Dial. Norm. question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by PS Nystrom, Aug 4, 2001.

  1. PS Nystrom

    PS Nystrom Second Unit

    Jan 27, 1999
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    I've tried and tried and I still don't understand dialog normalization. My mind can't wrap around this seemingly simple idea. So let me ask as simply as I can...
    Today I was watching "Center Stage" at my usual listening volume of -9db. As the film started, my receiver (Pioneer VSX-35TX) flashed "Dial. Norm. -8db." Does this mean:
    1. I should increase my volume to -1db?
    2. I should decrease my volume to -17db?
    3. I should do nothing, "Dial. Norm. -8db" is my receiver's way of telling me that it made an adjustment for me?
    Much appreciated,
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Feb 12, 1998
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    Ah, another Columbia Tristar disc! [​IMG]
    The -8db indication from your receiver means that your receiver has reduced overall volume by -8db, as per the instruction of the people who encoded this dialnorm value into the DD bitstream. Whether you should do anything or not depends on how this adjustment sounds to you, but here's what I do:
    I have a Lexicon MC-1, which measures the volume setting from a high of +10db to something like -80db. My usual listening setting is -5db.
    Since the vast majority of DD tracks have a dialnorm setting of -4db, whenever I encounter a different dialnorm value, I adjust the MC-1's volume to compensate. In the case of Center Stage, that means raising the volume by 4db to -1db. This compensates for the difference between Center Stage's -8db dialnorm setting and the usual setting of -4db.
    This procedure usually gets me to the right listening level. Sometimes I find it necessary to adjust volume by 1 or 2db in one direction or the other, depending on the track, my mood, time of day, etc.
    Hope this helps.
    [Edited last by Michael Reuben on August 05, 2001 at 08:41 AM]
  3. Roger Dressler

    Roger Dressler Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 15, 1999
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