Disappointed in Rear Surround

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bill Kane, Nov 15, 2001.

  1. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    This is more like a whine, but I dont seem to be getting much info/volume outa my rear Mini-Monitors I've had 8 months.
    I carefully wired 'em for L/R polarity and calibrated at 75dB SMALL all around with AVIA. I know the signal is good because the Yamaha's 5Chl Stereo works perfectly.
    But 5.1 leaves me feeling the rears are wimpy. The Center is set for +1.0 but I'm at around +5.0 for the rears a/c AVIA. One thing I haven't tried is using the AVR's onboard test tones, for what it's worth.
    I know rear discrete chls dont carry "full" soundtrack levels a la Mains. Maybe I'll try SPR again to see if it's just the source DVD tracks -- many less punchy that others.
    Someone hold my hand on this [​IMG]
    ok, another edit: I also am trying to think about the Pana RV30 setup menus, but nothing comes to mind...------------------
    [Edited last by Bill Kane on November 15, 2001 at 09:58 PM]
    [Edited last by Bill Kane on November 15, 2001 at 09:59 PM]
    [Edited last by Bill Kane on November 15, 2001 at 10:15 PM]
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Well for one thing, you need to ignore the +1.0 and +5.0 settings. A small angle change for the rear speakers can make a huge difference in volume. My guess is your rears are either far away from your head, or turned away and not focused directly on the listening position.
    There is a big difference between info and volume. Many movies do not make big use out of the rear speakers.
    Here is two tests you can try to help satisfy or confirm that you need new rear speakers:
    A) Disconnect your front 3 speakers and play a favorite DVD with only the rear speakers connected. This will let you focus on how much information a given movie puts to the rears.
    B) Plug your rear speakers into the jacks for the L/R fronts and replay the movie. Or better yet, a 2-channel CD. This should quickly tell you how good/wimpy your rear speakers are.
    Good luck.
     
  3. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Bob, you always come thru, and I preciate it, but in this case, it's not that the Paradigm Mini-Monitors are bad units since they sound mighty fine in 5Chl mode.
    And the rears are 6 feet either side of my sofa at ear level aimed right at the listener(s).
    So I think I oughta listen to a lot more DVDs to get more of a feel for what's sent to rear surrounds; as you say, and so far in my experience, it seems 80-90 percent of the DVD soundtracks are fairly quiet.
    bill
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  4. Mark Bates

    Mark Bates Agent

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    Take a listen to Phantom Menace or True Lies both make good use of the surrounds. In Star wars I listen to the pod race scene and in True Lies the opening chase/gun battle has nice discrete sound out of the rears in 5.1.
    Mark
     
  5. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I know how you feel, Mark. Very few films really show these channels off, and when they do it is just for a few seconds. Most of it is 'fluff' today.
    The best example would be walking outside, where you have sounds coming from everywhere - they have a ways to go yet before it isn't just fluff anymore.
    This does prevent me from spending any more on my rears. Many here have 5 identical speakers in use, but I can't see the expense. Give me a DVD that will blow my rears out, and I'll get bigger ones, thank you.
    Glenn
     
  6. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    Surrounds aren't really supposed to draw your attention in a movie soundtrack for the most part. Your focus should always be on the front soundstage. Therefore, most movies won't use the surrounds in an obtrusive way unless it is for effect (for instance, horror movies where voices will suddenly come from the surrounds -- see STIR OF ECHOES). A great example of ambient surround usage is THE GIFT, which literally sounds like you're there in the woods with the characters on-screen. For discrete surround usage, FIGHT CLUB will show any weaknesses in level, since it has many pans that go around the room from speaker to speaker.
    And normally, you don't want your surrounds aimed at your listening position (or at ear level). Dolby indicates that they should be 2-3 feet above the listener's head when seated, and aimed above the listener to reduce localization.
    Another thing to remember (because I've seen people do this many times): Do NOT point the SPL meter at each speaker when doing the calibration. Doing this will make the surrounds WAY too quiet (usually by about 2db). You want to have the meter approximately where your head will be, with the mic at ear level when doing the calibration. If this isn't possible, you can hold it right in front of your face, pointed straight up at the ceiling, again with the mic at ear level. Also, make sure you have properly adjusted the delay times/distances for your speakers.
     
  7. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Well put Jeremy.
    Surrounds are for fill only. You should not notice them a great deal. It also depends on what movie you watch. Some have much more info in the surrounds as others.
    BTW Bill, If you are unhappy with the mini's, I'll gladly buy them off you.
     
  8. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    Can I recommend the opening scenes in Lost in Space? The opening of this movie really put your surrounds to use.
    And it is true, surrounds are for ambience and effects and are not nearly as active as the fronts. However SOME movies do make good use of them.
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    Sean
    "Self Realization....I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates who said.......I drank what?"
     
  9. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    Another great surround example is from X-Men when Wolverine is at Prof. Xavier's school and Patrick Stewart's voice goes around the surround field, utilizing a great example of discrete audio.
    Bruce
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    [​IMG]
    Welcome aboard the Satellite of Love
     
  10. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Nah, I'll keep the minis: they're estined to be mounted from the ceiling, which will get me into Dolby's range above the listener and can be swivel adjusted.
    As Guy Kuo noted in a recent, long thread (Nov 1, Time alignment/delay questions) very few people really fine adjust this.
    My Yamaha has Surround Delay, Surround Initial Delay, Surround Liveness, Surround Room Size, and delays in 5Chl Stereo mode. Forboding! I'm still at factory settings, tho I did set my center spkr "back" one foot (1ms).
    These other delay parameters accompany the Digital Sound Field (DSF) that I dont use that much. I can see that adjustments/testing will be time intensive and ear-dependent, I guess, since I dont have a speaker to listener distance setting (like Onyko?)
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