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#2781 nube

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 01:51 PM

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (5.1 TrueHD)

 

Level        - 3 Stars (108.55dB composite)
Extension - 5 Stars (1Hz)
Dynamics - 5 Stars (31.74dB)

Execution - 4 Stars (by poll)

 

Overall     - 4.25 Stars

Recommendation - Tossup (by poll)

 

Notes:  I'm not a big fan of horror movies, and this one is why - it scares me to this day.  Perhaps it's the scenes with creepy, loud bass down low that raises the hairs on my neck.  Perhaps it's the fact that I was raised Catholic.  Perhaps it's the huge transients that make my heart race.  I don't know, but 3:00AM still bothers me if I wake up around then, even though I don't believe in that stuff!

 

There are several scenes with huge content below 20Hz.  One reuses that 1Hz & 5Hz effect a few times, and wow is it intense.

 

PvA:

 

post-17-0-64330400-1427637050.png


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#2782 wth718

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 04:00 PM

Be on the lookout for Everly. Seemed to go pretty deep when I skimmed through it, but it was VERY powerful. It was on my bedroom system (DIY sealed 12" Shiva), so I can't get a true reading on it, but it made my sub bottom out at an MVL level that is usually safe for that sub.

 

Interested to see what others think and to play it on my main rig.



#2783 nube

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 11:16 PM

Interstellar (5.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 5 Stars (114.1dB composite)
Extension - 2 Stars (22Hz)
Dynamics - 4 Stars (26.09dB)

Execution - 4 Stars (by poll)

 

Overall     - 3.75 Stars

Recommendation - Buy (by poll)

 

Notes:  We've been waiting for this?!?!?  Interstellar is clipped all to hell.  Well, technically it's just hard-limited, but as maxmercy says, "if you're hitting the brick wall limiter, maybe you need to revisit your mix technique."  Check the graphs - almost everything L/C/R + LFE in loud sequences is chopped off, and it sounds very obviously crunchy and muddy.

 

This is reflected in the poor dynamics score, too - whoever said this is a very dynamic mix needs to get their ears checked.  LOUD != DYNAMIC or DEEP.  Yeah, the 30Hz effects might rattle your windows and your couch, but they're hollow sounding and not very realistic.  This mix booms, when it could fill the room with pressure and power.

 

I'll admit that I really enjoyed the movie, even if the ending was not properly supported through the story's development.  However, what most people are complaining about regarding the mixing of the dialog is totally true in my experience - even during quiet sequences, you just couldn't hear the dialog.  At all.  Overall, Interstellar a huge disappointment in mixing, yet a movie worth watching.  Once.  Nolan should never "turn it up to 11!!!!!!" in the mixing booth. 

 

PvA:

 
Attached File  Interstellar-PvA.PNG   74.7KB   11 downloads
 
Clipping:
 
Attached File  Interstellar-Clip1.PNG   317.55KB   5 downloads
 
Attached File  Interstellar-Clip2.PNG   258.7KB   4 downloads
 
Attached File  Interstellar-Clip3.PNG   352.59KB   2 downloads


#2784 grantisgrant

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 03:19 AM

What do you think of the statement I read that Nolan intentionally wanted the dialogue muddy so that it would be like it would in real life, where you wouldn't be able to hear if it was too loud.  I disagree with it, and hope the clipping wasn't a part of that philosophy.



#2785 SME

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 05:44 AM

What do you think of the statement I read that Nolan intentionally wanted the dialogue muddy so that it would be like it would in real life, where you wouldn't be able to hear if it was too loud.  I disagree with it, and hope the clipping wasn't a part of that philosophy.

