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  • Why are TV Commercials so LOUD?

    Posted on March 18th, 2021 admin No comments

    You’re sitting in front of your RV in the evening, reading a book and enjoying the chirp of birds in the trees. Off in the distance you hear the quiet murmur of your neighbor’s TV. Quiet, that is, until the commercial.

    Arrrgh! Hit the mute button! Why is it that on Radio or TV, the ads so often seem to bring an ear-piercing blast of sound?

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
    Image: https://www.aircomechanical.com/

    TV companies insist that the commercials are really, truly no louder than the show segments that precede and follow them. Studies with decibel meters seem to support them. The ears of the audience are more sensitive to dynamic sound range than most electronic instruments—and those ears disagree with the studies. How can this be?

    What’s the Law?

    The Federal Communications Commission does not specifically regulate the volume of programs or commercials. A broadcast license only restricts the peak power a transmitter can use to send out audio or video signals. That means that the loudest commercial can never exceed the volume of the loudest part of the program. Actually, this is not so much a legal issue as a matter of physics – a 50KW transmitter only has so much power.

    Dynamic Range

    Although noise pollution (often self-inflicted) has robbed our ears of most of their sensitivity, human hearing has a remarkable range. The range of audible volumes is called dynamic range. The dynamic range of a TV show is spread between fairly soft and fairly loud sections. The difference between soft (nature sounds, whispered conversation, or relative silence to build suspense, for example) and loud (fight scene, screaming victim, gunshots, screeching tires in car chase) can be considerable. Likewise, a music score can range from diminuendo to crescendo. A sound engineer varies the range to create emphasis or contrast, to create dramatic tension, to build to a climax.

    Loud Noises - Gaming Sound Effect (HD) - YouTube

    Perceived Loudness: It’s not the Volume, it’s the Contrast

    Human speech at normal conversational levels falls around the dynamic midrange. Most listeners adjust the volume control so that conversation comes at a level that sounds natural and comfortable to their ears. The occasional screech or explosion or musical crescendo is relatively brief, giving the ears have a chance to recover and adapt to the “normal” level. An extended period of relatively loud or relatively soft sounds leads to a grab for the remote.

    Advertisers Like it LOUD

    However, the people who make commercials are often not interested in nuance or dramatic tension. They have thirty seconds to grab your attention, kidnap it, and hold it for ransom. In other words, advertisers like it loud. The sound is going to be keyed to the maximum allowable volume, whether it’s the announcer’s voice, the music, or the sound effects. So even though the maximum level of such an ad may be no higher than the maximum level of the show, the average level will be higher. The average perceived loudness is much greater, and that’s what matters to the human ear.

    What Can be Done About Loud Commercials?

    • Fight back by muting commercials – and tell the TV or radio station that you do so.
    • Complain to the advertisers who use maximum volume and tell them you will boycott their products.
    • Invest in a TV sound regulator [need details] for about $50
    • Wait. Endure. Technology similar to that used in high-end auto audio systems to adjust volume to engine speed is coming soon to TV and will provide automatic sound balancing.

    In the meantime, have the remote close at hand – there’s always the Mute button.

    Note: This article (c) 2009 T. Gray was originally published on Suite101.com, which is now defunct.

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