Wildly uneven volume on some DVDs

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by mexican_equivalent@yahoo.com, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. Guest

    Whenever I watch "Alien" on DVD, I end up having to constantly adjust
    the volume level. The sound on this title is wildly uneven. The
    dialogue is often spoken at a whisper, and I could hardly discern what
    the characters are saying. I had to resort to turning the volume
    waaaay up just to hear them. But then the action sequences get
    obnoxiously LOUD. Embarassingly loud, as in loud enough for my
    next-next-next door neighbors to hear.

    The thing is, this isn't the first DVD title to behave this way. I've
    watched dozens of movies wherein the dialogue are so soft, I end up
    having to set the volume nearly twice my usual listening level. But
    then whenever the action sequences come up, everything becomes
    obnoxiously loud. I spend much of the movie with the remote in hand,
    constantly adjusting the volume up and down for two hours... otherwise,
    I'm bound to wake up everyone in this house and everybody else next
    door.

    Anybody else have this experience? This problem has been dogging me
    for the past seven or eight years... but I hardly ever hear anybody
    else complain about it.
    , Apr 17, 2005
    #1
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  2. wrote:
    > Whenever I watch "Alien" on DVD, I end up having to constantly adjust
    > the volume level. The sound on this title is wildly uneven. The
    > dialogue is often spoken at a whisper, and I could hardly discern what
    > the characters are saying. I had to resort to turning the volume
    > waaaay up just to hear them. But then the action sequences get
    > obnoxiously LOUD. Embarassingly loud, as in loud enough for my
    > next-next-next door neighbors to hear.
    >

    I noticed this on Alien too, but not on a lot of other DVDs. I also
    don't think the difference is quite as much as you describe.

    Do you have a surround setup? Because dialogue is mostly confined to the
    center channel, maybe the level of the center speaker is set too low.
    Try to adjust just the volume of the center channel.

    Mischa
    Mischa van Dinter, Apr 17, 2005
    #2
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  3. damnfine Guest

    Your DVD player probably has dynamic range compression somewhere in its
    audio options.


    --
    /^\damnfine/^\
    "Where is Richard Nixon when we finally need him?"
    - Hunter S. Thompson
    damnfine, Apr 17, 2005
    #3
  4. What The Guest

    Also sometimes listed as "night mode" in some dvd player setups.



    "damnfine" <> wrote in message
    news:3hs8e.1668$...
    > Your DVD player probably has dynamic range compression somewhere in its audio
    > options.
    >
    >
    > --
    > /^\damnfine/^\
    > "Where is Richard Nixon when we finally need him?"
    > - Hunter S. Thompson
    >
    What The, Apr 17, 2005
    #4
  5. Mark Jones Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Anybody else have this experience? This problem has been dogging me
    > for the past seven or eight years... but I hardly ever hear anybody
    > else complain about it.

    This problem will go away if you have a surround sound system
    with a center channel speaker for the dialog. I have had this
    problem before on a regular speaker system, but never
    with surround sound.
    Mark Jones, Apr 17, 2005
    #5
  6. Bob D. Guest

    Is this the beginning of the end for stereo? I'm concerned that ultimately
    some kind of multi-speaker, surround sound format would come out that can't
    be played on an ordinary stereo. My little living room barely has room for
    two speakers!

    --
    Bob D.

    "Mark Jones" <> wrote in message
    news:0eu8e.8304$...
    > <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> Anybody else have this experience? This problem has been dogging me
    >> for the past seven or eight years... but I hardly ever hear anybody
    >> else complain about it.

    > This problem will go away if you have a surround sound system
    > with a center channel speaker for the dialog. I have had this
    > problem before on a regular speaker system, but never
    > with surround sound.
    >
    >
    Bob D., Apr 17, 2005
    #6
  7. Mark Jones Guest

    "Bob D." <> wrote in message
    news:xww8e.22452$Bb3.3096@attbi_s22...
    > Is this the beginning of the end for stereo? I'm concerned that ultimately
    > some kind of multi-speaker, surround sound format would come out that

    can't
    > be played on an ordinary stereo. My little living room barely has room for
    > two speakers!

    Surround sound can be obtained very cheaply and you can use
    front and rear speakers that are very small but will produce good
    sound. Go to a store such as Best Buy or Circuit City and look
    at the surround sound packages. They include the amplifier
    and the speakers. The sub-woofer can be positioned anywhere
    in the room. Mine is off to the side and in the floor.

    Make certain that the package includes a center channel
    speaker. This makes a lot of difference with some movies.
    Look at the 5.1 systems and make sure all 6 speakers
    are included. The center channel speaker should be placed
    on top of your TV.
    Mark Jones, Apr 17, 2005
    #7
  8. Jay G. Guest

    On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 16:53:49 GMT, Bob D. wrote:

    > Is this the beginning of the end for stereo? I'm concerned that ultimately
    > some kind of multi-speaker, surround sound format would come out that can't
    > be played on an ordinary stereo. My little living room barely has room for
    > two speakers!


