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

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SME, are you boosting the low end with BEQ for those movies you mentioned? JW Fallen Kingdom needs a big boost down low to extract the deep stuff.

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On 1/12/2019 at 11:49 AM, Joelmister127 said:

Ah I see, so do you think that is where the 3-5hz content is mostly? Probably to make the audience as shit scared as Tom Cruise was trying to get to the helicopter hahaha!

Honestly I'm not sure, choppers are usually around 7Hz, as you mentioned previously there were some moments where you can just feel pressure or a really quick pulse,  I didn't make note of exactly when those happened.

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3 hours ago, Pradeep said:

SME, are you boosting the low end with BEQ for those movies you mentioned? JW Fallen Kingdom needs a big boost down low to extract the deep stuff.

No BEQ applied for any titles in that post, and I gave my subjective impressions.  It seemed to me that many of the smaller effects in JW had decent ULF including some in the single digits.  I presume the larger effects are more strongly filtered (which is consistent with my experience), and these effects dominate the appearance of the PvA.  If this is indeed the case for JW, then BEQ is likely to give mixed results rather than across-the-board improvement.  Whether there is an improvement on-net may be a matter of opinion and may depend on the playback system too.  For example, the biggest effects may get the right amount of ULF, but the smaller effects might end up with too much ULF.  A lot of people may be OK with that.  I prefer to prioritize correctness above 20-30 Hz before worrying about ULF at all, because IMO the higher frequency stuff is a lot more important.  (This is a key point I probably didn't emphasize enough in some of my recent posts in which I criticized BEQ in which the same EQ is applied to all the channels to make the channel-sum PvA data look prettier.)

I should also clarify that I experience ULF on my system a bit different than I think a lot of people do.  Even though my subs have plenty of output and I'm on a suspended floor, the floor doesn't actually move or vibrate much at all.  I rarely get wobbles, and usually only with long duration content at specific frequencies that resonate with my floor (there's a scene in "Star Trek" that I know of).  However, I definitely notice a difference with and without ULF, and I experience it as much or more in the tactile domain.  Basically, I get a lot of chest and body cavity sensations with my bass in general, and the ULF affects those sensations in ways I detail in the next paragraph.

First, I need to point out that even if a soundtrack is filtered, one can still "hear" and "feel" the ULF content that was part of the original sound design in many cases.  That's because such content almost always occurs in conjunction with higher harmonics and/or amplitude modulation, which clues the brain into the missing fundamental.  Of course the filter still adversely affects the *quality* of the sound and tactile sensation.  For movies that are obnoxiously humped, you often get a kind of droning in the 20-40 Hz range (depending on where the hump is) that undulates at the lower (missing) fundamental frequencies.  For example, a helicopter filtered this way might deliver a kind of sloppy "woob-woob-woob-woob" sound and sensation, beating at 7-11 Hz (or whatever), even though the content at the actual fundamental frequency has been filtered away.  Without the filter however the sound and sensation are much tighter and more firm.  It's more of a "thD----------thD----------thD----------thD---------thD---------", where the dashes emphasize the dead space between pulses and the capital 'D' emphasizes that there's still lots of weight, even though it's very tight.  The filtered version may seem heavier, but the unfiltered version is much more natural and realistic.  In general, the lowest frequency undulations in a soundtrack seem much more articulate and *palpable* without a filter.

Of course the experience may be very different on a system that struggles to accurately recreate the non-ULF frequencies, which is most of them.  For at least some people, the 7-11 Hz beating of the helicopter rotor may be completely missing without high SPL reproduction of the actual 7-11 Hz component, in which case I would expect people to prefer the ULF boost despite potential harm done to the rest of the spectrum.  As such, I kind of gave up arguing my concerns about the quality of the BEQs posted on AVSForum (as opposed to those done by @maxmercy and posted here on DB) because I realize those BEQs probably *do* improve things for a lot of people, especially those with TTs/MAs that may otherwise be idling.

For me personally, I (believe I) have extremely high accuracy across the spectrum (bottom to top), and I definitely notice degradation to the non-ULF bass frequencies.  Indeed on a good soundtrack, I don't really hear "bass" isolated from the rest of the spectrum, unless it's specifically called for in the score or in the scene (such as when sound systems are depicted in cars or clubs).  What I hear are synergistic full-band sounds, some of which induce physical sensations that can be quite strong and sometimes intricate.  The bass is just part of the sound and sensation.  Significant degradation anywhere in the spectrum ruins that synergy, so I do what I can to preserve it.

5 hours ago, Pradeep said:

Honestly I'm not sure, choppers are usually around 7Hz, as you mentioned previously there were some moments where you can just feel pressure or a really quick pulse,  I didn't make note of exactly when those happened.

