maxmercy

The Low Frequency Content Thread (films, games, music, etc)

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Forgive my ranting.

 

I saw "Rogue One" today at the Alamo Drafthouse, my first time at one of these.  The Regal RPX that I usually go to only offered the movie in 3D, and I wanted 2D.  The Alamo claims that it gives "attention to detail in film presentation and programming", but my experience does not support that statement at all.  For starters, there seemed to be no LFE or subwoofers at all.  OK, so maybe it's trying for more of an "art house" vibe.  We forget that lack of subwoofers is a relatively minor offense as far as cinema presentations go.  The major offenses were the lighting and the playback level.

 

They never dimmed the lights which were part of wall sconces that were not shielded from the screen or from the viewers eyes.  They cast shadows on the screen and caused blinding glare behind my wife's glasses.  The screen also appeared to be mounted on the wall a lot higher than necessary, forcing us to strain our necks more despite being a fair way back from the front.

 

My biggest complaint was that the playback level was so low that I struggled to make out the dialog amidst the sounds of chairs squeaking among other things.  I'd guess it was at least -15 from reference.  An audience member quietly laughing sounded louder than the actors in the moving shouting.  I kind of wondered if the noise floor contributed more to LEQ than the movie did.  I liked the movie, but felt like I missed most of it and was glad when it was over as the over 2 hours of listening to people make noise had finally come to an end.

 

I'm gonna write them a detailed complaint to see how they respond, but if this is what "attention to detail in presentation" looks like in a cinema, the industry is pretty well screwed.  I mean, I actually have decent hearing even if I have more trouble hearing dialog (both in movies in real life, something about how my brain processes it) than most.  Someone like my Dad who has significant hearing loss would probably have missed the entire movie.  I told my wife that I could have heard the dialog better if I watched it on a phone or a tablet, and I'm completely serious.

 

That sounds like a crap cinema experience!

 

Hope they sort it out but I wouldn't hold your breath.  I don't understand how hard it can be to get it right - surely, with everything being digital now, they can just press play mid-way through an action scene, go and sit in the seating with a SPL Meter, get some readings to make sure it's not deafening, then fast forward to a quiet scene to make sure it's loud enough in those parts?

 

Hopefully the home viewing will be a pleasant surprise!

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Just because it's digital doesn't mean they can pause and rewind.  DCP based systems are encrypted and only allow playback at certain times (usually whenever the movie showtime is).  Back when those systems were introduced there were a number of incidents where movies wouldn't play because the start time was missed.

 

As far as the technical presentation one of the worst I've ever seen was at a drafthouse/dinner theater as well.  The Bourne Identity was the movie and when it started out the optical soundtrack was visible on the left side of the screen.  Then the picture slowly went out of focus.  Then someone fixed the lens.  Then it slowly went out of focus again.  This time someone removed the entire lens housing, while the movie was still running!  After a minute or so they put the housing back in and everything worked after that.  Damn near asked for my money back.  It goes without saying that the sound was crap too.

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That sounds dreadful indeed SME.

 

I'm going to see Rogue One tonight at the local Regal cinema. I know what to expect. Little support of the low end to speak of, some harshness on the loudest scenes and quite loud playback overall. In fact this theater seems to be borderline too loud for some people and kids. On the other hand the video quality isn't too bad and the dialog always seems to be a bit hot but at least it is heard.

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As far as the technical presentation one of the worst I've ever seen was at a drafthouse/dinner theater as well.  The Bourne Identity was the movie and when it started out the optical soundtrack was visible on the left side of the screen.  Then the picture slowly went out of focus.  Then someone fixed the lens.  Then it slowly went out of focus again.  This time someone removed the entire lens housing, while the movie was still running!  After a minute or so they put the housing back in and everything worked after that.  Damn near asked for my money back.  It goes without saying that the sound was crap too.

 

LOL

 

Well, they do say that one needs to visit the cinema for a movie 'experience'... :lol:

 

 

That sounds dreadful indeed SME.

