Why put all the dialog in the Center Channel?

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by John Speros, Jan 1, 2004.

  1. John Speros

    John Speros Guest

    Check out the sound on the deleted scenes of Jeepers Creepers 2. The dialog
    in the deleted scenes has a more realistic stereo, lifelike presence than
    dialog in the main movie (and all regular soundtracks produced today). It
    seems that the norm now is to force all dialog into a mono center speaker
    rather than having voices emanate from their relative positions on the
    screen and fill the full audio sound stage. Some early stereo movies (like
    Kubrick's 2001) had stereo dialog. Why was this abandoned?
    John Speros, Jan 1, 2004
    #1
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  2. John Speros

    Rich Clark Guest

    "John Speros" <> wrote in message
    news:1zLIb.87612$VB2.197556@attbi_s51...
    > Check out the sound on the deleted scenes of Jeepers Creepers 2. The

    dialog
    > in the deleted scenes has a more realistic stereo, lifelike presence than
    > dialog in the main movie (and all regular soundtracks produced today). It
    > seems that the norm now is to force all dialog into a mono center speaker
    > rather than having voices emanate from their relative positions on the
    > screen and fill the full audio sound stage. Some early stereo movies (like
    > Kubrick's 2001) had stereo dialog. Why was this abandoned?


    Because it's only "realistic" if the distance between main l/r speakers is
    the width of the screen, as is generally the case in theaters but rarely in
    homes. And because consistent level and timbre is more important than
    relative position, but can only be guaranteed if it all comes from the same
    speaker.

    RichC
    Rich Clark, Jan 1, 2004
    #2
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  3. In article <1zLIb.87612$VB2.197556@attbi_s51>, says...
    >
    >
    >Check out the sound on the deleted scenes of Jeepers Creepers 2. The dialog
    >in the deleted scenes has a more realistic stereo, lifelike presence than
    >dialog in the main movie (and all regular soundtracks produced today). It
    >seems that the norm now is to force all dialog into a mono center speaker
    >rather than having voices emanate from their relative positions on the
    >screen and fill the full audio sound stage. Some early stereo movies (like
    >Kubrick's 2001) had stereo dialog. Why was this abandoned?


    The multi-channel mix on the Sound of Music DVD is close to the original, and
    dialog bounces all over the place as was the custom at the time. I find this
    highly distracting. With a normal size TV, it's not possible to place
    the left and right speakers such that both good stereo seperation is
    maintained and dialog is still "anchored" to the screen.

    Also, in the home environment, the center channel speaker often has to be
    different than the left and right because of space constraints. The
    difference in tone would be more noticable on dialog than sound effects.
    >

    --

    Monte Castleman, <<Spamfilter in Use>>
    Bloomington, MN to email, remove the "q" from my address
    Monte Castleman, Jan 1, 2004
    #3
  4. John Speros

    John Speros Guest

    Thanks Rich & Monte for your explanations on why dialog is always centered
    nowadays. My preference is still for having voices coming from anywhere in
    the sound stage--even if it is larger than the TV screen. I don't mind it if
    voices move around the whole living room as opposed to just staying within
    the confines of the screen area.


    "Monte Castleman" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In article <1zLIb.87612$VB2.197556@attbi_s51>,
    > says...
    >>
    >>
    >>Check out the sound on the deleted scenes of Jeepers Creepers 2. The
    >>dialog
    >>in the deleted scenes has a more realistic stereo, lifelike presence than
    >>dialog in the main movie (and all regular soundtracks produced today). It
    >>seems that the norm now is to force all dialog into a mono center speaker
    >>rather than having voices emanate from their relative positions on the
    >>screen and fill the full audio sound stage. Some early stereo movies (like
    >>Kubrick's 2001) had stereo dialog. Why was this abandoned?

