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


maxmercy

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Top Gun: Maverick - Dolby ATMOS

Level - 5 Stars (112.69dB composite)

Extension - 5 Stars (1Hz)

Dynamics - 3 Stars (24.39dB)

Execution - TBD

Overall - TBD

Notes - Wow, an unfiltered mix.  No clipping, but what looks like some obvious compression on the waveforms, which I will take over flat tops that lose data.  Solid movie, but not without its faults.  It reinvigorated my interest in blockbuster-type films.

TopGunMaverick.thumb.jpg.966b0f0680999a55acfb6f1242972928.jpg

JSS

 

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Thanks for the updates, Max. GxK, with movies like these I only expect to be entertained, but it's true that sometimes they don't really try too hard to make a good story. At some point the audiovisual spectacle alone is not enough. Which, to me, it is the same case for Maverick. It's a good sequel, but I don't really think is a great movie. I watch it for the action sequences, but I have to admit that I don't care for the rest of the story, and I gladly skip entire chapters. That's just me. I know many people love the movie.

Speaking of the mix, I kept reading the movie was filtered and was lacking extension, when it's clearly not the case. I wonder if they were watching a crappy stream, or something. But even people with capable systems mentioned they thought bass was lacking in some parts. Who knows. I enjoy the mix, but for some reason, I didn't love it as much as expected. You mentioned the mix isn't clipped, but the waveforms are compressed. Does that mean it can sound like if it was clipped? I agree this is not a very dynamic mix, but I had a hard time with the loudest parts of it. Maybe that's what I should expect from flying jets.

BTW, do you have a way of measuring streaming services, like Netflix? There's some interesting stuff out there, but not sure if it's the same process.

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The Dolby Digital EX core is much lower in level, so streaming the lossy core or not being able to decode Dolby ATMOS or TrueHD would make the movie seem much more anemic.

Compression lowers the volume for very loud parts that would otherwise clip, vs clipping, which just results in lost data as the level runs into the maximum allowed on the medium, which results in flat tops on the waveforms and lost data. 

Clipping sounds worse, IMO, it can make natural things sound more like EDM.  Compression and clipping can lead to ear fatigue, as compression keeps the level high most of the time, and clipping sounds harsh.

JSS

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On 6/24/2024 at 1:48 PM, maxmercy said:

The Dolby Digital EX core is much lower in level, so streaming the lossy core or not being able to decode Dolby ATMOS or TrueHD would make the movie seem much more anemic.

That makes sense. I've been trying some streaming movies "copies" recently, and it's been hit and miss. Unfortunately, many of those don't have a disc release, so you're stuck with what you have, or keep looking for a better version, I guess. I just watched Furiosa (2024), and it sounded super weak vs Fury Road ATMOS disc.  I need to bump the MV probably 6-7db, and it sounded better, but still not quite punchy as you'd expect. I guess I should wait for the disc. Thanks for the explanations and comparisons, as always, very useful.

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The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (Dolby ATMOS)

Level - 2 Stars (107.35dB composite)

Extension - 3 Stars (16Hz)

Dynamics - 5 Stars (29.31dB)

Execution - TBD

Overall - TBD

Notes - Well done film, bass was appropriate, but could have had a little more impact with some of the explosions, but I would rather headroom left on the table than clipped away.  Where this film shines is the score.  Terrific bass drum, stand-up bass accompaniment to the action onscreen.  It's as if the band was playing in the room while you were watching the movie. 

Waveform analysis reveals no clipping, which is always appreciated given the run of movies we had for about 13 years which were clipped, some terribly and easily audible when viewing, even at low volumes.

TheMinistryofUngentlemanlyWarfare.thumb.jpg.efb0783501018e3937699e8ad6f35b5f.jpg

JSS

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Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Pt 1

Level - 4 Stars (111.1dB composite)

Extension - 4 Stars (13Hz)

Dynamics - 5 Stars (29.24dB)

Execution - TBD

Overall - TBD

Notes - The graph appears to say that "anytime we need a powerful effect, give me 20Hz for the win".  Clipping is present but not egregious, less than 30 instances on all 8 channels for the whole film.  Some content is gone, but hardly any compared to the horribly clipped films.  I'll comment more later upon viewing.  The franchise as a whole has been hit and miss.

