Originally Posted by mr.kludge
Ya, there is some dialogue normalization that happens with DD and I think DDTHD, possibly DD+ soundtracks as well that I can't control on my Denon either. Sometimes when the TV stations get aggressive with -7 and lower levels dialogue can get hard to understand and drowned out by surround music.
DN should be seen on all program not encoded at the correct levels. AFAIF, the PCM tracks are a true 1:1 bit map of the studio master, so their levels should be correct all the way. Both DTS HDMA and DDTrHD are packed encodes, so even though they are lossless, something is happening during encoding and why we see DN+4 on some titles.
Ya, it sucks when either a bitstream or PCM source sends out blanked out stuff rather than letting you control to 2.1 or 5.1 so you can add extra surround effects.
As far as I can tell here, the player sends the channels out the same regardless. There just happens to be no info in the other channels, but as far as the AVR sees it, there might as well be. Bit of a sluggish way to do it.
My guess is that the volume difference comes from poorly written code or internal settings with the player/source. Just a theory, but I would think that players would have a very less sophisticated decode and software than a modern AVR? I also prefer bitstream, but like you I have ran into issues with dropouts with recent (within the past 2 years) DDTHD soundtracks. Older titles seem fine, which leads me to believe that that there have been changes to DDTHD and DTS-HD that older players like mine (Sammy BD-UP5000 combo HD/BD) have not kept up on. Why internal decode is fine, but bitstream has dropouts I can't explain. Perhaps it really isn't decoding DDTHD, but plain DD? My player hasn't seen a firmware update since mid-2010 and is suffering from many issues and movies that don't play with the latest code, but there are workarounds for most of the issues and only a handful of movies that cannot be played at all (only one of which I own, imported a different version from the UK to fix that issue).
I would say that who ever does the encoding is bumping the levels. because there is still many people listening to soundtracks through the tiny speakers on their TV, maybe the studios have decided that the best way to cater for all markets is to simply up the levels by a few dB. What I want to know is, does this effect the dynamic range? The loudest undistorted part of "film sound" is supposed to be 103dB. If a sound track is mixed at the correct levels, then the average level of dialogue should be around 72dB (103-31), leaving over 30dB head room for loud sounds. If they are bumping the levels up by 4dB, are we losing 4dB off that 103dB?
What player are you running? Sorry too lazy to search. My guess it is a Samsung if you were/are having issues with some select DDTHD titles (all 4 Shreks, How to Train Your Dragon, The Walking Dead season 1, and a bunch of others).
Right now I am running a Phillips BDP3000 because it has a 21:9 mode allowing me to shift subtitles. It is a fast player but far from the standards set by players like the OPPO 93. I used to run a Samsung BDP1500 which was good for most stuff, then the dropouts started.
I have a crapload of 7.1 and 6.1 titles. A couple years ago I made a list and I was surprised at how many I have (esp. when you consider box sets like the 2 Star Trek movie collections).
I need to go through my list and see if I actually credited the 6.1/7.1 titles. I mainly * the non Scope (2.35~2.40) stuff.