Spinning "chopper" blades may indeed have a fundamental at 7 Hz, but the "chop" has a very broad spectrum with content all the way into the treble.  The sound of a sine wave of 7 Hz is a very smooth undulation, one that requires obscenely high SPL (or a vibrating floor) to perceive.  However, that's nothing like the "chop" of a helicopter blade which is a much tighter, more abrupt sound and sensation.  The 7 Hz part is probably the least important part of the spectrum from a perceptual standpoint.

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Thanks for the explanation SME.  I'm working on deploying dedicated subs for all bed channels (and eventually heights), so that my sub out is just LFE, with no redirected bass. Goal is to be reference capable to at least 20Hz on all channels.

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2 hours ago, Pradeep said:

Thanks for the explanation SME.  I'm working on deploying dedicated subs for all bed channels (and eventually heights), so that my sub out is just LFE, with no redirected bass. Goal is to be reference capable to at least 20Hz on all channels.

Dedicated subs for each Atmos output channel?  That's pretty ambitious!  I can't recall, but I thought Atmos heights were specified to be limited bandwidth?  Assuming they were, I also don't recall if the bass management was supposed to be done by the playback processor, the authoring tools, or by the mixers themselves.

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On 1/17/2019 at 4:44 PM, SME said:

Dedicated subs for each Atmos output channel?  That's pretty ambitious!  I can't recall, but I thought Atmos heights were specified to be limited bandwidth?  Assuming they were, I also don't recall if the bass management was supposed to be done by the playback processor, the authoring tools, or by the mixers themselves.

Over on AVS BassThatHz routed the Atmos channels from MI: Fallout to his bed speakers and found extended bass present to at least 20 Hz. Apparently Atmos channels are capable of full range like the surrounds. It's tempting to treat them as just small effects speakers but clearly there's a lot of content there.

I won't be at the dedicated Atmos subs stage for a while, still need to save the pennies for a Motu 16A to take care of sub crossovers for all the beds first. Then I'll be out of outputs and will need to expand, perhaps a 24Ao as I won't need anymore inputs. Definitely not a cheap path but not approaching Trinnov pricing either.

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@SME

I know you were looking for a high efficiency surround speaker that wasn't compromised into trying for deeper extension, looks like these might be what you were looking for?

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-diy-speakers-subs/1514289-coaxials-another-diy-group-project.html

"15" Specs: Fs: 39.3hz QM: 12.12 Vas: 259.2 liters Cms: .249 mm/N Mms: 66.1 g SD: 856.3 cm^2 VD: 348.0 QE: .33 Re: 5.05 ohms Le: 0.60 mH Bl: 15.68 Tm QT: .33 SPL: 98.6 1w/1m Mmd: 51.7 grams"

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7 hours ago, Pradeep said:

Over on AVS BassThatHz routed the Atmos channels from MI: Fallout to his bed speakers and found extended bass present to at least 20 Hz. Apparently Atmos channels are capable of full range like the surrounds. It's tempting to treat them as just small effects speakers but clearly there's a lot of content there.

Interesting.  Does the AVR do bass management on those channels or just pass the content through?  Or can one choose between "small"/"large" to enable/disable bass management for Atmos speakers?  It'd be weird if they just let the content go through.  I'm sure that'd cause a lot of distortion, wouldn't it?  I hope they at least provide the "large" option being that all my bass management is done downstream of the AVR with the matrix processing to optimize the crossover  EQ and delay of each channel across the available subs.

8 hours ago, Pradeep said:

I won't be at the dedicated Atmos subs stage for a while, still need to save the pennies for a Motu 16A to take care of sub crossovers for all the beds first. Then I'll be out of outputs and will need to expand, perhaps a 24Ao as I won't need anymore inputs. Definitely not a cheap path but not approaching Trinnov pricing either.

I'll also be feeling the pain of only 16 output channels on my 16A if I push to Atmos.  My front stage speakers are 2-way active, and I am using 4 different sub channels.  I'm thinking I may end up doing 7.x.2 with 6 outputs used for the fronts, 4 used for the surrounds, 2 for the ceiling speakers, 3 sub channels and 1 channel for the Crowson.  That's a painful compromise to make.  At least I don't need 4 ceiling speakers.  It just doesn't work with the room, and with only one row of seats and the quality of phantom imaging I am able to get after optimization, 7.x.2 will probably be great.

7 hours ago, Pradeep said:

@SME

I know you were looking for a high efficiency surround speaker that wasn't compromised into trying for deeper extension, looks like these might be what you were looking for?