 

From your first sentence, I would hazard a guess that the clipping was a part of that philosophy.  I also disagree.  I don't think digital clipping/limiting sounds like anything else but digital clipping/limiting.  When my ears are really being blasted with too much sound, the distortions are completely different.  The soundtracks that seem most realistically loud to me employ clever level management.  If they can keep the average level at 78 dB or so, they have > 30 dB to work with at reference level (more in the bass) for transients that really get your attention.  For louder scenes, it makes sense for the mixer to start out maybe ~10 dB higher (leaving plenty of headroom so nothing sounds forced) and then slowly back the fader down over time.  Most of the time we don't even notice this gradual drop, especially with much higher SPL transient sounds to reinforce the action on-screen.  The movie "Star Trek" does this very well in my opinion.  Listen carefully and you'll realize that the loudness is very well moderated throughout, yet the big effects leave your jaw on the floor.  On a capable system, it sounds fantastic at "0".

 

I also don't think that realism is any excuse for muddy dialog.  In all kinds of movies, plenty of dialog is recorded on location (about as realistic as you can get) and it still turns out just fine.  "Whiplash" is a recent film that comes to mind where most dialog was realistic in this sense.  Did anyone have trouble understanding what was being said in that movie?

 

Maybe the real story is that Nolan is half deaf and wants us to hear it like he hears it.



#2786 maxmercy

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 01:26 PM

Emporor's new clothes syndrome. Happened to Lucas (re: Episodes I-III), we are watching it happen to Nolan. Who is going to be the guy that tells The Dark Knight Trilogy director that the sound is shit while Nolan is loving how it sounds? Without some skins on the wall, I sure wouldn't.....

This is why I think we have really great sounding 'sleeper' movies, like Dredd. The sound team is probably not kept on such a short, director-held leash, and can create a great track collaborating with the rest of the team, instead of just putting forth ideas for approval or rejection.

JSS

#2787 MemX

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 06:46 PM

Maybe the real story is that Nolan is half deaf and wants us to hear it like he hears it.

I think you've hit the nail on the head.

 

Anyone who thinks an IMAX mix that is so loud that people have to put earplugs in is acceptable clearly needs his hearing checked... (if I'm correct in recalling that I was reading he setup the IMAX levels himself?)

 

 

I think this (and the various Dark Knight mixes) is a lesson in why one person shouldn't have overall control of all aspects of the sound mix.  We saw the same in the clipping on Tron Legacy as well, IIRC, which was also 'tweaked' by the director post- the original mix?



#2788 grantisgrant

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 06:19 AM

When Man of Steel came out, I saw it in my local LieMax and almost lost my hearing, so I sent a complaint to IMAX. They invited me to the IMAX studio in Santa Monica where I heard about 30 minutes of MoS in their actual theater where Zack Snyder gave the okay.  While it was slightly better there, it was still quite harsh and not pleasing to my ears, but I guess that is what happened with MoS, and probably Godzilla, Interstellar, etc in the IMAX release.  Every 24 hours, each IMAX individually updates its levels to the preset levels (with some calibration for the individual theater) and then proceeds through the day.  Some managers turn down or up the volume if requested, but theoretically every morning the levels should be perfect (according to the okayed levels from the director).

 

I would presume that this means that the Bluray mix is taken from either the IMAX mix or remixed depending on someone's preference, so if an IMAX release is bad, the Bluray will be as well.



#2789 SME

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 08:39 AM

So the LieMax theaters now auto-recal themselves now?  I heard this was being talked about, but I didn't know it had been implemented already.  I believe LieMax essentially uses the same technology as Audyssey MultEQ XT32.  I can't speak for XT32, but my experiences with the XT product have been mixed.

 

This is very interesting to me, because I find many movies just sound too loud at levels that are "supposed" to be reasonable.  One possibility I argued for in a previous post is that many directors purposely have their films mixed at lower levels under the (likely correct) assumption that most theaters will be playing back at below the proper reference level for the space.  It's also possible that this is done for some Blu-ray releases for similar reasons.  Unfortunately, there's no way to know when that's the case unless someone from the sound team actually says as much on a forum somewhere.

