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


maxmercy
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Need for Speed (7.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 5 Stars (113.06dB composite)
Extension - 4 Stars (14.6Hz)
Dynamics - 4 Stars (27.09dB)

Execution - 4 Stars (by poll)

 

Overall     - 4.25 Stars

Recommendation - Rent (by poll)
 

Notes:  From the very beginning, most of the big bass is above 40Hz.  However, the response doesn't appear to be significantly rolled off until around 20Hz; there are still good effects that dig into the 20-30Hz region. 

 

Need for Speed sounds very good in general, while only lacking the really deep effects and the dynamics.  It's loud, but it's supposed to be.  This sound team has many Oscars and many more nominations, and when you watch the movie, you'll understand why.  Too bad the movie is so blah.

 

PvA:

 

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Divergent (7.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 2 Stars (107.11dB composite)
Extension - 1 Star (27Hz)
Dynamics - 5 Stars (30.33dB)

Execution - 2 Stars (by poll)

 

Overall     - 2.5 Stars

Recommendation - Rent (by poll)

 

Notes:  The response drops like a rock after 30Hz.  I expected more out of this one's mix in all areas, but it really came up short.

 

PvA:

 

post-17-0-39975200-1407679477_thumb.png

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Oculus (5.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 4 Stars (111.45dB composite)
Extension - 5 Stars (1Hz)
Dynamics - 5 Stars (32.24dB)

Execution - 4 Stars (by poll)

 

Overall     - 4.5 Stars

Recommendation - Rent (by poll)

 

Notes:  Most of the effects are very clearly filtered at 20Hz, but then there are a couple that aren't, and there's noise below 1Hz that is not filtered out either.  The movie is surprisingly cerebral and not terrible (or terribly creepy), given the genre.  It's worth seeing if you're a horror fan, but don't expect a very scary movie.

 

PvA:

 

post-17-0-50770800-1407679956_thumb.png

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Bears (5.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 2 Stars (105.64dB composite)
Extension - 4 Stars (13Hz)
Dynamics - 5 Stars (29.16dB)

Execution - 4 Stars (by poll)

 

Overall     - 3.75 Stars

Recommendation - Tossup

 

Notes:  With its stunningly beautiful cinematography, this one has full-bandwidth content and sound design to match, but it's never overwhelming.  Bears wouldn't normally be referred to as a bass movie, but it's a very good family movie, if you can get over the annoying narrator.

 

PvA:

 

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Ninja Assassin (5.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 4 Stars (110.25dB composite)
Extension - 5 Stars (1Hz)
Dynamics - 5 Stars (28.9dB)

Execution - 4 Stars (by poll)

 

Overall     - 4.5 Stars

Recommendation - Rent (by poll)

 

Notes:  Lots of junk noise below 1Hz, but some legit content between there and 20Hz.  Big bass in this one, but not many other reasons to watch it.

 

PvA:

 

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Valkyrie (5.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 4 Stars (110.86dB composite)
Extension - 5 Stars (1Hz)
Dynamics - 5 Stars (32.47dB)

Execution - 5 Stars (by poll)

 

Overall     - 4.75 Stars

Recommendation - Rent (by poll)

 

Notes:  Interesting sound design - it has LOTS of scenes with effects below 20Hz.  This movie is very loud sounding because of the dynamics, and it's not a bad movie, either.

 

PvA:

 

post-17-0-50737300-1407851959_thumb.png

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Bears (5.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 2 Stars (105.64dB composite)

Extension - 4 Stars (13Hz)

Dynamics - 5 Stars (29.16dB)

Execution - Will poll

 

Overall     - TBD

 

Recommendation - Will poll

 

Notes:  With its stunningly beautiful cinematography, this one has full-bandwidth content and sound design to match, but it's never overwhelming.  Bears wouldn't normally be referred to as a bass movie, but it's a very good family movie, if you can get over the annoying narrator.

 

PvA:

 

attachicon.gifBears-PvA.PNG

I can't find this on Amazon.co.uk - is it this one?

http://www.amazon.com/Disneynature-Bears-Two-Disc-Blu-ray-Combo/dp/B00GPWERCO/

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I don't have any time stamps, but any chance of doing an oldie like Dark City?  I also have to agree that 9 is 5 stars for sound all the way.

 

Sorry Mike, I totally missed this before, but it's been added to the queue.  Thanks for the suggestion, and keep 'em coming!  :)

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Only Lovers Left Alive (5.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 1 Star (103.2dB composite)
Extension - 1 Star (43Hz)
Dynamics - 4 Stars (25.16dB)

Execution - 1 Star (by poll)

 

Overall     - 1.75 Stars

Recommendation - Tossup

 

Notes:  Completely lacking bass outside of the score, it couldn't even garner good dynamics.  Overall a disappointing mix for a so-called horror movie, but the movie itself is actually not bad at all.

