Is It Just Me Or....

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Scott Aruti, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. Scott Aruti

    Scott Aruti Stunt Coordinator

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    ....does it sometimes feel as if some DVDs, if not almost all, do not demonstrate a genuine immersive, room-filling experience when played back on moderately powered systems for small or medium sized rooms? I guess what I am trying to get at is this...most of the time, when I play back DVDs in surround, and there arent wild action sequences going on, I can have a comfortable conversation with the person next to me on the couch, even with dialogue going on...sometimes I feel like a simple center channel speaker just isnt enough to immerse me in a film's dialogue or on-screen action; and this is with my receiver turned up PAST the "50" value on the volume screen (Onkyo receiver owners will know what Im talking about).

    I was watching Finding Nemo yesterday afternoon, and while its Dolby Digital EX soundtrack was delightful, when there wasnt any animated action going on, my apartment wasnt "filled with sound" even when dialogue was firing from the center channel, and this was with the receiver turned up...is this normal? Are we SUPPOSED to be able to talk over dialogue and some front soundstage activity from the sweet spot, even if the volume is turned up? Of course, when action is ripping across all channels, or an intense DTS disc is doing its thing, talking over such action is difficult; but during quieter moments, is this normal in a home theater, where the room seems VERY quiet even though dialogue is coming from a center channel speaker?
     
  2. Mike SJ

    Mike SJ Supporting Actor

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    scott, you have invested time, energy, and money into your HT. Why must you critique it so?

    to answer your question. can you carry on a conversation in a theater during "quieter moments"? of course you can.

    I think you are just trying to make sure everything is OK in your HT.

    DEEP BREATHS...it took me a while before I could enjoy movies.

    if you dont want ppl talking in YOUR theater, tell them to shut up [​IMG]
     
  3. Scott Aruti

    Scott Aruti Stunt Coordinator

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    "scott, you have invested time, energy, and money into your HT. Why must you critique it so?

    to answer your question. can you carry on a conversation in a theater during "quieter moments"? of course you can.

    I think you are just trying to make sure everything is OK in your HT.

    DEEP BREATHS...it took me a while before I could enjoy movies.

    if you dont want ppl talking in YOUR theater, tell them to shut up"


    Mike,

    Thanks for the reply...but BECAUSE I have invested all the time, energy and money into the system is WHY I have these questions, ya see? And its really not that I am saying people talk in my home theater, its when ANYONE talks, it could be me myself; even just to critique or analyze the film being watched...it seems too easy to talk over dialogue-driven moments of a film.
     
  4. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    Scott, I sometimes feel the same way and I think its perfectly normal. I don't blame my HT set up and neither should you. There are many moments in many movies when there is just dialog and it really ain't that loud, and then there are other many moments in many movies where its so damn loud you can't hear the person next to you even if they were screaming. I personally love the latter of the two moments [​IMG]
     
  5. Scott Aruti

    Scott Aruti Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you for your insight and understanding; I TOTALLY agree with your latter statement----isn't it one of life's sweetest moments when you just cannot say a word over the tornado ripping through your living room or the T rex bellowing from all around?? [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    My father tends to be very loud during movies: he laughs loud, he claps when he gets excited and he loves to throw in comments throughout the movie. The sweetest moment in HT bliss for me was when I had my new system all set up (Yamaha RX-V2400, JBL Studio Seris all around, HSU sub) and playing at 8 dB less than reference level, it was so damn loud that I couldn't hear my father at all [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. Scott Aruti

    Scott Aruti Stunt Coordinator

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    I hear ya...that sounds like a moment I would savor, too...I live across the country from my parents, but when I watch films in surround with them (they have a killer HT setup in their house in Las Vegas, surround speakers in the cathedral ceilings and a VERY similar Onkyo/Polk setup as me in my apartment in New York), I usually need to crank the volume WAY WAY up because my father cant hear shit...but some action scenes get WAY too loud for him when they kick in and I love when people get startled by the power of a surround system you set up or calibrated or had some hand in...[​IMG]
     
  8. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    I'm sure no one will agree with me here (and I'm not at all sure if this equates to Scott's "low volume" difficulties or not) but.....

    ..... I hate Dolby Digital receivers.
    At least I've hated the two I've had.
    Neither one produced (IMO) high enough levels of sound. Had to crank the damn things way, way past 70 (or so) just to get an "average" level of sound, which would equal about a "25" on my older Pro-Logic receiver. That's just not right.