    >
    > The multi-channel mix on the Sound of Music DVD is close to the original,
    > and
    > dialog bounces all over the place as was the custom at the time. I find
    > this
    > highly distracting. With a normal size TV, it's not possible to place
    > the left and right speakers such that both good stereo seperation is
    > maintained and dialog is still "anchored" to the screen.
    >
    > Also, in the home environment, the center channel speaker often has to be
    > different than the left and right because of space constraints. The
    > difference in tone would be more noticable on dialog than sound effects.
    >>

    > --
    >
    > Monte Castleman, <<Spamfilter in Use>>
    > Bloomington, MN to email, remove the "q" from my address
    >
    John Speros, Jan 1, 2004
    #4
  5. John Speros

    Kram Sacul Guest

    Monte Castleman <> wrote in message news:<>...
    > Also, in the home environment, the center channel speaker often has to be
    > different than the left and right because of space constraints. The
    > difference in tone would be more noticable on dialog than sound effects.


    That's why the 3 front speakers should all be the same type. No exceptions.
    Kram Sacul, Jan 2, 2004
    #5
  6. John Speros

    Rutgar Guest

    On Thu, 01 Jan 2004 02:26:05 GMT, "John Speros"
    <> wrote:

    >Check out the sound on the deleted scenes of Jeepers Creepers 2. The dialog
    >in the deleted scenes has a more realistic stereo, lifelike presence than
    >dialog in the main movie (and all regular soundtracks produced today). It
    >seems that the norm now is to force all dialog into a mono center speaker
    >rather than having voices emanate from their relative positions on the
    >screen and fill the full audio sound stage. Some early stereo movies (like
    >Kubrick's 2001) had stereo dialog. Why was this abandoned?
    >


    I'm glad they force most of the dialog to the center speaker. Many
    movies have the dialog "buried" in the music, and sound effects. By
    forcing the dialog to the center speaker, I can adjust it so it's
    slightly louder than the rest of the system, so that the voices can be
    clearly heard. Too many times, I've watched movies where the sound
    effects are blowing me out of my living room, and then the next thing
    I know, is that I can barely hear the dialog.

    - Rutgar
    Rutgar, Jan 2, 2004
    #6
  7. John Speros

    Jay G Guest

    "Rutgar" <> ...
    >
    > I'm glad they force most of the dialog to the center speaker. Many
    > movies have the dialog "buried" in the music, and sound effects. By
    > forcing the dialog to the center speaker, I can adjust it so it's
    > slightly louder than the rest of the system, so that the voices can be
    > clearly heard. Too many times, I've watched movies where the sound
    > effects are blowing me out of my living room, and then the next thing
    > I know, is that I can barely hear the dialog.


    That's called dynamic range. The difference in volume is supposed
    to match the way it was presented in theatres, where booms are
    BIG and LOUD and talking can be quiet but still audible. If you
    want to compress the dynamic range, most receivers have a
    "Midnight Mode," or something with a similar range that will
    try and make all the audio closer to the same volume.

    -Jay
    Jay G, Jan 3, 2004
    #7
  8. John Speros

    Phil Guest

    I will wade into this one by saying that it is still nice to be able to
    "tweak" the dialogue for those of us who have trouble discriminating voices
    in a loud soundstage.

    phil


    "Jay G" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > "Rutgar" <> ...
    > >
    > > I'm glad they force most of the dialog to the center speaker. Many
    > > movies have the dialog "buried" in the music, and sound effects. By
    > > forcing the dialog to the center speaker, I can adjust it so it's
    > > slightly louder than the rest of the system, so that the voices can be
    > > clearly heard. Too many times, I've watched movies where the sound
    > > effects are blowing me out of my living room, and then the next thing
    > > I know, is that I can barely hear the dialog.

    >
    > That's called dynamic range. The difference in volume is supposed
    > to match the way it was presented in theatres, where booms are
    > BIG and LOUD and talking can be quiet but still audible. If you
    > want to compress the dynamic range, most receivers have a
    > "Midnight Mode," or something with a similar range that will
    > try and make all the audio closer to the same volume.
    >
    > -Jay
    >
    >
    Phil, Jan 3, 2004
    #8
  9. >That's called dynamic range. The difference in volume is supposed
    >to match the way it was presented in theatres, where booms are
    >BIG and LOUD and talking can be quiet but still audible.


    I've never been to a theater that has as much dynamic range as some of
    the DVDs I have. I think explosions loud enough to rattle the windows are
    cool, but my sister has other ideas.

    If you
    >want to compress the dynamic range, most receivers have a
    >"Midnight Mode," or something with a similar range that will
    >try and make all the audio closer to the same volume.


