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post #1831 of 2533 Old 06-22-2017, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
A good comment. It is true that repurposing of movies for distribution through other media is usually done in smaller rooms. Some are good replicas of home theaters, others aren't. There are absolutely no standards, so nobody knows what the engineers hear.

Information from people who do repurposing movies indicates that the main focus is on reducing the dynamic range so mass market TV audio system, sound bars and mini subs won't be overstressed. Some say that there is little or no compensation for spectrum - not even to compensate for the X-curve which is miles away from spectral target in home theaters. I would venture a guess that what happens below recognizable tonal sounds (about 20 Hz) is simply not on the radar.

Have a look at my 2015 JAES paper I referenced a few posts back. I shows that the big problem is not below 20 Hz, it is the rest of the spectrum - what matters to everybody. Even that is significantly inconsistent in the cinema domain. The core problem there is that, as is happening in consumer audio, room EQ/calibration is involved. Two ears and a brain do not process sound the way an omni mike (mic, microphone combines sounds from all times at all directions. People in this forum have talked about not equalizing above the transition frequency - if you have a good loudspeaker - but this is what happens in the calibration of all cinemas and dubbing stages, and what many consumers and professionals are doing whether their loudspeakers can benefit from it or not.

All that said, if you are able to reproduce sub-sonic frequencies you will - if it is in the program - get closer to an explosion: they are impulses and in theory go from DC to light. However, most explosive sounds in films are synthesized/modified to make them sound more dramatic than the real thing does. I think sometimes that I recognize the clip that is being used. they seem to have a "one note" character. The soundtracks are sometimes moderated for average cinemas that often do not have the bandwidth and dynamic ranges necessary to replicate what is heard in a stupendously expensive dubbing stage. In the age of digital soundtracks movies are generally louder and loudspeaker drivers are dying, and customers are complaining. Many cinemas turn the volume down . . . as much as 10 dB. So much for "reference level". So, when setting up those cinemas, using musical jargon, "punch" replaces real bass.

Once in awhile there are booms that seem to go very low. I think I hear those occasionally, and it is nice.
We've had some film mixers on AVS chime in to some of the bass threads and give heads up about lots of low frequency effects they were putting in some movies, so some are catering to us nutters. On the other hand, we see other mixes where films are filtered hard below 30hz.

There's an interesting thread where bass content is analyzed for lots of movies.

The Ultimate List of BASS in Movies w/ Frequency Charts

Here's a sample from Sicario for example, lots of low frequency material





Then we have Godzilla, filtered at 30hz...





And here's a clip showing the grenade sweep from World War Z, which digs down to like 10hz.




Then there's craziness like How To Train Your Dragon, which has huge signal at like 4 or 5hz.

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post #1832 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
This is a large topic. Look at Figure 2 in my 2015 JAES paper "The measurement and calibration of sound reproducing systems" (it s a free download from aes.org, click on publications, click on open access, type Toole and download). It shows the DIs of a typical cinema speaker, the M2 and a Revel cone/dome system. The constant-directivity horns are instantly recognizable, as is the result of different dispersion design goals - the M2 is designed as a moderately wide dispersion monitor for small rooms. The cinema speaker is more directional, designed to deliver sound to the audience without energizing walls and ceiling. The cone/dome system inevitably has lower DI (wider dispersion) and a progressively rising DI. These are safely generalizable observations. In a normally reflective room there will be audible differences attributable to DI.

Figure 18.22 in my book shows a comparison of an NS-10M and a JBL 4301, both 7-8-inch two way systems. The NS-10M was designed to have flat sound power output (a mistake), so the on axis response is lumpy, the JBL was designed for flat on axis response and so the sound power is lumpy. The DIs are almost identical, and not very flattering compared to multi-way or horn systems. An 8-inch two-way speaker is inevitably going to be room sensitive, especially if the tweeter has no horn/waveguide, which is common. It will do better in a near-field situation where the room matters less.
Thanks for the reply! Sorry for the delay in reply. I realize this conversation is a bit stale.

For those who are following this discussion, here is a direct link to the AES paper described above:

http://www.aes.org/tmpFiles/elib/20170620/17839.pdf

That paper has a lot of interesting information. I actually read it before along with the related SMPTE report. I am actually very interested in the subject of achieving consistent playback between rooms, and I have some ideas of my own about how to approach that problem. That deserves its own discussion later, but for now I'll just say for now that I believe trying to fit so-called "steady state frequency response measurements" to some kind of target curve is fundamentally unproductive.

