Who out there actually watch dvd's in reference level playback?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Keir H, Aug 22, 2002.

  1. Keir H

    Keir H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I mentioned in another thread that I don't see how anyone could (with small to medium rooms) watch movies in reference level for the entire movie. Are there many of you guys out there that do? I find myself quickly turning down the vol. at -20 or so when explosions start to happen.. [​IMG] but believe me, I like it fairly loud but on my system (calibrated correctly with auto clibration tool on my preamp) I have never see the display go to -12 or higher..maybe I need a bigger listening room. [​IMG] Any opinions? Am I doing something wrong..because all in all, Ref: is what the director intended right?
     
  2. Roger Kint

    Roger Kint Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm usually around -20. I have never watched anything at reference level, that is just way too loud. My system is calibrated with internal test tones at 75db when the receiver knob is at the '0' reading. (From there, I'm not sure if a +10 dial increase equates to a +10 db increase; I'm guessing it's more or less so.)

    Maybe we are all calibrating wrong, i.e. differently from the movie theater experience? Does anyone know at what seating position are movie theaters calibrated and to what db level?

    I'm sure if I take my SPL meter to a calibrated theater and sit in the loudest section wherever that is, I won't get levels louder than at home at 0 ref level. So what gives?!?
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John
    TPM at ref cal. [​IMG] I've done it a few times, just the pod race. [​IMG]
    I normally listen/watch about -12 from ref.
     
  4. Keir H

    Keir H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Great question Roger. [​IMG] I am wondering the same. All the talk about ref: level makes me wonder is it -30 with peaks to -0 (85db) or is it -0 with peaks that make it over 115db...so confused. Can anyone help on this one? Thanks!
     
  5. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I watch most stuff at 10dB under reference and demo stuff at 5dB under reference. My amp doesn't have enough juice to get me to full reference and I'm not sure if my sub would start to complain at that point or not either.
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John
     
  7. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    1,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Real Name:
    Greg
    The 115dB is only on the LFE channel. All the other channels can have peaks up to 105dB.
     
  8. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Put if all 5 channels and the LFE channel decide to blast you, the output can get up over 120dB.
     
  9. AaronMg

    AaronMg Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2002
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The only time I listen to movies at reference level is when nobody is home. Usually from -00 to -06 depending on the movie. BTW, I could only get LOTR up to about -10 though before it felt like my house was gonna fall down.
     
  10. Jack Van

    Jack Van Auditioning

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2002
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Being quite sensitive to the possibilty that I might blow out my eardrums, I cannot listen at reference level for any length of time. It is quite uncomfortable to be sure.
    It is my belief however that the reference levels are a guideline that suggests what a system should be capable of attaining rather than a hard and fast rule that indicates we should all listen at that level. As someone else stated, we usually only reach that level alone as any significant other in the room with us would probably inflict serious pain upon our person until the system was brought back to a more...shall we say...realistic level.

    Just one mans opinion.
     
  11. John F. Palacio

    John F. Palacio Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Messages:
    575
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Jack Van says:
    "It is my belief however that the reference levels are a guideline that suggests what a system should be capable of attaining rather than a hard and fast rule that indicates we should all listen at that level."
    It is my understanding that reference level is what theaters are supposed to be CAPABLE of. Not any requirement that it HAS to be played at that level.
    Is this not the case? [​IMG]
    Most people in these forums state that they never or seldom play at reference levels.
     
  12. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2002
    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    thx reference levels if I'm correct are in acorrdance with DD ref levels which is 75dB mormal and 105dB peak. So I would assume that any THX cert receiver that has internal test tones would output 75dB signal. The test tone one Video Essentials are 75dB and the tones on Avia are 85dB. Quoting info from the Deafness Research Foundation constant exposure of anything above 90dB can be dangerous. 115dB is about = to a Rock band concert in front of the speakers, or a thunderclap. If 90dB is dangerous then I bet 85dB isn't to healthy either. I don't now what the level is on the S&V disc but it's partly made by Ovation Software the company that does Avia but S&V might've insisted on 75dB instead of 85dB. I think my MCACC on the 49tx uses 75dB tones for the speaker calibration part of the process.

    I watched one movie at reference once that was Gladiator (my favorite) my young ears couldn't handle it but I stuck through it I'm a trooper. With LOTR I couldn't watch that any higher than -23 and that was really loud that is the loudest movie I've heard and thought movies are all supposed to at an equal SPL.

    Daniel Smith
     
  13. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think you have a bit of a misconception there Daniel. Avia and VE calibrate your system to the same level. Dolby defines the loudest level for the speakers as 105dB. Avia backs off from this 20dB for it's tones and VE and several other discs back off 30dB. So using Avia to calibrate to 85dB will result in the same overall level as using VE to calibrate to 75dB.