    My Denon AVD-2000 has this feature. Unfortunately it makes the sound
    muffled for some reason. I get better results by bringing down the master
    volume to about -10, and then raising the volume on my center channel
    amp. This is a convential rotary pot, so I can do and undo this change in
    a second.
    >


    Monte Castleman, <<Spamfilter in Use>>
    Bloomington, MN to email, remove the "q" from my address
    Monte Castleman, Jan 3, 2004
    #9
  10. John Speros

    Rutgar Guest

    On Fri, 2 Jan 2004 21:35:56 -0600, "Jay G" <> wrote:

    >
    >"Rutgar" <> ...
    >>
    >> I'm glad they force most of the dialog to the center speaker. Many
    >> movies have the dialog "buried" in the music, and sound effects. By
    >> forcing the dialog to the center speaker, I can adjust it so it's
    >> slightly louder than the rest of the system, so that the voices can be
    >> clearly heard. Too many times, I've watched movies where the sound
    >> effects are blowing me out of my living room, and then the next thing
    >> I know, is that I can barely hear the dialog.

    >
    >That's called dynamic range. The difference in volume is supposed
    >to match the way it was presented in theatres, where booms are
    >BIG and LOUD and talking can be quiet but still audible. If you
    >want to compress the dynamic range, most receivers have a
    >"Midnight Mode," or something with a similar range that will
    >try and make all the audio closer to the same volume.
    >
    >-Jay
    >


    Buried dialog isn't "Dynamic Range". It's poor mixing. Of course
    the booms should be way loud. That's not what I'm talking about.
    I'm talking about where normal secondary sounds in films, such as
    crowd noise, or cars going by, blowing you out of the room, and then
    in a quiet office setting, you're barely able to hear the dialog.
    Many, many movies on DVD have this problem. And it has nothing to do
    with the dynamic range. I never have this problem when I see a film
    at a theater.

    In a film, dialog should always be up front, and audible. Should
    there be difference between the loudness of the dialog, and an
    explosion? Yes. But, there shouldn't be a 90dB difference between
    normal dialog, ambient background noise, and the music score in a
    film. Which brings me back to what my solution was, and that is to
    simply set the center speaker just slightly louder than the rest of
    the system. Works perfectly, and I don't have "compress" the dynamic
    range of the system.

    - Rutgar
    Rutgar, Jan 3, 2004
    #10
  11. John Speros

    Richard C. Guest

    "Rutgar" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    :
    : Buried dialog isn't "Dynamic Range". It's poor mixing.

    =================
    Or poor speakers.
    ==================

    : Of course
    : the booms should be way loud. That's not what I'm talking about.
    : I'm talking about where normal secondary sounds in films, such as
    : crowd noise, or cars going by, blowing you out of the room, and then
    : in a quiet office setting, you're barely able to hear the dialog.
    : Many, many movies on DVD have this problem.

    ======================
    Not that I have noticed.
    Are you front speakers perfectly matched?
    Have you adjusted levels and delays properly?
    ====================

    : And it has nothing to do
    : with the dynamic range. I never have this problem when I see a film
    : at a theater.

    ==============
    I sure have........
    =================
    :
    Richard C., Jan 3, 2004
    #11
  12. John Speros

    Rutgar Guest

    On Sat, 3 Jan 2004 08:13:44 -0800, "Richard C."
    <> wrote:

    >
    >"Rutgar" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >:
    >: Buried dialog isn't "Dynamic Range". It's poor mixing.
    >
    >=================
    >Or poor speakers.
    >==================
    >

    My main speakers are a pair of Aerial Acoustics Model 10T, with their
    center channel CC-3B, driven by two McIntosh MC-2500 amplifiers, so
    try again.

    >: Of course
    >: the booms should be way loud. That's not what I'm talking about.
    >: I'm talking about where normal secondary sounds in films, such as
    >: crowd noise, or cars going by, blowing you out of the room, and then
    >: in a quiet office setting, you're barely able to hear the dialog.
    >: Many, many movies on DVD have this problem.
    >
    >======================
    >Not that I have noticed.
    >Are you front speakers perfectly matched?
    >Have you adjusted levels and delays properly?
    >====================
    >


    Yes, and Yes. Next brilliant question.