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-diy-speakers-subs/1514289-coaxials-another-diy-group-project.html

"15" Specs: Fs: 39.3hz QM: 12.12 Vas: 259.2 liters Cms: .249 mm/N Mms: 66.1 g SD: 856.3 cm^2 VD: 348.0 QE: .33 Re: 5.05 ohms Le: 0.60 mH Bl: 15.68 Tm QT: .33 SPL: 98.6 1w/1m Mmd: 51.7 grams"

Thanks, but my point was actually that I *can* compromise deeper extension, and I want to because that's the only way to really get the most efficiency in the upper bass / low mid frequencies where I typically need headroom for EQ boost.   These speakers go up near the ceiling, which provides a lot of extra boundary gain below the suckouts.  All of my speakers, which are placed near walls, are EQed down quite a bit below 120-150 Hz or so.    I don't like spending $$$ on amp power, so I want a coaxial with high efficiency, low mass, and moderate displacement capability.  Most coaxials are designed to be used as full-range speakers, and therefore give up efficiency for extra displacement and/or bass extension that I don't need.  Some others are strictly mid-range drivers and don't have enough displacement.

The T/S specs on that 15" look real nice.  AVSForum appears to be broken for me ATM.  OTOH, I was looking at a 10" with similar efficiency, albeit less extension.  I think it was the B&C 10CXN64.  Hopefully I'll be able to find someone who sells it when the time comes.

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On 1/17/2019 at 1:44 PM, SME said:

Dedicated subs for each Atmos output channel?  That's pretty ambitious!  I can't recall, but I thought Atmos heights were specified to be limited bandwidth?  Assuming they were, I also don't recall if the bass management was supposed to be done by the playback processor, the authoring tools, or by the mixers themselves.

All outputs from immersive audio formats are full range. The playback system handles the bass management. It is up to the mixer(s) to decide how much bass content goes to which location. While rare, it is totally possible to have full range content output from any speaker position, including the overhead speaker positions.

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15 hours ago, SME said:

Interesting.  Does the AVR do bass management on those channels or just pass the content through?  Or can one choose between "small"/"large" to enable/disable bass management for Atmos speakers?  It'd be weird if they just let the content go through.  I'm sure that'd cause a lot of distortion, wouldn't it?  I hope they at least provide the "large" option being that all my bass management is done downstream of the AVR with the matrix processing to optimize the crossover  EQ and delay of each channel across the available subs.

I'll also be feeling the pain of only 16 output channels on my 16A if I push to Atmos.  My front stage speakers are 2-way active, and I am using 4 different sub channels.  I'm thinking I may end up doing 7.x.2 with 6 outputs used for the fronts, 4 used for the surrounds, 2 for the ceiling speakers, 3 sub channels and 1 channel for the Crowson.  That's a painful compromise to make.  At least I don't need 4 ceiling speakers.  It just doesn't work with the room, and with only one row of seats and the quality of phantom imaging I am able to get after optimization, 7.x.2 will probably be great.

Thanks, but my point was actually that I *can* compromise deeper extension, and I want to because that's the only way to really get the most efficiency in the upper bass / low mid frequencies where I typically need headroom for EQ boost.   These speakers go up near the ceiling, which provides a lot of extra boundary gain below the suckouts.  All of my speakers, which are placed near walls, are EQed down quite a bit below 120-150 Hz or so.    I don't like spending $$$ on amp power, so I want a coaxial with high efficiency, low mass, and moderate displacement capability.  Most coaxials are designed to be used as full-range speakers, and therefore give up efficiency for extra displacement and/or bass extension that I don't need.  Some others are strictly mid-range drivers and don't have enough displacement.

The T/S specs on that 15" look real nice.  AVSForum appears to be broken for me ATM.  OTOH, I was looking at a 10" with similar efficiency, albeit less extension.  I think it was the B&C 10CXN64.  Hopefully I'll be able to find someone who sells it when the time comes.

Processors with Atmos/DTS:X allow you to set the heights as small with variable crossover or large, like the bed channels. So no problems obtaining full range signals for downstream processing.

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Did that BEQ end up not being worth it?

I just watched this finally.  Even though the hump around 15 Hz doesn't look that bad, I noticed a lot of annoying rumbly overhang on effects.  I think it was as annoying as the usual 30 Hz hump sound, just an octave lower.  Perhaps with BEQ, the sound tightens up, or perhaps not.  I think it needed more mid bass, and I'm not sure the sound design was all that great to begin with.

On 8/15/2017 at 6:53 PM, maxmercy said:

Kong: Skull Island (Dolby ATMOS)

Level - 4 Stars (111.38dB composite)

Extension - 5 Stars (1Hz)

Dynamics - 5 Stars (28.84dB)

Execution - TBD

Overall - TBD

BEQ should make this a structure-endangerer.

Kong Skull Island.jpg

 

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On 3/5/2019 at 5:36 PM, maxmercy said:

Which one?

JSS

Sorry, I meant for "Kong".  It's no big deal.  I didn't really like the movie enough to buy it or watch it again.

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3 hours ago, SME said:

Sorry, I meant for "Kong".  It's no big deal.  I didn't really like the movie enough to buy it or watch it again.

Hi. Long time lurker, first time poster. Sadly, I discovered this place when it started to slow down.

