View Full Version : Quiet speech & loud effects

electric beach
28-10-2011, 15:50
I'm trying to understand whether it's my equipment and settings at fault. Much of the time we're struggling to understand speech, increasing the volume improves the situation - then the action and music kick up a gear and take your bloody head off!

Googling around I see comment that it's a common thing, opinion being that it's due to the channel mixing for dramatic cinema effect. DVD is bad but Blueray can be even worse e.g. Inception.

Source is a PS3, optical out to my dac and 2.1 channel system. I've also seen the opinion that it may be the fold-down from 5.1 to blame. Before you say I need a centre speaker, some films are perfect and my speakers can give exemplary vocal reproduction and central imaging.

I'm getting quite familiar with the PS3 sound output options now. Setting Dolby 5.1 to override the default 2 channel setting can sometimes improve things but generally not. I like to listen loud and I don't have remote volume control (might try the Ipad app for this).

Any comments welcome and a best recommendation for PS3 settings/ set-up would help.

Cheers guys. One for you I expect Mark, although Colin's got the closest configuration to mine.

28-10-2011, 16:26
This has bugged me for ages now. I think it's down to the fact that sound is recorded for surround systems now and when it's played in stereo systems the definition is lost. It really does my head in.

Reid Malenfant
28-10-2011, 16:58
I don't think there is a lot you can do about it Steve :( It's down to the original sound mix on the movie itself..

It wouldn't make too much difference even if you had the correct speaker setup in all honesty. In your system any dialogue in the centre channel should be forced & split equally between the left & right speakers.

The same will be with any sounds that would be on surround speakers, it should be forced rear right to front right & rear left to front left.

Other than the fact that i now have surround sound & things come from different directions the overall dialogue volume doesn't really appear to have altered. As you say, things can get quite overwhelming at times :eek:

I don't ever recall losing the dialogue to whatever else is going on though, but yes, things can go from moderate to downright explosive very quickly indeed.

Check in your PS3 & let us know how things are set up. Though in all honesty as you are outputting digital via a Toslink it might not have too much of an effect.

I'd be interested though to know if you happen to have any settings for mixing channels in the PS3 before squirting it via the Toslink connection. I'd also be interested to know what the 2.1 setup is doing with the surround & centre channels.

There is a possibilty that the dialogue (centre channel) is simply not getting mixed in & only the speech that is present on the left & right channels, which is at a lower level (along with music & bass etc) is being overidden due to the lack of the centre channel being mixed in :whistle:

electric beach
28-10-2011, 19:38
Hi Mark

I do tend to think it's in the mix because different discs in the same format can be so different when my kit remains the same. Also those rare discs that have a 2 channel stereo option in the sound menu are no better. And it's the same issue with different films streamed thru Lovefilm. I've always thought it was my lack of the multiple channels because I used to have the same thing with VHS to a lesser extent; I think my huge horns (ooh er missus) are so dynamic that it exaggerates the problem, even though at the same time they reproduce human voice so well.

I don't lose dialogue within the soundtrack and effects, it's the low volume in a quieter section that needs turning up, then the action starts and it's WAY too loud. But some films are difficult to understand regardless of the volume, to be sure. Someone wrote that they watch every film with the remote in hand - luxury!

The 2.1 is not a setting, I say it to indicate the use of a sub but the feed comes from the amp speaker terminals, not any seperate LF feed.

Right, let's have a look at the PS3 options.
First up is the choice of Bitstream or Linear PCM for DVD/BD Audio Output Format (HDMI). Sets output of Dolby and DTS audio content in it's original format or converted to Linear PCM.
Then in a seperate option BD Audio Output Format (Optical Digital) there is an additional choice of Bitstream(mix), Bitstream (Direct) or Linear PCM, again for Dolby and DTS.
I now see a third option BD/DVD Dynamic Range Control. Could be useful. States it's to make dialogue easier to hear at low volume but used when outputting Dolby audio content in Linear PCM. (Auto, on or off)

Now for sound output choices there are HDMI, Optical digital and Scart/AV Multi. Under Optical are the defaults of Linear PCM 2 channel 44.1 and 48kHz and choices of Linear PCM 88.2 and 176.4, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 or AAC.

Reid Malenfant
28-10-2011, 19:48
While i hate to say it, the dynamic range control setting might be handy ;)

The idea of this as far as i can remember is that it quietens the extremely loud sections & increases the low volume sections for late evening & early morning listening.

Or if you like it'd increase low level dialogue volume & decrease volume of explosions, music etc... Effectively the whole dynamic range would be reduced & this may well result in you not freaking out when the going gets noisy :eyebrows:

Try it & see what you reckon ;)

electric beach
28-10-2011, 19:56
Will do.

What about those darn choices? Bitstream or Linear? And what's that MIX option? And why only for BD?

Reid Malenfant
28-10-2011, 20:09
Steve, I'll look at it tomorrow & see if i can find a brain cell or two :eyebrows:

electric beach
28-10-2011, 20:14
Cheers :glug:

I'll do some testing....

electric beach
03-11-2011, 13:13
Panic ye not, found all the answers here http://www.edepot.com/playstation3.html#PS3_Audio

Dynamic Range restriction needs to be called "Smother it with a duvet" when set to ON rather than AUTO. Accepted it's not designed to enhance higher volumes.

I think the only solution is 5.1 with volume control over the centre channel.

Reid Malenfant
03-11-2011, 18:31
Ah, at least you have found some answers :)

Seeing you on here just reminded me to write a note to myself to get down the post office :doh: