reference level, too loud

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by YPC, Feb 27, 2003.

  1. YPC

    YPC
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    Somebody please explain, why should I set my speakers to 75db, when I almost never listen at reference level. Why not just level the speakers at 60 or 65db which is the level I usualy watch movies? I understand that 75db is the level the director intended movie sound to be heard, but I think it's usualy way to loud and/or one should have really good amps and speakers, that can take that kind of loundness without distortion for longer periods of time.
    thanx YPC
     
  2. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    It's a known issue. I think they talk about it on the dolby.com site. A chicken and egg situation...

    Movie theaters sometimes have sub-standard kit, so they turn the master volume down a bit.

    Movie sound mixers know this happens, so apparently often mix the sound a little higher for bigger impact.

    Apparently a lot of them wear ear defenders to prevent premature hearing loss doing it all day long, every day!

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  3. micb3rd

    micb3rd
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    This is a question I answer quite a lot.

    Home Theater Calibration.

    Why do we calibrate our home theaters, we do this so we can get a balance between the level of speech and all the effects out of the individual speakers

    AV Receivers have a DB counter.

    Having a db counter on an AV receiver is for calibration and balencing to dolby reference, this is acheived buy using a Radioshack SPL meter and special test tones.

    This is mainly done for balancing movie sound.

    The test tones are pink noise recorded at a lower level than full reference, the reason the tones are recorded at a lower level is so you can balance you Home theater with out going deaf in the process.

    The tones are recorded at -20db below reference for AVIA DVD and -30 db below ref for internal tones from an AV Receiver.

    Both DVD and internal test tones methods give the same results.

    The amp it set to 00 and the tone is played through each channel and then you balance all speaker channels levels to 75 db.

    1)The point of putting the amp on 0 and calibrating is then you can play movies at -10 and be 10 db below dolby reference level or play at -40 and be 40db below dolby reference.

    2)Full dolby reference is usualy peaks of 105db per channel and 115db for LFE (bass).

    IF you use bass management and run speakers set to small then the LFE and sound below 80hz is passed to the subwoofer and the bass level is bumped up from 115 to 121 db.

    This obvously shows most subs are no way neer up to the job of full dolby reference.

    Full dolby refenence is very loud and can be damaging to you AV kit.

    I watch most movies between -25db below ref at night time and -15/20db below ref in the day, full reference is too loud for me, I want to keep some hearing for the next 50 years.
     
  4. fraggle

    fraggle
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    Who cares what reference level is?

    You set the volume to what you're comfortable with and thats it.

    Calibrating the channel trims is primarily to make sure they're all the same volume (whatever that volume is, but obviously close to what you normally listen to films at)

    I can see the point in calibrating displays, you want the difference between black and white to be as far as possible in brightness, and the initial set up of colour/hue. But there again, after I've set colour & hue I turn the colour down to my personal preference.

    I'm partially deaf and I think the sound level in a lot of cinemas is set too loud.

    Hmm, if the sound engineers wear ear plugs maybe we should be deducting the attenuation of the ear plugs (in dB) from the reference 75dB? :D :D
     
  5. Squirrel God

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    Just a couple of points:

    Doesn't have to be a Radioshack one :)

    The default crossover frequency point depends on your receiver, it's not always 80Hz, and some are variable.




    I watch movies at around -28dB in the daytime and around -40dB at night. I'm close to the speakers and my room is small and I found it loud enough! Also, if I turned it any louder, I'm sure my neighbours would be waiting for me with baseball bats the next time I left my flat :D
     
  6. micb3rd

    micb3rd
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    Yep you are right Squirrel God any SPL meter will do.

    I know that crossover setting can be altered on Av receivers\processors but the figure of a 6 db increase from 115-121 is only correct with a 80 hz crossover, the number of db increase will most likely be different with a different crossover setting.
     
  7. Squirrel God

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    Ah I see what you mean now :)
     
  8. Nobber22

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    It's got nothing to do with your AV, it's 'cos you live in London.:D
     
  9. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Ditto and ditto. It really annoys me the way film soundtracks have the dialogue recorded really quiet, so the cinema has to turn it up or you can't hear it and then the explosions are so loud they make your ears hurt. :mad:

    Mind you, I've heard it suggested that because Hollywood films make the bulk of their money in non-English-speaking countries, filmmakers are deliberately trying to make films where you don't actually have to hear or understand any of the dialogue - and that in turn means that they tend not to bother trying to make the dialogue audible. Diction is a dying art. :(
     
  10. EvilMudge

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    Aren't you all really complaining that the dynamic range of Dolby Digital (and DTS!) is too wide, rather than that the reference level is too high?
    Afterall, dialogue too quiet, then suddenly loud explosions, gunfire, whatever is the mark of a well used dynamic contrast in the mix.
     
  11. Electric Mayhem

    Electric Mayhem
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    Try switching on your amp/receiver/processors DRC (Dynamic Range Control), most have several settings for it, OFF, LOW, MID, HIGH etc.

    Unless you are listening at Reference Level then you may find one of the DRC settings more preferable. Currently (after leaving mine OFF for years!) I´ve got it set to LOW as I listen at around -15/-20db below Ref Level.

    Of course if you want ear shattering levels then leave it OFF and set the volume to Ref Level.

    For an explanation of how the DRC works (amongst other things!) look HERE

    Worth checking out and then experimenting with your setup.;)
     
  12. nathan_silly

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    My Denon AVD-2000 has various settings- compression and Dialogue Normalization as well.

    Is it best to switch Dialogue normalization on or off?

    When disable it, I notice the centre speaker is slightly louder.

    Nathan
     
  13. Electric Mayhem

    Electric Mayhem
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    Given the choice I´d leave it ON (after reading the article in the link I posted above). My Denon doesn´t give me any control over it, just sorts it out by itself.
     

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