    Most current DVDs are 5.1, and DVD players are currently required to be
    able to down-mix to stereo.

    -Jay
    Jay G., Apr 17, 2005
    #8
  9. Biz Guest

    FOr watching movies or tvs at home, stereo has been dead since the advent of
    Dolby Pro Logic. You need a 3 channel setup Left/Center/Right , or you
    should just use the crappy tv speakers. I keep reading about people
    swearing by a phantom center setup, but I have yet to hear one that could
    compete with a real center channel.

    "Bob D." <> wrote in message
    news:xww8e.22452$Bb3.3096@attbi_s22...
    > Is this the beginning of the end for stereo? I'm concerned that ultimately
    > some kind of multi-speaker, surround sound format would come out that

    can't
    > be played on an ordinary stereo. My little living room barely has room for
    > two speakers!
    >
    > --
    > Bob D.
    >
    > "Mark Jones" <> wrote in message
    > news:0eu8e.8304$...
    > > <> wrote in message
    > > news:...
    > >> Anybody else have this experience? This problem has been dogging me
    > >> for the past seven or eight years... but I hardly ever hear anybody
    > >> else complain about it.

    > > This problem will go away if you have a surround sound system
    > > with a center channel speaker for the dialog. I have had this
    > > problem before on a regular speaker system, but never
    > > with surround sound.
    > >
    > >

    >
    >
    Biz, Apr 17, 2005
    #9
  10. Stan Guest

    wrote in news:1113733295.683822.172800
    @o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com:

    > Whenever I watch "Alien" on DVD, I end up having to constantly adjust
    > the volume level. The sound on this title is wildly uneven. The
    > dialogue is often spoken at a whisper, and I could hardly discern what
    > the characters are saying.


    I believe that this was done *intentionally* by the director.

    snip
    Stan, Apr 17, 2005
    #10
  11. Nick Guest

    Yeah I used to find this with LOTR etc on my old (not-surround) setup, music
    was too loud, dialogue too quiet. Soon as I switched to a surrond system
    problem went.


    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Whenever I watch "Alien" on DVD, I end up having to constantly adjust
    > the volume level. The sound on this title is wildly uneven. The
    > dialogue is often spoken at a whisper, and I could hardly discern what
    > the characters are saying. I had to resort to turning the volume
    > waaaay up just to hear them. But then the action sequences get
    > obnoxiously LOUD. Embarassingly loud, as in loud enough for my
    > next-next-next door neighbors to hear.
    >
    > The thing is, this isn't the first DVD title to behave this way. I've
    > watched dozens of movies wherein the dialogue are so soft, I end up
    > having to set the volume nearly twice my usual listening level. But
    > then whenever the action sequences come up, everything becomes
    > obnoxiously loud. I spend much of the movie with the remote in hand,
    > constantly adjusting the volume up and down for two hours... otherwise,
    > I'm bound to wake up everyone in this house and everybody else next
    > door.
    >
    > Anybody else have this experience? This problem has been dogging me
    > for the past seven or eight years... but I hardly ever hear anybody
    > else complain about it.
    >
    Nick, Apr 18, 2005
    #11
  12. Guest

    I believe you're right, at least for some of the scenes. It also may
    have something to do with the audio source. My Laserdisc of this film
    (remember those?) said on the cover that the 6-track magnetic audio
    from the 70mm theatrical release was used for the 5.1 track on the LD.
    That would be 5 speakers behind a very large screen, with a mono
    surround, if memory serves. Great for it's day, but the dark ages by
    todays standards. Wonder if the DVD used the same source material, or
    even lifted it intact from the DVD release? Older films created in
    mono may be better, because they were designed from the git go to have
    clear speech with non-intrusive music all from one speaker. The 70mm 6
    track mag was designed for some very large rooms. Just a theory.

    -beaumon
    , Apr 19, 2005
    #12
  13. Mark Spatny Guest

    , says...
    > The thing is, this isn't the first DVD title to behave this way. I've
    > watched dozens of movies wherein the dialogue are so soft, I end up
    > having to set the volume nearly twice my usual listening level.


    There are a couple of factors in play here:

    1) Check your DVD player settings in the system menu. Most have an audio
    mode that balances out the sound, limiting the dynamic range of the
    movie. This will help you a great deal.

    2) Some players do a TERRIBLE job downmixing the 5.1 audio to 2 channel
    stereo. The most common problem is exactly what you are experiencing.
    The audio that should be coming from the center channel gets lost. I
    used to have a panasonic player that had a terrible down-mix. I know
    exactly what you are going though.

    If your player does't have the mode that balances the dynamic range of
    the audio, your next cheapest solution is a cheap home theater in a
    box". Once you have a 5.1 speaker system, you can balance the volume of
    the individual speakers, raising up the center (dialog) channel, and
    lowering the others until you get a balance you like.
    Mark Spatny, Apr 20, 2005
    #13
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