But I want to return to my questions about ultra-high frequency response, because I don't think you really answered them. The basis for my questions is the fact that most speakers have high DI slope vs. frequency above 8 kHz or so to the point that the pattern often becomes much narrower than the listening window. The obvious problem here is that you don't have flat direct sound across the listening window anymore. You are forced to make a compromise when dealing with these ultra high frequencies (UHF).

So when you are forced to compromise, is it better to optimize for flat on-axis (OA) or flat listening window average (LWA) response? As I said, the Salon 2 appears to prioritize OA, but the M2 appears to prioritize LWA. In both cases, "flat direct sound" is the guiding principle, but very different compromises appear to have been made for the frequencies in which that principle could not be completely honored. I could be wrong, but my guess is that the M2 will sound hotter at the top than the Salon 2 will when listened to on-axis.

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The small differences at HF are of course audible - depending on the choice of recording. Many recordings are a bit "hot" because of where the mikes are placed - e.g. a few inches from a vocalist's mouth, close to strings, etc. Some people like it, and accept it as part of studio-created music. Mastering engineers might or might not tame it. Years ago Sean Olive and I noticed that some recordings had colored HF and decided to investigate studio mikes. We found that some widely used large diaphragm mikes had significant resonances at HF - in fact the frequency responses would not have qualified them for use as tweeters in modest speakers. Now there are numerous superb small diaphragm mikes, but the old warhorses still are still used - a trade-off of virtues and deficiencies. It is all in the art. Just monitor through neutral speakers so these characteristics can be heard.

Classical recordings are often made with elevated mikes which pick up more HF from the violins than is heard by the audience. Some classical recording engineers have favored loudspeakers with a slight depression in the frequency response that compensates for this - even arguing that such loudspeakers are better for classical music. This regrettable practice means that those of us with neutral speakers might complain about strident highs - their monitor speakers are part of the EQ.

When art and technology are so tightly bound confusion exists. Unfortunately many artists mistrust science.
I think the inconsistency of the monitoring environment is the only thing worth talking about here. And it's a *big* issue with UHF content in particular. From what I have heard, most monitoring systems use UHF roll-off of some kind, and most existing content was mastered with the expectation that it'll be played back on systems with UHF roll-off. I know that many monitors come with UHF roll-off baked in.

Obviously, the fact that UHF roll-offs are in widespread use but are not standardized in any way means that UHF monitoring conditions are all over the map in the real world. On the plus side, depending on the shape, a UHF roll-off may not change the timbre as much as one would think, or so my ears tell me. I have a hypothesis about that, and I use roll-offs with a particular curve shape based on that hypothesis to try to minimize timbrel changes while allowing me to better accommodate a variety of content.

For my M2 evaluation, this adjustable roll-off was not available to me, so I purposely chose some music selections that, to my ears, sound natural when run with flat UHF on my own system. This is the best I could do to deal with the Circle of Confusion. I know it was still not enough to make a reliable judgment. The M2s may sound fine, and this minor flaw may only exist in my imagination.

Actually, I thought the M2 sounded at least as good as any other speaker I've heard. The only thing comparable are my own speakers. The lack of resonance and harshness on the top end made whatever excess was there (or wasn't) very inoffensive. As I said, I can see a lot of people really enjoying its top end sound, even if it isn't completely neutral.

The only concern I would have is if the extra bit at the very top was excessive enough to substantially mask lower level content. I have observed this phenomenon with UHF (especially near 20kHz and even above), and it is very insidious. That kind of sound can "eat the subs", masking away almost all perception of the bass. I doubt this would be an issue with the M2, but I couldn't judge this with certainty given the circumstances. (John's room EQ system was out of calibration, and we had to rely on no room EQ.)
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post #1833 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
It is true that repurposing of movies for distribution through other media is usually done in smaller rooms. Some are good replicas of home theaters, others aren't. There are absolutely no standards, so nobody knows what the engineers hear.
The industry has very specific standards for theatrical (SMPTE) and also HT multichannel formats i.e. Dolby and ITU-R

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post #1834 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 09:54 AM
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I think you may be overlooking the situations where DVD/Blu-Ray releases are mixed in residential sized facilities. I'd find it implausible the mixers are not hearing the sub-bass in those situations and the content that happens to be there on many releases is by chance.
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A good comment. It is true that repurposing of movies for distribution through other media is usually done in smaller rooms. Some are good replicas of home theaters, others aren't. There are absolutely no standards, so nobody knows what the engineers hear.

