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Showing content with the highest reputation on 11/20/2018 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    I should be able to see that one soon and will give my feedback. I do hope it's not as bad as "Black Panther", which as I said sounded more compressed than analog TV to me. BP had a $200 million budget, and given that "sound is half the movie", there is no excuse for this. At this point, I don't really have a problem with studios pulling dynamics back a bit for home mixes. The mid-range emphasis that results when a cinema or dub-stage is calibrated to the X-curve target makes the sound smaller and whimpier. For a long time, I assumed that mixers compensated for the lack of bass and treble using EQ boost, but I was mostly wrong about that. I say "mostly" because I think some EQ does find its way in to a lot of tracks, but it's much less than would be needed to reverse the effect of the X-curve calibration. So even after EQ tweaks, the sound in the cinema is still lacking in bass and treble and seems small and whimpy. The mixers compensate another way: using the faders. The consequence is a mix with exaggerated macro-dynamics because the mixers are pushing up the levels of the big effects for more pop. There's a huge difference, however, between pulling dynamics back a bit for a more authentic "cinema-like" experience at home and crushing the mix to the dynamic range of a typical Internet pod cast. Also, I could be wrong but it sounds like BP just got shoved through an algorithm without any scene-by-scene consideration at all. I don't have a problem with automation being used as part of the process, but at the least there should be people going through the mix and making tweaks for different scenes. It took a lot of fader twiddling to get the cinema mix the way it was. It's ridiculous to assume that a simple algorithm can reverse all of that. The sad thing about all this is that most consumers don't complain. The industry thinks that means that it doesn't matter, but it does even if consumer don't complain. Most consumers don't notice the lack of dynamics. They don't notice the lack of emotional impact and lack of connection with the actors. They don't notice that the overall movie experience is less inspiring or that their motivation to purchase media in the future is diminished. And when the sales start to drop, will the industry recognize that quality matters even when the consumer isn't aware of it? Or will they just blame the loss of sales on pirates?
  2. 1 point
    FWIW, I liked TLJ as a film a lot more after the second watch. It's definitely flawed, but what SW film isn't? Yes! Because the channel architecture includes the LFE channel for extra bass headroom, any film mixer that wants to use LFE in the mix must effectively use some kind of bass management when creating it. Microphones and synthesizers don't tend to spit out separate LFE tracks, and I doubt the sound designers deliver content with separate LFE either. Even if they did, it wouldn't allow optimal budgeting of headroom in the mix, so basically it comes down to the mixer to figure out how to distribute the sub bass between the different channels of the mix. I'm sure many different strategies are employed including the wacky filtering schemes seen in TLJ and many other movies. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the bass that appears to have been filtered from the surrounds was simply re-routed to LFE instead. This is probably why almost every one of the BEQs developed by @maxmercy uses quite different filters on each channel, and why I believe this approach is usually necessary for good BEQ sound quality. Even then, it's probably not possible to fix everything. The bass management on the production side may be applying very different filters to sound that is redirected from each mains channel to LFE. For example with TLJ, it's possible that the 40-60 Hz part of the LFE channel contains a lot more bass that goes with sounds in the surround channels than screen channels, but below 40 Hz, it's a more even mix of screens and surrounds. So any adjustments made to LFE could have different effects on the surrounds vs. the mains. Lastly, we need to remind ourselves that bass management on playback systems has a lot of problems too. Probably very few systems out there have neutral sounding bass for sounds on all 7.1+ channels of a soundtrack because of sub crossover phase issues. The more savvy home theater people know to optimize sub delay for best sub crossover response, which makes a *huge* difference, but this is only possible on one channel (i.e. the center channel for movie optimization) or some weighted sum (i.e. left+right for music optimization). How many people here or anywhere have good response in the sub XO region on their surround and overhead channels? Yes, those channels do get used for bass, and they get used a lot more now because immersive formats for the cinema specify bass management for the surrounds. I personally have the capability to optimize bass management completely and separately for each mains channel and for LFE, which is itself optimized to blend best with simultaneous content in the center channel. IMO, this should be a minimum requirement for a "high performance" home theate, but it's not possible to do this with any standard home theater processors I know of (without spending 6 figures $ at least). I doubt very many "Atmos at home" production systems have that capability, which means they aren't hearing the bass right on their own soundtracks. (Sadly, I wouldn't be surprised if many of these don't even have the sub distance optimized for best center channel response.) At least Atmos in the cinema specifies that surround and overhead channels be bass managed to separate "surround subs" located closer to the back of the room, which probably helps a lot, but Atmos for home is still essentially a 7.1+ format.