 

Another factor which may play a part is how soundtracks translate between rooms.  There are a lot of reasons why soundtracks don't translate very gracefully having a lot to do with psyhoacoustics and differences in loudness perception for sounds of varying duration.  Roughly speaking, smaller rooms have lower reverb time and contribute less room reverb to the overall sound so that transients will actually measure louder for such a system calibrated to the same steady state pink noise SPL as another in a much larger room.In recent publications, Dolby and others have argued for adjusting the playback level in the mixing room according to its size to improve translation.  Whereas 85 dBC is recommended for typical theaters, residential-sized spaces should probably aim for closer to 79-82 dB or less.  I believe 76 dBC is now recommended for near-field monitoring and less still for headphone listening.  The need this kind of correction is well documented in a variety of other places including by mixers on the Gearslutz forum who are frequently disappointed by how puny their mix that they prepared in a bedroom at 85 dBC sounds on the big screen at the film festival calibrated at the same 85 dBC.

 

The trouble with room size and translation is that they don't correlate exactly, and furthermore, playback level is probably not the only thing that needs to be adjusted to get things right.  The frequency response target curve likely also needs to be adapted to the decay characteristics of the room.  In the past, I've argued that a theatrical mix should be the "standard" that we all calibrate our systems to reproduce, but I now understand better that in practice this will be difficult for us to achieve.  Both playback level and frequency response target curve can only be adjusted to *compromise* for the psychoacoustic differences.  In a small room, the ratio of SPL for transients to SPL for sustained sounds will still be higher than in the larger reverberant spaces, so the best one can do often to reproduce a dub-stage-mixed track in a small room leaves one with transients that bite a little too much and sustained sounds that are still a bit weak.  Therefore, there is a big benefit to home listeners when a theatrical mix is re-done with a more intimate monitoring setup than the dub stage.  Unfortunately however, I have strong reason to believe that bass levels will need to only drop by about half as much as the mid/high playback levels to retain the tonal balance; hence, by following the usual monitoring levels recommendations a home "remix" may gain clipping due to the effective loss of headroom for bass.

 

Getting back to LieMax and their auto-calibration.  The 85 dBC standard has been around for a long time, and in that time, I believe newly constructed theaters have tended to have less live acoustics than the theaters they replaced.  As a consequence, these theaters may also reproduce tracks too loudly when playing them back at reference level.  Hence, there's ample reason for the theater operator to turn things down a bit, and ideally boost the bass up a bit to restore the tonal balance.  Until Audyssey or whoever can better model loudness in-room and make "0" on the dial actually sound like reference, we're likely to still have the problem of levels being off.  While likely more rare these days, I reckon there are theaters at the other extreme for which even 85 dBC isn't enough.

 

For what it's worth, I am now running with a fair amount of room treatment, and I'm no longer using a significant high frequency roll-off.  The treatments (particularly the diffusers) cleaned up my upper-mids and high dramatically, so they sound much more clear and less harsh, and the balance without the HF roll-off sounds better.  My recent analysis suggests that I am actually listening near-field in so far as my ratio of transient to sustained SPL is concerned, particularly from 400 Hz or so on up.  Below that with bass trapping, I'm still probably pretty close to near-field.  That means I should in theory listen at "-9" from reference.  In reality, I bump my bass response, starting around 250 Hz and ending about 5 dB up at 20 Hz to keep the bass response balanced.  So with mids/highs at "-9" from reference, I'm actually at "-4" from reference in the bass.  With this calibration and my room sounding amazingly good, I'm still surprised by how much my playback levels vary from film to film.  If I treat "0" as 76 dBC instead of 85 dBC for mids and highs (about average for me), then my playback level, chosen based on subjective dialog level, varies about -9/+4 dB!  By the way, it is well documented that if you put relatively naive listeners in control of a nice system in a proper room and tell them to set the level of dialog to where they can hear it the best, most will set it within about 2 dB of one another.  We don't need objective measurements to tell us that relative film loudness is all over the map and that there's a lot more to it than just room size and translation issues.



#2790 maxmercy

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 11:32 AM

SME,

 

Agreed.  I think I saw a gearslutz thread where mixers essentially said that they were mixing at levels the films would actually get played at (78-82dBC).  That kind of calibration could easily lead to people running into brickwalls and/or clipping really easily if louder effects are desired.  They just run out of headroom. 

