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Go Back   Blu-ray Forum > Home Theater > Home Theater General Discussion

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Old 12-04-2009, 06:58 PM   #1
Rike255 Rike255 is online now
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Default Movie dialogue very quiet and sound effects very loud

This question isn't about my Home theater but about my friends. He has the Onkyo TX-SR606 HT in a box setup and he had a question for me I didn't know how to answer.

Basically when watching a BD the dialogue is extremely quiet and hard to hear while sound effects are very loud. The only thing I could think of was his level for the center speaker was too low. Any other ideas what the issue could be?
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:42 PM   #2
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He should run the calibration again after checking the speaker connections. Then adjust the level of the speaker if it still seems off.
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:48 PM   #3
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Perhaps Dialoq Normalization?
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:48 PM   #4
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What is the speaker setup like. Does he have a good Center speaker? This alone could result in muffled dialogue. The center speaker is probably one of the most important speakers in any setup.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:58 PM   #5
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Keep in mind there is a difference between dialog levels DURING loud action scenes and in between them. If it is way too quiet during the action scenes it is likely the center channel needs turned up.

If it is a problem in between action scenes.. and you keep turning up the volume during dialog and back down during action .. then you need to use the compression on the 606. I forget what it is called exactly but I used to have one and it worked wonders. I think it only works with non HD dolby though.. but if you are not listening super loud it should be sufficient.

A lot of movies mix the action scenes way louder than the dialog in general.. so unless you have it cranked to a good level the dialog parts will be often too quiet. I also offset this sometimes by just turning on subtitles!
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Old 12-05-2009, 03:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forsberg21 View Post
Nope. Dialnorm lowers overall volume, but does not affect the relative levels of the channels.

Dynamic Range Control is a way to reduce dynamic range, which has the effect of making dialog louder in relation to effects. Applying DRC might help.

But, the OP's friend really needs to calibrate speaker levels with an SPL meter to make sure all the channels are playing at the same volume. Once that's done, he can increase the volume a bit more on the center channel if dialog is still getting drowned out.
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:48 PM   #7
Noodleman Noodleman is offline
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Yeah i would turn up the center channel and lower the fronts? i have a onkyo sks 540 htib speakers and dialogue is good. Maybe theres some minor adjustsments that you need to calibirate on the receiver.
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:08 PM   #8
Rob J in WNY Rob J in WNY is offline
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Just my 2...

Definitely make sure that the center channel speaker is connected solidly and properly as a precaution.

Run Audyssey for a fresh level calibration, or at least manually check with test tones to each speaker. If you do the latter and the center sounds abnormally low, adjust its level upward in 2 to 3dB increments until you feel it sounds even. Try to keep your front left and right speakers referenced at 0dB and perform center calibration based on that.

Dynamic Range Control (DNR) on the audio can even the sound out (dynamic peaks of loudness versus quiet passages). It can help you, but it may only be a band-aid solution to a more surgical problem. Proper channel level calibration would be a more viable solution.
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:21 PM   #9
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The location of the center is important as well. If the center is in a cabinet, close to the floor, or not pointing at your ears, dialog can be compromised.
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:39 PM   #10
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Sorry for the late reply, I kinda forgot about this thread

Thanks very much for the input everyone, I think it's probably a calibration or placement issue. I'll let him know!
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Old 12-28-2009, 05:24 PM   #11
kbrownell kbrownell is offline
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I am a frustrated Blu-Ray owner...I absolutely love the picture, but I'm having an issue with dialogue playing MUCH quieter than sound effects/music. I persued this thread, but it didn't seem to help.

Here's the skinny on my setup and what 've tried so far...

I have the Yamaha RX-V457 receiver. I have two front speakers about 4-5 feet high, each about 3-4 feet to the side of the TV and about 12 feet from where the viewer sits. I have a center channel just below the TV and a subwoofer, but it's not at the floor, it's about 3 feet off the ground. Two rear surround speakers sit directly to the viewer's right and left, maybe 3-4 feet from the ends of the couch. The speakers are a Polk Audio set; the 2 mains and 2 rears are the same speaker. The speakers generally form a square.