  3. 1 point
    I found TLJ quite underwhelming even with the volume turned up and with BEQ on though perhaps my impression is coloured by my impression of the film (which I also found pretty underwhelming). FWIW I posted the per channel pva for that on avs - https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-subwoofers-bass-transducers/2995212-bass-eq-filtered-movies.html#post57055584 - as I was curious about the relative merits of the two BEQ approaches (pre and post). It seems to be a really heavily filtered track, almost looks like they baked bass management into the track itself.
  4. 1 point
    Other movies watched recent: "Ghost in the Shell": I liked it a lot, and it had some cool mid-bass glitch effects and a very interesting score. The bass was OK otherwise, filtered in the 20s but not too aggressively. "Jumnaji": Worst bass I've heard in a while. It had some ULF, but it had a severe 30 Hz hump and almost no mid-bass. It was loud and boomy and had absolutely no punch or clarity and almost no tactile at all. For all the attention given to ULF, I think good mid-bass is more important. Without enough mid-bass in the track, the low stuff just sounds terrible. (Edit) "Ready: Player One" with BEQ: Bass movie of the year for me. Possibly my new favorite bass movie ever. Excellent full-bandwidth sound design. Very tactile throughout. You are *there*. I kind of miss the discussion here where we gave our subjective impressions of these tracks. Maybe all of that happens at AVSForum these days?
  5. 1 point
    So I watched "Black Panther" finally. I played the BD 7.1 at "-1" (!), and my Denon did not indicate any dialnorm compensation was applied. I have to agree that this soundtrack has serious deficiencies caused by excessive and/or mis-configured dynamics processing. It was bad. It seemed worse than the dynamics of old analog TV. Not only were macro-dynamics largely eliminated but the compressor attack seemed to act immediately and aggressively on transiently loud sounds such as gun shots. IMO, the consequences were wide and substantially degrading to the viewing experience. The experience was passive and uninvolving. The on-screen action and actors seemed trivial and insignificant. It wasn't just special effects that were harm but also the score, dialog, ambiance, etc. The scoring involving live acoustic instruments (vs. the pop / hip-hop style music) sounded completely unnatural and irritating to listen to because of the pumping effects. In one scene, dialog alternated between a few key characters and a large crowd, both of which were rendered equally loud but of course this made the crowd sound very whimpy, and the aggressive compression really muddied their voices together. It really broke the immersion. The acting seemed quite forced throughout the movie, but I could also tell that the dialog completely lacked the dynamics which may play a big part in conveying passion and emotion. The weird thing is that even if this aggressive compression was done on purpose, perhaps to optimize for hand-held devices in high noise environments, the level of the track was extremely low. I basically had to turn things up to cinema reference level to get sound that still wasn't that loud. That's a huge amount of gain as far as hand-helds go. On most if not all such devices, this track would be difficult to hear even with the volume at max. Oddly enough though, it had some decent bass in a few places, particularly in some of the quieter scenes where there wasn't as much mid/high frequency content to compete against. The tonal balance was actually quite nice, and I experienced a surprising amount of ULF with rather strong tactile effect. A lot of ULF just makes the windows rattle and maybe shakes the floor a bit, but this was felt quite strongly in the chest area. I believe the presence of higher harmonic frequencies with good balance all the way up essential for this sensation. The ULF itself makes the least contribution to the sensation but helps fill it out and make it more real and present. It's just too bad that the good bass was totally missing from a lot of transient effects. Anyway, I have a hard time believing that the problems with this soundtrack were intentional. It's certainly possible that people misjudged the quality of the track because they were too tired or something. Or maybe people were just rushed. Maybe mistakes were made that were to difficult to correct. Still, this is bad enough that I think it'd be reasonable to ask for a correction and recall. I didn't buy this film, and have no interest in doing so after what I experienced. Still, I hope this isn't an example of Disney's future. I thought some of the Pixar films like "Coco", "Inside Out", and "Finding Dory" were fine as far as dynamics were concerned. They might have been pulled back a bit compared to typical cinema tracks, but I kind of expect that with kids movies. And anyway they still were *way more dynamic* than "Black Panther". Edit: Just to clarify with my opinions regard to discussion in some of the recent posts: I thought "Black Panther" and "The Last Jedi" were kind of at opposite ends of sound quality and performance. TLJ had very nice dynamics, it just needs high master volume to get things nice and loud. BP is about the same average loudness as TLJ was (7.1 at least) but had practically no dynamics at all, for which there's no real cure. BP really looks like a QC error as does the Thor:Ragnorok Atmos track which apparent has severe compression but only for the first half. I hope it's just these two, but I guess I'll find out how Avengers 3 is.
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