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

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Now that I run Crowsons, the infra is definitely experienced.  When I get more time with them  more properly integrate them, I'll do a proper review in the gear section.  Short story is Crowsons = (or nearly so) Nearfield Subs but with much less cubic footage.  Can't comment on slam, saw some of X-Men last night at -20dBRef, you need to listen at -7dB or preferably -4dB or higher to properly experience slam, IMO.  Will hopefully finish it tonight.  So far decent film.

 

JSS  

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+1 on the Crowsons Max.  Makes a huge difference on movies that maybe have bass but at a lower level down below.  And makes movies that have high impact down low freaking awesome.  That's my un-scientific review of them.

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Well you aren't wrong.  Good theater sound systems are expensive and most chains aren't going to spend the money unless there is some kind of benefit.

 

Premium theaters can be worth the money, I saw The Force Awakens in a SDX (or something, can't exactly remember) theater and the sound system was actually really good.  Did have to pay a premium but in that case it was money well spent.

 

It's not just the price of the equipment.  Actually, I would guess that the audio equipment is not all that expensive compared to the video equipment and the cost of building the room itself.  I believe the biggest challenge to theaters is actually configuring the equipment for optimal performance and maintaining that level of performance over time.  Many theaters sound pretty good after a renovation with new audio equipment installed.  Presumably, they have a good engineer calibrate the system at that point.  But it's only a matter of time before the system performance skews for one reason or another.  I imagine the upkeep and maintenance is where cinemas fail the most.

 

Most of the cinemas close to me are Cinemark and we go a couple times a year still. The sound is usually kinda bad. The bass is pathetic. I've heard blown sounds before and or it's M.I.A. altogether. If you're lucky you'll get a few gratifying 35-60Hz booms. The surrounds and main channels are often extremely loud and shouty/harsh (especially the center channel dialog). Not very pleasant. The general impression is of 300-6Khz being hotter than everything else and the system being not quite in its comfort zone anymore, or perhaps just old and worn out.

 

Here's the thing, a whole lot of people out there really have no reference point for what a good system can sound like. To them the same system I've described above sounds amazing compared to their TV speakers, their soundbar, their factory car stereo, their ear bud headphones, or their Z-logic computer speakers. They go in the same theater I do and are thrilled with the overall volume, dynamics and BIG presentation. Matters of perspective.

 

Count me among those with no good reference point, but I'm making headway on that problem with my on-going system build.  :)  Unfortunately, I struggle to find perspective when evaluating and improving it.  I occasionally go to the local premium cinema in hopes of hearing something better, or at least different and not any worse, but usually all that does is make me appreciate my system at home even more.

 

Last week, I went to the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival (my third year there).  By now, I at least have an idea of which vendors are worth spending some time with.  I listened to a variety of high quality speakers including some JBL Everests and 4367 monitors along with the Seaton Sound Catalyst 8c (supported by an 18" sub) and a JTR model (the 210RT, I think) running full-range.  Unfortunately, most of the rooms at such an event are way too small and cramped, and the noise floor is rather high.  Both JBL pairs were not set up optimally but still sounded remarkably good.  The JTR and Seaton speakers also sounded very good and were in rooms with some bass absorption.  Between these two, each had apparent strengths, where I preferred the mid-range balance of the 8cs and the imaging and mid-bass of the JTRs.  Still, neither compare to what I have at home, especially in the bass, if for no other reason than I'm in a larger space with more bass absorption and I've had the opportunity to optimize my setup for my room.

 

Edit: I forgot to add that I had a conversation with a co-worker in a previous job about why I interested in getting good sound at home.  He told me he prefers to listen at home with his soundbar because the theaters are just "needlessly loud".  I wouldn't be surprised if his view is pretty commonplace, and if so this should be a serious concern to the industry.  I also wonder how many people are actually willing to pay more for a bigger screen.  I suspect that the primary reason cinemas still get the business they do is because of their first-run advantage.  If at some point, the studios deprive them of that advantage, then IMO they'll be screwed.