MissionImpossibleDeadReckoningPt1.thumb.jpg.3068810a76f7dbe94f9607c24e9aec9f.jpg

JSS

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (BD DTS-HDMA 5.1)

Level -  3 Stars (109.13dB composite)

Extension - 2 Stars (22Hz)

Dynamics - 4 Stars (27.15dB)

Execution - TBD

Overall - TBD

Notes - Filtered, no clipping.  Sound design was 'OK'.  Sound was very reminiscent of the original film, but this movie just screamed 'bad attempt at a money grab' to me more than anything else, at nearly every turn.  I do wish this kind of sound was available for the original, as some scenes did have some punch.  More to come when I see the film and measure the ATMOS version on 4k.

 image.thumb.jpeg.1dda99d1cfa77254f8d469d249552843.jpeg

JSS

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Thanks for the new graphs, Max. I had forgotten Sony still does the 5.1 tracks for the BD (at 16bit!), and leaves the ATMOS for the UHD. I don't have ATMOS yet, but it still bothers me. I think The Equalizer 2 was 7.1, but that's not common. But in general they still sound great.

Re: The Ministry of Whatever. You can always count on Guy Ritchie to deliver with the music score, he's arguably the best at it, no matter what he does. But the overall mix for the movie was underwhelming. He did the same with The Covenant (2023), great score and movie, but the action scenes left you wanting.

I have yet to check out the new Ghostbusters movies. For some reason, they haven't piqued my interest.

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Ghostbusters:Afterlife was OK, but not something I will watch again.  Hard to beat the original film.  Hopefully will get a chance to see Frozen Empire soon.

I had no idea Guy Ritchie did Ministry, but it completely made sense when the closing credits rolled.  Lock, Stock, Snatch, RocknRolla, Revolver, all great scores/soundtracks.  Have not seen The Covenant.  

Strangely enough, we used to really like the DVD mixes over some of the BluRay mixes that were rolled off in the low end (Like Master and Commander).  The DVD mixes, IIRC were sourced from the actual cinema tracks, and some studios continued that practice into the BluRay timeframe, Paramount Pictures being one until the release of Transformers 3, where the BluRay featured the 'home mix'.  It was also not nearly as dynamic and powerful as TF2.  But sound changed a whole lot since 2009, with a definitive 'loudness war' that took place both on theatrical and home mixes...

That's why seeing unclipped, decently dynamic tracks again is good to see and hear.

JSS    

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Civil War (Dolby ATMOS)

Level - 3 Stars (109.27dB composite)

Extension - 3 Stars (20Hz)

Dynamics - 5 Stars (32.27dB!)

Execution - TBD

Overall - TBD

Notes - Clipping exists, mainly in the LFE channel where is will be smoothed out by the lowpass.  LCR clips in many places, some clipping is avoided by what appears to be compression/limiting on some of the waveforms, but there are still some flat tops.  Not as egregious as some of the worst tracks out there.  20Hz shelf.  Appears to have some good dynamics, I'll comment more on this when I view it.

CivilWar.thumb.jpg.ca6a55a7600d20056d514b0616adf636.jpg

JSS

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14 hours ago, maxmercy said:

had no idea Guy Ritchie did Ministry, but it completely made sense when the closing credits rolled.  Lock, Stock, Snatch, RocknRolla, Revolver, all great scores/soundtracks.  Have not seen The Covenant.  

I'm sure you'll love The Covenant. It's a more serious film than what he usually does, and were not from the way he uses music, you'll probably wouldn't guess he directed it. Interestingly, Kandahar (2023) with Gerald Butler is a very similar movie, although it feels more like typical action/thriller movie, while Ritchie's is more like a thriller/drama. Both are very good. The audio for the action sequences is better on Kandahar, tho.

 

14 hours ago, maxmercy said:

Strangely enough, we used to really like the DVD mixes over some of the BluRay mixes that were rolled off in the low end (Like Master and Commander).  The DVD mixes, IIRC were sourced from the actual cinema tracks, and some studios continued that practice into the BluRay timeframe...

I believe it now. I had this idea that because a mix was lossy it was by default inferior to the lossless track, but some recent experiences, some of which we've talked about recently, have changed my mind.  I've been watching some older movies (pre-2010) and I've been very impressed by the quality of the audio mixes in most cases. I'd think they're using the theatrical mix, given how dynamic they sound. They also have this "quality" that's hard to explain, something about the way it's mixed, especially the dialogue, that doesn't sound like a "home" mix. It sounds "raw"? That said,  "modern" mixes sound better on average, even low budget movies can have pretty decent mixes.

