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

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That is good to hear Nick. I decided not to see that in the theater so I could fist watch it at home. Looks like it has some good 12 to 25Hz energy. My buddy also said the visuals are stunning.

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Valerian & the City of a Thousand Planets  (ATMOS)

Level: 3 Stars (110.06dB composite)

Extension: 3 Stars (18Hz)

Dynamics: 5 Stars (32.13dB!)

Execution: TBD

Overall: TBD

 

Notes:  Decent film, may need a BEQ.  Will update this post with a clipping analysis when completed.

Valerian.thumb.jpg.a84c703289e568a6cc43a55a2b538498.jpg

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Well that's surprising. Kind of a bummer about the ULF but it's a great movie and a blast to use for demo's. 

*edit* You can see the filter by my screen caps. Lots of info around 25 Hz on up with some remnants at/around 10 Hz in some scenes. The thing I like most about this movie is its awesome demo qualities. I think it's a great sci-fi story with awesome graphics, totally neat ideas, massive creatures, neat environments, etc. I suppose what I'm getting at is that I throroughly enjoy "Valerian" even though the movie didn't measure the best in ULF/LFE. By massive contrast the movie "Weaponized" measured very well in ULF/LFE but, to me, the audio sucked. There, I said it. Weaponized sucked. If anyone wants the Blu-Ray shoot me an email. All I ask is that you over the cost of shipping. 

 

Weaponized: 

irOXUDK.jpg

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Yes to BEQ.  The ramp up to 30 Hz is also pretty steep.  I wonder if it'll sound better with more mid bass too.  :)

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I thought the film had good midbass impact (when it was used).  Here's a prelim BEQ Pre-Post:

5a1e36ea512f2_ValerianPre-Post.thumb.png.b515e0a58e00b6b099e02dc441deeb3c.png

 

I'll see if it is any good this week...

JSS

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33 minutes ago, maxmercy said:

I thought the film had good midbass impact (when it was used).  Here's a prelim BEQ Pre-Post:

[...]

I'll see if it is any good this week...

Nice!  Have you tried GOTG2 BEQ yet?

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On 11/27/2017 at 12:50 PM, Electrodynamic said:

....measured very well in ULF/LFE but, to me, the audio sucked. There, I said it.

 

Nothing to be ashamed of.

A flat PvA is no indication at all that the rest of the mix will sound good whatsoever. :P

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Agreed, one need not look past Frankenstein's Army to 'experience' that.  One of my favorite mixes PvA is not that awesome.  The movie Drive.

SME,  I have yet to audition GOTG2 BEQ, but will when I have a chance to listen at spirited levels.  I have some cleanup and backlog to do on this thread and this forum, bear with me.

JSS

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As far as PvAs, I typically give more attention to the peak than the average plot.  Still, I agree that PvA  shape does not line up with bass sound quality 1-to-1.  For example, lots of movies peak at 30 Hz, but not all have 30 Hz boom.

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Well.... it was intense.

As A/V nerds we may scoff at the thought of this Satan-bred, pure-evil stuff called "clipping" but like it or not, it did have the desired effect. It's fucking loud. It's harsh. I'd imagine it was on that beach...and in all the various marine vessels...and in the Spitfires being shot at.

All his films are mixed like this. Would expect nothing different from Nolan.

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BB and TDK were not nearly as bad as the ‘epiphany’ Nolan had with TDKR and nearly every film of his since...while I can appreciate the ‘wall of sound’ effect, it is best used sparingly for even greater effect.

JSS

PS - If the biggest warp effect in ST:Into Deafness was unclipped (It was!), you KNOW good sound can be unclipped as well.  While I completely understand the ‘flat tops’ for effect, I cannot abide slamming into 0dBFS with reckless abandon and literally clipping away information.  Put the flat tops at -0.1dB and watch your signal levels to avoid losing information.  Or use analog compression or soft limiting.

But it has been said before: “What can I say?  Director’s Intent is Director’s Intent.”

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12 minutes ago, maxmercy said:

BB and TDK were not nearly as bad as the ‘epiphany’ Nolan had with TDKR and nearly every film of his since...while I can appreciate the ‘wall of sound’ effect, it is best used sparingly for even greater effect.

JSS

Yeah. It's definitely been his MO since TDKR.

Quote

PS - If the biggest warp effect in ST:Into Deafness was unclipped (It was!), you KNOW good sound can be unclipped as well.  While I completely understand the ‘flat tops’ for effect, I cannot abide slamming into 0dBFS with reckless abandon and literally clipping away information.  Put the flat tops at -0.1dB and watch your signal levels to avoid losing information.  Or use analog compression or soft limiting.

But it has been said before: “What can I say?  Director’s Intent is Director’s Intent.”

Hey... don't think I don't agree with you.

But if that's what the guy wanted it to sound like, who am I to argue?

 

Well.... that's a good question! Let's argue about it. :D

Usually this particular subject revolves back to dialog intelligibility and Nolan has had plenty of very mainstream news about that sort of thing with all his past movies since TDKR.