Information from people who do repurposing movies indicates that the main focus is on reducing the dynamic range so mass market TV audio system, sound bars and mini subs won't be overstressed. Some say that there is little or no compensation for spectrum - not even to compensate for the X-curve which is miles away from spectral target in home theaters. I would venture a guess that what happens below recognizable tonal sounds (about 20 Hz) is simply not on the radar.

Have a look at my 2015 JAES paper I referenced a few posts back. I shows that the big problem is not below 20 Hz, it is the rest of the spectrum - what matters to everybody. Even that is significantly inconsistent in the cinema domain. The core problem there is that, as is happening in consumer audio, room EQ/calibration is involved. Two ears and a brain do not process sound the way an omni mike (mic, microphone combines sounds from all times at all directions. People in this forum have talked about not equalizing above the transition frequency - if you have a good loudspeaker - but this is what happens in the calibration of all cinemas and dubbing stages, and what many consumers and professionals are doing whether their loudspeakers can benefit from it or not.

All that said, if you are able to reproduce sub-sonic frequencies you will - if it is in the program - get closer to an explosion: they are impulses and in theory go from DC to light. However, most explosive sounds in films are synthesized/modified to make them sound more dramatic than the real thing does. I think sometimes that I recognize the clip that is being used. they seem to have a "one note" character. The soundtracks are sometimes moderated for average cinemas that often do not have the bandwidth and dynamic ranges necessary to replicate what is heard in a stupendously expensive dubbing stage. In the age of digital soundtracks movies are generally louder and loudspeaker drivers are dying, and customers are complaining. Many cinemas turn the volume down . . . as much as 10 dB. So much for "reference level". So, when setting up those cinemas, using musical jargon, "punch" replaces real bass.

Once in awhile there are booms that seem to go very low. I think I hear those occasionally, and it is nice.
I've always been a proponent of full-bandwidth playback. So much so that as recent as last night, while incorporating a new sub to my setup which is a 6th order tuned to ~20hz in the configuration I have it, I still hang on to my sealed subs to take advantage of the material that is below tuning. Turns out a used 18dB BW filters for each sub setup centered at a 25hz handoff from the ported to the sealed. The presence of the sealed subs was clearly apparent in some tracks, only slightly apparent in most tracks, and then on a few metal and hard rock tracks, non-existent. I don't want to even mention movie soundtracks just yet as I am an even more staunch proponent of level playback to the single digit hz there, but for music at least, I still find the necessity to have operational extension to ~15hz. There is a significant amount of information that is in the 15-25hz area, and it's not just EDM (electronic dance music). Yes, more often you find it there, but take a look at tracks like

Boz Scaggs - Thanks to you (strong 20hz fundamental)
Nils Lofgren - Drum and bass solo (bass guitar has some harmonics that dip to 20hz and slightly under)
Bella Sonus - All kinds of ULF across most their tracks
Social Network soundtrack - Carbon Prevails (This has an actual 3hz blip on it, but lots of ULF otherwise)

I know I have more, but that's a start.

I believe I have ranked it on this thread before but my breakdown is basically:

25-20hz = Essential
20-15hz = Still very important
15-10hz = Nice to have but now getting into gray area
<10hz = Maybe a fun factor on suspended floor HT's with massive capability, but otherwise a difficult battle to argue for.

On to movies, my setup is capable of resolving over reference to below 5hz, and has been measured and shown on multiple occasions. That's not to say though that even though I am getting that little 5hz blip in a movie soundtrack that it actually is causing a reaction from anyone who has experienced it. Fact of the matter is, they couldn't tell if it was there or not there to be honest. You think you "feel" it, but really you feel harmonics further up the FR. basically at 10hz all information is lost on your senses, at least on my concrete slab of an HT.

I have experienced a floor ripple from a 5hz tone, specifically the Hulk/abomination scene from Ed Norton's reprise of the big green animal. It was a suspended floor above a garage and it wasn't just obviously there, it was quite entertaining. If it were my room, I wouldn't have it any other way, but I digress.
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post #1835 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 10:43 AM
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The industry has very specific standards for theatrical (SMPTE) and also HT multichannel formats i.e. Dolby and ITU-R
Yes standards exist, but they are decades old, based on questionable objectives, and both SMPTE and ITU are in the process of revision. I am associated with both of these efforts.