 

I'm going to see Rogue One tonight at the local Regal cinema. I know what to expect. Little support of the low end to speak of, some harshness on the loudest scenes and quite loud playback overall. In fact this theater seems to be borderline too loud for some people and kids. On the other hand the video quality isn't too bad and the dialog always seems to be a bit hot but at least it is heard.

 

Will look forward to your thoughts!

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FYI I'll be putting up some side by side comparisons of the Blade II and Chronicles of Riddick Blu-Ray soundtracks.  Some interesting differences between the 5.1 and 7.1 mixes (on Blade II) and the theatrical vs. extended cut soundtracks (on CoR)

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As I'm living in a cave I'm not sure what's out when and where, so I don't know if 'Passengers' has already been commented on / measured elsewhere?

 

Either way, I have now watched it at the good cinema I mentioned above, and it seems promising.  Strong swelling bass associated with the ship in space (think Elysium camera fly-pasts), plenty of firm thuds and rumble associated with things happening, and while a somewhat predictable / cheesy storyline, the music had that nice 'enveloping' feeling that washes over you and immerses you into it, like a warm blanket :)

 

I don't think I noticed any clipping, there were no scenes I can recall that elicited that slight grimace I'm sure we all make when something obviously sounds harsh, but the volume was just right - not too quiet, but loud enough to draw you in and not deafen you - so I think that helps a lot.  (Amazingly the adverts at the start were actually quieter!  I really must write to the manager / chain MD and compliment them / tell them not to change a thing, because usually the adverts are ridiculously cranked up to the point of whincing.)

 

I fear a strong 30Hz-ish hump as some of the bass seemed a touch 'samey', but there were a couple of parts that seemed to be a bit lower as well.  It's hard to call, I guess, but if it's unfiltered, this one will be awesome :)

 

 

*goes off to pray to the gods of the mixing desk*

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Here's a quick follow-up about my experience seeing "Rogue One" at The Alamo Drafthouse.  I wrote them an email and the response I got indicated that the showing we went to was specifically intended for people with small children or hypersensitivities to sight or sound.  This wasn't really apparent to me when I bought the tickets, but at least there is a good explanation for what I experienced.  I will have to try the theater again before judging their presentation quality.

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Saw Rogue One.  Theater wasn't the best as AFAIK they only have one dual 18" subwoofer box for the whole space.  Imagine my surprise then that a few places in the movie still managed to get some decent low end going (mostly big explosions and that one sequence of significant planetary surface displacement).  The sound design was very similar to The Force Awakens (and the two movies have a lot of the same sound people).  The overall volume was pretty low but I think that was the theater's fault (thin walls).  Sound quality was pretty clean but louder effects had the same 'crunchy' quality as TFA, so I wouldn't be shocked to see clipping when the Blu-Ray comes out.

 

Good movie though.  Not the best SW movie but probably on the same level as TFA.  You can definitely notice some choppiness in the plot and a few characters go through sudden and poorly explained personality shifts (Jyn Erso especially).  Whether it was always this way or something caused by the reshoots we'll probably never know.

 

On a side note, I thought the CGI recreations of two pivotal characters from the original Star Wars didn't work at all.  It was close, but off enough for the results to hit the very bottom of the Uncanny Valley, in my opinion.  Every time they showed up my brain got yanked right out of the movie.

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Watched "Captain America: Civil War" last night.  The mix and dialog level were very comfortable with playback level at "-4", which is very appropriate for home playback of theatrical content in my room.  Oddly enough, the loud action scenes seemed a bit laid back to me even at that level.  I probably could have gone 2 dB higher if not for the dialog getting too loud.  The tonal balance was very even without adjustments, suggesting this may have been a home mix.  (Although, I'm not convinced that theatrical mixes will always sound brighter on home systems.)  What clipping was there seemed to be well disguised enough not to notice, but I can't say for sure in this case because of issues in my system causing clicks to arise intermittently.  (Thankfully, I have resolved those issues.)