Christopher Nolan is excellent at story telling but dude-bro needs to get his hearing checked or something. :P

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Well that settles it.  When it's time to watch Dunkirk, I'm only going to play with the surround channels turned on.  :P  :lol:

I have to say I hate clipping a lot less now that I am listening to a more tonally balanced/neutral presentation.  That's not something Audyssey delivered at all, and it's also not something one gets without tweaks when listening to a cinema soundtrack vs. a quality home remix.  In both cases, the highs are overemphasized, which makes clipping truly dreadful.

Cinema tracks are mixed in an environment with the X-curve applied, and most of the time, those tracks get brightened to counteract this roll-off.  The X-curve also suppresses low frequencies and bass, so that part of the track often gets boosted too.   Between that, and the fact that pink noise energy accumulates in large, cinema size spaces and inflates the calibration measurements vs. loudness means that the practical headroom available on a cinema track is nowhere near as much as one would think.  The X-curve effects alone probably kill 4-6 dB of headroom.  Taking into account room size effects, and for all practical purposes, a cinema track has only a little more headroom, per channel, than typical music releases.  On the plus side, cinema mixes do have more channels plus LFE to work with.

Now that I have a grasp of the real problems, I'd like to see the X-curve standard abolished some day.  We'll see if that ever happens though.

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I'd have to double-check with my friend but... I think the X-curve is no longer a thing in modern cinema mixes.

Afaik, that stopped in the 90's/2000's when sound started being delivered in uncompressed PCM.

 

We have better screen materials these days and better compression horn technology.

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, SME said:

The X-curve effects alone probably kill 4-6 dB of headroom.  Taking into account room size effects, and for all practical purposes, a cinema track has only a little more headroom, per channel, than typical music releases.  On the plus side, cinema mixes do have more channels plus LFE to work with.

 

Ummm......  no.

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7 minutes ago, Infrasonic said:

I'd have to double-check with my friend but... I think the X-curve is no longer a thing in modern cinema mixes.

Afaik, that stopped in the 90's/2000's when sound started being delivered in uncompressed PCM.

 

We have better screen materials these days and better compression horn technology.

Do double-check with your friend, but I'm quite certain that calibration to the X-curve is still standard for cinema.  And that is true despite better screen materials and compression driver tech.

5 minutes ago, Infrasonic said:

> The X-curve effects alone probably kill 4-6 dB of headroom.  Taking into account room size effects, and for all practical purposes, a cinema track has only a little more headroom, per channel, than typical music releases.  On the plus side, cinema mixes do have more channels plus LFE to work with.

Ummm......  no.

Yes, it absolutely does kill headroom, effectively, when compared to how things work for music and "home" mixes..  The 4-6 dB figure is a rough estimate on my part.

The cinema basically calibrates for a flat power response, even though a flat speaker under similar circumstances is likely to develop an in-room response with much more tilt.  This approach is flawed from the outset because research strongly supports flat direct sound response as preferred over flat power response.  While music production does not rely on any standards, the established precedent for music is flat direct sound response, and I am convinced that targeting flat direct sound response leads to better "translation" as well.

For treble, a 1 dB/octave tilt is likely to be typical for a flat direct sound speaker (that is, flat after compensating for screen effects), so the X curve is tending to attenuate the top an extra 2 dB/octave above 2 kHz and even more above 8-10 kHz.  That's lost headroom because the content in the soundtrack is boosted to compensate.

However, there is attenuation at the bottom too, and it is has more severe consequences on headroom.  Research suggests that even in fairly dead cinemas, direct-sound-flat speakers exhibit a substantial power response rise, starting below 500 Hz or so and rising more rapidly below 200-300 Hz.  This probably occurs in part because of the relatively poor bass absorption of typical cinema room treatments, but perhaps more important is the considerable drop in directivity exhibited by almost all cinema speakers (and consumer speakers too) in that region.  Unfortunately, the amount of attenuation during calibration likely varies a lot more than at the top.  In fact, evidence suggests that front left/right vs. center vs. surround speakers in the same venue often sound different after calibration.  As a consequence, cinema mixes translate poorly even to other cinemas.  Cinema sound will never be "great" as long as this broken standard remains in wide use.

So because of the attenuation performed during calibration, the low frequencies are boosted on the track also, and unfortunately the amount, center frequenc(ies), and shape of the boost(s) are inconsistent from track to track.  Based on the measurement data I've seen as well as what "sounds right" to me when I do my re-EQing, I'd guess that low-shelf boosts of 3-5 dB, centered between 200-300 Hz, are probably common.  So that's 3-5 dB lost headroom for bass where the majority of the energy of a soundtrack lives.  Additional boosts centered at lower frequencies may also be introduced, but I believe those are less common and less likely to impact the quality of the track anyway.  The stuff in the 200-300 Hz range has a big impact on the quality of the dialog, so this adjustment is almost always made, in conjunction with the adjustments made to the highs.

