Television Commercials and Bass Management. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-09-2014, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, so I don't know if this is the appropriate place to post this but I am a DIY person and I figure if you guys think like me, this might make more sense to you in this thread than in the other sections on this site.

So here is what has been driving me nuts lately. I think I have my system tuned the way I want/like it. Movies sound great regardless of source, television shows sound great regardless of their source as well. My REW graphs look good to me (obviously there is always room for improvement).

So...What is it that drives me nuts? The damn commercials on cable TV. I find myself turning the LFE channel down -3db @ the reciever because it flat out annoys me. Even with dynamic volume and dynamic EQ on, its like they put extra bass in the commercials for no reason. I try to avoid watching commercials but my setup is basically in the family room so I am not the only one watching TV. Mostly I just turn the damn subwoofer amps off if its annoying me. Trust me I love deep clean bass. I just feel like when they do the mixes for these damn paper towel commercials, there is no need for my floor to be vibrating in the area of 40-50Hz for no reason. Am I crazy? Has anyone else noticed this?

I would like to just leave my subs on so that I don't have to change settings when going from a TV show to a movie or whatever but its driving me up the wall. I can get pretty reasonable output with my FI Q15 down to 17Hz with the current tuning but it seems like the crap on TV constantly has me turning it off completely. Who are these ass-hats that do the mixes for this content?

Anyway. It bothers me enough to post this rant and I am curious if other people on here notice the same issue and are constantly tweaking the LFE output.
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-09-2014, 01:23 PM
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Don't notice bass more then midrange in Commercials. I often just hit mute.
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-09-2014, 03:11 PM
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Not much you can do about it, other than to mute. But where TV shows are concerned I almost never watch them live, other than news, weather and sports. I DVR everything else, watch it a day or two later, and jump the commercials entirely. An average 1 hour show has 18 minutes of commercials, time I don't have to waste learning about stuff I'll never buy anyway.

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post #4 of 11 Old 05-09-2014, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javi404 View Post
Anyway. It bothers me enough to post this rant and I am curious if other people on here notice the same issue and are constantly tweaking the LFE output.

 

It's not just you.  I can't say that I've noticed a constant increase in lows, but I have noticed a constant increase in Cr*p Sound Mixing in commercials, thanks to my DIY project!  Upgrading my sub recently made it abundantly clear.  I've also started to get annoyed by the varying levels of mixing, level-setting, and compression across TV shows... the better half's cooking shows tend to be particularly terrible and unpredictable, but since that's the only basic-cable TV we watch, I can't say whether it's unique to them or not.  You'd think at least on the same network you could turn on the amp, set the volume, and leave it, but no!

 

So, it's definitely not just you!

 

I would bet most low-end TV and pretty much all commercials are mixed either carelessly or -intentionally- to sound ok / get attention / etc on the terrible, tiny built-in speakers almost everyone uses for TV watching?

 

It's actually something that keeps me doubting whether I should upgrade my speakers (well, that and lack of funds to blow)... when I upgraded the sub, it made a tremendous improvement... and added annoyance because now my system is more sensitive, so now I notice new issues, so now I'm annoyed more often.  Might even be much, much worse with better mains?

 

Almost a meta question:  Is it worth having decent speakers if most of your use is HDTV and casual, not concentrated / critical, music use?

 

[Also, "commercials"?  Get a TiVo. ; ) ]

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post #5 of 11 Old 05-09-2014, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
An average 1 hour show has 18 minutes of commercials, time I don't have to waste learning about stuff I'll never buy anyway.

There's some truth, right there.

 

I was an early-ish adopter of the TiVo Way, and I have to say:  It is hard to understate the improvement in quality of life with a proper TiVo.  But even a crummy cable-co STB DVR is a huge leap forward.  I sometimes wind up turning down invites to big game / premier / event viewing parties because the commercials are so jarring and annoying!  I can see not wanting the expense if someone *honestly* doesn't watch tv at all, but for the rest of us... why suffer?

 

TiVo for life, yo!  Or, of course, a slick DIY DVR for those with the DIY mindset works, too. ; )

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post #6 of 11 Old 05-10-2014, 06:02 AM
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-10-2014, 06:13 AM
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DIY DVR guy here chiming in -

I built my HTPC to tune all my digital cable channels using a SiliconDust HDhomerun prime tuner. It can tune/decode/record 3 digital cable channels at once (with a single cable card from cable company). The new Ceton cards can decode 6 channels with one cable card which is awesome. My HTPC is quite cable: Blu-ray player, 2TB drive for recorder storage, 120gb SSD for operating system and programs. My main goal was to consolidate functions of multiple boxes into one sleek unit. I have it networked to my server that has a 12TB array for storage of HD Movies (audio 'pass-through' on all compressed movies!).

Audio normalization is quite possible using a HTPC and ffdshow codecs.
http://www.hack7mc.com/2009/02/simple-ffdshow-audio-settings.html

And movies in VLC media player
http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/06/how-to-fix-movies-that-are-really-quiet-then-really-loud/

But I hardly watch live TV anymore anyways - I have it setup so it automatically skips commercials in recorded television.

Some other neat capabilities:
Netflix plugin works wonderfully
amazon prime hack (to get it working on WMC)
nearly full menu customization - just scratching the surface here: http://www.mychannellogos.com/
Hidef MP4 Archiving of recorded television - even removing commercials!

Being able to archive blu-rays is also a nice feature of an HTPC, and all the music streaming capabilities like pandora, spotify etc.

Smart TV's are capable of some of the above, but the HTPC solution puts everything to shame really.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-10-2014, 06:16 AM
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Just came across this too:

http://www.tvsoundregulator.com/?gclid=CMXZ6K_ukJ0CFR9N5QodVjHR7w

lol, I'd be careful with that device.
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-10-2014, 09:06 AM
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Tall is right, we've enjoyed the mammoth benefits of DVR playback from nearky the beginning. I remember trying to convince my colleagues any loved ones to move to DVR viewing of everything... most just look at you like you're a little crazy.

Sporting events, TV series, even the news viewed 30min or so after it aired, no commercials for us. If we accidentally miss recording something of interest, we simply pause it ... take care of something else until the buffer fills, then view from that point on.

It truly changes everything ... its an extremely efficient way to waste time watching TV.

Regarding bass issues specifically with commercials, I've not noticed such an issue.

My primary issue with bass, is the widely inconsistent levels of bass with live music on TV. I know the production levels are quite high on some of these shows, yet level differences are all over the place.

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post #10 of 11 Old 05-12-2014, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreakishlyTall View Post


...the better half's cooking shows tend to be particularly terrible and unpredictable...


This is it exactly. The main things on are cooking channel, food network etc.

We DVR almost everything we watch and for live things even pause, (get a cocktail) then skip the commercial but sometimes the shows are mixed terribly as well.

I agree, by upgrading my main L C R speakers and setting up my DIY Sub setup I now notice how bad the sound over TV actually is. The only places where its decent is with the HD movie channels like Showtime, Max, HBO etc. I just make one adjustment and its usually fine.

Thank you and everyone for all the responses. I'm just trying to catch up on them all now.
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post #11 of 11 Old 05-21-2014, 07:43 AM
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+1 to buying a DVR and not watching Live TV apart from big breaking news stories!

So much less time wasted watching adverts for crap you don't want!


re: advert volume, I think in the UK the powers-that-be had to legislate because they were getting so unnecessarily loud compared to proper content - IIRC the advertisers just said 'they sound louder because the sound is compressed' (which I think I now understand as a reference to the movie Loudness Wars and the resultant filters/compression issues). I always just hit Mute, drives me nuts that they blare out and annoy me...
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