 

My experience with LieMax is that they do use the MultEQXT-32 system, and when it is in use and they playback at reference, it is harsh, and the mix translates well into the home equipped with MultEQXT (my old receiver) in a well-treated smaller space (21 2'x4' 4" OC703 panels and 8 2'x4' 2" OC703 panels).  In other words, both presentations sounded equally bad.  Audyssey can easily overcome even generous headroom in a system.  Coupled with clipped waveforms in the mix, the result is harsh audio.  Too bad.

 

grant,

 

Did you tell them that while better, it was still pretty harsh sounding at the Santa Monica location?  Their response?

 

JSS



#2791 jonam

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 08:12 PM

 

Interstellar (5.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 5 Stars (114.1dB composite)
Extension - 2 Stars (22Hz)
Dynamics - 4 Stars (26.09dB)

Execution - TBD

 

Overall     - TBD

Recommendation - TBD

 

Notes:  We've been waiting for this?!?!?  Interstellar is clipped all to hell.  Well, technically it's just hard-limited, but as maxmercy says, "if you're hitting the brick wall limiter, maybe you need to revisit your mix technique."  Check the graphs - almost everything L/C/R + LFE in loud sequences is chopped off, and it sounds very obviously crunchy and muddy.

 

This is reflected in the poor dynamics score, too - whoever said this is a very dynamic mix needs to get their ears checked.  LOUD != DYNAMIC or DEEP.  Yeah, the 30Hz effects might rattle your windows and your couch, but they're hollow sounding and not very realistic.  This mix booms, when it could fill the room with pressure and power.

 

I'll admit that I really enjoyed the movie, even if the ending was not properly supported through the story's development.  However, what most people are complaining about regarding the mixing of the dialog is totally true in my experience - even during quiet sequences, you just couldn't hear the dialog.  At all.  Overall, Interstellar a huge disappointment in mixing, yet a movie worth watching.  Once.  Nolan should never "turn it up to 11!!!!!!" in the mixing booth. 

 

PvA:

 
 
Clipping:
 
 
 

 

Would the European releases by Warner Bros be different do you think?



#2792 grantisgrant

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 10:00 PM

max,

 

I did do that, and they basically told me that director's intent is director's intent, and they can't really change something from what the man says.  I think the biggest problem for IMAX is what SME mentioned, that identical levels in smaller rooms is not ideal, especially for movies like MoS already mixed with some clipping.

 

They had a regular old Radioshack Digital SPL meter and the max was I think 118.7 dB, or somewhere around there.  The director of IMAX told me the loudest ever was Thor, peaking at 120.5 dB! I couldn't imagine hearing that in a small IMAX like most of them now are.



#2793 maxmercy

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 10:32 PM

Thor was damned loud in theater and on BD.  I did not see it in IMAX.  Director's intent sounds about right.  

 

JSS



#2794 BeastAudio

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 01:38 PM

I was watching Thor 2 last night and it didn't seem near as loud. Where I actually bumped the volume a good 3 dB from where I normally watch movies....



#2795 maxmercy

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 11:48 PM

That actually would agree perfectly with their 'Level' numbers:  Thor 114.3dB composite, Thor 2 111.07dB composite.  Thor also has more clipped waveforms.

 

JSS 



#2796 SME

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 07:35 AM

Yeah.  Thor was definitely mixed way too hot.  It inspired me to buy an amp because I thought I was clipping in my AVR.  Nope.  Of course, I still don't regret the external amp.

 

Anyway, I posted my comments about Interstellar to its thread.  Those familiar with my opinions will be surprised to learn that I liked this soundtrack a lot.  I did not find it to be excessively loud, nor did I have any issues with the dialog.  I did hear a lot of clipping, but a lot of this seemed to be on purpose with the rest arising from headroom compromise with the powerful score. 

 

I do wonder how much room acoustics plays into perceived loudness in this movie?  I did not turn this one down compared to most movies.  I would think the IMAX should have been large enough to play this at true reference level without the need for hearing protection.  Maybe the theater JSS went was still a bit too small?  Or maybe their system was overloaded and distorting.