Just for openers, all of these standards are based on steady-state in-room measurements and targets, and all employ full bandwidth equalization to hit those targets. I note that several people in this forum are aware that this is not a good idea.

The SMPTE and ITU recommendations begin with the assumption that a flat steady-state room curve is the objective. In large cinemas that sounds excessively bright, so the X-curve rolls off the high frequencies. This could have been OK if the beginning of the tilt had been far below 2 kHz and if the "knee" had been rounded off, not left as a sharp discontinuity.

Now we now know that the objective should be a flat direct sound, which results in a downward tilted steady-state room curve - about -1 dB/oct for typical cinemas and -0.4 to 0.5 dB/oct for home theaters and listening rooms. The difference in tilts is attributable to room reflectivity at lower frequencies (cinemas are more reverberant) and to air attenuation/listening distance at high frequencies (we listen at larger distances in large venues).

An almost straight tilted line is the curve one gets from a well designed loudspeaker in a non-aberrant room. If you measure a system and don't get such a curve, it is almost certainly because of a problematic loudspeaker, and equalizing it to match that target curve does not guarantee good sound. That is why many popular room EQ algorithms provide user-friendly "adjustments" to the target curve. Just tweak it until it sounds good. That is a subjective "tone control" exercise that clearly shows a (justifiable) lack of faith in the original target curve. See my 2015 JAES paper.

BTW, SMPTE was motivated to investigate cinema sound calibrations by a movie sound mixer who read Section 18.2.6 in my book, where I asserted that there was no science underlying the process and that the process was incompatible with the rest of the audio industry. He was unhappy with the present situation because his mixes sounded so different in different mixing and cinema playback venues. He successfully agitated for an investigation, leading to SMPTE inviting me to join the project, which is ongoing. However, even if we know what the new calibration process should be, there are serious obstacles to effecting any change. The industry is huge, the existing infrastructure worldwide is immense, and methods practiced over decades become traditions that are difficult to change. In the meantime, numerous professionals in the business frequently violate the standards as a means of improving the quality of reproduced sound - which is obviously a problem because of the inconsistency. Some very high profile dubbing stages and post production facilities have two EQ settings: one for the calibrator, and one for them to use making movies. Others just readjust the EQ after the calibration team leaves.

So there are problems in paradise.

All of this is described in detail, with data, in my new book.
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post #1836 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 10:48 AM
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The industry has very specific standards for theatrical (SMPTE) and also HT multichannel formats i.e. Dolby and ITU-R
I believe Floyd referenced the SMPTE study from a couple of years ago in post 1818. It was also discussed on HTgeeks with IIRC one of the authors of the study.
https://twit.tv/shows/home-theater-geeks/episodes/229

I haven't listened to the podcast or looked at the paper since that time. IIRC it didn't paint a good picture of the current state of sound.

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post #1837 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 10:54 AM
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BTW, SMPTE was motivated to investigate cinema sound calibrations by a movie sound mixer who read Section 18.2.6 in my book,
Very interesting stuff.

Huge contrast of knowledge and experience between someone who just works in the industry, and someone whose research and findings have changed and helped shape the industry.
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post #1838 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 11:05 AM
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Quick question regarding the rated max SPL of the M2's. Their rated max SPL is 117 db continuous, and 123 db peak (although in the manual, the numbers are different). Their "frequency range" is listed as 20hz to 40khz. I'm guessing those maximum SPL numbers are within any frequency in the speakers operating range, correct? Reason I bring this up is, I've had my share of high SPL PA speakers with maximum SPL ratings higher than these, one of those PA speakers being JBL PRX615m's. These speakers, even with a substantially lower max SPL rating, doesn't seem to be lacking ANYTHING in output compared to those other offerings. I'm guessing the fact that these speakers extend down to 20hz is what is causing the lower max SPL spec, since those published specs are (I'm guessing) supposed to be for any frequency in the speakers operating range. None of the other high output speakers I had went anywhere near 20hz, so is that what is causing the lower max SPL number on the spec sheet?

Either that, or the other max SPL ratings on the other speakers I had were very optimistic. All I know is, with these M2's crossed over at 80hz, the output capabilities seem to, at a very minimum, be equal to the numerous other high output speakers I have dealt with, maybe even a bit louder.

