1014 "DIAL NORM" message?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Scott Lawrence, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Scott Lawrence

    Scott Lawrence Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey folks,

    Sorry for Yet Another 1014 Thread) but I haven't seen this discussed in any of probably the couple dozen 1014 threads I've read here.

    I've noticed that when I switch inputs and the modes change, that the receiver display will show something like "DIAL NORM. +4" (or with some other number). This seems to happen when switching in/out of DD or DTS modes, for example.

    Does anyone know what that means? I don't recall seeing any reference to it in the manual.

    Thanks a lot,
    Scott.

    EDIT: by 1014 I'm referring to the Pioneer VSX-1014-TX receiver (just incase it wasn't clear)
     
  2. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Dialogue Normalization is a part of the Dolby Digital spec. and is a way for the volume to remain consistent from program to program. A value is embedded as metadata either on the DVD or broadcast signal and the receiver makes adjustments based on that value so there are no huge swings in loudness of the overall dialogue level.

    So in your example, Dialnorm +4 means the receiver raised the output 4 dB based on the dialnorm value that was input for that particular DVD.

    Dolby's site will give you a more detailed explanation, if you're interested, as to how the numbers relate to reference level.

    DJ
     
  3. John S

    John S Producer

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    Yeah, sort of crazy, they can mess with your levels at the source!!!! Interesting when your talking about HD broadcast stuff. Lets em really crank commercials and some of the broadcasters sure crank em too.
     
  4. Scott Lawrence

    Scott Lawrence Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow that's pretty wild! My old receiver (Denon 1803) never did anything like that. Or at least, it never indicated that it was. Maybe it just kept that to itself.

    Thanks for the info!
    Scott.
     
  5. John S

    John S Producer

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    My Denon 4802 does it absolutely. Every DD 5.1 and DD 2.0 source. Not sure about DTS, I think it does it as well though.
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Part of the confusion is that there's no consistency among receivers and processors when it comes to reporting the dialnorm setting. Many don't report it at all (like your old receiver), and those that do don't follow any standard. Even different products from the same manufacturer report conflicting information.

    My first two Lexicon processors, the DC-1 and the MC-1, reported the dialnorm setting using 0db as the "neutral" setting, where the DD decoder doesn't adjust the volume. On the Dolby encoder, this corresponds to -31Dbfs. However, the enocder default is -27Dbfs, which is what most DVD soundtracks use. My old processors reported that as -4db. But on the MC-8 (and I believe on the MC-12) the same setting gets reported as "0db", even though the decoder is in fact decreasing the overall volume by 4db. IOW, the encoder's default setting is being treated as "neutral", whereas in fact true neutral is reported as "+4db".

    It's bizarre, but most of the time it's not a big deal. However, it can considerably complicate efforts to match levels when comparing soundtracks (e.g., a DTS vs. DD tracks).

    M.
     
  7. StephenL

    StephenL Second Unit

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    A Dolby Digital decoder can decrease the volume based on a soundtrack's dialog level parameter, but the decoder can't increase the volume. If your receiver displays a Dial Norm value of +4 dB, that means the soundtrack is 4 dB higher than the target level, so your receiver's Dolby Digital decoder will reduce the volume by 4 dB.

    The Dolby Digital recommended target level for dialog is -31 dBFS Leq(A), which is an output level 31 dB below 0 dB full-scale digital output, averaged over time using the equivalent loudness method. In order to maintain volume level consistency, Dolby Digital soundtracks contain a dialog level parameter (also known as dialogue normalization or dialnorm), which the decoder uses to automatically attenuate soundtracks that have a dialog level greater than -31 dBFS. The dialog level parameter is part of the soundtrack's metadata, which is data embedded in the digital audio data stream when the soundtrack is encoded. The scale used in the dialogue level setting ranges from -1 to -31 dB, in increments of 1 dB, where -31 dB represents no level shift. The Dolby Digital decoder adds the dialog level parameter to 31 dB to obtain the value of the level shift. For example, if a film has a dialogue level of -27 dBFS Leq(A), the sound engineer would include that dialog level parameter in the soundtrack's metadata. Your Dolby Digital decoder would add the -27 dB dialog level parameter to 31 dB resulting in a level shift of 4 dB. Your decoder would automatically reduce the volume by 4 dB. For dialog normalization to work as intended, the sound engineer must provide an accurate dialog level parameter in the metadata when the soundtrack is encoded.

    http://www.hifi-writer.com/he/dictio...gnormalization
    http://www.dolby.com/assets/pdf/tech...data.Guide.pdf
    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec0.../surround5.asp
    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...on-6-2000.html
    http://www.tweakers.net/nieuws/18061
    http://www.globaldisc.com/Dolby/DDNorm.html
    http://www.tvtechnology.com/features...12.10.03.shtml
    http://etvcookbook.org/glossary/#D
    http://etvcookbook.org/audio/dialnorm.html
    http://www.smr-home-theatre.org/optimode/page3.html
     
  8. Scott Lawrence

    Scott Lawrence Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the in-depth info folks. Very cool. I like the fact that this receiver actually shows me what it's doing. [​IMG]
     

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