Audio woes

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gnome
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Audio woes

Post by gnome » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:57 am

I got tired of my new TV's stupid built in speakers--especially with dialog being too quiet compared to music and sound effects--and surrendered to buying a sound bar that they want to force you to get now by not giving you a whole TV. I guess it worked.

Settled on a Q Acoustics M3. So now I have exactly the same problem only fuller, warmer, and louder. I have every option activated that is supposed to mitigate this. Bass muffled slightly, volume leveling on. Still wind up manually adjusting the volume throughout a program or movie. Up for dialog, down for action & music.

Did some research and apparently it has to do with how 5.1 and 7.1 audio streams are downsampled to stereo. The dialog is usually center channel, and poor downsampling leaves the other speakers dominant. There's apparently supposed to be some kind of Dolby standards to get it right, but my hardware and/or software clearly doesn't follow them.

So any idea what I really need to do? Is there a way to tell how good a device's downsampling is? Is it my sound bar, or something stupid my TV does that gets it wrong? Is there any way to fix it for real?


First world problems. My TV is bigger, higher quality, and cheaper than any I've ever owned.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
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sparks
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Re: Audio woes

Post by sparks » Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:41 am

You may not want to go this route, but it works very well for me as I don't give a shit about Surround sound of any flavor: TV speakers suck shemps ass. To get around that, I turn them off and use the connected Hafler P3000 amp and a pair of JBL 4412As suspended from the ceiling. Good old fashioned yet sincerely competent stereo. Some DVDs and Blu rays still give me the same problem you're experiencing, but out of an extensive collection, I can tell you it's limited to maybe a half a dozen movies (newer ones) where it's obvious they've been produced with music and special effects tracks that try to make up for the lack of drama in the acting/action.
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Rob Lister
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Re: Audio woes

Post by Rob Lister » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:21 am

I have the same problem with many movies. In scenes with dialog only, I naturally adjust the sound so I can hear it clearly. Then an action scene happens and the volume blows the walls out of the house. So I turn it down. As soon as the action scene is done, the dialog is way too low. Very frustrating. I suspect it sounds just right in a movie theater.


I haven't found a good fix though I suspect sparks might be onto something.

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ceptimus
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Re: Audio woes

Post by ceptimus » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:59 pm

I always watch almost everything that isn't live with subtitles switched on. For live stuff, the delay between the speech and the subtitles is too long. I keep expecting that to be fixed now that computers are so good at speech to text, but it's not happened yet.

I think it's partly down to crappy sound in modern movies, where the directors and producers consider sound effects and music to be more important than dialogue.

My hearing isn't very good - too much loud music and too many loud motorbikes in my youth, and now too much age also. But I think some modern movies the dialogue can't be heard clearly even by youngsters with good hearing. Maybe the film makers think that dialogue isn't that important - in some ways they're returning to the artistry of the silent movie era.

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ed
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Re: Audio woes

Post by ed » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:08 pm

Same prob with dialog. I got this thing

It has settings that accentuate dialog. But when I am watching something like Peaky Blinders, I need the subtitles.
I had the whole set up with a denon amp etc etc in the old days. Too many wires but I don't remember having problems with dialog.
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Re: Audio woes

Post by sparks » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:47 pm

Older movies and TV being really well produced don't seem to exhibit this problem. It's always a newer one. Either that, or simply no body knows how to mix worth a shit these days... (I doubt that, it's probably the result of profitability for the producing studio and it's exec's)
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ed
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Re: Audio woes

Post by ed » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:51 pm

Some sort of compression artifacts maybe?
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Rob Lister
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Re: Audio woes

Post by Rob Lister » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:56 pm

I think it's intentional to make action scenes more actioney. In the theater, I think it probably fits.

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Witness
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Re: Audio woes

Post by Witness » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:05 pm

gnome wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:57 am
I got tired of my new TV's stupid built in speakers--especially with dialog being too quiet compared to music and sound effects--and surrendered to buying a sound bar that they want to force you to get now by not giving you a whole TV. I guess it worked.
Same problems with headphones?

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gnome
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Re: Audio woes

Post by gnome » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:36 pm

Witness wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:05 pm
gnome wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:57 am
I got tired of my new TV's stupid built in speakers--especially with dialog being too quiet compared to music and sound effects--and surrendered to buying a sound bar that they want to force you to get now by not giving you a whole TV. I guess it worked.
Same problems with headphones?
Interesting question, there. I haven't noticed it with headphones.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
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gnome
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Re: Audio woes

Post by gnome » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:38 pm

sparks wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:47 pm
Older movies and TV being really well produced don't seem to exhibit this problem. It's always a newer one. Either that, or simply no body knows how to mix worth a shit these days... (I doubt that, it's probably the result of profitability for the producing studio and it's exec's)
The fact that it's the newer items is what sells me on the surround downsampling issue. It's probably mixed just fine if you HAVE a surround system and use a center speaker. Just doesn't go well to plain stereo.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2

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sparks
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Re: Audio woes

Post by sparks » Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:41 am

A possibility. Have you by chance tried switching to the stereo soundtrack as opposed to one or more of the Surround tracks? Some dvds menu option include this in the setup...
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gnome
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Re: Audio woes

Post by gnome » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:44 am

My library is now digital. Some files have surround tracks. Some don't. You know, I'm not sure why I didn't do a direct comparison yet. I'll see what I find out.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2

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Re: Audio woes

Post by sparks » Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:29 am

Just for info purposes, I actually acquire the DVD/Blu ray discs and play them through my combo play via HDMI cable to the TV (both player and TV are Sony). The TV decodes the audio that drives the Hafler power amp which obviously drives the JBL loudspeakers. When I want music, I plug my laptop into the TV again via HDMI cable and there we go.

All two channel stereo.

Fuck Surround. :)

Be interested to find out if a movie that gives you problems with the Surround track selected does not when you switch it to simple stereo if that movie has the option. You should find the it under setup-audio settings once you start the disc/file.
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gnome
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Re: Audio woes

Post by gnome » Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:18 am

Update: Purchased a refurbished 3.0 sound bar at about a third of the price I spent for the M3.

Problem completely gone. 2.0, 5.1, 7.1, whatever, doesn't matter. Dialog comes through at a reasonable level compared to music, because of the addition of that center channel. And even if there were a problem, I now can boost the center channel by itself as needed. The bass isn't quite as rich, but if I really miss it I can add a subwoofer and make it 3.1

So, to sum up, get a 3.0 sound bar if you're not going with a full surround set. Don't buy a 2.0 soundbar.











Anyone wanna buy a used 2.0 soundbar? :D
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2