 

As far as the bass is concerned, I'd say it was pretty unremarkable.  This one pales in comparison to "Winter Solider" in every aspect.  There were a few moments of good slam, but just about every action movie offers some of that.  The low-end roll-off was very apparent and made some effects sound kind of screwed up.

 

The movie itself was entertaining, but not really a good movie by any stretch.  It suggests that the era of "peak Marvel" may have already come and gone.  The fight scene "choreography" was probably the greatest strength of the film.  Considering how weak the plot was, it might have been better off if all the slow dialog scenes were cut and the movie were made 45 minutes shorter.  On the plus side, the soundtrack is yet another indication that Holywood is backing off somewhat from its loudness obsession a few years ago.  Apart from the rolled-off bass in this one, I thought the soundtrack was a good listen.

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I wouldn't start celebrating quite yet on the loudness wars being over.  We have another Transformers movie being released in 2017 after all  :D.

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I wouldn't start celebrating quite yet on the loudness wars being over.  We have another Transformers movie being released in 2017 after all  :D.

 

That doesn't count.  Those films primarily target the Chinese market these days, don't they?  ;)

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Hey all! New member here, but have followed this thread for a while now. Really appreciate all your hard work and information!

 

On a different note.. I saw Rogue One in a brand new AMC Dolby Cinema atmos equipped theater. Pretty loud levels, seats had LFE equipped motors. But I gotta say some scenes really pressurized the room at scary levels down low. 20s and into the teens hz wise. (No it wasn't just the vibrating seats, I own 16 cubic foot sub tuned to 12 hz... So I have a bit of knowledge with ULFE)

 

Anyways, it was a great experience. Great clean sound, great sharp clarity picture wise. Vibrating seats wasn't too much a distraction (actually done very well) Would recommend if you have one near you. The one I went to was in oak brook illinois at the oak brook mall. Just put it in a few month back.

 

Hopefully it wasn't just the novelty of a brand new theater and my first experience with Dolby cinema atmos sound impacting my judgement. There's my excuse to shell out another 16 bucks to go back and find out! Haha

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I saw Rogue one at my local LieMAX.  I expected a pretty awful film.  But good film, decent sound, but nothing under 30Hz in-theater.  Decent slam, prob played back at 5-7dB below reference.

 

Will BEQ this one when it is on BD.  I hope I don't have to if RathPat's observations are on the soundtrack.

 

JSS

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I would expect something very similar to TFA (without the clipping hopefully): 30Hz peak but decent ULF content all the way into the single digits.

 

No Force rumbles in this one for the most part (aside from a few Vader moments) but that one part about halfway through probably has some really good ULF, and it goes on for a while.

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Got round to watching Star Trek: Beyond at home last night.

 

 

I quite like the film, decent action, albeit not entirely believable at points. 

 

 

Soundwise?  Poor.  First section had seemingly massively overblown 30-40Hz focus, which then seemed to basically disappear in the end two-thirds of the film.

 

It could have been so good.  Instead...  I doubt I will be watching this one much. 

 

I guess the one thing that was better is that the levels seemed fairly consistent - I was constantly turning the previous film up and down, the dialogue-to-noise ratio was all over the place.

 

I didn't recognise the sound crew but someone needs to sit them in Bosso's room and make them compare notes with the 2009 reboot...

 

 

(Where is Bosso BTW?  Don't think I've seen him around for ages now.)

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If you can run the BEQ version, it is loads better.  The content is there, just shelved away.

 

JSS

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I didn't recognise the sound crew but someone needs to sit them in Bosso's room and make them compare notes with the 2009 reboot...

 

 

(Where is Bosso BTW?  Don't think I've seen him around for ages now.)

 

He still lurks here from time to time but I imagine he sits in his movie room letting his Raptor system playback down into the single digits with a big smile on his face. :) 

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What's ST:B?

Star Trek:Beyond

 

Though that does bring up a good point, it sure would be nice to have a list of acronyms somewhere as there are many that have stumped me over the years.

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Wonder if the newly remastered DTS:X soundtrack, on the Battleship 4K UHD Blu-ray, has better bass than the previous Blu-ray release?

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