The included meters are a very big part of Clarity X. You get a number of dedicated meters that you can read more about below.
Besides the meters in the main monitoring engine, which always
reflect what you are listening to, Clarity X offers a dedicated
metering engine, featuring the renowned LM8 Loudness Radar Meter.
With separate independent routing, this LM8 instance will measure
and display the channels you have selected for metering at all
of whether you're listening to them or not.
Meters in Clarity X – for mixing and mastering
How do you set the overall level of your mix knowing that you're not in full control of the final transmission or playback channel?
And how do you ensure that the dialogue is set with the optimal intelligibility in your mix?
Many of these challenges relate to your monitoring system and metering setup.
In this episode of the TC Universe series, our senior R&D engineer Christian G. Frandsen gives you a guided tour of the many meters included with Clarity X.
LM8 - Loudness Radar & True-Peak Meter for up to 7.1 Surround
Our legendary Loudness Radar Meter has evolved gradually from the first LM5D incarnation over LM6, LM6n (native) to this brand new LM8 that handles channel-formats from 2.0 to 5.1 and 7.1 surround. And just like the previous versions, LM8 gives you an instant overview of your loudness landscape.
The radar display shows your short-term (S) loudness history over time and the outer ring shows the Momentary Loudness (M), while the two universal descriptors can be assigned to display parameters you choose - for instance Program Loudness (I) and Loudness Range (LRA).
In fact, you can run two instances at LM8 simultaneously - one on the dedicated meter engine and one that is part of the main engine as described above.
You also get a state-of-the-art true-peak meter as well as a detailed stats overview spanning all key loudness measuring parameters.
Stereo Deviation & Center Ratio Meters
Just below the main Loudness Radar view, you find a crucial meter section that we recommend you keep an eye on throughout your mixing sessions.
Stereo Deviation Meter
Even though you probably put most of your work into your surround mix, remember that stereo is still the format that the actual viewers are most likely to be listening to - as most films and TV shows are watched from a living room with stereo speakers.
The Stereo Deviation Meter shows you how well your surround mix will translate into stereo.
Based on state-of-the-art loudness measurement algorithms, it compares the loudness of your surround mix with the loudness of an emulated downmix version of that mix. Not only does it show if your mix will be too loud or too soft once it has been downmixed to stereo, but beware that any difference between the two could mean that you might have a problem in your surround mix.
Center Ratio Meter
This meter displays the balance between the center channel and the rest of the channels in your surround mix. Basically, it is a loudness measure of the center channel versus the rest, and the way the meter reflects this balance is based on analysis of a number of film- and TV productions.
We found examples of content with high speech intelligibility and measured the balance of the center channel versus the rest, and we did the exact same using some sources with poor speech intelligibility. This way we have been able to set a target that correlates with high intelligibility.
If the meter goes to the left, the center channel is too soft compared to the rest of the channels in order to maintain good intelligibility, and if it goes to the right, it is probably too loud.
It is important to stress that the center channel also carries other sound sources than speech and that the meter is a visual guideline rather than a fail-safe, fixed solution.
Let Your Ears Be Your Pilot. Let Your Eyes Be Your
Ultimately, your ears are of course the most important tool. Still, this small metering section is essential, and if you make it a habit to briefly check these meters while mixing, your ears will be assisted by en excellent visual guide.
At the end of the day, all of these different metering tools (including loudness) - in combination with your ears and calibrated listening environment - help you always deliver the best possible mix with the highest possible speech intelligibility across delivery formats and platforms.
With the SPL readout, you can always check the current sound pressure level in your mixing position (determined during the initial calibration of your room/speakers using the included measurement microphone).
Our new, patent-pending mic-less SPL measurement technology means is that once you have used the measurement mic for the initial, full calibration of your speaker setup, Clarity X now knows your setup and environment in detail.
Therefore, since Clarity X knows the input source, the output configuration and the room, it is able to calculate a very precise SPL number even without using the measurement microphone.
Sound Exposure and Dose
Most audio professionals are familiar with Sound Pressure Level (SPL) and anchor points such as threshold of hearing (0 dB SPL), normal speech (60 dB SPL) and one or two high SPL references.
SPL describes the Sound Pressure Level at a given time, and while knowing how loud you play right now might be interesting, a much more relevant metric to consider is Sound Exposure, i.e., "SPL over time".*)
The Sound Exposure section of Clarity X constantly keeps track of the amount of audio you have been exposed to, and will give a warning if you move into the danger zone, for instance if you have been playing too loud for too long. You can also use the meter to indicate hearing fatigue.
For any calibrated Speaker Setup or headphones, Clarity X
continuously estimates the resulting sound exposure, even when
between sources and formats.
*) Technically Sound Exposure is more complex than just "SPL over time".
The Dose Meter
The Dose Meter shows the Sound Exposure as a "donut".
0% Dose is what you have right after resetting the Dose Meter.
Yellow - now you should worry
If the Dose Meter turns yellow, you should start putting attention to your mix levels.
You might consider to have a break or to lower the level for some time.
Don't get here
At this point you have overly exceeded the limits for whats good for you.
It's time to stop.
Green - you're good!
From 0 to 99%, you are in the green area, and there would be no reason to worry about your hearing.
Red - it's serious
If you find the Dose Meter turning red, you should definitely take action.
Take a longer break, turn down your speaker system for a good while.
Input / Output Activation Meters
The Clarity X Main screen features a set of meters for
monitoring inputs and outputs.
On the left side you find meters for your input, and on the right side there are metering of your outputs.
The meters are quite small and not meant for 'reading' the dB or
LU values of each channel, but to quickly spot if one or more
channels suddenly falls out. In a stereo setup this would
immediately be audible, but for instance in a 7.1 surround
environment, one of the rear or side speakers may go silent for a
while before you notice it - and maybe have to redo your complete
On the left side, you also get 6 'LED' lamps that will reflect your current state. For instance, if you are in downmix mode, M/S, have engaged delay or phase invert, etc.