Problems with Soft Dialogue in Center Channel? Not anymore!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bob_A, Jul 11, 2001.

  1. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    In the past, with some DVD's, I would have to increase the center channel level as much as +5 or I would have to crank the overall volume so that voices could be loudly heard from all seating positions. You can see where this could be a problem: in the former case you won't achieve as seamless a blend between the mains and center, and in the latter case things tend to get too loud. Just a note: I never have had any problems with DTS discs and low levels of voice in the center channel...DTS is always super clear.
    Thanks to a Ms. Nomer (!), I heard that the yamaha dspA1 could defeat dialogue normalization. I went through the setup menu and there was a setting under "Cinema EQ" which turned on equalization for the LCR channels. I turned this off, and now vocals are loud and clear at CC levels of just +0 or +1 with virtually all my DD discs!
    So if you guys are having this problem, you might want to look through the receiver setup menus and either turn off the dialogue normalization, or you should adjust equalizer settings to achieve good tonal balance (if you are able to do this...you can check tonal balance by playing test tones through each speaker and try to get the closest match that you can). Good luck!
     
  2. Roger Dressler

    Roger Dressler Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure if you are saying it was the Cinema EQ or the dialog normalization that made the difference, but I can assure you that dialog normalization cannot affect the relationship between the dialog, or the center channel, and any other signals in the soundtrack. It is merely a global volume shift, at a fixed value for the entire program. I can believe that switching the EQ off did make a difference, as it cuts high frequencies (sound less clear) when on, and more clear when off.
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    Roger Dressler
    Dolby Laboratories
     
  3. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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  4. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Oddly enough, I had the same problem with my Yamaha 595 before I sold it. Never have had the problem with my current Pioneer equipment though.
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    /Kimmo
     
  5. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Great post.
    Thanks Bob for bringing this subject to the fore. And thanks Roger, and Jay for confirming the EQ issue. I have a DSP-A1 and, while having played with this setting in the past, I seem to have forgotten (or spaced out) that the EQ was left to the on position.
    Now I will go back to some known discs and listen better to this off setting.
    I just love it when I can gather some key info from the forum every now and then. I've been just lurking recently as the new basement HT room has taken up a large chunk of my free time. Not to mention that a boy was added to the family last Sunday.
    Thanks again.
    BOK
     
  6. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the clarification guys...I suspected something of the sort because with the LCR eq turned "on" it cut high frequencies by -3 db and it's parametric eq (i believe) was cut -4 db. The sound was still amazing when the LCR eq was "on", but now I can almost always get loud dialogue at fairly low overall volume levels.
    Brian thanks for the comments. Congratulations! I really love the dspA1, almost as much as my 2000TL's [​IMG]
     
  7. Bill_Mazz

    Bill_Mazz Auditioning

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    I'm curious if anyone can answer Kimmo's question. This fix only applies to receivers with THX settings, doesn't it? I have had problems with dialog in Dolby Pro Logic with both a Marantz receiver and my current Yamaha 995 and these don't have the cinema EQ settings. I have suspected the problem is with my Klipsch center KV2 speaker which has been the common element in my home theater for the last 5 years or an inherent problem with Prologic since when I switch to stereo, the dialog gets clearer. Any opinions?
     
  8. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Bill_Mazz - it could very well be the Center speaker.
    I originally used a Yamaha R-V905 @ my main home HT (authorized mailorder version of the RX-V595) and I also had 'soft dialogue' issues with the Center channel when I owned HT speakers that were a mix and match to say the least.
    Eventually I matched the front speaker with the JBL SC305 and JBL J820M (surrounds were JBL J520M w/10mm Ti tweeters), although the Center and Front speakers were different model numbers, both had identical 14mm Titanium tweeters. That ended my 'soft dialogue' problem with the R-V905.
    Eventually my R-V905 went up to my vacation house, and now I use the Yamaha RX-V995, and still no problems with 'soft dialogue', (both system REF Calibrated by Video Essentials @ 75 dB). Now the only issue was the surround channels. Because the J520M surrounds had 10mm Ti tweeters, the surrounds highs were slightly different in timbre and high frequency extension (laws of physics - smaller driver).
    Once I upgraded to the JBL NSP1's (identical 3/4" Titanium all-around), I'm in 100% 360-degree seamless Cinematic REF Level heaven!! [​IMG]
    Phil
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    http://www.geocities.com/p_iturra
     
  9. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hey Brian OK: Congratulations on that recent "upgrade" to your family. [​IMG]
    And dont turn off that ReEq yet. You may want it ON to avoid disturbing your wife and new son.
    Best wishes to you and your wife.
     
  10. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Good Point Bob M (and thanks for the kind words; Bob_A too).
    Since I have turned the Cinema EQ OFF, the front soundstage jumped back to life. I'm using Paradigm Monitor 7's and the CC 350 across the front, with the ADP 350 for the rears. Simply put, I prefer the OFF setting, as speakers are alike to begin with and it is just a more accurate and seamless soundfield with EQ OFF.
    I realize now I had mistakenly set it to ON some months ago and never caught it , what with all the power cord and digital coax changes, as well as some Pan RV80 tweaking that I have done. I did notice that the gain knob had to climb two clicks or so to make dialogue intelligible on some discs. But now I am back on track and looking forward to moving the HT to the finished basement. Down their the little one should not be disturbed as the room is done pretty much to Dennis Erksine/Ted White specs from AVS. Double drywall, decoupled ceiling, and caulk and insulation up the wazoo. We shall see in 2-3 weeks.
    As it is now, the DVD viewing is pretty much done around the schedule of Mom and infant. I can crank it up soon enough.
    Thanks, and Best Regards
    BOK
    BOK
    [Edited last by Brian OK on July 14, 2001 at 12:35 PM]
    [Edited last by Brian OK on July 14, 2001 at 12:38 PM]
     
  11. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    I had many problems with Center levels untill I got my Outlaw 1050 .
    My speaks are Paradigm Studio . The other recievers were Onkyo & Denon .
    It's rare for me to tweek the center/sub these days .
    I will also admit that the DVD player plays a big part in this .
    Eric
     
  12. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Well, I "solved" the problem when I still owned the Yamaha by calibrating the center speaker a bit higher than the surrounds. It wasn't the best solution but it worked.
    But, like I said, with my current Pioneer receiver (VSX-859RDS - european model) dialogue is crystal clear and very audible... so I don't have this problem anymore, fortunately.
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    /Kimmo
     
  13. DanR

    DanR Supporting Actor

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    Agreed on the Re-EQ making the dialog sound muffled.
    One of the most unsung benefits of the controllers from Theta Digital (the CasaNova and CasaBlanca) is the adjustable shelf EQ. It's not the terrible implementation of the THX program or the ridiculously intrusive "hi-eq" of most recievers.
    On the Theta, the EQ affects all channels, and is adjustable across 5 settings (off, and 1 through 4 with the 3 approximating the THX X curve). Usually, when I need the EQ, it is at the 1 or 2 setting at the most (except for maybe Crimson Tide [​IMG]).
    Gary Reber of Widescreen Review briefly mentions this in the latest issue, and his sentiments are spot on. As a someone who's been into home theater for 8 years, I don't think I'll ever buy a product without the EQ implemented as Theta has done it. When EQ is needed, Theta controllers are more flexible and have excellent implementation. I guess that only leaves room for me to go to the CasaBlanca II!!! [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Dan
     

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