arguably related. Now that we've got all these options for HTPC digital, what are the chances of making it available for our analog sources? Not sure if MC can process a line in signal as is. Maybe I'm just missing something here. I've got an ADC that I already use for vinyl ripping, so routing the analog signal to the computer itself is already done. All I'd have to do is figure out a way to run it thru MC and out to the DAC, and I'd be in 6½th heaven.

Hey, gotta leave some room for improvement. <G>

Also ... a nice feature on some receivers is variable loudness. I expect that could be achieved by simply adjusting the reference level for different selections. Would be real nice to be able to save specific profiles for quick retrieval.

And ... still waiting hopefully for the ability to edit replay gain settings. If those are wrong, loudness would be based on an inaccurate baseline. As is, some tracks don't process correctly in RP, and it'd be nice to be able to tweak the data as needed. Right now, I end up manually editing the music file itself to compensate for whatever horrible things some engineer on crack did to the original recording. Good example is Cowboy Junkies - Sing In My Meadow. Great stuff, but still screams and thuds after RG is done. Soundforge shows the raw track in excess of +/- 12db - I normalize and adjust the volume to the usual +/- 6db, redo the replay gain, and all is good.
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)p(

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2013, 04:54:31 am »



A bit off topic, but arguably related. Now that we've got all these options for HTPC digital, what are the chances of making it available for our analog sources? Not sure if MC can process a line in signal as is. Maybe I'm just missing something here. I've got an ADC that I already use for vinyl ripping, so routing the analog signal to the computer itself is already done. All I'd have to do is figure out a way to run it thru MC and out to the DAC, and I'd be in 6½th heaven.



Use the loopback feature for your inputs: file > open live.
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sKiZo

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2013, 10:49:43 pm »

AHA!

Yet another reason to upgrade from MC17!  I just got MC18 the other day (for the loudness feature) and haven't gotten around to updating the audio server yet. Just checked, and the "file > open live" feature isn't available there.

Have to do me some digging and see what other goodness I'm missing here.
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ilias81

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2013, 02:54:00 am »

Hi everyone, I have one question: If I use volume levelling does loudness have any effect or I should disable one of them? Thanks!
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JustinM

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2013, 02:44:00 pm »

They will both perform as intended when both enabled. 
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sfspirit

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2015, 04:25:49 pm »

Hi,
Which volume control will be used if MC20 is configured as the sound source in the WDM?  Will it be the system volume or the internal volume for MC20?  Will all the volume controls (Loudness, etc) be in effect when using the WDM? 

Thanks!
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mojave

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Re: NEW: Loudness
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2015, 04:29:58 pm »

Hi,
Which volume control will be used if MC20 is configured as the sound source in the WDM?  Will it be the system volume or the internal volume for MC20?  Will all the volume controls (Loudness, etc) be in effect when using the WDM? 

Thanks!

The WDM driver routes the sound at full level to JRiver before any volume control is involved. The output from JRiver is controlled by whatever you have set as the volume control. If using Internal Volume and have Loudness turned on, then yes, they will be in effect.
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