#2797 maxmercy

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 07:40 PM

I went to a full 15/70 IMAX theatre.  I have seen several films there, and all have been terrific sonic presentations.  Unfortunately, I didn't see TDKR there for comparison.  There could have been some overload of the theater's system, but prior viewings there left me with a good impression.  I just HATE that director's are just fine with running into brick-walls and 0dBFS so much.  You simply lose data when you do this.  Call it 'artistic/director's intent' if you wish, but I just call it bad production value.  If you wanted clipped effects, clip them prior to final mixing and then adjust levels on the final mix to prevent running into 0dBFS or a brick-wall.  Fury had some clipped effects, but not a clipped track.  I wish more people would make film-sound that way.  

 

As far as needing another 6dB....don't let Michael Bay hear you say that.  He'll take that 6dB and clip the hell out of it for TF5...ATMOS theoreticallly already given him another 3-4dB of SPL capability.  Let the loudness war rage.

 

JSS



#2798 grantisgrant

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 09:52 PM

Yeah I saw it at a 15/70 theater as well and missed dialogue on at least 5 scenes.  I thought it was well implemented, but I wish it wasn't done.  If that's the intent, the intent came through, but I certainly hope that it wasn't accidental or I would have fired every sound mixer on the movie.



#2799 MKtheater

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 01:27 AM

I have only watched part of insterstellar on bluray and I can hear dialog much better than the IMAX I saw it in. I am not sure what type of IMAX it was but the screen is taller than wide.

#2800 SME

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 08:30 AM

I went to a full 15/70 IMAX theatre.  I have seen several films there, and all have been terrific sonic presentations.  Unfortunately, I didn't see TDKR there for comparison.  There could have been some overload of the theater's system, but prior viewings there left me with a good impression.  I just HATE that director's are just fine with running into brick-walls and 0dBFS so much.  You simply lose data when you do this.  Call it 'artistic/director's intent' if you wish, but I just call it bad production value.  If you wanted clipped effects, clip them prior to final mixing and then adjust levels on the final mix to prevent running into 0dBFS or a brick-wall.  Fury had some clipped effects, but not a clipped track.  I wish more people would make film-sound that way.  

 

As far as needing another 6dB....don't let Michael Bay hear you say that.  He'll take that 6dB and clip the hell out of it for TF5...ATMOS theoreticallly already given him another 3-4dB of SPL capability.  Let the loudness war rage.

It's also possible that the speakers are fine but the acoustics just didn't jive with the film's sound presentation.  It's been a while since I've been to an IMAX, but don't they have pretty dry acoustics?  Actually, I'm thinking their acoustics are all over the map since each one is different.  I do think theaters in general have been moving toward drier acoustics, which likely necessitates lower playback levels.

 

I don't think the comparison to TF5 is warranted.  To me "Interstellar" is a very macro dynamic film.  Much if not most of the film is presented at levels below those of typical action flicks.  I heard plenty of clipping in the quieter scenes, but this always seemed intentional and was made to sound consistent with what was being presented.  For example, peoples voices clipped akin to radio crackle when they spoke loudly inside their space suits and a digital phone device depicted in the film clipped digitally when one emphasized syllable was spoken.  Only closer to the end of the film did the clipping seem to arise due to headroom compromise.  Even the organ on its own suffered from some limiting, but considering that it never sounded unnaturally loud to me, it is apparent to me that the film could have used more headroom if it were available.

 

Also, am I the only one who experienced a solid image of the organ in front of me about 100 feet away?  I wonder how much that influenced my perception of its loudness.  I have often noticed that as imaging improves, subjective loudness often drops a lot.  We are much more comfortable with loud sounds when we can make sense of where those sounds are coming from.

 

For what it's worth, I watched this movie at a higher level than I have some other recent films.  "The Theory of Everything" got played 1 dB lower, and it was still annoying to listen to at times.  I thought that movie had an especially poor mix that sounded very rolled-off.  The wife complained about the level early on.  And then there was "Titan A.E.", the DTS track on DVD.  This movie seems to embody the same attributes as most of the music featured in it.  The dialog and sound effects were irritating to listen to at anything higher than what would be 71 dB.  Now that's a loudness war track!






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