Also I've been doing a lot of *ahem* "streaming" lately, and quite frankly the DD5.1 mixes even at much lower bit rates are pretty good. Good enough to enjoy them, and not make you think something it's "missing". So, I buy the idea now that some DVD mixes could be better than their lossless counterparts.

Report back your thoughts on Civil Ware. Personally, I hated the movie.

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Riddle of Fire (DTS-HDMA 5.1)

Level - 1 Star (100.5dB composite)

Extension - 1 Star (37Hz)

Dynamics - 5 Stars (32.53dB)

Execution - TBD

Overall - TBD

Notes - Mainly a dialogue film, a 'newstalgic' film, a kind of fantastical modern version of The Goonies, with dirt bikes.  For some reason, I really liked this film.  Shot on actual Kodak filmstock in 16mm.  The audio is nothing to write home about, but it is not clipped, and uses dynamics well.  No sharp rolloff, but the high level 40Hz effects kill any significant 'extension' rating.

RiddleofFire.thumb.jpg.aae379edc348eeb8f17b03a3ff374208.jpg

JSS

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7 hours ago, AmerCa said:

I'm sure you'll love The Covenant. It's a more serious film than what he usually does, and were not from the way he uses music, you'll probably wouldn't guess he directed it. Interestingly, Kandahar (2023) with Gerald Butler is a very similar movie, although it feels more like typical action/thriller movie, while Ritchie's is more like a thriller/drama. Both are very good. The audio for the action sequences is better on Kandahar, tho.

 

I believe it now. I had this idea that because a mix was lossy it was by default inferior to the lossless track, but some recent experiences, some of which we've talked about recently, have changed my mind.  I've been watching some older movies (pre-2010) and I've been very impressed by the quality of the audio mixes in most cases. I'd think they're using the theatrical mix, given how dynamic they sound. They also have this "quality" that's hard to explain, something about the way it's mixed, especially the dialogue, that doesn't sound like a "home" mix. It sounds "raw"? That said,  "modern" mixes sound better on average, even low budget movies can have pretty decent mixes.

Also I've been doing a lot of *ahem* "streaming" lately, and quite frankly the DD5.1 mixes even at much lower bit rates are pretty good. Good enough to enjoy them, and not make you think something it's "missing". So, I buy the idea now that some DVD mixes could be better than their lossless counterparts.

Report back your thoughts on Civil Ware. Personally, I hated the movie.

If you have the Dark Knight BluRay, I think the default soundtrack is the lossy, and I remember something sounding 'off' one time.  I changed to the lossless and there was a difference in the high frequency details and other subtle things...

I will have to check out The Covenant.  Yes, pre-2009, some mixes were just terrific.  Even post-2009, some were still great, like Scott Pilgrim.  It has been a while since I was blown away by a mix like The Incredible Hulk, TF2, 9, etc...

JSS

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On 7/12/2024 at 6:57 PM, maxmercy said:

If you have the Dark Knight BluRay, I think the default soundtrack is the lossy, and I remember something sounding 'off' one time.  I changed to the lossless and there was a difference in the high frequency details and other subtle things...

I have it, but haven't watched in years, not even when I upgraded my system. I've been meaning to revisit it, but always forget. I've heard good things about it, before Nolan changed his approach to louder/clipped mixes.

 

On 7/12/2024 at 6:57 PM, maxmercy said:

Yes, pre-2009, some mixes were just terrific.  Even post-2009, some were still great, like Scott Pilgrim.  It has been a while since I was blown away by a mix like The Incredible Hulk, TF2, 9, etc...

That would be an interesting topic. The "New Classics". Maybe stuff post 2010, 15, 20s? I think they've been some pretty great mixed in recent years, say the last ten years, although it seems they don't seem to extend as lower as they used to, but great mixed nonetheless. I know you weren't very enthusiastic about Ready Player One, but I think that mix is fantastic. Another one that is outstanding is The Cloverfield Paradox (2018). It was very talked about at AVS upon its release on disc (was released previously only on Netflix), but it's not really a popular movie and people don't mention it as often. Did you get the chance to watch Moonfall (2022)? Many people don't like the movie, but the mix is great. Bay's Transformers movies get a lot of hate, but they always deliver on the A/V side. But you're right, generally speaking people don't seem as enthusiastic as they used to be regarding new mixes. Maybe it's because BEQ has taken over the people with really capable systems, and now almost everything is turned into 5 stars movies? Who knows.