I've seen you mention you're not very keen of AVS BEQ approach, but there's tons of BEQs created daily over there, new and old releases, and since you have the possibility of applying BEQ, maybe it'd be worth giving it a try, since the guy who does most of them it's getting better at them. Of course, there is BEQ for K:SI. Chances are before you pop in a disc into your player, there's already a BEQ for it.

Regarding K:SI, I agree with you. Not a big fan of the audio mix. Some assumed that because I was missing the ULF I couldn't properly appreciate the mix, but I see you share more or less the same opinion. It's definitely missing some mid bass.

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Good to hear more people are seeing the shelf filters put in place by studios and we now can at least do something about them.   I wish we would not lose the object based metadata with BEQ, but oh well.

BEQ was always a 'preference', not 'reference'.  Unfiltered, reference soundtracks are still out there, and we still get a few of them every now and then.  It seems that we got more of them in the past, though.

Given the fact that even after BEQ and MV compensation for same, most BEQ'ed films do not clip nor go above a 7.1 WCS (Worst Case Scenario), the studios should be able to do the same, and with better dynamics.  But the loudness war is alive and well in cinema, for many reasons.  Mixing stages are often geared toward a different target response than your typical High-End HT; they try to equal the majority of decent movie houses out there, which start rolling off under 30Hz, with haphazard response above that given the current calibration standards.

Due to many factors, I simply do not have the time I used to have to devote to measuring films and coming up with BEQ solutions.  I will still do so for films that I like (like RP1, my current BEQ favorite), but not in the numbers I used to be able to.

Good to see others giving BEQ a shot with 3ld00d's app.  It is not that difficult to do, once you get a method down.  But screening your BEQ is necessary.  Some films simply do not improve.  K:SI is one of them that is very LOUD&LOW w/ BEQ, but not much better.  It is a bit of a ham-handed mix, IMO, but fits right in with PacRim1 and Godzilla(2014), although Godzilla is probably the best of the three, sound-wise.  Again, IMO.  

JSS 

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On 3/7/2019 at 5:52 PM, AmerCa said:

Hi. Long time lurker, first time poster. Sadly, I discovered this place when it started to slow down.

I've seen you mention you're not very keen of AVS BEQ approach, but there's tons of BEQs created daily over there, new and old releases, and since you have the possibility of applying BEQ, maybe it'd be worth giving it a try, since the guy who does most of them it's getting better at them. Of course, there is BEQ for K:SI. Chances are before you pop in a disc into your player, there's already a BEQ for it.

Regarding K:SI, I agree with you. Not a big fan of the audio mix. Some assumed that because I was missing the ULF I couldn't properly appreciate the mix, but I see you share more or less the same opinion. It's definitely missing some mid bass.

There's no question that the BEQs posted to AVSForum cover a wide range of content, which also includes films that IMO didn't need them to begin with.  I have a few reasons for being less than enthusiastic about them.  For one, headroom requirements are a total unknown, and many appear very aggressive and likely to overload my system.

For another, I strongly believe "first, do no harm" as far as the soundtrack is concerned.  Ideally, filters of any kind should only be used when they are fundamentally part of the sound.  The point of the BEQ, IMO, is to precisely reverse the degrading filters in place, which is not at all the same as making the PvA look perfectly smooth down to 5 Hz.  Along these lines, the AVSForum BEQs appear to be to have been EQed quite aggressively for a straighter/smoother, and I strongly suspect that this has degrading consequences.  People forget that the PvA data is aggregated and often reflects the contribution of many different effects which may only appear smooth "on average".  So trying to make it look perfectly smooth, especially using peaking filters, is likely to screw up the sound.  

Related to this is the fact that the BEQs are usually made based on a sum of channels PvA, and many mixes have very different PvAs for each channel.  I think only a couple BEQs posted here specify the same filters on all channels.  The issue with doing this is that it won't really "correct" anything at all.  Every channel will be wrong in a different way.  Each is likely to come with new resonances that weren't on the soundtrack before.  I don't want new resonances.  The main reason I like BEQ is because it gets rid of the annoying resonance at the filter cut-off.  The experience with a truly neutral bass spectrum is simply marvelous.  Transient response is impeccable, and the bass delivered is simultaneously tight and firm.  It moves the listener.  Any resonances spoil that magic to a great extent.

I also appreciate that @maxmercy does a kind of quality check and doesn't post BEQs that didn't improve anything.  Very often the sound design just isn't good enough or consistent enough to make it worth it.  Often the problem may be inconsistent use of filters in the sound design itself rather than anything to do with how the film is mixed.  Related to this, it's possible for a mix to use dynamic filtering that respond to available headroom.  Such a mix might be full-band for lower level sounds but cut off at 30 Hz for louder sounds.  I suspect this may have been done in Jurassic World but don't know.

 

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18 hours ago, maxmercy said:

Good to hear more people are seeing the shelf filters put in place by studios and we now can at least do something about them.   I wish we would not lose the object based metadata with BEQ, but oh well.

