DVD Volume problem

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Tom-RW, Oct 14, 2004.

  1. Tom-RW

    Tom-RW Auditioning

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    Pardon my frustration but I've absolutely had it with this problem.

    ANY DVD I play, be it through a DVD player or PC with DVD Software, the volume is nuts.

    My Sony receiver's volume goes from 1-30. When I watch TV, 12 is about perfect. But then put on a DVD and I have to jack the volume to at least 25 out of 30. Plus I spend the entire movie adjusting the volume; 2 people are speaking, I have to blast the volume 100% and lean in. Then someone shoots a gun and I'm catapulted into the neighbors back yard. Switch to TV or VCR and the volume blows my head clean off.

    I go to stereo shops looking for a surround amp at 250+ watts per channel and people think I've lost my mind. 'You don't need that kind of volume'. Um, yes, I apparently do.

    Does anyone out there have any idea what one does? Why are DVD's so quiet that I have to blast my volume (120w x 5) to max? Why is a conversation 50x quieter than the music that shatters my windows?

    Any input gladly welcomed.
    (although frustrated, I don't bite [​IMG]
    Thanks!
    Tom
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

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    It soundslike you are not calibrated at all....

    Your system should have a way to generate test tones to each speaker. If you match that volume for each speaker and sub even just by ear, I would think you would have it.


    There is chance I suppose that your system is not functioning correctly and running out of power when all channels are heavily driven by tru multi-channel.

    I suppose this could be a general reaction to the dynamic nature of true cinema type sound.


    How are you connected from the DVD player audio wise?
    Do audio CD's exhibit the same sort of issue when played on the DVD player?
     
  3. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    Do you have Dynamic Compression enabled on any device on your system, i.e., DVD Player, Receiver, etc.? Dynamic compression is used when listening to music or watching DVDs late at night. This gives the advantage of lowering (and raising) different frequencies on the system for late night viewing. Check the Dynamic Compression settings on your DVD player and your receiver and see if they are enabled.
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Note that the dynamic range of DVD's is much higher than a TV broadcast. This is why you are seeing such a range of volume from the speaking parts to the effects. You definitely need to calibrate your system (see the Primer thread for details).
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    since it sounds like this only happens with the dvd player, make sure you calibrate *from* the dvd player. it's possible you have some settings in there that are "conflicting" with your receiver.

    if you calibrate from the dvd player, you take the entire 'signal chain' into account.

    like jeff said, there's a great primer from vince in the faq - should answer all your questions.
     
  6. Tom-RW

    Tom-RW Auditioning

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    Wow, thanks for the replies. I'm going to check this stuff out and get back to you. I can tell you this much about what I have:

    Sony Surround Receiver, 100w x 5.
    PSB 6 speaker system
    1 computer, running both WinDVD and PowerDVD, stereo output.
    1 Sony DVD player, stereo output.

    I've played with the levels but I'll use the test tone method to calibrate.

    I'm outputting these devices from their stereo RCA outputs. Could this be part of the problem? Am I not getting the correct surround result if I don't use the digital outputs?

    I'll be back... [​IMG]
    Thanks!
     
  7. John S

    John S Producer

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    Absolutely get your digital audio going from the DVD player. Surround performance is nearly 10 fold increased.

    I still think you need to calibrate though, if you haven't. Calibration is best done with a DB Meter from radio Shack, but even by ear, it shoudl help with what you have going on.

    Once calibrated, it is ok in my book to raise and low the center channel as preference for the dialog level, not the entire volume up or down.
     
  8. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    You are not getting digital sound from the RCA's (no Dolby Digital and/or DTS). So you are not getting true 5.1 surround, only pro-logic at best, stereo at worst. This also may be the problem with your dynamic range, depending on how hot your DVD analog outputs are. Get a digital (optical or Coax) connection set up and calibrate, calibrate, calibrate.
     
  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    re-read that. very important.

    most people seem to think that everything must be calibrated exactly per spec. i say, if you wanna bump up that center channel, or increase the rears -- then go for it.

    just make sure you calibrate correctly *first*. give yourself some time to see how that sounds...then tweak away!
     