Given what I describe, I would argue that 4-6 dB is a totally reasonable figure for lost headroom.  When that same track is remixed "for the home", it is remixed on a system that lacks attenuation on the high end and is less likely to be attenuated on the low end either.  The system is likely to use either quality flat-direct-sound monitors as-is (with bass response problems being address primarily through acoustic treatment instead) or calibrated to a curve more similar to Harman's recommendations, i.e. with a significant slope.  The level calibration is done using pink noise band-limited to 500-2kHz, allowing the rest of the power response to either "fall where it may" or adhere to a non-flat target.  (Actually, it's usually magnitude-smoothed response not power response that's fit to a target.  Sadly, few people in this business realize that the difference between these two is significant.)

Argh, see what you made me do?  I wish I could explain it more easily.  The gist is that the X-curve standard is flawed and leads to somewhat consistent attenuation of the highs and very inconsistent attenuation of the lows during calibration, and the compensation performed during the re-recording mix costs headroom.

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Here's a recent paper documenting B-chain cinema measurements and attempting to assess the side-effects of X-curve calibration:

https://www.smpte.org/sites/default/files/SMPTE TC-25CSS-B CHAIN FREQUENCY AND TEMPORAL RESPONSE ANALYSIS OF THEATRES AND DUBBING STAGES 1 Oct 2014.pdf

Dr. Toole was involved in the work above.  Here is Dr. Toole's follow-up paper, which suggests a way forward for a more reliable, universal calibration method:

http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17839

Unfortunately, both of these papers are significantly flawed, and I admit I've been slacking as far as communicating with Dr. Toole to explain the flaws.  The major issue is that all the "frequency response" measurements rely on magnitude smoothing, which even at 1/48th octave resolution has side-effects that are unexpected to the people doing this work.  As noted in my previous post, magnitude-smoothed response measurements are very different from power response or power-smoothed measurements (which the X-curve relies on), and I am of the opinion that neither consistently correlates with tonal balance perception.  Hence, the notion that calibration of magnitude-smoothed frequency response in all cinemas and/or all homes to a single target curve (even if it's different for cinema vs. homes) will achieve translation is fundamentally flawed.

I have been working on a solution to this problem using complex-smoothing, i.e. FDW, but it is still a work in progress and has considerable limitations.  The method requires measurements at multiple locations, even when the goal is to optimize sound at a single seat.  That's because reflected sound arrivals do influence perception.  To achieve true single-seat optimization, I would have to develop more sophisticated time-frequency methods, and to get it right, I'd probably need to do proper psychoacoustic studies for which I don't have the resources to do right.  I don't know.  I haven't even taken the first steps down that path.  After my various refinements and tweaks, I am getting superb results using my FDW method, but it is tedious and probably error prone for many situations.  I still have to make some manual judgments and "fudges" to deal with interference issues involving both my center and surrounds.

It'd be seriously awesome if someone would pay me to actually be solving these problems.  :)  That'll probably happen ... in my dreams, heheh.

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FYI Nolan got a new effects mixer with TDKR: Gregg Landaker.  Previously it was Lora Hirschberg.

BTW, am I the only one who noticed that the graph had the peak bass between 50-60Hz?  That's different.....  I'm guessing this movie will 'slam' something fierce but there will be little underneath that.

With every movie Nolan seems to be making his soundtracks more and more artificial in his never ending quest to be LOUDER than everything else.

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17 hours ago, SME said:

Do double-check with your friend, but I'm quite certain that calibration to the X-curve is still standard for cinema.  And that is true despite better screen materials and compression driver tech.

Will do.

I do know that the Xcurve is not baked into the actual mix. This EQ is part of the calibration of the system in the room itself. Not apart of the mix.

Quote

Yes, it absolutely does kill headroom, effectively, when compared to how things work for music and "home" mixes..  The 4-6 dB figure is a rough estimate on my part.

"compared to how things work for music (no standards) and "home mixes.."

Well... now see. That's the problem. You're conflating issues that exist across a varying multitude of different circumstances, layouts, equipment, expectations, etc. What can be applied as good methods for one market will not yield identical results in another. You're probably going to go on a long thing about inroom response and different attenuation levels and response shapes and all that stuff. :P

Large room acoustics =/= small room acoustics.

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The cinema basically calibrates for a flat power response, even though a flat speaker under similar circumstances is likely to develop an in-room response with much more tilt.  This approach is flawed from the outset because research strongly supports flat direct sound response as preferred over flat power response.  While music production does not rely on any standards....

Omg... who'd of guessed. :P

Quote

Argh, see what you made me do?  I wish I could explain it more easily.  The gist is that the X-curve standard is flawed and leads to somewhat consistent attenuation of the highs and very inconsistent attenuation of the lows during calibration, and the compensation performed during the re-recording mix costs headroom.

Well. You didn't have to. There are parts in what you say that are accurate and some that are wildly inaccurate. But that's okay. :D I'm too lazy (and at work :ph34r:) to even bother correcting anything. Either way, I already look like an asshole and just don't have it in me to defend my own statements. Ya'll believe whatever you want to believe.

Don't have the energy to debate against full audiophile mode. Sorry. I just enjoy movies, enjoy how they are made (even when it frustrates me) and like to replicate the cinema experience at home. *shrugs*

 

Lol, I have outlived my usefulness on these audio boards. I'm just here to have a good time. :P

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