    - Rutgar
    Rutgar, Jan 3, 2004
    #12
  13. John Speros

    Richard C. Guest

    "Rutgar" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    : On Sat, 3 Jan 2004 08:13:44 -0800, "Richard C."
    : <> wrote:
    :
    : >
    : >"Rutgar" <> wrote in message
    : >news:...
    : >:
    : >: Buried dialog isn't "Dynamic Range". It's poor mixing.
    : >
    : >=================
    : >Or poor speakers.
    : >==================
    : >
    : My main speakers are a pair of Aerial Acoustics Model 10T, with their
    : center channel CC-3B, driven by two McIntosh MC-2500 amplifiers, so
    : try again.
    :
    : >: Of course
    : >: the booms should be way loud. That's not what I'm talking about.
    : >: I'm talking about where normal secondary sounds in films, such as
    : >: crowd noise, or cars going by, blowing you out of the room, and then
    : >: in a quiet office setting, you're barely able to hear the dialog.
    : >: Many, many movies on DVD have this problem.
    : >
    : >======================
    : >Not that I have noticed.
    : >Are you front speakers perfectly matched?
    : >Have you adjusted levels and delays properly?
    : >====================
    : >
    :
    : Yes, and Yes. Next brilliant question.
    :
    ==========================
    You OBVIOUSLY have some kind of problem.
    Dialog is perfect in virtually ALL DVDs I own.

    My brilliant question is: Why?
    ===========================
    Richard C., Jan 3, 2004
    #13
  14. John Speros

    Rutgar Guest

    On Sat, 3 Jan 2004 13:56:27 -0800, "Richard C."
    <> wrote:

    >
    >"Rutgar" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >: On Sat, 3 Jan 2004 08:13:44 -0800, "Richard C."
    >: <> wrote:
    >:
    >: >
    >: >"Rutgar" <> wrote in message
    >: >news:...
    >: >:
    >: >: Buried dialog isn't "Dynamic Range". It's poor mixing.
    >: >
    >: >=================
    >: >Or poor speakers.
    >: >==================
    >: >
    >: My main speakers are a pair of Aerial Acoustics Model 10T, with their
    >: center channel CC-3B, driven by two McIntosh MC-2500 amplifiers, so
    >: try again.
    >:
    >: >: Of course
    >: >: the booms should be way loud. That's not what I'm talking about.
    >: >: I'm talking about where normal secondary sounds in films, such as
    >: >: crowd noise, or cars going by, blowing you out of the room, and then
    >: >: in a quiet office setting, you're barely able to hear the dialog.
    >: >: Many, many movies on DVD have this problem.
    >: >
    >: >======================
    >: >Not that I have noticed.
    >: >Are you front speakers perfectly matched?
    >: >Have you adjusted levels and delays properly?
    >: >====================
    >: >
    >:
    >: Yes, and Yes. Next brilliant question.
    >:
    >==========================
    >You OBVIOUSLY have some kind of problem.
    >Dialog is perfect in virtually ALL DVDs I own.
    >
    >My brilliant question is: Why?
    >===========================
    >


    Er... Because your cheapy speakers are incapable of reproducing true
    and accurate sound other than those in the voice range?

    - Rutgar
    Rutgar, Jan 3, 2004
    #14
  15. John Speros

    yudu2 Guest

    responding to the question in the subject heading:

    Because the center channel is where the screen is, and the people talking are
    usually on the screen. If someone was behind you, and thus off screen, then
    they would come from the rear.
    yudu2, Jan 4, 2004
    #15
  16. John Speros

    Justin Guest

    yudu2 wrote on [Sun, 04 Jan 2004 04:53:01 GMT]:
    > responding to the question in the subject heading:
    >
    > Because the center channel is where the screen is, and the people talking are
    > usually on the screen. If someone was behind you, and thus off screen, then
    > they would come from the rear.