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Ready player One was such a fun ride of a movie with a decent (but clipped) mix that got shelved in the low end.  My complaints of that mix went away with the BEQ version.  It still gets watched, just not as often.  I think it is the last time I cheered out loud at a movie theatre except for when Mjolnir flies back into Captain America's hand in Avengers: Endgame.

I saw The Cloverfield Paradox, good mix, just not my kind of movie.  I will have to check out Moonfall.

The Bayformers movies were my introduction into real bass.  Before them, It was only Episodes I-III, with II having the most low end.  TF1's mix is great.  The Ironhide flip was the first time other than a THX trailer that my first ever subwoofer made bad noises, beginning the bass trek I went on for years.  TF2 with BEQ's mix is one I will put up against ANY other movie, sound-wise.  It's as if the sound crew knew the movie would not be as good with the writer's strike (the plot was scatterbrained), and so they did the best they could with the sound and visuals.

I always applaud Hollywood when a great mix that is engaging and makes me worry for the structure I am in comes out: Edge of Tomorrow Intro, or the flying to the FOB scene in Battle:LA, or the Sonic Cannon scene in the Incredible Hulk, or the BEQ of the Godzilla (2014) intro.  It sucks that Godzilla 2014 was so clipped, but it is refreshing that we don't see such gross clipping as often now.  

Please start a new thread about the "Old Classics", I will definitely chime in.

JSS

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@maxmercy

Thanks again for initiating and maintaining updates on this thread and its subject. 

They may have been covered already (many pages to wade through), but have you measured such Blu-ray/4K UHD Blu-ray movies as 'Hacksaw Ridge' (2016) and '13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi' (2016)? Great mixes, I find, and that's just with downmixed multichannel tracks into 2 channels + 2 subs (the MW tapped horns). 'Midway' (2019) also comes to mind, and this one has some crazy bass output over my setup. 'Mother!' (2017) sports a scary powerful bass in the opening scene with the engulfing fire. How about the "Bottoms up" explosion in Mexico City in 'Spectre' (2015) - one to rattle the walls. Agree on the overall sound mixes of Transformers I and II btw. - they're fantastic, and really puts to shame many recent high profile mixes. 

'Civil War' (2024) was a particularly great sound mix theatrically in Atmos though, going by my recent moviegoing experiences. 'Twisters' (2024) also had some impressive mayhem sonics in Atmos. 

Was never able to playback 'The Thin Red Line' (1998) Blu-ray from Criterion in a satisfying manner due to severe clipping in the battle scenes with the artillery shells, likely because of the downmixing. A shame being it's one of my all-time favorite movies.. 

 

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Hacksaw Ridge: 

A few posts down are the waterfalls.

I remember liking 13 hours.  I'll have to measure it.  I didn't see Midway, but will also add it to the list.  I will screen Civil War soon.

Spectre is here:

I remember not being that impressed.  Do you have a BD player that can output LPCM?  I had significant downmix problems when I had to run a 2.1 system until I found a disc player that could output LPCM instead of bitstream, as my AVR would do strange things in downmixing the bitstreams.

JSS

 

 

 

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On 7/15/2024 at 10:56 PM, m_ms said:

have you measured such Blu-ray/4K UHD Blu-ray movies as 'Hacksaw Ridge' (2016) and '13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi' (2016)? Great mixes, I find, and that's just with downmixed multichannel tracks into 2 channels + 2 subs (the MW tapped horns). 'Midway' (2019) also comes to mind, and this one has some crazy bass output over my setup. 'Mother!' (2017) sports a scary powerful bass in the opening scene with the engulfing fire. How about the "Bottoms up" explosion in Mexico City in 'Spectre' (2015) - one to rattle the walls. Agree on the overall sound mixes of Transformers I and II btw. - they're fantastic, and really puts to shame many recent high profile mixes. 

'Civil War' (2024) was a particularly great sound mix theatrically in Atmos though, going by my recent moviegoing experiences. 'Twisters' (2024) also had some impressive mayhem sonics in Atmos. 

they've all been measured and can be seen in https://beqcatalogue.readthedocs.io/ (search in the top right corner)

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