I don't think I'll have that problem when I get Atmos, being that both my BEQ and bass management processing are downstream from the Atmos processor.  Or am I missing something?  Everyone needs more DSP.

18 hours ago, maxmercy said:

BEQ was always a 'preference', not 'reference'.  Unfiltered, reference soundtracks are still out there, and we still get a few of them every now and then.  It seems that we got more of them in the past, though.

I don't think reference really exists, at least in current practice.  I think it's important to distinguish between hearing (1) what the director/mixer heard; (2) what the director/mixers *intended*, which is essentially what goes onto the track; and (3) what the director/mixers would have done *if* they could accurately hear what they were doing.  Ideally, we want to hear (3), but cinema monitoring systems are not really accurate at all, both because of flawed calibration standards and limited bandwidth.  (A good home mix probably can close the gap wrt (3) quite a bit.)  Achieving (1) is also impractical.  We can try to get close, but should we?  Some experimental evidence (i.e. blinded listener preference studies comparing cinema content with X-curve vs. neutral response in cinema) suggests that listeners prefer (2) over an approximation of (1).  I spent at least a few months coming to similar conclusions.

With that said, I believe BEQ is a kind of thing that ideally can get one closer to (3) also.  The ULF content is intentional, not as an artifact but as an integral patr of the sound design.  The filter(s) were also intentional, but the consequences of that filter were probably not what was anticipated.  I see mixers often claim that they filter the soundtrack to remove content that they can't monitor.  Logically, this seems like a sensible things to do, but it doesn't work that way.  Sounds with ULF are almost always present with higher frequency content that is much more audible, so removing just the ULF doesn't really remove any unwanted sound.   On the other hand, the filter *adds* ringing around the cut frequency, and unfortunately, this aspect of sound will not be rendered accurately by the monitoring system because it is likely already ringing in that area due to its limited bandwidth.

Sure, the additional ringing introduced by the filter will be noticed, but it will difficult to impossible to assess how that filter sounds on another system.  Even if "reference" is specified to be 30 Hz ported, different monitor subs will have different characteristics including different internal HPFs.  So not only does the HPF largely fail to remove content that the mixers are unable to monitor, it actually adds content that the mixers can't adequately monitor.  They can try to tweak the sound to balance the "deep bass" (30 Hz boom) with the rest of the spectrum, but what they hear is not likely to translate well at all vs. if they just left it alone.  The only real argument in favor of HPF is for headroom, yet ...

20 hours ago, maxmercy said:

Given the fact that even after BEQ and MV compensation for same, most BEQ'ed films do not clip nor go above a 7.1 WCS (Worst Case Scenario), the studios should be able to do the same, and with better dynamics.  But the loudness war is alive and well in cinema, for many reasons.  Mixing stages are often geared toward a different target response than your typical High-End HT; they try to equal the majority of decent movie houses out there, which start rolling off under 30Hz, with haphazard response above that given the current calibration standards.


There is one subtle point I want to make about filters and where they are introduced.  A lot of filtering may be happening implicitly, as a built-in function of the sound and/or subharmonic synthesizer(s) being used.  This is one of those things that may be enabled and set by default in the software packages being used for this stuff.  So the filtering could be "part of the sound design" in that sense, being that it was never actually heard without the filter.  Of course, it also likely never gets heard by either sound designers, director, or mixers on a full-band bass system anyway.  So again we go back to whether the unfiltered reproduction is likely to be preferred by the creators if their monitors were faithful.  My guess is that no-filter would win almost every time.  (To be clear, some broad stroke EQ may be an essential part of the creation, but a high pass or steep shelf below a fixed frequency like 30 Hz is much less likely to be part of that essential character.)

 

20 hours ago, maxmercy said:

Due to many factors, I simply do not have the time I used to have to devote to measuring films and coming up with BEQ solutions.  I will still do so for films that I like (like RP1, my current BEQ favorite), but not in the numbers I used to be able to.

Good to see others giving BEQ a shot with 3ld00d's app.  It is not that difficult to do, once you get a method down.  But screening your BEQ is necessary.  Some films simply do not improve.  K:SI is one of them that is very LOUD&LOW w/ BEQ, but not much better.  It is a bit of a ham-handed mix, IMO, but fits right in with PacRim1 and Godzilla(2014), although Godzilla is probably the best of the three, sound-wise.  Again, IMO. 

I appreciate everything you do either way, and prefer quality over quantity any day.  Per above, a lot of films may not BEQ well if the filtering is happening in the sound design.  Different sounds might come from different synth software/plugins with different default filter settings.  A lot of these are kinda weird and inconsistent even without BEQ.  (I again note that filtering doesn't help with this nearly as much as mixers seem to assume.)

