New HT system - are sound effects too loud?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Alexander-G, Sep 15, 2002.

  1. Alexander-G

    Alexander-G Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2002
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Just got the following system:

    JBL NSP1
    Sony SA-WM40
    H/K AVR 320

    Generally I am thrilled with the system and particularly happy that regular music sounds so great (contrary to expectations based on reviews of the NSP1 set).

    On the DVD-front, I am generally very happy but had one concern. I thought the purpose of HT in large part was to replicate a movie-going experience, but when I pop a DVD in, the sound is actually much more intense than what I experience in the movie theater, and in particularly, the sound effects seem very, very loud in relation to the voices. So I have to turn the system up pretty loud just to hear what people are saying, but then the sound effects are too loud. My sense is that that is not how it is in the movie theater.

    I have been able to fix this issue to a certain extent by using the midnight mode, but the sound effects still seem to be disproportionately loud. A couple of examples:

    1. I watched the scene in the Matrix when Neo and Trinity are blasting through the lobby of the building where Morpheus is being held hostage. There is a music here, which I remember vividly from seeing the movie in the theater - indeed I remember that the whole scene felt like a music video. Now, the music is kind of a quiet background often drowned out by all the shots and explosions etc.

    2. I popped in the DVD of Oklahoma, which is obviously a very different kind of film. Here the sound effects issue seems to manifest itself a different way. When people are singing, you can here the music and their voices clearly, but when they are just talking voices are much quieter.

    Does anybody have any thougts on this? Is this experience normal?

    Thanks!
    Alex
     
  2. Mike Strassburg

    Mike Strassburg Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2001
    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    First off, have you calibrated the speaker levels with a disc/SPL meter? You MUST calibrate all the speaker levels evenly, at least as a starting point.

    Secondly, it is NOT against the laws of HT to turn up the CC a little to better hear the dialogue. This can vary from disc to disc.

    Thirdly, your system SHOULD sound as good as if not better than most theaters since you're filling a much smaller area and sit much closer to the speakers.

    Spend a little time tweaking and you'll get the desired results...Mike
     
  3. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
    HW Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Proper calibration should make a big difference. If sound effects still sound disporporionally loud, you might try playing with the dynamic range compression option. This will limit the frequency range that is ouput, softening the very highs and lows, and in turn making vocals easier to hear and limiting the volume of sound effects somewhat.
     
  4. Alexander-G

    Alexander-G Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2002
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks -

    My H/K receiver does an automatic calibration using a mic in the remote control. Do you know if that feature is any good? In any case, I have an SPL meter, but I need to get the DVD for calibration, and will then do it manually.

    Thanks!
     
  5. Viktor Lundberg

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Secondly, it is NOT against the laws of HT to turn up the CC a little to better hear the dialogue.

    Pardon me, but what does CC mean?

    Regards:

    Viktor A Lundberg
     
  6. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
    HW Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    CC = Center Channel in this case
     
  7. Mike-grouse

    Mike-grouse Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ahhh, the old addage of what is turly better.

    The sound in your home theater will almost always sound better than the run of the mill standard theater.

    There are only a few theater across the nation that could be considered reference.

    Simple reasons:
    A theater has to try to deliver a performance to a broad audience in a large room and the audio in the environment is "supposed to me professionally calibrated with the volume and levels not touched.

    Fact: the theater workers who go into those control rooms can't help but fiddle with the knobs and play with what they think sounds best.

    A home theater comes closer to the actual sound studio the audio was created in versus a movie theater.

    So after proper calibration, using Avia's Guide to Home Theater or Video Essentials, you shoul dhave better audio with a correct balance that'll make the shortcomings of the multi-plex even more apparent.

    After you balance out the audio recognize the fact that audio engineers do the center voice channel at defferent levels. I'd recommend against chaning any settings to accomodate different movies. In general, most movies with be fine, the ones that stand out should just be recognized as incompetent productions.

    Hope this helps and welcome to HT
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    as others have already said, be sure to calibrate.
    also, even after calibration, don't be afraid to fine-tune the sound levels to your liking.
    if you have to bump up the center, or lower the mains/rears, then do it. do what makes you happy.
    you are the one who has to listen to it...make it sound good to YOUR ears.
     
  9. Alexander-G

    Alexander-G Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2002
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for all your advice everyone. Calibration seemed to do the trick - that is after calibrating the speakers using an SPL and Ovation DVD, movies seemed great, although I never went back to the Matrix to see if that sounded better (i.e. to see if the sound effects issues were unique to that DVD). I tried to that this morning, and found that all my calibration settings had been wiped out and my receive was playing the DVD in two-channel mode?

    Does anyone know what the deal with that is? I clearly calibrated my speakers for the "DVD" setting in my H/K, but the receivers has dropped all these settings the very next day? Doesn't the receiver have memory for these settings?

    Thanks
     
  10. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2001
    Messages:
    1,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    hmmmm,

    my yamaha has a memory "on" "off" in the set-up menu.

    edit: ok, forget this since my "Memory Guard" feature likely is applicable only to Yamaha here (for DSP and spkr level settings).
     
  11. Mike-grouse

    Mike-grouse Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    no no it should remember. If cheap surround receiver of the early 90s do it (that was prologic) than all others do it now.

    It sounds like you have the power off or something. Be sure the receiver isn't plugged into a outlet controlled by a power cord.

    Even though they're off the receiver needs a little juice to remember everything.

    good luck.

    my the force be with you.

    welcome to the real world --- morpheus... time:???
     

Share This Page