 

PvA:

 

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Toy Story of Terror (7.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 1 Star (99.51dB composite)
Extension - 1 Star (25.1Hz)
Dynamics - 5 Stars (29.08dB)

Execution - 1 Star (by poll)

 

Overall     - 2 Stars

Recommendation - Rent (by poll)

 

Notes:  This short has almost no bass effects.  Clearly not the production value of their feature films.  I didn't even find it very entertaining, and I generally like this franchise, and animation in general.

 

PvA:

 

post-17-0-11426400-1408468628_thumb.png

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Jarhead 2 (5.1 DTS-HD MA)

 

Level        - 2 Stars (106.36dB composite)
Extension - 5 Stars (1Hz)
Dynamics - 5 Stars (31.67dB)

Execution - 3 Stars (by poll)

 

Overall     - 3.75 Stars

Recommendation - Rent (by poll)

 

Notes:  The frequent noise below 1Hz is higher amplitude than anything else on the disc, and it's not even close.  Otherwise, a few effects dig down to 6Hz, but overall not a tremendous bass movie, despite the dynamics.  Really about the same as the first one, tbh.

 

PvA:

 

post-17-0-49216300-1408468859_thumb.png

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Happy Feet (5.1 Dolby Digital EX)

 

Level        - 3 Stars (107.58dB composite)
Extension - 4 Stars (14Hz)
Dynamics - 5 Stars (30.24dB)

Execution - 3 Stars (by poll)

 

Overall     - 3.75 Stars

Recommendation - Rent (by poll)

 

Notes:  This one was clipped all to hell, which was odd given the content.  Cute for kids, but not much for adults.

 

PvA:

 

post-17-0-25902000-1408469216_thumb.png

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (5.1 DTS-MA HD)

 

Level        - 4 Stars (110.11dB composite)
Extension - 5 Stars (1Hz)
Dynamics - 5 Stars (28.7dB)

Execution - 4 Stars (by poll)

 

Overall     - 4.5 Stars

Recommendation - Buy (by poll)

 

Notes:  They righted the wrongs from the first one's mix, at least to some degree.  This one has strong 12Hz stuff in the beginning, and a fair amount of unfiltered content overall, while maintaining good levels and dynamics.  The movie itself, however, is a big miss compared to the first one.

 

PvA:

 

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I know it's not out in the US yet (but it is where I live) so it will be a while before it gets measured, but you can already get excited for the new Captain America movie. Great bass in this one, since the Avengers I'm always like "let's hope there isn't a 30 Hz filter in this one" when watching new blockbusters but thankfully that was not the case here at all.

Was going to post a couple of graphs but apparently I've reached some kind of upload limit, maybe this could be increased somehow?

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The big difference you'll see between these two is that the new Captain America has very strong content at 30Hz that is about 6dB louder than anything in the TASM2 mix.  Otherwise, they're very similar in measurements.

 

However, I agree that TASM2 doesn't feel like it has a ton of strong bass content, but it's still very obviously a good, not great, bass movie

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That's propably true and I have to admit to only having a single SVS PB1000 (flat to slightly below 20Hz in my rather small room). The new Captain America does indeed have the loudest content at about 30Hz (there is one pretty ridiculous moment) but there is a lot of lower stuff. Especially gunshots have some loud sub 20Hz bass added to them.

If I could post my graphs you would also see some othe low stuff (and a loud 12Hz tone I didn't notice).

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Speaking of the 20-30 hz impact, do you think an alternative rating system (still measured and scientifc) could be used to generate another list of "Best impact bass movies" or something along those lines.  A rating system that ignores extension below maybe 12 hz, and focuses a bit more on execution and level?  I'm not sure what to do for rating dynamics, I find that they aren't much of a factor if a movie's bass sounds good to me or not.  Maybe even reverse the "star" rating of dynamics, as I actually prefer low dynamic bass.

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Speaking of the 20-30 hz impact, do you think an alternative rating system (still measured and scientifc) could be used to generate another list of "Best impact bass movies" or something along those lines.  A rating system that ignores extension below maybe 12 hz, and focuses a bit more on execution and level?  I'm not sure what to do for rating dynamics, I find that they aren't much of a factor if a movie's bass sounds good to me or not.  Maybe even reverse the "star" rating of dynamics, as I actually prefer low dynamic bass.

