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irony about dynamic range (1 Viewer)

Yoon Lee

Stunt Coordinator
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Jun 16, 2001
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When we talk about HT equipments, good dynamic range is one of the qualities that we're looking for. But, when we watch DVDs, we complain about some conversation is too hard to hear while some explosions are too loud. We end up changing volume up and down quite a lot, which is like actually compressing dynamic range of the audio coming out of your beloved HT system. Isn't it ironical?
 

Kevin C Brown

Senior HTF Member
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Aug 3, 2000
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No, because when I watch DVDs, I watch them all with the dynamic range compression set to maximum.
On my 9" black and white TV.
:)
You are right of course.
Another one: I believe that a very well set up analog (turntable) rig *does* sound better than most DVD/CD players today. But the funny part? Even though CD *does* have a better dynamic range, S/N, noise floor than vinyl, most CDs mastered today and even (re)mastered from the original tapes for the vinyl counterparts, are so compressed as to not even barely get close to taking advantage of that fact. Too bad really. This is one reason why I don't have a lot of hope for SACD/DVD-A. Even worse remixes/remasters to multichannel.
Anyway, sorry for the misplaced rant... :)
 

Mike Likens

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Jul 9, 1999
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Kevin: Just curious but what advantage do you hear in using maximum compression on soundtracks?
 

Jack Keck

Second Unit
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Nov 23, 2001
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Although I do not want to put words in Kevin's mouth, I'd speculate that he uses maximum compression so he doesn't blow out the speaker in his 9" black & white tv.
 

Howard_S

Supporting Actor
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Nov 1, 2001
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Ideally you should not turn volume up and down throughout the viewing of the movie. Although I sometimes do that because gun scenes for example may be a bit too much for my ears to handle sometimes. But it is the way the movie is suppose to be played. Just like in a theater sudden gun fires often make you jump a little.

Dialogue perhaps is often an overlooked part of auditioning? I mean clear and natural dialogue is considered perhaps the hardest thing to reproduce right? So when we're talking about dynamic range we're also talking about dialogue too. You want to be able to hear every wisper but at the same time be surrounded by the loud action that goes around. The better your system the better you'll be able to hear the wispers and better your system is able to go from a soft wisper to loud gunfire or explosions. That's what dynamic range is isn't it?
 

John Kotches

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Mar 14, 2000
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One thing I would like to point out.

If we go on the assumption that a system is properly calibrated (test tones or AVIA at 75/85dB respectively) and dialogue gets drowned out by a transient it is the directors intent to do so.

I've never experienced music drowning out dialogue on a properly calibrated system. I have heard an explosion or other loud transient event "step on" dialogue, but that was an intentional effect.

Regards,
 

Robb Roy

Supporting Actor
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Jul 15, 2002
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711
I hadn't really noticed, but I haven't turned the volume up and down during movies since my AVIA calibration...
 

Kirk Mango

Stunt Coordinator
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Jul 8, 2002
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I never change the volume once I have set it at the beginning of a film. As others have said, I also never have a problem making out dialog while watching DVD's. Dialog is clear as a bell. The only volume changes I may make are dependent on the DVD I am watching. For example the new release of "Lord of the Rings" in DVD is very hot. It's mix is say very dynamic and very powerful compared to other DVD's I have watched. I run my preamp at -17dB Vol. on this movie, and this is loud, where almost all other DVD's are run at -15dB, and sound is at a normal level here. I used to think that Titan A&E was mixed hot, however, after Lord of the Rings I am not so sure. I will get peaks at around 97 on Titan A&E w/Vol at -15dB during the most dynamic scenes. With Lord of the Rings I get peaks of around 100dB w/Vol. set at -17dB on preamp. In both films Dialog is exceptional.

Kirk
 

Kevin C Brown

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I was joking about the max compression. (And the 9" BW TV too.) => :)
I try not to use any at all. Sometimes I do find myself "riding the volume knob" but usually only because my family room opens up to the kitchen, for when the fridge compressor turns on. (I have vowed to myself that when my current fridge dies, at the top of my list for a replacement will be dB ratings, not cost per kW...)
 