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16 hours ago, SME said:

There's no question that the BEQs posted to AVSForum cover a wide range of content, which also includes films that IMO didn't need them to begin with.  I have a few reasons for being less than enthusiastic about them.  For one, headroom requirements are a total unknown, and many appear very aggressive and likely to overload my system.

While I don't understand all the technicalities you talk about, I understand (and agree) with the gist of it. It's something that myself I've wondered about, but currently I have no way of testing the BEQs that are done at AVS. HOWEVER... people with very capable systems have tried them, and are satisfied with the results. So, they must be doing something right, at least the BEQ version is an improvement over the heavily filtered mixes. At this point, I'd thought you'd have at least gave a couple of them a try, instead of just assuming they must not be good.

Also, you seem to have a very particular view on ULF, as you seem to advocate moderate levels of infrasonics, and give more weight to the Low/Mid bass range, which is a very interesting stance. I'm not ULF capable, but on principle, I feel inclined to agree with you. But you should give some BEQs a try, especially those which have a 30hz roll-off, and see how the mix sounds when turned into full bandwidth. The graphs now come with a heat map, so you can visualize the impact of the EQ on the bass along the movie full duration. Of course, it's just a humble suggestion.

Luckily, early this year we've been gifted with some fantastic full bandwidth mixes that require little to no BEQ at all (Hunter Killer, The Cloverfield Paradox and Overlord), and things look bright for the rest of the month, with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Aquaman and Mortal Engines coming out. This year looks very promising in terms of bass.

16 hours ago, SME said:

 

 

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On 3/10/2019 at 6:35 PM, AmerCa said:

While I don't understand all the technicalities you talk about, I understand (and agree) with the gist of it. It's something that myself I've wondered about, but currently I have no way of testing the BEQs that are done at AVS. HOWEVER... people with very capable systems have tried them, and are satisfied with the results. So, they must be doing something right, at least the BEQ version is an improvement over the heavily filtered mixes. At this point, I'd thought you'd have at least gave a couple of them a try, instead of just assuming they must not be good.

I probably will give one an AVSForum BEQ try at some point.  I just need to take the time to pick a movie I own (and have already seen) that needs BEQ, and see if the BEQ looks like something that won't obviously overload my system.   It'd be nice to know which ones are the better ones, so I don't waste my time with mediocre stuff.  This isn't just a matter of quality of the BEQ of course, because many soundtracks simply can't be improved much.

Some day I may make my own BEQs, but I don't have the equipment I need for it right now and it's a lower priority than so many other things.  I do want to say that I appreciate what @3ll3d00d has done with the software, which is definitely helpful to anyone doing BEQs.

On 3/10/2019 at 6:35 PM, AmerCa said:

Also, you seem to have a very particular view on ULF, as you seem to advocate moderate levels of infrasonics, and give more weight to the Low/Mid bass range, which is a very interesting stance. I'm not ULF capable, but on principle, I feel inclined to agree with you. But you should give some BEQs a try, especially those which have a 30hz roll-off, and see how the mix sounds when turned into full bandwidth. The graphs now come with a heat map, so you can visualize the impact of the EQ on the bass along the movie full duration. Of course, it's just a humble suggestion.

My preference isn't about levels per se.  It's about balance.  And in so far as I do give more "weight" to low/mid bass vs. ULF, it's because the former is much more audibly important than the latter.  In fact, I'd also give more "weight" to bass above 100 Hz than to the sub region for the same reason.  I'd argue that about half the tactile sensation of bass comes from frequencies above 100 Hz.

This became much more apparent to me when I upgraded from my Hsu subs to my D.O. Funk subs.  I have 4 x 21" sealed and a quite generous house curve, and the stuff below 30 Hz is completely different.   On those Hsu subs, Kong SI would have been like a wild ride with lots of shaking and loud bass.  On my current system, it was kind of meh, even though I probably pushed past 120 dB SPL on some of the bigger effects.   When I got these subs up, I was confused and frustrated that I could hardly hear them at SPLs that would bring the house down with the old subs.  Fortunately, I've got lots of headroom (~130 dB SPL for 20-70 Hz) and have figured out how to get great sound in the mid-bass and up.

This makes me wonder about very near-field (VNF) subs.  One side-effect of placing the sub very close is that the distortion performance is a lot closer to what one measures outdoors.  That's because room gain is basically removed from the picture.  So even if a VNF a sub is low-passed to only handle ULF, it will still produce quite a bit of higher frequency content and do so in a way that's largely free from room influence.

To get back to the part about balance.  In my opinion a lot of the problem is that mixes are being done with bottom heavy spectral balance.  Generally speaking, the more bottom heavy the spectral balance, the lower a HPF has to be to avoid audible ringing.  The idea is that the HPF has to be low enough for the ringing to be beyond perceptual thresholds.  Most music isn't as bottom heavy, so the typical filter at 30 or 40 Hz isn't too big of a deal.  (Sometimes it is though, on bottom heavy music mixes!)  When there's a steep bass ramp in the spectral balance, one needs a lot more extension to avoid ringing.  There's no way around it.