    And if they've been cut off by Pan and Scan?
    Justin, Jan 4, 2004
    #16
  17. John Speros

    Richard C. Guest

    "Rutgar" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    : On Sat, 3 Jan 2004 13:56:27 -0800, "Richard C."
    : <> wrote:
    :
    : >
    : >"Rutgar" <> wrote in message
    : >news:...
    : >: On Sat, 3 Jan 2004 08:13:44 -0800, "Richard C."
    : >: <> wrote:
    : >:
    : >: >
    : >: >"Rutgar" <> wrote in message
    : >: >news:...
    : >: >:
    : >: >: Buried dialog isn't "Dynamic Range". It's poor mixing.
    : >: >
    : >: >=================
    : >: >Or poor speakers.
    : >: >==================
    : >: >
    : >: My main speakers are a pair of Aerial Acoustics Model 10T, with their
    : >: center channel CC-3B, driven by two McIntosh MC-2500 amplifiers, so
    : >: try again.
    : >:
    : >: >: Of course
    : >: >: the booms should be way loud. That's not what I'm talking about.
    : >: >: I'm talking about where normal secondary sounds in films, such as
    : >: >: crowd noise, or cars going by, blowing you out of the room, and then
    : >: >: in a quiet office setting, you're barely able to hear the dialog.
    : >: >: Many, many movies on DVD have this problem.
    : >: >
    : >: >======================
    : >: >Not that I have noticed.
    : >: >Are you front speakers perfectly matched?
    : >: >Have you adjusted levels and delays properly?
    : >: >====================
    : >: >
    : >:
    : >: Yes, and Yes. Next brilliant question.
    : >:
    : >==========================
    : >You OBVIOUSLY have some kind of problem.
    : >Dialog is perfect in virtually ALL DVDs I own.
    : >
    : >My brilliant question is: Why?
    : >===========================
    : >
    :
    : Er... Because your cheapy speakers are incapable of reproducing true
    : and accurate sound other than those in the voice range?
    :
    =========================
    If you have no desire to solve your problem, then I guess there is no help required.
    Your system is FAULTY. Either fix it or live with it.
    Either your speakers or your amplification is not working properly.

    My "cheapy" speakers cost about $8K. They work. Yours don't.

    No longer my problem.
    ============================
    Richard C., Jan 4, 2004
    #17
  18. John Speros

    Bill Guest

    On Sun, 4 Jan 2004 09:28:43 -0800, "Richard C."
    <> wrote:


    >=========================
    >If you have no desire to solve your problem, then I guess there is no help required.
    >Your system is FAULTY. Either fix it or live with it.
    >Either your speakers or your amplification is not working properly.
    >
    >My "cheapy" speakers cost about $8K. They work. Yours don't.
    >
    >No longer my problem.
    >============================
    >


    The problem with you, is that you think "I" have a problem. I don't.
    I merely stated that I prefer to adjust the center channel level just
    slightly a little higher than the rest of the system, so that dialog
    would be a little louder.

    You choose to be obstinate, when I and others have stated that on some
    DVD's, the dialog gets a little buried in the mix. I wasn't the
    first to say this, and I posted to say how I "solved" the problem.
    Obviously, you know nothing about audio mixing, or you would know that
    every system, and every room is different. What sounds good in a
    recording studio, doesn't always translate to all other systems. If
    it did, we wouldn't need things like bass/treble controls, loudness
    compensators, volume levels on individual channels, and host of other
    controls that are used for "tailoring" the sound of an audio system in
    a given room.

    BTW, you didn't mention what your speakers were. I told you what I
    have, and what I'm driving them with. And, anyone who is familiar
    with Aerial Acoustics, and McIntosh will tell you that they are
    "top-of-the-line" equipment, and DO work. Moreover, you can't buy
    them at your local "Best Buy". Now, if you want to continue with
    exchanging insults, we can. But, I think you really have your head
    "buried in the sand" if you think that "Buried" dialog on a DVD is a
    unique situation.

    - Rutgar
    Bill, Jan 4, 2004
    #18
  19. John Speros

    Richard C. Guest

    I just watched "To Live and Die in LA" last night.

    LOTS of dialog comes from other than the center channel.
    Richard C., Jan 6, 2004
    #19
  20. John Speros

    infodel

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    sound mixer problems

    Most people mix a movie with a copy of the dialog in front of their nose.
    The dialog does not have to be clearly audible to be understood in this mixing setup.
    They should throw away the dialog copy and mix so the dialog can be understood over the "pain -in-the-arse" background noise.
    Sometimes I think the musicians and the sound effects blokes are mixing the final product.
    infodel
    infodel, Oct 12, 2008
    #20
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