    I think another reason reference level seems so loud is very few people have heard reference level on a system that can do reference cleanly. You need a very capable system to do reference level cleanly. Systems that aren't capable of reference level cleanly will be outputting loads of ear splitting distortion that will be very hard to listen to.

    Even with a system capable of a clean reference level I don't think I'd watch an entire movie that loud. I'd give short demos at that level but that's it.

    Another thing to remember with the hearing loss stuff is that low bass needs to be a lot louder to cause damage. It's the voice frequencies that are most likely to cause damage. If you use an A weighting on the SPL meter the levels during movie action sequences are a lot lower as this excludes the bass stuff. So over the course of a movie you won't get much over 90dB exposure to voice frequencies. Now if you watched action movies 8 hours a day everyday at reference then I'd worry. A few movies a week I wouldn't too much.

    Having said that, let your ears be the judge. If after watching a movie normal sounds seem significantly depressed (not that things seeming a bit quieter because your hearing has adjusted, but things seem a little muffled). It was too loud, turn it down and don't do that again. If you hear ringing in your ears after watching a movie or listening to some music don't ever do that again, you just damaged your hearing.
     
  14. Dan Lindley

    Dan Lindley Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2000
    Messages:
    396
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I did a quick search on hearing loss, and this thread is pretty good:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=70254
    It includes a graph from TomV showing that low freqs cause less damage than higher freqs. (but who would not have guessed that more freaks = more damage)
    But I was hoping to find a link to some site that has hearing guidelines about 'minutes til damage' at different Dbs. I know I saw that somewhere. And I think that same site also has a guide to viewing angles, ie how wide the TV screen is compared to a theater given your distance from the screen and its width.
    Dan
     
  15. Frank Kanyak

    Frank Kanyak Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2002
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Most movies are around -15 to -20 for the norm. But when I am alone watching a first run it is usually around -10 to -12 under referance. To demo I push the TPM at -5 but I do think that it is to loud.
     
  16. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    Messages:
    1,865
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I almost always watch movies with my friends at reference level including Lord of the Bass (FOTR).
    It's just like after I go to a club my ears are first overwhelmed with extreme highs and chest pounding bass. But after a short time my ears get used to it.
    Same goes with movies at reference. The Dynamic range is usually wide so it's not hard on the ears at all during most of the movie.
    My #1 reason for watching movies at reference is the dynamic headroom scenes when it suddenly gets loud. If I've never seen the movie before or forgotton the loud parts, it usually scares me out of my seat like in a commercial theater.
    When was the last time some of you people have honestly been holding your seat waiting for that "JUMP" out loud scene. Probably not as often at 10-20db below reference.
    Reference is a key to get involved in the movie for me.... The only time I do not watch movies at reference is when my HT isn't tuned right or somebody that's not watching the movie complains it's too loud.
    (Watching Resident Evil for the first time was quite the trip) [​IMG]
     
  17. Todd Schnell

    Todd Schnell Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 21, 2001
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm calibrated to Avia & usually listen around -15 from reference level give or take a few dbs.
    Lord of the Rings/FotR is another story though.
    I have on occasion turn it up to about -08 to demo certain scenes. [​IMG]
    I never turn it all the way up to reference, that is just way too loud in my room.
    Todd
     
  18. Ned

    Ned Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2000
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I listen about 3db under reference. My junky receiver only has so much power and that's about where it runs out of clean power.
    Something you guys are overlooking is room acoustics. Room size is virtually irrelevant with respect to SPL. However, if you have a room with blank drywall the amount of reverb that contributes to your final SPL is very significant.
    Before treating my room with absorbing panels, I never went above -10db under reference due to the harshness caused by echoes and reflections. After treating (all the same equipment), I could easily push it to reference and the sound was devoid of the harshness from room effects.
    Unfortunately, talking about room acoustics on most forums feels like banging your head on the wall. Most people will not accept it's significance and baulk at the relatively minor cost. If you spend $4000 on a Denon receiver you're somehow admired. If you spend $300 on some acoustic panels you get funny looks [​IMG]
     
  19. Keir H

    Keir H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I guess because of the SAF/WAF that comes into play when putting up panels in the average family room. I would if I cold get away with it.[​IMG] No wonder most listening rooms at the dealer sound so great...because of treatment. I think alot people come outta a demo and say, "Wonder why mine doesn't sound like that, I have the same gear..."
     
  20. David Ely

    David Ely Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 1998
    Messages:
    753
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     

Share This Page