  10. Lev-S

    Lev-S Second Unit

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    THE HORROR!!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. John S

    John S Producer

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    While I don't tend to mess with my rears or fronts. I freely adjust my center to get the dialog level I crave per source and title. I hate when I can't hear soft dialog, which often times, mean cranking the entire system. (not always a good thing)


    I can say at reference (pay brick and motor theater) levels, with calibration, soft dialog is well heard, and the loud stuff just litterally shakes the entire house, and my world. Surround effects / Pans will have you ducking out of the way, if your not used to it, well sometimes even if you are used to it. lol
     
  12. Sam A

    Sam A Stunt Coordinator

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    hook it up digitaly.

    no wonder you are frustrated, I can see how crappy its gonna sound like that. how long have you had your setup like this? how long have you been posting here?
     
  13. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    You may be simply running up against the dynamic range that DVD is capable of providing. In addition, as people age, their hearing on average becomes less acute with higher frequencies being more difficult to hear (I can barely hear 12 KHz now, used to be able to hear 18 KHz) With the loss of high frequency hearing, people find talking more difficult to understand.

    My suggestion is to look for an audio compressor, which simply reduces the dynamic range of the program source. I know DBX used to make one with a dial so you can choose heavy compression for, say, nighttime movie enjoyment and go back to no compression or even expansion for TV shows and for Saturday afternoon. They were either single or two channel units so you will need several for a surround sound system. You might find one on eBay.

    I have never auditioned that DBX dial unit so I never heard the results but I was told that using extreme settings resulted in some unnaturalness to the sound. The primary intent of this unit was to compress the audio for tape recording (even more limited dynamic range back in those days) where the dial was set to expand it by the same amount for playback.

    Also you cannot get the VCR audio level to match the DVD audio level unless either of those players has an output level control (may be a screwdrive adjustment inside) or the receiver has individual input level controls, or you buy a go between box that looks like a switch box but has level controls on it, for the louder player.

    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm

    When I first got into CD's (long before home theater) I had a recording of 1812 Overture and had to run to the non remote controlled amp to turn down the volume before the cannons would blow the speakers.
     
  14. Troy Trip

    Troy Trip Auditioning

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    I think that you are actually seeing a stereo signal (TV) and a digital 5.1 output from your DVD player using different power settings to your receiver. The TV is using only two channels for sound while the DVD is using six channels thus consuming more power from your receiver.

    When I run DirecTV digital stereo sound on my setup I can set the volume to lets say 40 but when they transmit 5.1 sound or I use my DVD player in 5.1 I run the amp at 50 or 51 to compensate for the additional power needed to push all channels (speakers).

    There is nothing wrong with that. I would suggest that you do make sure your speakers are not cross phased and that any adjustments on your amplifier are set for the size of your speakers.

    Good luck and enjoy.

    Troy
     
  15. Tom-RW

    Tom-RW Auditioning

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    Radio Shack's out of the damned things, it figures. But this gives me more than enough to go on, THANKS!!!! (to all)
     
  16. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    cough cough .... ebay ....cough cough [​IMG]
     
  17. Tom-RW

    Tom-RW Auditioning

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    Now I have a new problem. It seems obvious I need to get digital outputs going. All my movie playing comes from a dedicated PC hooked up to my TV. So I look at the sound card and sure enough there's a spdif outtput on it. The problem is, my Sony receiver takes either optical or coaxial inputs. Now what? I went to Radio Shack looking for a converter or sorts but they think I'm nuts.

    Is there such a thing?
     
  18. Sam A

    Sam A Stunt Coordinator

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    mono mini jack to rca converter should work to get a wire from PC to digi coax in on your sony. if that doesnt work, try the HTPC section of HTF.


    I want to know if youll get 5.1 or just stereo from watching moivies that way.


    PS - I just read another thread saying that the digital signal from a PC is EAX not DOLBY DIGITAL, therefore the receiver will not be able to decode the sound. looks like you got stereo movies though your computer.
     

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