I know this is a somewhat stupid question on a somewhat useless spec. It was just something I observed and was curious about.
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post #1839 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 11:35 AM
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I have to say that there is a lot of interesting information in this thread. I have used high-end headphones exclusively for almost a decade, and just recently bought a pair of JBL LSR305s. I may buy the 705Ps later, as it seems likely they will have what I need.

For the last few weeks I have been trying to learn as much as I can about topics such as acoustics and speaker/room interactions. Thus, I have also pre-ordered the new [edition] book from Dr. Toole. Getting a nice discount didn't make the decision any harder, either. I am confident it will be useful as I dive ever deeper into a more scientific and hopefully less dogmatic view on sound.

Audio Gear: Sennheiser HD 800 & HD 650, SPL Phonitor, Abrahamsen V6.0 DAC, JBL 705Ps.
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post #1840 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Blackdevil77 View Post
Quick question regarding the rated max SPL of the M2's. Their rated max SPL is 117 db continuous, and 123 db peak (although in the manual, the numbers are different). Their "frequency range" is listed as 20hz to 40khz. I'm guessing those maximum SPL numbers are within any frequency in the speakers operating range, correct? Reason I bring this up is, I've had my share of high SPL PA speakers with maximum SPL ratings higher than these, one of those PA speakers being JBL PRX615m's. These speakers, even with a substantially lower max SPL rating, doesn't seem to be lacking ANYTHING in output compared to those other offerings. I'm guessing the fact that these speakers extend down to 20hz is what is causing the lower max SPL spec, since those published specs are (I'm guessing) supposed to be for any frequency in the speakers operating range. None of the other high output speakers I had went anywhere near 20hz, so is that what is causing the lower max SPL number on the spec sheet?

Either that, or the other max SPL ratings on the other speakers I had were very optimistic. All I know is, with these M2's crossed over at 80hz, the output capabilities seem to, at a very minimum, be equal to the numerous other high output speakers I have dealt with, maybe even a bit louder.

I know this is a somewhat stupid question on a somewhat useless spec. It was just something I observed and was curious about.
I almost always ignore the "max SPL" spec. In my experience it typically reflect the maximum output at a single best-case frequency. So for example, in my room I have a strong room mode right around 60 Hz, so in principle, I could claim that my max SPL capability is around 145-150 dB at the seats. But I'll never run my system like that.

I don't think the M2s will compete with pro speakers in terms of maximum output, and they aren't really designed for that. The M2s are designed to be high performance mid-field monitors. IIRC, they are only about 94 dB/W efficient vs. pro speakers that may be as much as 100 dB/W efficient or more. Of course, pro speakers are more likely to require subwoofers to really hit the sub frequencies.
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Adding 2- SUB18's gets you 10db more.


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Originally Posted by Blackdevil77 View Post
Quick question regarding the rated max SPL of the M2's. Their rated max SPL is 117 db continuous, and 123 db peak (although in the manual, the numbers are different). Their "frequency range" is listed as 20hz to 40khz. I'm guessing those maximum SPL numbers are within any frequency in the speakers operating range, correct? Reason I bring this up is, I've had my share of high SPL PA speakers with maximum SPL ratings higher than these, one of those PA speakers being JBL PRX615m's. These speakers, even with a substantially lower max SPL rating, doesn't seem to be lacking ANYTHING in output compared to those other offerings. I'm guessing the fact that these speakers extend down to 20hz is what is causing the lower max SPL spec, since those published specs are (I'm guessing) supposed to be for any frequency in the speakers operating range. None of the other high output speakers I had went anywhere near 20hz, so is that what is causing the lower max SPL number on the spec sheet?

Either that, or the other max SPL ratings on the other speakers I had were very optimistic. All I know is, with these M2's crossed over at 80hz, the output capabilities seem to, at a very minimum, be equal to the numerous other high output speakers I have dealt with, maybe even a bit louder.

I know this is a somewhat stupid question on a somewhat useless spec. It was just something I observed and was curious about.
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post #1842 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 12:23 PM
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I almost always ignore the "max SPL" spec. In my experience it typically reflect the maximum output at a single best-case frequency. So for example, in my room I have a strong room mode right around 60 Hz, so in principle, I could claim that my max SPL capability is around 145-150 dB at the seats. But I'll never run my system like that.

