Is there any product that will "level" volume during a movie?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kenny_Ko, Dec 3, 2001.

  1. Kenny_Ko

    Kenny_Ko Auditioning

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    The best way I can describe this is to show an example.
    From this link
    http://www.newsearching.com/tvs/Phil...elevision.html
    "SmartSound also keeps consistent volume levels between programs and commercials, and from one channel to another. "
    Smartsound will not let the volume go higher (or lower, I think) than a certain DB no matter what signal it is fed.
    I would really like to have something like this (without having to buy a new TV and that will work on my 5.1 system) when watching DVD's late at night so I do not wake up my family.
    I have a "separates" system if that matters and the "midnight mode" is not enough. Midnight mode really only lowers loud blasts a little, it does not "level" the entire spectrum. Meaning many things are still too low to hear, but when a loud crash comes through it is still too loud.
    The way I see it I would need some device that could connect inbetween my DVD player and my preamp. It would have to "normalize" the digital stream in real time to a certain DB level before it hit the preamp.
    Or if there is some other way to do this? I would love to hear how.
     
  2. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Generally most DVDs and Preamps allow you to set expansion and compression limits. They tend to use different terms, but if you go into the the DVD and preamps set up menus, set compression to max. The quiets will be brought out and the BANGS will only go boom.

    Soom Tvs also have this capability in the set up or audio menus

    grant
     
  3. Kenny_Ko

    Kenny_Ko Auditioning

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    Thanks Grant

    I have a Marantz AV9000 and a Toshiba 3109 player. I can't seem to find these settings, can anyone help?

    Thanks
     
  4. Russell _T

    Russell _T Supporting Actor

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    The Toshiba's have something called DRC which stands for Dynamic Range Control. It should address your problem somewhat. Also, many receivers have a night mode that works in a similar fashion.

    Russ
     
  5. Andy Kim

    Andy Kim Second Unit

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    Hi,
    I've had a similar problem with the dynamic range of audio tracks. The Dynamic Range Control/Midnight Mode does make a difference but at times, it is still too loud.
    SIMA Corp makes this product called the Volume Stabilizer that reduces the high dB peaks and raises the quiet sounds to level out the audio. This product only works with stereo RCA inputs though and not 5.1. I bought this product and although it works, it can sometimes actually make dialogue harder to hear in some cases. I don't really use it anymore, although on some discs its a must such as "The Matrix" and "The World is not Enough" since the dialogue on 2 channels is soo quiet.
    Here's the link if you're interested:
    http://www.simacorp.com/vstab.html
    Alternatively, you can get a professional compressor/limiter that musicians use from dbx that do the same job.
     
  6. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    What you're looking for is simply a compressor/limiter. This is a common audio tool, however you would need one in-line for every channel of the 6 channel playback system.

    Probably figure $500, and you couldn't use it with a receiver- you have to run it inline between the preamp and the amplifers... so it would only work if you have seperates.

    Dolby offers DRC as part of their spec- this helps control dynamics, but only one discs flagged with DRC control data.

    I am personally a big fan of actual dynamics in audio formats! We finally have a digital audio carrier with very very low noise floor, and the majority of the world (music CDs) try to squash the signal completely. Dynamics are natural, dynamics are good.

    just my opinion, could be wrong.

    Vince
     
  7. Jim Lenneman

    Jim Lenneman Stunt Coordinator

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    Kenny,

    A good set of headphones would be the ultimate and maybe even the cheapest solution to the problem.

    Jim L
     
  8. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

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  9. Kenny_Ko

    Kenny_Ko Auditioning

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    Wow
    Thanks eveyone for the great advice. It would be a bit pricey to put a compressor on every channel (possible becuase I do have separates, but pricey)
    The toshiba 3109 does have dynamic control - on or off and my preamp does have a midnight mode. I just never tried them together [​IMG]
    I also have a volume contol on the sub amp. With the combination of all this adjusted just right it is better, I just have to remember to turn it all off when I want the real sound.
    Other than that I think I might try the headphone route as that wins in the bang for the $$$ category. Two of these http://www.mercenaryaudio.com/realniccom.html would set me back $400 and then I would have to adjust them, but this looks something like what I was after.
    Thanks All This gives me some great ideas.
     
  10. John*S

    John*S Agent

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    Kenny,

    My Integra DTR-7.1 Receiver has a Late Night setting for just the purpose you describe.

    It narrows the dynamic range of the sound so you can hear the lower sounds, like voices, at low volumes. According to the manual, "This function is especially useful if you wish to play a movie at low volume during the nighttime.

    The caveat is it works only on Dolby Digital encoded software.
     
  11. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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