A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature

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nicolasb

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A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« on: 13 Dec 2003, 01:49 pm »
A somewhat unusual request: I'd like to have some rather heavier-duty Dynamic Range Compression available as an option on the SP1.7.

As I may have mentioned before, I'm partially deaf. The way in which this manifests itself is in a loss of available dynamic range in my hearing. A normal person can hear things down to 0dB (depending on frequency) and has to leave the room with ears hurting at about 110dB. I, on the other hand, cannot hear anything at all below about 30dB (low or high frequencies) or below 50dB in the mid frequencies. But the loudest noise I can tolerate is actually quieter than a normal person - maybe 100dB. So my ears respond to only half the normal dynamic range.

Curiously, within that range, the accuracy of my ear and brain system is actually very good - I can instantly hear differences in distortion and tonal quality between different hifi components that many people with "normal" hearing have to struggle to detect at all.

But anyhow: as it is, even with the SP1.7 DRC set to "Late", I still spend a lot of time turning the volume up and down - up during quiet dialogue scenes, down for the explosions and screeching car tyres. I'm sure I'm not the only listener to have this sort of hearing loss - and even if I were, the "Late" DRC setting is still not actually that compressed. I'm not sure even a normal listener could really rely on it not to upset the neighbours or wake up a baby upstairs. So I think an option to step up the effect a bit, maybe even configure the level of compression from a menu option, would be a handy feature.

James Tanner

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A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #1 on: 13 Dec 2003, 09:34 pm »
Hi nicolasb,

I will run that one by our software engineer.

james

nicolasb

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A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #2 on: 14 Dec 2003, 05:20 pm »
Cool.  :)

Incidentally, I've heard several people with perfectly normal hearing complain about movie soundtracks mixing the dialogue too quiet compared with the sound effects. The film-makers apparently deliberately do this to make the cinemas turn the volume up loud so that people get blasted out of their seats when there's an explosion.  :x

I've even heard it suggsted that Hollywood film-makers are entirely uninterested in making dialogue intelligible because so much of their market is non-English-speaking anyway.

(mutter)

James Tanner

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A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #3 on: 14 Dec 2003, 08:24 pm »
Hi nicolasb,

Interesting - I have not heard that before but I will ask 2 of the top movie recordinging engineers if they have been aware of the issue.

james

nicolasb

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A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #4 on: 15 Dec 2003, 10:29 am »
It may just be one of those urban myths, of course - be good to get it from the horse's mouth! :)

nicolasb

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A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #5 on: 15 Jan 2004, 06:28 pm »
Quote
Quote
So I think an option to step up [DRC] a bit, maybe even configure the level of compression from a menu option, would be a handy feature.

I will run that one by our software engineer.

Ignoring my Hollywood conspiracy theories for a moment, is there any feedback on my original question?

James Tanner

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A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #6 on: 15 Jan 2004, 06:35 pm »
Both engineers I asked - and these two are way up on the Hollywood food chain - "we record the dialogue as accurately as we can at a level which is always heard. Dialogue is the most important aspect of what we do".

james

JoshK

A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #7 on: 15 Jan 2004, 07:00 pm »
I have perfect hearing but I too hate how the dialogue is so quiet relative to the sound effects on a lot of movies.  Its my biggest pet peeve about DVDs.  It is very apartment living unfriendly and I have often had people complain that it is way too loud during sound effects when the volume is at a level that is easily and comfortably heard.  I have yet to hear a processor that has done a good job of correcting this.  It is probably very software dependent.

Too bad recording engineers and media makers couldn't get together and figure out a way of seperating the sound effect tracks from the dialogue tracks so that Receivers and processors could control the volumes of the two independently.  How cool would that be?

bubba966

A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #8 on: 15 Jan 2004, 07:18 pm »
Quote from: JoshK
Too bad recording engineers and media makers couldn't get together and figure out a way of seperating the sound effect tracks from the dialogue tracks so that Receivers and processors could control the volumes of the two independently. How cool would that be?


Would probably be possible if it was done in an SDDS 8 type setup for home.

SDDS 8 has 5 channels across the front, L/LC/C/RC/R.

So if you sent dialog to the center only, and split the remaining center channel soundtrack to the LC & RC channels it would probably work just fine in a home environment.

And it's more than possible to emulate an SDDS 8 setup at home. But doing what I described above goes a little beyond that.

James Tanner

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A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #9 on: 15 Jan 2004, 07:43 pm »
Recieved this from Dennis Sands - one of the top recording people in Hollywood today.

I would imagine these folks are listening to the undecoded matrix track playing back in stereo. The imaging and balances are more difficult to control in this playback format, and less attention is generally paid to this format (as opposed to the 5.1) in the authoring. I have noticed the same thing occurring when I listen in stereo. This would most likely be most apparent in big effects oriented movies. If they are listening on a 5.1 system, they should have separate level control of the center channel on their tuner.

JoshK

A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #10 on: 15 Jan 2004, 08:09 pm »
Quote from: James Tanner
Recieved this from Dennis Sands - one of the top recording people in Hollywood today.

I would imagine these folks are listening to the undecoded matrix track playing back in stereo. The imaging and balances are more difficult to control in this playback format, and less attention is generally paid to this format (as opposed to the 5.1) in the authoring. I have noticed the same thing occurring when I listen in stereo. This would most likely be most apparent in big effects oriented movies. If they are list ...


Good point!  I do listen in stereo.  I don't have a MC system.

nicolasb

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A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #11 on: 16 Jan 2004, 04:19 pm »
Quote
I would imagine these folks are listening to the undecoded matrix track playing back in stereo.

I've heard people grumble about lack of intelligibility and over-loud-in-comparison-with-vocals sound effects when they are talking about viewing films actually in the cinema, not at home. Not likely to be a stereo downmix there.

Quote
If they are listening on a 5.1 system, they should have separate level control of the center channel on their tuner.

That's an odd suggestion. While most dialogue goes to the centre channel, there's certainly some which doesn't. And, more importantly, the three front speakers between them deal with all the front sound. If you turn up the centre you will mess up all the left-to-right sound-staging, surely?


But anyway, as I said, if we could put the conspiracy theories on one side for a moment: is there any feedback on the feasibility or otherwise of introducing heavier-duty Dynamic Range Compression (perhaps to a user-configurable level) on the SP1.7?

James Tanner

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A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #12 on: 16 Jan 2004, 05:08 pm »
Hi,

No plans at the moment to have greater Dynamic range compression in the SP1.7

james

nicolasb

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A rather weird request for an SP1.7 feature
« Reply #13 on: 16 Jan 2004, 05:35 pm »
:|  Ah, well.