I don't think the M2s will compete with pro speakers in terms of maximum output, and they aren't really designed for that. The M2s are designed to be high performance mid-field monitors. IIRC, they are only about 94 dB/W efficient vs. pro speakers that may be as much as 100 dB/W efficient or more. Of course, pro speakers are more likely to require subwoofers to really hit the sub frequencies.
I usually do as well. Most of the time, I look at the efficiency of a speaker and power handling to determine about how loud they will get with a given amount of power.

The max SPL ratings usually do reflect max output at a single, best case frequency, but I do remember seeing somewhere on a video (I think an AVS video interview) that the M2 will hit it's max SPL number for any frequency in it's operating range. Which would skew the max SPL numbers when comparing them to other speakers who are rated as a best case, single frequency max spl. How those numbers are attained are different and change things. Seems to happen with numerous specs in audio, not just max SPL.

I know the M2's weren't designed to compete with PA speakers in terms of output, which is why this questioned was raised in my head. I haven't compared them full range to other PA speakers, but crossed at 80hz, they get just as loud as those PA speakers. If they didn't get as loud, I wouldn't of even asked this question, it would of been in line with what I was expecting. But these things can get absurdly loud and the I-techs still have more in the tank.
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post #1843 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 12:24 PM
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Adding 2- SUB18's gets you 10db more.
That's probably true when adding any equally capable sub system to the M2's. Takes a lot of the load off the M2's.
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post #1844 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Ericglo View Post
I believe Floyd referenced the SMPTE study from a couple of years ago in post 1818. It was also discussed on HTgeeks with IIRC one of the authors of the study.
https://twit.tv/shows/home-theater-geeks/episodes/229

I haven't listened to the podcast or looked at the paper since that time. IIRC it didn't paint a good picture of the current state of sound.
I am not a mix engineer, rather infrastructure design and calibrations.

Since i don't actually mix the content, it would be nice if someone would ask forum member (i believe) 'filmmixer' to join this conversation. There are many examples of world class HT remasters contrived from the original theatrical stems.

Music as well, the dts remasters for Steely Dan 'Gaucho' and Sting 'Brand New Day' are simply sublime. You can't paint the entire industry ignorant because there are a few lacking production efforts

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post #1845 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Tomas2 View Post
I am not a mix engineer, rather infrastructure design and calibrations.

Since i don't actually mix the content, it would be nice if someone would ask forum member (i believe) 'filmmixer' to join this conversation. There are many examples of world class HT remasters contrived from the original theatrical stems.

Music as well, the dts remasters for Steely Dan 'Gaucho' and Sting 'Brand New Day' are simply sublime. You can't paint the entire industry ignorant because there are a few lacking production efforts
Here's an excerpt from one of the last things I saw FilmMixer post. I suggest clicking through for the context, which was a post from me:

Quote:
one of the things that almost everyone has gotten away from is doing the HT mixes on larger mixing stages. And there has also been a shift away from the ubiquitous Genelec's that were popular for the last bunch of years.

I did my last 2 HT mixes on the JBL 708i's and they are really really good.... and today I just finished my second in a row legacy title Atmos upmix for UHD BR release on them. Very transparent and very telling.
Hmm....
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post #1846 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Tomas2 View Post
I am not a mix engineer, rather infrastructure design and calibrations.

Since i don't actually mix the content, it would be nice if someone would ask forum member (i believe) 'filmmixer' to join this conversation. There are many examples of world class HT remasters contrived from the original theatrical stems.

Music as well, the dts remasters for Steely Dan 'Gaucho' and Sting 'Brand New Day' are simply sublime. You can't paint the entire industry ignorant because there are a few lacking production efforts
Floyd posted before me. In response to your post, I would say the inverse is also true. You can't use some isolated instances of good mixes to say the industry is doing great work.


Again I am just regurgitating what I have read and listened to. I don't have any first hand knowledge, so I will bow to people with more experience.

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post #1847 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
Here's an excerpt from one of the last things I saw FilmMixer post. I suggest clicking through for the context, which was a post from me:

Hmm....
This is interesting. Nobody seems to mention that those "larger mixing stages" were X-curve calibrated, meaning that the mixers were not hearing the same spectrum that HT listeners hear. Getting out of them is clearly a good idea. However, I still have heard reports of smaller repurposing facilities - and indeed home theaters (!!!!) being X-curve calibrated.