    Never could figure out why I needed to crank the volume to near "max." just to get a level equal to "mid-range" on a Pro-Logic unit.

    Weird. And aggravating.
     
  9. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Scott,

    One of the benefits of Digital surround sound, whether DD or DTS is the incredibly wide dynamic range that can be faithfully reproduced. With the volume knob at a single setting you can have whisper quiet scenes and a few minutes later the walls are shaking. Regular analog sound from VHS or most tv broadcasts can't do this so you're used to having loud dialog when you have it cranked up enough for the action sequences to be loud.

    My system is pretty well calibrated sound wise and it's very common for plain indoor dialog scenes to be very quiet, while an action sequence has stuff falling off the shelves.

    It's normal, it's accurate to what the moviemakers intended, your system is fine.
     
  10. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    Yes, dynamic range is a good thing. Dialogue should be at a natural level, as if someone else was in the room with you. In a normal "film" conversation, you should be able to talk over the soundtrack, or at least compete with it, as you would another person in the room. DVD audio levels are all over the place, but I always set my listening volume based on a "natural" dialogue level of the particular piece of software in question. If this means gunshots, explosions, etc. in said film are LOUD, then that's also a good thing and intended.

    This is quite unlike theaters that crank the damn soundtracks to ear-blistering levels where the dialogue sounds like a P.A. system, and everything else is distorted above that.

    If your listening environment is not ideal - i.e. noisy or an open space - set your DVD player's DRC (Dynamic Range Control) on and that may help. Of course, the recommended solution is make your listening environment as ideal as possible so that you don't have to do this.

    My $.02,
     
  11. Scott Aruti

    Scott Aruti Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you, Felix; I shall take everything you said into consideration.

    And no, my listening space is not noisy or in the open; its a rather small living room area in a studio apartment.
     
  12. Scott Aruti

    Scott Aruti Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you, Steve.
     
  13. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I've never tried. When the movie's on, I prefer to listen.

    M.
     
  14. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Two threads have been combined. Please do not start the same thread in multiple forums.

    M.
     
  15. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    If the sound is coming only from the centre channel, you aren't meant to be immersed. Conversations are a directional thing, the mouth that is speaking is only in one spot. Not everything can be loud and spread across 5/7 channels all the time...that would take away from the excitement. If everything's always loud and immersive, when the film reaches a climactic moment, where do you go from there? There's something to be said about dynamics and whatnot.

    Play around with your settings or speaker placement and see if you can improve on the problems you seem to be having.
     
  16. Mike SJ

    Mike SJ Supporting Actor

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    dynamic range... that is one reson that I sold my projector. Not that I didnt like having a 120" screen but i live in an apartment wich menas no built in proj setup. therefore I had to listen to my proj fan all the time. during loud scenes, of course it didnt bother me one bit. but when it was a "girly" movie or one based on plot and suspense rather than shock and awe, i wanted to hear the movie only and not the "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" from behind me. keeping the decibel threshold to a minimum inside your HT is one key IMO to dynamic range (there is also accoustic treatments and whatnot to help out more).
     
  17. Scott Aruti

    Scott Aruti Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks everyone;

    And Michael, of course, I prefer to listen too when I view cinema, but what I was saying was when I have a guest or two, sometimes you cannot help but comment during certain scenes, scrutinizing dialogue, scenery, etc; so during quiet passages it seemed too easy to talk over these moments, thats all I was saying...sorry about the double post, and I am going to think about what has been suggested to me by other members regarding Dolby Digital's dynamics.
     
  18. Howard_You

    Howard_You Stunt Coordinator

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    I know what you mean and agree with you to a point. I personally prefer the older 7 o'clock to 5 o'clock volume dial over the digital negative dB readout. I prefer the way the volume scale worked on pro-logic receivers. You may want to try using the 5.1 direct inputs on your receiver if you have them, this might give you a bit more volume at lower settings.

    I must say though I prefer the overall stereo sound on my newer digital receiver (NAD T742) vs. my older pro-logic (H/K AVR30) both rated at similar power 60wpc stereo. I find both receivers can get very loud.
     
  19. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I have had three receivers so far and they all had the option of switching between both types of reading.

    And yes, Dynamic Range is a GOOD thing.

    --
    H
     
  20. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    The DVD FAQ addressed this issue early on. I believe the following section has been there since the early days:

    M.
     

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