Edited by SME

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I think for most of the people in the home area, it's the picture and not the sound.  I have a friend who just bought a brand new top of the line LG 65in OLED TV (he got it for a good price.)  He has my old setup of speakers.  They were the old Def Tech pro 400's, which were not that bad and my c/l/r 1000 center.  The pro 400's are powered and they can put out some nice bass.  Nothing like we have but he is in a townhouse so he can't go crazy anyway.  But he has not put up surrounds and he doesn't care about them.  I think he probably could if he did some work but to him it's not worth it.  Plus, some of his audio isn't 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS let alone the TRUHD, etc... stuff.  He mainly cares about the picture and that's all.  I am sure there are a lot of people like him.

 

Now me, I did my best to get the best of both worlds.  I have a great sounding 5.1 setup with a new(ish) 55" 4k TV.  I probably could have gone 60" or 65" but we all have circumstances and one of mine prohibited me from going larger than 55".  It still looks great in my small room.  My point is I wanted to get the best I could for audio and video. I was first only an audio guy and I didn't care about video.  But that changed over time and now I see the value in both.  

 

I have also been to theaters with blown speakers and others where the sound way too loud.  So I understand what some of these people are saying.  But for the most part, the theaters I go to are not that bad.  Only one time did I leave a movie because the sound was so distorted and we went into a bigger theater that was showing the same theater and it sounded awesome.  And my friend has been to my house and heard my system but that has not seemed to sway him.  It's not that it sounds bad, because it does not.  It's just that he cares more about video than audio.  Anyway, that's what I think.

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I think for most of the people in the home area, it's the picture and not the sound. I have a friend who just bought a brand new top of the line LG 65in OLED TV (he got it for a good price.) He has my old setup of speakers. They were the old Def Tech pro 400's, which were not that bad and my c/l/r 1000 center. The pro 400's are powered and they can put out some nice bass. Nothing like we have but he is in a townhouse so he can't go crazy anyway. But he has not put up surrounds and he doesn't care about them. I think he probably could if he did some work but to him it's not worth it. Plus, some of his audio isn't 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS let alone the TRUHD, etc... stuff. He mainly cares about the picture and that's all. I am sure there are a lot of people like him.

 

Now me, I did my best to get the best of both worlds. I have a great sounding 5.1 setup with a new(ish) 55" 4k TV. I probably could have gone 60" or 65" but we all have circumstances and one of mine prohibited me from going larger than 55". It still looks great in my small room. My point is I wanted to get the best I could for audio and video. I was first only an audio guy and I didn't care about video. But that changed over time and now I see the value in both.

Same here unfortunately... No one I know even considers speakers as addition to a smashing TV setup,it seems like it's an unknown dimension to many.

 

It just goes to show how much marketing works really (see: Beats, Bose) but then again the best of the best never had to use invest in marketing, instead they direct all resources into R&D and it just goes to show in the final product really. I always use car comparisons to explain this to my friends 'You can see Hyundai adverts everywhere, but I bet you've never seen an ad for Pagani' and if that doesn't convince them then I just invite them over for a quick demo and blow them and their little HTIBs away ????

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+1 on the Crowsons Max.  Makes a huge difference on movies that maybe have bass but at a lower level down below.  And makes movies that have high impact down low freaking awesome.  That's my un-scientific review of them.

 

I still have yet to find a truly proper setting to make them feel seamless, but they make a film seem 'louder' just by being on, as the sensation is nearly identical to my old nearfield sub setup.  Where do you lowpass them, and 2nd or 4th order?

 

JSS

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I still have yet to find a truly proper setting to make them feel seamless, but they make a film seem 'louder' just by being on, as the sensation is nearly identical to my old nearfield sub setup.  Where do you lowpass them, and 2nd or 4th order?

 

JSS

I am not sure if it is a 2nd or 4th order to be honest.  I am using a Butt Kicker BKA-1000 amp so all that stuff is done by the amp. I "think" I have it crossed over at 40hz.  I would need double check that stuff though.  I can try and do that tonight.  But the way it's set up now, it feels pretty seamless to me.  I can check all the settings and post them later.  