 

 

I think what's needed is to weight the response using equal loudness contours (ELCs) to assess how subjectively loud it sounds. Dynamics could be determined using a ratio of the max ELC-weighted response over short-times vs. ELC-weighted long-time response. There's still the question of how long of a window to use for the short-time average. It might be helpful to use a few window sizes with different filters (i.e., low-pass with lower cut-off for longer window) to give fair weighting to the ULF.

 

The tricky part is knowing the proper reference volume for each track. In my mind, that's a more fundamental issue since I'm fairly certain many highly-rated (and some not so highly-rated) bass Blu-rays were mixed with monitoring at lower levels, so that theatrical reference is too loud. For example, Star Trek sounds to me like it was mixed at or very near theatrical reference; whereas, STID sounds like it got mixed closer to -10 (and clipped to death in the process of giving up 10 dB headroom). If this difference in reference volumes were taken into account, STID would end up with an even lower rating!

 

Sad to say, we may never know the correct reference levels for a variety of Blu-ray releases. The best we could try to do is guess by doing some kind of analysis against the dialog. From what I've read out there, both -3 and -6 are common monitor level choices for DVD and Blu-ray mixes. From what I hear (subjective interpretation) listening to media some other recent releases were likely mixed at or near -10 dB. I think Looper may also have been mixed closer to -10. This is a big deal, because if Looper were played back at -10, the deep bass wouldn't be anywhere near as loud subjectively, and it sounds more like a movie with 3 stars extension than one with 5.

 

I'd sure appreciate it if the studio would print the reference level somewhere on the box or at least populate the appropriate metadata like Dialnorm properly. Anyone remember the VHS days when they added the disclaimer at the start of the film: "this film has been modified to fit your TV screen"? I think they should be obligated to add a similar notice whenever they do a separate mix for Blu-ray. It's rather disingenuous in my view to claim that the a lossless "DTS-HD" or "Dolby TrueHD" track is "bit-by-bit" identical with the theatrical master as some of the early Blu-ray advertising implied. Really, I wish they'd just ship the theatrical mixes in the lossless formats and do the "made for the home" mixes with reduced dynamics in lossy Dolby Digital or DTS. My experience has been that the differences between a good lossy codec and the lossless original are most apparent with tracks having very high dynamic headroom.

 

Also, I'd hazard a guess that it is in the process of creating the "made for the home" mixes where a lot of clipping as well as high-pass/high-shelf filtering tends to happen. In many instances the filtering we frequently observe may have been added in that mix process to reduce or prevent clipping.

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By the way, now that I'm thinking about it, I have media to submit for measurement. I think this should have no trouble claiming 5 stars all the way around: http://www.digido.com/articles-and-demos12/13-bob-katz/13-we-have-lift-off.html

 

 

This is a live recording of a NASA Space Shuttle launch at 3 miles away. Be sure to download the 5.1 channel 24-bit 96kHz FLAC version. Note that the correct playback level is +7 relative to theatrical reference! The recording is 4 channel (front-left, front-right, surround-left, surround-right). The 5.1 channel FLAC contains silence for the LFE and center channels. According to Bob Katz, this thing has 119 dB at 25 Hz and 116 dB at 16 Hz and below.

 

On my system with multiple 16 Hz ported Hsu subs (capable of producing clean and audible bass to 12 Hz in-room), I can typically hear and appreciate the difference between 3 and 4 stars extension. While this recording sounds incredible on the system, I have no doubt my system doesn't even begin to do it justice. Those of you with walls of woofers or rotaries will likely be very pleased.

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Bassment:  I dunno, man.  Design and build a new rating system and they will come.  :)  Personally, I don't see any advantage to that, as it sounds like you're just trying to create a new ratings system that caters to your preferences.

 

SME:  While different, your solution sounds similar to how maxmercy originally accomplished measurements, by measuring the area under the curve, but they were not apples-to-apples.  Read about it at the bottom of the very first post in this thread.  Perhaps maxmercy can chime in, but I don't think that filtering actually reduces clipping or prevents it.  Most movies are significantly below clipping when looking at their levels and waveforms.

 

The current methodology here creates an apples-to-apples comparison that first determined a maximum level of the disc (128dB), and compares everything against that, so that we have a real ranking: repeatable and comparable.  The dynamics score simply takes the difference from the overall peak and total RMS scores of the disc.  I feel like this, coupled with the PvA graphs, is more than enough to predict when a movie will be loud.  I don't feel like the ELCs really help anything, especially since their measurements have been so inconsistent over the years.

 

I'll take a look at the recording you mentioned in the near future, and post back with my findings.  Thanks!  :)

 

Nicke:  I haven't, mostly because it's not on BR and I'm not sure Netflix has an appropriately-mixed version of the DVD.

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