It is a most unfortunate situation when the system that creates soundtracks does so in a manner that is only addressing cinema audiences. Even then, as has been well demonstrated, there are serious inconsistencies. However the calibration target for cinema sound is incompatible with home audio systems, unless somebody listens through HT-like systems and makes adjustments. The reverse is also true. Cinemas are not rolling in cash these days and look for ways to fill seats. Some of them show operas, concerts, sports, etc. all of which were created in non-X-curve circumstances and reports are that at least some customers notice the difference. The pictures are spectacular but the audio is mediocre.

We need to get on the same page.
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post #1848 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 04:29 PM
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The remix for DVD/Bluray release does not implement the X-curve. The original theatrical mix can be included but there is a separate remastered HT production as well. Typically done in a near/midfield configuration per ITU-R (recommendations).

Per my previous post, 85 dBSPL @ -20 dBFS is not always implemented for good reason. If one is interested why, they can easily search Bob Katz K-metering for an in depth understanding how DR compression is properly implemented.

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post #1849 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 04:34 PM
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Here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-system
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post #1850 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 06:09 PM
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This is interesting. Nobody seems to mention that those "larger mixing stages" were X-curve calibrated, meaning that the mixers were not hearing the same spectrum that HT listeners hear. Getting out of them is clearly a good idea. However, I still have heard reports of smaller repurposing facilities - and indeed home theaters (!!!!) being X-curve calibrated.

It is a most unfortunate situation when the system that creates soundtracks does so in a manner that is only addressing cinema audiences. Even then, as has been well demonstrated, there are serious inconsistencies. However the calibration target for cinema sound is incompatible with home audio systems, unless somebody listens through HT-like systems and makes adjustments. The reverse is also true. Cinemas are not rolling in cash these days and look for ways to fill seats. Some of them show operas, concerts, sports, etc. all of which were created in non-X-curve circumstances and reports are that at least some customers notice the difference. The pictures are spectacular but the audio is mediocre.

We need to get on the same page.
As stated by Tomas2, I don't think these remixes are being done with X-curve. That doesn't mean they don't use a UHF roll-off of some kind. I believe it's in this Home Theater Geeks Episode interview of Brian Vessa, where Brian states that they don't "run their monitors wide open" because they don't believe anyone at home is doing that either.

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The remix for DVD/Bluray release does not implement the X-curve. The original theatrical mix can be included but there is a separate remastered HT production as well. Typically done in a near/midfield configuration per ITU-R (recommendations).

Per my previous post, 85 dBSPL @ -20 dBFS is not always implemented for good reason. If one is interested why, they can easily search Bob Katz K-metering for an in depth understanding how DR compression is properly implemented.
The work done by Bob Katz on the K system is a welcome attempt at standardizing conditions for music production. Unfortunately, it is based off of pink noise measurements and suffers the same fundamental flaws that the cinema standard does (more precisely, 85 dBC with pink noise band-limited to 500-2000 Hz and normalized to -20 dBFS RMS). Neither system ensures equal loudness between monitoring/playback systems. Various attempts have been made to try to amend the cinema standard by prescribing lower levels in smaller rooms, but these methods are based on purely empirical observations that are not necessarily consistent between a wide variety of room types, especially those encountered in residential home theaters.

To begin with, loudness is strongly influenced by tonal balance. For example, a brighter system response usually sounds a lot louder for the same calibrated SPL. In the first place, calibrating a system to the X curve target leads to a tonal balance that varies with speaker type, speaker/listener placement, and acoustic environment. The pink noise 1/3rd octave RTA measurements are not a reliable indicator of perceived balance because they incorporate a lot of late arriving energy (i.e. reverb) that the brain largely ignores when assessing the sound of the source.

To the extent that there is any consistency between different dub stages and cinemas, it's that upper mid and high frequency sound fields are dominated by direct sound, but reverb builds up in the low mids and particularly in the bass. The sloping part of the X curve causes most of these systems to be excessively attenuated in the high frequencies, compared to a neutral system for music playback. But because of the reverb build-up which inflates the RTA numbers relative to the subjective loudness of those frequencies, the low end is also attenuated. Subjectively, I believe the resulting response in a typical dub stage tends to be strongest right in the mid-range, between 500-2000 Hz.