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AVSforum has a pretty glowing review of the audio track on ID4: Resurgence. I saw the movie in the theater and found it entertaining enough, but would now like to rewatch it on the home theater to see what it does to my wall hangings. Any second opinions on the audio?

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Aggressive surround mix. Meh bass.

 

Did you apply the official Data-Bass +36dB bass boost?

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Did you apply the official Data-Bass +36dB bass boost?

 

Haha! No. Only saw it in the theaters. I think it comes out on video next week....or something. Idk. Been out-of-the-loop on video releases all year. -_-

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WarCraft (Dolby ATMOS)

 

Level - 3 Stars (109.82dB Composite)

Extension - 5 Stars (8Hz)

Dynamics - 5 Stars (29.02dB)

Execution - TBD

 

Overall - TBD 

 

Comments - Clips only a few times, longest flat top I found was only 1ms long.  Appears to be by waveform analysis a technically superior track compared to most these days.  I'll take a slightly lower dB Composite Level any day if it means the audio wasn't clipped.  I hope the film is decent.

 

EDIT - While the film has good sound and visual effects, it does not make up for it's drawbacks in every other category that counts as a 'watchable movie' for anything other than people well-versed in the WarCraft universe.  The acting is cringe-worthy.

 

post-20-0-74972600-1477516044.jpg

 

JSS

post-20-0-74972600-1477516044_thumb.jpg

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Damn...Was hoping the movie was at least decent because this looks like a solid bass movie. Simply turn up the subs a bit and you're there.

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I caught the last 20-30mins of it. I can see the appeal but it wasn't the type of movie for me. Definitely a feature-length cutscene from a videogame...which is pretty much what it is! A movie for the die-hard Warcraft fan of which I am not. My Dad sure seems to like it. :P

 

It's my first UHD movie and it does have Atmos.... Maybe I should give it a shot in the HT room.

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Star Trek: Beyond - Dolby ATMOS

 

Level - 4 Stars (110.16dB composite)

Extension -  0 Stars (33Hz)

Dynamics - 5 Stars (28.55dB)

Execution - TBD

Overall - TBD

 

Comments - Wow, what a rolloff.  But the good news is only clips occasionally in the LFE channel, LCRS are clean, no flat-tops.  This one will probably need a BEQ correction.

 

post-20-0-51702200-1478298817.jpg

 

JSS

post-20-0-51702200-1478298817_thumb.jpg

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In a previous post. I gave my review of the soundtrack and the Regal RPX Atmos cinema I visited:

 

 

Before I even entered the theater, I noticed the bass seemed quite excessive and one-notish, centered at maybe 40-60 Hz.  Indeed, every bass hit of every trailer sounded and felt the same.

 

 

But then the main feature started, and the excess bass went away.  In fact, almost all the sub bass seemed to go away.  What little was there seemed to be 40 Hz and up.

 

So I'm guessing that what happened is that I watched a movie that was lopped off below 40-50 Hz in a cinema with a hump around 40 Hz (where the content is already dropping off) and weak response everywhere else.  So I heard almost *nothing* on a 4 star level film.  Gotta love how circumstances conspire to ruin the experience.  I hope the BEQ works out.  ;)

 

On a completely different note, has anyone here watched the "Clone Wars" TV show (5.1 track) in their home theater?  Some of the earlier episodes had some good bass, but since I got to the 4th season it's been quite a bass feast.  Of course, it's TV at TV levels, but the under 30 Hz stuff is real hot and seems to go at least as low as my current subs do (12-15 Hz ish) with.  Some episodes do sound off balance with way too much ULF for what's happening on screen, but others are actually very well done with strong tactile effects (swinging light sabres, explosions, space ship fly-bys) digging very deep.

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Well, that's one film I'm not likely to buy until it's in the bargain bin... :rolleyes:

 

 

I'm sure it sounds just great on those soundbars... 

 

I'm not sure why they bother with mixing studios sometimes, all they appear to need is a soundbar and a 42" LED TV if that's all they are mixing for.

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