Different audio levels between channels (cable)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eric C D, Jun 11, 2002.

  1. Eric C D

    Eric C D Second Unit

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    I just started a discussion with my cable service re the audio levels between different channels. The two channels that I notice most are Comedy Central and The Learning Channel (TLC). Comedy Central is worse - I have to turn it up so loud to hear them that if I change the channel, not only am I blasting out myself and my neighbors, I'm actually afraid I could damage speakers.

    Before I take my time to wait for a maintainer *just* to let them confirm the problem, I thought I'd ask. Does anyone else have this problem to a greater or lesser extent?

    I'm gonna confirm it at another place in my complex tonight. As well, I'm gonna check with some other people locally with other cable services to see if the problem extends might be the original signal. But I thought I'd also check here.

    Thanks,

    Eric
     
  2. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    I've always had the same problem, both here and when I lived in Sweden.

    Complain to you cable company if it's too bothersome, they can probably set the levels better, but I don't know if they care enough to actually do it. If possible, have someone come out to your house, that seems to work best, beause then they feel pressured into fixing your problem...

    /Mike
     
  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Eric: I know exactly what you're talking about. Time Warner here has volume levels all over the map. When I'm going through one of my bouts of insomnia, I'll be up watching TV. I try to keep the volume low so I don't disturb the rest of the household, but invariably, I'll come to the one channel that's 10x louder than the last one.
     
  4. Rob Speicher

    Rob Speicher Supporting Actor

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    How about FX? Not just between channels but between shows and commercials.

    While watching The Shield I have to turn the volume way up, and as soon as a commercial comes on, it's like Holy Hell!.

    Edit: This is on DirecTV, so I don't think it's a problem limited to cable.
     
  5. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

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    I have Time Warner cable and I've noticed similar differences in sound quality between channels but nothing as bad as what you guys have had.
     
  6. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Most companies adjust the dialogue normalization based on both the popularity of the show and what most likely the endorsers of such shows (commercials). This is also to attract our attention for such things as channel surfing and to notice some of the more irritating commercials (I think they are all annoying, but some definitely more than others). This is one of the main reasons I record everything I watch (other than sporting events, I even record the news).

    Maybe a thing a worse than this is that my local cable company must have problems compressing channels for distribution as it seems they play "musical chairs" periodically some channels come only on just the left side (not mono but just the left side audio). I have started recently to look at the competition.
     
  7. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I know that several years ago, they started filming commercials at a higher volume so that we would notice them. What a bunch of jerks!

    But before that, most TV's had an AVC, or automatic volume control, but I can't remember that working that well, either. I sure would like to have something to set a volume level and stick with it.

    Glenn
     
  8. Eric C D

    Eric C D Second Unit

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    Here's an update:

    This is definitely not the commercial/show volume problem (I'm sure we *all* suffer with that). After making the other checks last night here's the results:

    It also happens at other TVs in my complex.

    It doesn't happen on the other two services I checked in the area.

    So it's definitely the cable service. I'm now trying to get the complex manager interested in working the problem with the company, since he is around all day.

    Thanks for the information any of you sent. If there is some good technical answer that might help people in other locations, I'll send it along.

    I guess I'm just not that unhappy because I have my Buffy Season 2 set to keep a smile on my face.

    Eric
     
  9. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Comedy Central is also noticeably quieter than most other stations in my service (digital broadband cable). Some other networks are also like this.

    And Cinemax 1 is much louder than Cinema 2, and BET and MTV are, by far, the loudest networks I get. Also, the general sound quality of MTV and the country music channel are far, far better than VH1 (which has very poor sound quality).

    HBO 2 used to be really screwed up, with the right channel vastly overwhelming the left. It could be adjusted with the balance knob, but the audio still really sucked.

    I wonder why this is?
     
  10. Gary Kellerman

    Gary Kellerman Stunt Coordinator

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    Eric; This is not your imagination. Currently, my system is AT&T, but it was Telecable and TCI. Some 10 years back I wondered about the volume levels between stations. First, let us eliminate the terrestrial stations because there variance in most cases have nothing to do with the cable company that simply PASSES THROUGH their signal.

    Now we deal with the stations that are picked up from the satellite. The cable company has what is known as a "head end" or "front end". They have a group of their own sort of "cable boxes" that convert the satellite signal to a chosen cable channel frequency. These boxes also have adjustments for AUDIO LEVELS and VIDEO LEVELS. Those audio adjustment levels play two roles; to correct the audio levels if they are mono and if stereo is involved, to BALANCE THE STEREO CHANNELS. In my possession were two U50 Mitsubushi VCRs that had audio level displays. One day something clicked in my head; I can see audio level problems with these meters. I sent a letter to the cable company stating your two, five or more DBs down below zero DB and in some cases as much as 10 plus or over zero DBs on some others. They did make corrections. A technician from the front end called my home. I worked with him on the phone looking at the VCR meter display which appeared to agree with his meter readings which showed how accurate the display meters in those Misubushi's are.

    I have gotten alittle too old and tired of this game and really to not know how AT&T Broadband would handle this. Another big problem is STEREO BALANCE. It is also a mess on cable at times as well.

    Eric, I suggest a letter or phone call to the cable company as to which stations you think are out of kilter. At least you can try. What is implied here that they do not do any routine maintenance checks to see if the audio is working properly. That is poor and neglectful service to all cable customers. Eric, you just woke up from THE MATRIX as I did years back. It is tough in this game to play NEO.
     
  11. Craig_T

    Craig_T Second Unit

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