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I'm designing and mixing some radio commercials tomorrow, and I'm not sure what the specs are. I heard from one source that it's 0db, and another that it's -12db.

I'm sure it's different between countries and radio stations. But I heard it's pretty strict, and if it bleeds by even 1/2 a db then they don't air it.

Any input?

Thanks!

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3 Answers

answers here:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/post-production-forum/646800-radio-broadcast-levels.html

and from within that thread:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/attachments/post-production-forum/252852d1315576515-radio-broadcast-levels-what-happens-my-recording-when-its-played-radio-frank-foti-robert-orban-june-2001.pdf

The gist is that if you were to drive by and yell the spot at most stations they'd figure out a way to get it on the air. The downside is that your mix is not going to be aired in the manner it was "finished"

Generally: juts make it sound good, don't overcompress, keep dynamic range tight but don't bother with the loudness wars.

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+1 on that last line. for reference check out Bob Katz's Mastering Audio, and look at the section on "radio ready" near the end of the book. very interesting read. –  Shaun Farley Sep 28 '11 at 1:04
    
Thanks so much for the links. Will check them out. –  Andrew Spitz Sep 28 '11 at 7:24
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This is a very good article discussing mixing norms. Radio norms are discussed about halfway through the article, a few paragraphs after the section headed Peaks vs. Average levels. Norms seem to vary from country to country so it'd be well worth checking what they are in S.A.

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Awesome. Thanks a bunch! Will first finish the design and then dig into you and Rene's material! Thanks. –  Andrew Spitz Sep 28 '11 at 7:25
    
Great article! Thanks for sharing! –  Christian van Caine Sep 28 '11 at 7:57
    
That was a superbly useful article. Thanks! –  Andrew Spitz Sep 29 '11 at 6:32
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I have had different specs depending on what channel my work has been shown at, but generally the specs used by Swedish National TV (SVT) have been functioning practically everywhere else too. That specs was, as I recall, an upper hard limit on -6dB and a nominal level of about -12 to -16dB SPL A-Weighted. There are many more than that, but the rest of 'em are more or less about keeping an even quality of the material. Frankly the SPL didn't seem all that important as long as it's within reasonable limits, I only brought my SPL-meter (a Dolby Meter 2-plugin) just about a year ago and worked all by ear before that (actually mostly do now too, but it's good to have a clear reference of where you are!), just being careful not to let it be too low.

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Hey Christian, thanks for the answer. Is this for TV or for radio? –  Andrew Spitz Sep 28 '11 at 7:43
    
Hm, can't find the papers right now, hopefully they are in the studio, but what I remember it stood Sveriges Radio och TV, roughly meaning Swedish National Radio and Television, so it OUGHT to be for both. Myself it feels like I've worked with everything except radio so far, save for a few songs I got played on radio quite a few years ago, but after reading the good article Colin posted I take it the levels doesn't matter even nearly as much as keeping the material even and undistorted! –  Christian van Caine Sep 28 '11 at 9:12
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