Music overwhelms speech

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Richard*, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Friends:

    I find that even though I have carefully equalized my speakers, albeit not with a meter, but rather with the Harmon Kardon white noise and my ears, I find that the L & R front speakers seem to be too loud. Actually, what I find is that I often can not hear the dialogue over the sound effects or music. I am ASSUMING that the problem is that the L & R front speakers are set too high. Is there some other cause or another solution???

    Thank you, Richard
     
  2. Marc LaPalme

    Marc LaPalme Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    try to be a little more specific with your details.

    what processing mode are you using?
    which harmon/kardon component are you using?
    and what media? movies or general 2 channel music?


    so far its sounds like your listening to a mono signal in dolby pro-logic 2.

    also i find that even with some 2 channel music or tv signals my h/k still doesn't decipher the center channels main audio spectrum too well and sends most of it to the main speakers. essentially deadening the voices.

    let us know a little more and maybe we can help you out.
     
  3. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Calibration is interesting and needed....

    I do find I usually set my sub and center(dialog) per source/content. If my dialog is not at the level I want it, Just turn up the center channel.

    Hard to really say though. Most of the time, my dialog is fine admittedly at calibrated level. Maybe 25% of the time, I feel it needs adjusted on any given content.
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0


    Are you connected to the receiver with a digital (coax or optical) connection? If not, you are connected 1 of 2 ways (I hope).

    If you are using analog 2 channel (red/white) you are only listening to Pro-Logic and the effect may be due to a poor Pro-Logic downmix or Pro-Logic not being calibrated in the receiver. The solution is to get a coax or optical connection hooked up.

    If you are using 5.1 analog outs from the DVD to the receiver, all calibration must be done on the DVD player because analog 5.1 bypasses all levels set in the receiver.

    If you do have a digital connection, check the output setting on the DVD audio setup screen. It should be set to "bitstream or "Dolby Digital" (set DTS to 'on' also). If it is set to "PCM", then you are not getting true 5.1 Dolby Digital, you are getting a downmix.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John
    What Jeff said. I'd say 9 times out of 10 your ears will be wrong on the majority of speakers. It is rare for someone to be able to set their speaker levels 100% correctly by ear. Does the receiver say "Dolby Digital" or "DTS" when playing a movie? If it says "Dolby PL" or "PLII", I'd look into the things Jeff mentioned.

    If the receiver/player settings are OK, I would suspect one of three things - 1)The center isn't up to the task, 2) The center is not optimally positioned, or 3) (least likely) There may potentially be damage to the center speaker.

    Do your front 3 speakers match in timbre? Are they all from the same manufacturer, from the same line of speakers?
     
  6. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Marc, John S, Jeff & John G,
    Sorry for not including details of my system:
    Harmon Kardon AVR 330 Dolby Digital Receiver
    Panasonic DVD-RP91 DVD Player
    Knoll HD272 DLP Projector
    Speakers: B & W CMC (Center) & CM-2 L & R front The 2 rear (side) speakers are a different brand. Velodyne CHT-14 sub.
    Media: DVD movies only, i.e., home theater

    Player is connected to receiver using optical connection.
    DVD Player settings are: Multi-channel; Digital Audio Output
    is ON (RE-MASTER Off); PCM Down Conversion: No; Dolby Digital: Bitstream.

    I set my Receiver Source to "DVD / Optical 1 Dolby Digital

    I hope with this info. you will better be able to figure out why I am having trouble hearing the dialogue.

    Thanks, Richard
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It looks like you are hooked up correctly and are receiving DD correctly. This leaves only calibration or a defective center as the problem. I would go with calibration. No matter how much you think "by ear" is enough for accuracy, the proof is in the pudding and right now it does not look like the center is calibrated correctly. Get an SPL meter, you won't regret it.
     
  8. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,203
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Welcome Richard!

    The might be other problems. Some DVD's were not mixed correctly, and the most common screw-up is for them to turn down the center because they think the noise is more important. They just forget to turn it back up later.

    This is more common in older titles. If you feel that your front calibration is right on the money, you might want to increase the center channel - and/or decrease the fronts volume.

    Hey - have fun!

    Glenn
     
  9. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks fellows. I have bought a Rat Shack digital sound meter. I will fool around with it in the coming weeks. BUT, let's say my right ear has lost some of its high freq. ability (which it has, SCUBA infection), then the meter is not adjusting for me specifically. (I usually am watching films alone.) I would think adjusting to my own ears would really be the way to go. BTW, my Harmon Kardon has a sound level meter built into the remote. When I have used it, I found differences between what it wanted and what I wanted. I suspect the meter I just bought is of better quality.
    Thanks, Richard

    PS Any idea why I am not getting e-mail notifications of posts here? I have that option checked and I am registered.
     
  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    12,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Some things to consider Richard: even though you have lost some high frequency hearing in one ear, most movie dialouge will come through the center channel, speech is probably not in the high frequency range (depending on your hearing loss), even for sounds comming from the right channel, you are listening to some of those with your left ear as well (as sounds bounce around the room), optimizing for your own hearing loss will not please anyone else and even if you want to have a couple of settings (one for you alone and one for groups) starting with a balanced system will allow you to compensate for your hearing loss more accurately than by your own ears alone.

    Without knowing more about your hearing loss, it may well be the case that sound volume (which is what the SPL meter measures) is a different issue than frequency. For example, I know longer hear sounds much above 13,000 hz, but that has nothing to do with the overall sound level.

    And in any case, should you need to compensate for this hearing loss, you should measure variouis frequcny ranges, not just white noise or whatever your receiver puts out for its test tone.
     
  11. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Lew,
    I intend to fool around with the meter as soon as I return from Alaska in the end of July. It will be fun and informative. You make some good points. Certainly, starting from a balanced system makes sense. Is there a film whose sound track is especially well done, so I could try out my system on it. Glenn, in post #8, makes it sound like not all Hollywood DVDs are equal in audio respect.
     
  12. Richard*

    Richard* Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Say Jeff (or anyone else).

    You told me to set my DVD Player's Audio setting for Dolby Digital to BITSTREAM, which I did. However, I noticed that the setting for dts is PCM. Should it also be set to BITSTREAM?
     
  13. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0


    Yes, if you want to play DTS soundtracks, you must have DTS set to 'on' or 'bitstream'.
     

Share This Page