dynamic range compression?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Will.MA, Nov 23, 2004.

  1. Will.MA

    Will.MA Stunt Coordinator

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    After finishing the newest title to my DVD collection (Poltergeist; it was SO MUCH FUN) I noticed myself constantly lowering and raising the volume. The quieter sections of the movie seemed too quiet and vise-versa for the louder sections. I recently upgraded to a newer receiver so I'm still experimenting with the many decoder settings, loudspeaker placement, etc.

    Anyhoo, the experience reminded me of a setting I have on my budget DVD player that I've been curious about. Truly I don't know how to use nor do I have a firm understanding of its significance. In the Dolby Digital setup, there is the setting Dynamic Range Compression. It can be turned on or off, or set between in increments of 1/8.

    After the movie, I checked the *DRC* and it was set to off. Might this setting impact my inability to find a comfortable volume level for viewing movies? If I had it set to say 1/2, would that compress the range between the highest and lowest points in the audio track by half?

    Thanks, WMA
     
  2. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Yes: the fact that you're raising and lowering the volume means that the dynamic range of the DVD is too large. (I found myself doing this a lot when I lived an an apt. Turn it up to hear the soft parts, but turn it down so as not to piss off my neighbors too much. [​IMG] ) In that case, you might want to try the dynamic range compression. It should bring the soft parts and loud parts closer together in volume.

    I am not sure though, but a DVD might have to be authored to take advantage of this. ?? Maybe just try it on some specific part of a DVD (with a soft and loud part) and see what happens.
     
  3. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Yes and no,as it is part of the DD specs.Don't know about DTS though.
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Before utilizing the dynamic range compression, have you tried calibrating your system using a calibration disk or receiver tones and a SPL meter? Often the problem with quieter sections (i.e dialog or center speaker) being too soft compared to the music/special effects (main and surround speakers and/or sub) is due to a mismatch in levels between the speakers. By calibrating the speakers to all output the same level, you can equalize the dialog with the rest of the sound and have a better balance. Center speakers, for some reason, are sometimes the ones that benefit most from a good calibration. Some even bump the center up a dB or two to increase dialog volume after calibrating.

    See the Primer for details:
    HTF Primer Calibration Intro
     
  5. Max F

    Max F Second Unit

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    Yes, make sure you calibrate - very important.

    I find myself using the dynamic range compression when watching movies with my wife. That way she will quit telling me to turn it down! [​IMG] At which point i usually yell, "what do you expect, its a battle for pete's sake!"

    Oh well, dynamic range compression does a pretty good job without feeling like your missing something. The sound is still dynamic, just not as much.
     
  6. Will.MA

    Will.MA Stunt Coordinator

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    The only calibration that's been performed was done by the receiver itself (YPAO). I haven't invested in a SPL measurement device or the Avia DVD.
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Do what I do when someone asks "Isn't that a little loud?"

    Answer "Yes", and then do nothing. The look on their face is classic.[​IMG]
     
  8. Will.MA

    Will.MA Stunt Coordinator

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    LOL. LMAO.
     
  9. allan espinoza

    allan espinoza Stunt Coordinator

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    [​IMG] thats a good one. i have the same problem with my girlfriend and its hilarious.
     
  10. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    This thread definitely made me LMAO for real! [​IMG]
     
  11. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    You guys may not want to take your ears too much for granted. I have my HT audio-calibrated at 75dB but rarely run it that loud regardless of the DVD's inherent dynamic range.

    Tinitus (ringing) started up in my left ear about 3 years ago, it won't go away, and it's no fun. The only cause I can pinpoint is maybe years of too-loud music in my car when I was commuting to/from work.

    I know watts is fun, but you might want to consider using them for crystal clarity at 10 watts instead of good-enough clarity at 100 watts! [​IMG]
     
  12. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Good advice Phil, but we are talking about the perception of "loud" of a significant other, not a HT enthusiast. I highly doubt "loud" for them (in most cases) is even approaching -20 from reference, never mind actual reference levels.[​IMG]

    As an example, the most I listen at is -15 from reference and I get the "isn't that loud" starting at about -25.[​IMG]
     
  13. Max F

    Max F Second Unit

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    Sorry about that Phil, that sucks.

    When i watch a movie with my wife its not that loud, trust me. This is coming from a guy who thinks that movie theaters are too loud. My wife is just really sensitive to dynamic sound. And she hates when i talk about speakers[​IMG]
     
  14. Will.MA

    Will.MA Stunt Coordinator

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    LMAO again. You too, huh?

    [q] As an example, the most I listen at is -15 from reference and I get the "isn't that loud" starting at about -25 [q]
    At that volume, my wife's box collection that's displayed on the coffee table begins taking on a life of its own, chattering out loud and jumping about. It is so loud that for the first few weeks I thought maximum volume was at zero. I'm usually between -35 & -28 depending on the program. I
     
  15. StephenL

    StephenL Second Unit

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    Dolby Digital dynamic range control is performed by the Dolby Digital decoder. If your receiver is performing the Dolby Digital decoding (if you are using a digital connection between your DVD player and your receiver) then use your receiver's dynamic range control. The DVD player's dynamic range control works only on the player's analog output.
     
  16. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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