SteveMo

Stunt Coordinator
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Jun 19, 2002
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116
I must have accidently turned on my Dynamic Range when trying to turn off my cinema equalizer or something. My menu is on an 8" tv so it's sometimes hard to see what the arrow points to on the menu.

I watched LOTR the first time with it set to very little Dynamic Range and by the end of the movie I was almost crying thinking my system wasn't up to par for the movie.

I decided to check over everything because something had to be changed and then I found out it was on. I enjoyed the movie more the second time after that.
 

Chris PC

Senior HTF Member
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May 12, 2001
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3,975
I don't watch movies with the NITE function on, except, of course, at night time when others in the house are actually sleeping and I really do need to have it quieter. I don't notice much of a difference when I use the NITE setting. Not enough to make the movie listenable. I still end up turning the volume up and down a bit to sheild the sleepers.
 

Philip Hamm

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Jan 23, 1999
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When we talk about HT equipments, good dynamic range is one of the qualities that we're looking for. But, when we watch DVDs, we complain about some conversation is too hard to hear while some explosions are too loud. We end up changing volume up and down quite a lot, which is like actually compressing dynamic range of the audio coming out of your beloved HT system. Isn't it ironical?
It would be ironical (sic) if it were true, but I think that most HTFers tend to leave the volume more or less in one place while watching DVDs. I know I do. Have you used an SPL meter to calibrate your system so that all the speakers are even volumes?
 

RichardMA

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 16, 2002
Messages
446
People needing (for whatever reaon) to turn up and down
the sound a lot or compress the dynamic range might want to
wait for Dolby Headphone to reach more components and
buy one with it.
 

Lee-c

Second Unit
Joined
Sep 2, 2000
Messages
497
Kirk Mango: You say The Lord of the Rings hits peaks of 100db when you run the sound 17db
below reference (wow, that's loud :) ). Are you measuring those peaks with a meter at 3 feet
from the speaker or at the listening position (and if so, how far back is the listening position
from the speakers)?
 

Kevin C Brown

Senior HTF Member
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Aug 3, 2000
Messages
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I'm a guy.
When I watch TV, I fiddle with the remote endlessly.
Seems normal enough to me! :)
I did "ride the volume knob" a lot more when I was in an apartment. Didn't want to piss off the neighbors too much. :D
 

Bill Lucas

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 20, 1999
Messages
530
Kevin touched on something that should be considered. The noise floor of the listening environment is what ultimately determines the dynamic range. For instance, say you have a noise floor of 45db. Anything below that is going to be drowned out. This is what makes dialog during quiet passages difficult to understand. Turn your system off and really "listen" to the room. I'll bet many of you will be appalled when you hear how much ambient noise is present. This noise detracts from the listening experience.

If it is dificult to understand dialog when things are going crazy in the movie then a) it was intended that way and/or b) you may have a high noise floor to begin with and/or c) your equipment really isn't up to par and perhaps your system is the problem (i.e. speakers that can't REALLY play as loud as you like and begin to compress when you push them too far. Regards.
 

Lee Scoggins

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Aug 30, 2001
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Atlanta, Georgia
Real Name
Lee
I've never experienced music drowning out dialogue on a properly calibrated system. I have heard an explosion or other loud transient event "step on" dialogue, but that was an intentional effect.
John, I agree with this.
I have been in situations, however, where my cable company (lousy AT&T Broadband) has pumped up effects on certain broadcasts to the detriment of the sound. I found out that cable companies actually set these levels, much to my dismay. This is, of course, also another example for poor calibration, unfortunately out of one's control.
:)
 

Will Gatlin Jr

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Mar 7, 2002
Messages
201
One of the reasons I use a double centre set-up, because my single centre wasn't able to do it's job. I have NHT VT-2's (front/rear...Super two towers for the sides) w/VS-2a centres. Calibrated at 80db, my dialog fills up my entire listening room (11 1/2 by 28) nicely.
 

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