On 3/10/2019 at 6:35 PM, AmerCa said:

Luckily, early this year we've been gifted with some fantastic full bandwidth mixes that require little to no BEQ at all (Hunter Killer, The Cloverfield Paradox and Overlord), and things look bright for the rest of the month, with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Aquaman and Mortal Engines coming out. This year looks very promising in terms of bass.

Cool yeah.  Wasn't the latest Mission Impossible also extended?  I have high hopes for Aquaman and Mortal Engines.  :)  Disney lately seems to be rather consistent as far as filtering around 25-30 Hz.  And of course the "dynamics management" (or whatever Disney does) has messed up some recent Marvel films rather badly.

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16 hours ago, SME said:

I probably will give one an AVSForum BEQ try at some point.  I just need to take the time to pick a movie I own (and have already seen) that needs BEQ, and see if the BEQ looks like something that won't obviously overload my system.   It'd be nice to know which ones are the better ones, so I don't waste my time with mediocre stuff.  This isn't just a matter of quality of the BEQ of course, because many soundtracks simply can't be improved much.[/quote]

BEQs for Atomic Blonde and First Man possibly the ones that are said to most drastically improve the mix. In the first page of the BEQ thread there are actually a a few demo clips that you can download and toggle the audio to see a direct comparison between the BEQ and non-BEQ version.

Actually, most of the BEQs over there are requests, so all of them were actually tested at some point, and you can ask for feedback if you're curious about a certain film. People over there are critical of the BEQS, and give feedback about how a specific BEQ turned out to be. Some BEQs are updated, if the first version wasn't good enough.

I understand your concerns about your system being possibly overloaded, but Aron (aron7awol, the guy who does most of the BEQs) pays attention to the overall levels and gives specific recommendations when he fears a certain BEQ can bee too much, or even dangerous. So far, no one has blown out any sub :-)

My preference isn't about levels per se.  It's about balance.  And in so far as I do give more "weight" to low/mid bass vs. ULF, it's because the former is much more audibly important than the latter.  In fact, I'd also give more "weight" to bass above 100 Hz than to the sub region for the same reason.  I'd argue that about half the tactile sensation of bass comes from frequencies above 100 Hz.

This became much more apparent to me when I upgraded from my Hsu subs to my D.O. Funk subs.  I have 4 x 21" sealed and a quite generous house curve, and the stuff below 30 Hz is completely different.   On those Hsu subs, Kong SI would have been like a wild ride with lots of shaking and loud bass.  On my current system, it was kind of meh, even though I probably pushed past 120 dB SPL on some of the bigger effects.   When I got these subs up, I was confused and frustrated that I could hardly hear them at SPLs that would bring the house down with the old subs.  Fortunately, I've got lots of headroom (~130 dB SPL for 20-70 Hz) and have figured out how to get great sound in the mid-bass and up.

Very interesting thoughts. I agree wholeheartedly with you in that balance in a mix should be the priority over extension or levels. It would help that the majority of mixes were done with the same level of detail and craftsmanship that than Ready Player One, but that's not always the case, ;-). But of course, there's also the question of personal preferences and system configuration and capabilities.

I find quite ironic that once you upgrade to more capable subs, you find out you need more of them, as they're not giving enough SPL in the most audible regions. It's not the first time I've read such situation. The pains of being a bass head, I guess, lol.

Cool yeah.  Wasn't the latest Mission Impossible also extended?  I have high hopes for Aquaman and Mortal Engines. 

:) Disney lately seems to be rather consistent as far as filtering around 25-30 Hz.  And of course the "dynamics management" (or whatever Disney does) has messed up some recent Marvel films rather badly.

Aquaman was fantastic at theaters. The bass graph for the ATMOS track was just posted at AVS and looks great, and people that have listened to the digital version all say great things about the home mix. Mortal Engines is a bass fest, but some have found bass execution a bit underwhelming, even with BEQ. I still look forward to buying the disc when the price is right. Spider-Man: ITSV is said to be fantastic as well, another full bandwidth mix.

Edit: Apologies if the formatting is a bit wonky.

 

 

Edited by AmerCa

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On 3/14/2019 at 5:33 PM, AmerCa said:

BEQs for Atomic Blonde and First Man possibly the ones that are said to most drastically improve the mix. In the first page of the BEQ thread there are actually a a few demo clips that you can download and toggle the audio to see a direct comparison between the BEQ and non-BEQ version.

Thanks for the suggestions.  I don't own either of those but may rent "Atomic Blonde".  It'd probably be best for me to test a movie that I own with a soundtrack I'm already familiar with.