I checked the speaker connections and tested them, they're all connected properly. I've tried playing with the center channel's and main speakers' levels all sorts of ways, but to no avail. The center channel seems to get a lot of music/effects coming through it, so simply increasing the center level doesn't work (dialogue stays quiet anyway). I've tried using different sound fields, such as the various "Movie" settings, the regular 5.1 stereo setting, Surround Enhanced, and a few others. I tried just using the Basic Setup mode to calibrate, and I've tried manually adjusting speaker level with the Manual Setup mode.

I'm not an audiophile, so a lot of the settings and such on the receiver are Greek to me.

I would appreciate any help, as I am now forced to sit through Blu-Ray movies with the remote in my hand so I can increase volume for talking scenes and lower it for action scenes. Normal TV is just fine, though...no level problems there.

Though this is largely unimportant, the scene I was using to test when I was monkeying around with the settings was from the movie "Serenity", just after the movie title appears...there is loud music and effects as the ship descends towards the planet, but as soon as you go into the cockpit for the dialogue, it's unbelievably quiet.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-28-2009, 05:27 PM   #12
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Forgot to add that I use an optical cable for the audio.
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Old 12-28-2009, 07:55 PM   #13
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What Blu-ray player are you using and what are the audio settings?

What are the audio settings on the receiver input connected to the BD player?

Have you calibrated your system with internal test tones or a calibration disc to make sure all channels are outputting sound at tghe same volume at the main listening position?

Some of the symtoms you describe suggest that you do not have the player and receiver properly configured to process the DD 5.1 or DTS audio on the disc. The center channel rarely has much in the way of music or effects with a discrete 5.1 output. When you play the movie, what format does the receiver display report it is getting?
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:03 PM   #14
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Like others have said, it's a simple thing, but just make sure the center speaker connections are tight. I was having the same problem this week until I figured out my son (who is 15 months and is already showing my passion for electronics ) loosened one of the connections to the center speaker.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:07 PM   #15
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I would recommend a couple of things.

First, bump the volume setting up on your PS3 to +1, also make sure the dynamic range control on your PS3 is off.

Also, on your receiver bump up your center channel level a little bit higher than your front left and right channels.

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Old 12-28-2009, 08:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZedsDead View Post
First, bump the volume setting up on your PS3 to +1,
Doesn't that simply increase the volume of everything? Why do you think there's a PS3 involved here, btw? kbrownell hasn't said what player is being used.

Quote:
also make sure the dynamic range control on your PS3 is off.
Actually, DRC can be helpful with dialog issues. It lowers the volume of loud sound effects while raising the volume of quiet sounds such as whispers. The net effect is to make dialog easier to hear relative to music and effects audio.

And, of course, these settings only come into play if the player is doing the decoding, which should not be the case here. With optical, the player should be set to bitstream. That's the only way to send discrete 5.1 over an optical connection. If the player is set to PCM, the output will be stereo and that would be the root of the problem.

Last edited by BIslander; 12-28-2009 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:26 PM   #17
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Your system is outputting 2-channel PCM. You have to set your system to bitstream, and make sure to select the lossy track on PCM discs
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:26 PM   #18
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I find Band of Brothers has this issue.
In the opening scenes when they have the short 'interview' segments with the soldiers it's very quiet, and then when the show starts it blows my face off. And this happens with or without surround sound hooked up to it so I guess it's just the discs themselves?
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:39 PM   #19
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No, you need to configure your player properly and tell it what kind of equipment you have. Read your manual
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:40 PM   #20
kbrownell kbrownell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander View Post
With optical, the player should be set to bitstream.
Seeing as how I've never monkeyed with that setting on the BD player, I suspect that might be it. I will check when I get home. If it doesn't work, then I'll answer the questions you guys have asked.

A big thanks for your time!
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