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Sound Variances


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I'm talking volume level. There's a variation in volume during any 24 hour period. I have to turn the sound all the way up on some movies and not on others. Assuming the cable co utilizes the same geosynchronous satellite for their feeds from the studio (in Atlanta?) to our receiver here in Socal, I would think the sound would be the same all the time. Maybe this has to do with the sound mixing of some movies.

 

When Bob does his intros I find it difficult to hear him, however, when the movie comes on, no problem with the sound. Also, in various documentaries on tcm, the narration is at one level, the movie clips at another, and the interviews at still another level. I'm constantly adjusting the volume. With some docs the narration has just been plain impossible to hear.

 

Thanks for your interest Mark...

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> {quote:title=Poinciana wrote:}{quote}

> When Bob does his intros I find it difficult to hear him, however, when the movie comes on, no problem with the sound. Also, in various documentaries on tcm, the narration is at one level, the movie clips at another, and the interviews at still another level. I'm constantly adjusting the volume.

 

 

Yes, me too. I have this problem with other movie channels too. But I have noticed that the commercials on the commercial channels are NEVER hard to hear. :)

 

On TCM, I think the problem might be with the general problem of Automatic Gain Control devices used in the industry today. They are sometimes called AGCs. These are supposed to be ?automatic? volume control devices for recorded video, music, film, etc.

 

In the old days, every TV station and network each had one guy who monitored the volume for every broadcast. He would manually turn up the sound when it was too low and turn it down when it was too loud. The industry got rid of those guys a few decades ago, and everything is handled ?automatically? now. That?s why we at home have to ?ride gain? and do the turning up and turning down. I noticed this was a problem all through the ?Colonel Blimp? movie. Some reels were too loud, and some were too low.

 

Just about everything is automated today, so there is no one at the network or the satellite or cable companies turning the volume up or down to make sure it is all even.

 

They might still do it at local stations for local programs, such as news shows, and maybe the ?broadcast? networks still do it, but I don?t think the cable and satellite channels do it manually.

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Fred, thanks so much for all the info. So much for progress, I know you know...

 

Our downstairs newish tv has a volume control that only goes up so high. Many times it isn't sufficient for the faint sound on some channels. Drives me nuts that I just can't TURN UP THE SOUND!

 

I have an old tv (at least 20 years) that can shake the walls if turned all the way up. Whaaaaa happened with that? Did tv's go the way of toasters that don't toast unless you run the bread thru twice?

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> {quote:title=Poinciana wrote:}{quote}

> Our downstairs newish tv has a volume control that only goes up so high. Many times it isn't sufficient for the faint sound on some channels. Drives me nuts that I just can't TURN UP THE SOUND!

 

I think the reason for that is because electronic companies are trying to sell ?surround-sound home theater? amplifiers and speaker systems.

 

You are supposed to think, ?Oh, I?m getting hard of hearing, but I don?t want to wear a hearing aid, so I?ll go out and buy one of those fancy speaker systems.?

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*Actions have been taken to address these concerns. The last few lines below are encouraging.*

 

By Herb Weisbaum

msnbc.com contributor

updated 12:40 p.m. ET, Tues., Feb. 20, 2007

 

Why are TV commercials so much louder than the programs? The loudest parts of an ad are no louder than the loudest parts of any program. But help is on the way.

 

It?s true, the station isn?t turning up the volume when the commercials run, but that?s not the complete answer. Otherwise, you wouldn?t need to reach for the remote to turn down the volume during the commercial break. So what?s really going on here? This gets a little complicated, so stick with me on this.

 

The Federal Communications Commission does not specifically regulate the volume of TV programs or TV commercials. However, broadcasters are required to have equipment that limits the peak power they can use to send out their audio and video signals. That means the loudest TV commercial will never be any louder than the loudest part of any TV program.

 

A TV program has a mix of audio levels. There are loud parts and soft parts. Nuance is used to build the dramatic effect.

 

Most advertisers don?t want nuance. They want to grab your attention. To do that, the audio track is electronically processed to make every part of it as loud as possible within legal limits. ?Nothing is allowed to be subtle,? says Brian Dooley, Editor-At-Large for CNET.com. ?Everything is loud ? the voices, the music and the sound effects.?

 

Spencer Critchley, writing in Digital Audio last month, explained it this way: ?The peak levels of commercials are no higher than the peak levels of program content. But the average level is way, way higher, and that?s the level your ears care about. If someone sets off a camera flash every now and then it?s one thing; if they aim a steady spot light into your eyes it?s another, even if the peak brightness is no higher.?

 

There?s also what Brian Dooley of CNET.com calls ?perceived loudness.? If you?re watching a drama with soft music and quiet dialogue and the station slams into a commercial for the July 4th Blow Out Sale, it?s going to be jarring. If you happen to go from the program into a commercial for a sleeping pill, one with a subtle soundtrack, it probably won?t bother you.

 

Help is on the way! Last month Dolby Laboratories announced it has developed technology to level out the sound differences that take place during shows and between TV programs and commercials. You pick the volume you like and the Dolby software will make the adjustments in real time automatically.

 

Dolby Volume could show up in some TV sets by the end of this year or early next year.

--------------------------------

 

Here's some [related legislation|http://blog.cleveland.com/lifestyles/2008/06/think_tv_commercials_are_loude.html]

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Self-portrait from the 70's
2s0o2ad.jpg

gagman66,

Of course you're right about commercials. Educational programs are annoyingly unbalanced having almost inaudible narration between audible segments. Then there are quite a few movies from the first decade of sound with audio levels twice their cousin's of the 40's-50's. Whole soundtracks, not just music. Then come the next couple of decades with lower sound levels until a music and/or song sequence pumps the volume. *Dolby Volume?* is being integrated into new audio/video products to correct the above problem(s) - no legislation required :) Once the economy gets rolling again, the more new tv and disc products with *Dolby Volume?* will become integrated, virtually eliminating the problem over time.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 5 years later...
With my newer (LCD) Samsung's default audio settings, one channel is at least twice as loud as all the others - like a sound bomb going off whenever I go there. I had to lower the volume before I switched to it. There are a couple channels lower than others - mostly, these are the digital channels adjacent to their analog counterparts (e.g., 8.1 next to 8).

 

I remembered my earlier post referring to Dolby's auto volume correction becoming available in newer TVs, so I began rummaging through my TV's settings menu for some sort of adjustment.. WHAMMO! there it was! Auto Volume.

 

The setting was turned off, so I turned it on.

 

What it did was to slightly raise the lower volumes of the digital channels and slightly lower the volumes of the loud channels. This enables me to listen at an overall lower volume setting across the board. It's not perfect. My booming channel is still just a teeny bit louder than all the others, but it's been lowered to a much more tolerable level.

 

Some programs still have that very irritating problem of different segments having large variances in volumes between them - the main program is at volume 20 and the added background narrator is around 8 (mostly those educational programs) - whomever's in charge of the final production on these shows are probably at fault there. Can't be corrected with TV's sound settings under normal viewing circumstances.

 

Anyone who has purchased a newer LCD/LED TV may want to check into their sound menus for some sort of auto volume setting. Good luck! 8-^)

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