On 3/14/2019 at 5:33 PM, AmerCa said:

Very interesting thoughts. I agree wholeheartedly with you in that balance in a mix should be the priority over extension or levels. It would help that the majority of mixes were done with the same level of detail and craftsmanship that than Ready Player One, but that's not always the case, ;-). But of course, there's also the question of personal preferences and system configuration and capabilities.

System configuration and capabilities is probably the major factor.  Mixer skill is probably a minor factor.  If the director and mixers are able to hear the bass accurately, a lot bad mixing decisions are likely to be avoided.  However it's also possible for a skilled mixer to know their own system and to know that if ya can't monitor it, then *don't touch it*.  Don't filter it unless it's causing obvious problems with headroom, in which case maybe consider other options like making things less loud.  Indeed, a lot would be fixed just by throwing X-curve in the heap and monitoring bass with a natural in-room rise, as preferred by blinded audiences far-and-wide.

On 3/14/2019 at 5:33 PM, AmerCa said:

I find quite ironic that once you upgrade to more capable subs, you find out you need more of them, as they're not giving enough SPL in the most audible regions. It's not the first time I've read such situation. The pains of being a bass head, I guess, lol.

Thankfully I don't need more of these subs.  When I designed the subs, aiming for passable ULF performance in my open living room, I was worried about the "excess capacity" I'd have above 20 Hz, but now I'm glad I have it.  I'm not really a bass-head in terms of wanting it really loud, but it seems that good quality in the sub bass region needs lots of SPL plus headroom.  Overkill is absolutely possible, but a lot harder than most people probably realize.

I spoke with someone recently who is getting a home theater set up and is not (*ahem*) quite the enthusiast that we are here.  He was debating whether he "really needed a 10" sub" or not.  I told him I had 4 x 21", and he looked at me like I was from a different planet.  I don't even want to try to explain it to him until he's actually been over here for a demo.  Most people would assume it's loud as hell, but for the most part it's just really clean.  It's what I expect reference quality sound should be like.  Clean, powerful, yet still family friendly.

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So I finally watched "John Wick".  Wow!  Excellent bass soundtrack and a fairly decent movie too.  My wife likes it enough to buy it, so I'll have it handy for demoing.

I have to agree that the shootout at the club scene is superb.  It's not what I expected.  It's fairly long and rather relaxed in pace rather than an all-out massacre.  I love the scene in the bathroom in which the bass from the music in the main room leaks through.  I thought the sound in there was very realistic and believable.  The bassline in the music has a pretty strong fundamental traversing the 20-30s Hz range.  Of course there're plenty of gun shots, and lots of very physical bass from them.  The gun shots in the movie had a lot of weight but I did not notice ringing.  They were very tight.

Some heavier effects in the movie did ring a bit in the low 20s, but it was mild and not unreasonable for what was being depicted.  All bass effects in the movie had ample amounts of mid and upper bass.  This was not a 30 Hz boomer.  Would more ULF have added something to the movie?  Maybe, a little.  But for the most part, it sounded good without it.

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Aquaman: Total bass insanity.  I just can't believe how much bass is in this movie.  I'm not sure even "The Incredible Hulk" in on this level of madness.  And even though the track humps around 20-30 Hz there ULF is everywhere.  I might have noticed stuff below 5 Hz even.  I didn't get to finish the movie because about 25 minutes before the end, my AVR went into protection mode from what I believe was excess low single digit / DC content on one or more  channels.  (I've tripped it before like this using test signals but never with actual content.)  Our movie watching schedule was tight, so by the time I got all the equipment reset it was too late to finish.  I also figured the neighbors were likely getting pissed.  Yeesh!

What makes the bass on this mix particularly powerful IMO is that it is has a lot of content across a wide band and is hot well up into the 100s Hz where much tactile sensation lives.  This is crucial to allow one to "feel" the deep bass and ULF in and on the body.  And I was feeling it like crazy, for pretty much the entire movie.

Indeed, I think the bass was maybe too much.  A lot of content including a lot of the music was just way too heavy-handed for no good reason.  It sounds like subharmonic synths were used heavily on the track, for better or worse.  Also, I think a lot of issue lies in the pacing of the film itself.  I felt like WB was screaming at the top of their lungs that their DC comics were bigger, flashier, CGIier, and louder than Marvel's.  Furthermore the other track elements including the dialog were also *really hot* in the bass, and I struggled with intelligibility at times.  (I'm not sure hearing the dialog was all that important for this movie anyway.  :P )  I would have liked more mids and treble in everything, which is pretty much the same as saying I would have liked less bass.  Hopefully soon I'll have an adjustable "bass level" control I can use that maintains neutrality but pulls things back from insanity, which is fun for demoing but a bit fatiguing for a full 2.5 hour movie.

Does this suggest that WB's Atmos / home monitoring stages are weak in the low frequencies?  (A common problem with using a variety of room EQ options, in my experience.)  Or maybe it's a Hans Zimmer thing.   He shows up to the mix stages and screams MOAR BASS!

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