Now, I'm not a mixer, so I can only guess what goes on on the mixing stages, but I've got a hunch that most people who do this for a living are well adapted to the skewed sound presented in most calibrated dub stages. My impression is that a lot of times, the content just passes through without being tweaked much. Since most of the content was prepared in smaller rooms that don't use X curve and are more likely to just run the monitors as they are, it's already better adapted to a "home" environment than a cinema. A lot of this stuff just passes through and sounds a bit off in the cinema, but the one thing that usually gets hammered with the EQ is the dialog. I've got theatrical tracks where everything sounds quite nice and smooth, but the dialog will take your head off because it's so bright.

I've tried to re-EQ mixes that are obviously hollowed out (in the 500-2000 Hz range, of course) and breathy in the dialog by applying my own X curve. That tends to mellow out the highs in the dialog, but then it booms instead. So I then try to shelf down 2-3 dB from 300-500 Hz and below. That gets the dialog finally sounding clean and often allows me to bump the master volume a couple dB more, but it leaves me with a track that (other than the dialog) just doesn't sound as nice as before.

BTW, I've never heard Bob Katz ever say that dynamic range should be compressed in order to make a mix sound better in a small room. I have yet to see any compelling evidence that room size has any bearing on dynamics perception. I do understand the benefit of compressing mixes intended for playback on limited output and/or high background noise environments, but for hifi home theater mixes, I don't see any good reason to try to reduce the dynamics of the theatrical feature. I may be wrong here, but I suspect that the perceived excess in dynamics when playing a cinema mix on a home system is merely a consequence of a presentation that is heavy in both the treble and low-mids/bass. This imbalance exaggerates the perceived dynamics, and the best treatment is not to compress but to re-EQ.

Anyway, I'm rambling a bit now...
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The free software linked in my sig minimizes seat-to-seat variation in combined sub responses using individual EQ, gain and delay for each sub. It uses an optimization algorithm called Differential Evolution. There's also an article on the miniDSP site about using it with their DDRC-88BM hardware (but that hardware is not needed for using the software).
This is...a learning curve
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post #1852 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 07:01 PM
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Dynamic range compression done correctly is a powerful tool. It may seem counterintuitive but when you lower your calibration target i.e. 79 dBSPL @ -20 dBFS it puts the mix engineer in an (feedback loop) environment where he/she raises the overall volume of the mix and mildly compress dynamics by bringing the softer elements closer to peak program content.

This also works in concert with dialogue normalization (DN) such that long term measured average dialogue levels will be normalized for -31 LKFS (loudness K-weighted full scale digital).

As it should be, the measured dialogue level is the anchor/ reference for the mix. This should be in compliance per ITU-R BS.1770

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post #1853 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 08:09 PM
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This is...a learning curve
Worth it. Great piece of software there by an AVS member. Not sure why AVS hasn't done a piece on it yet @imagic
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post #1854 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 08:36 PM
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So far I'm not getting great results. I must've did something wrong in the measurement stage
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post #1855 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 09:37 PM
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Why are the dynamic ranges of films compressed for home release? I get that some people use soundbars or built-in TV speakers that may not handle the wider range as well, but pretty much every TV has a dynamic range compression feature, and it's an option I've seen on most disc players I've owned as well. Wouldn't allowing home users to have the original soundtrack as mastered for the theaters be the best route, so that those with systems capable of reproducing it can enjoy it, and those without such systems can just take advantage of the compression features in their own hardware?

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post #1856 of 2533 Old 06-23-2017, 09:44 PM
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So far I'm not getting great results. I must've did something wrong in the measurement stage
Maybe. @andyc56 is very involved in the dedicated thread providing support. Have you posted in that thread for help yet?
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post #1857 of 2533 Old 06-24-2017, 01:59 AM
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Dynamic range compression done correctly is a powerful tool. It may seem counterintuitive but when you lower your calibration target i.e. 79 dBSPL @ -20 dBFS it puts the mix engineer in an (feedback loop) environment where he/she raises the overall volume of the mix and mildly compress dynamics by bringing the softer elements closer to peak program content.

This also works in concert with dialogue normalization (DN) such that long term measured average dialogue levels will be normalized for -31 LKFS (loudness K-weighted full scale digital).

As it should be, the measured dialogue level is the anchor/ reference for the mix. This should be in compliance per ITU-R BT.1770
You're using loudness normalization on home remixes of film audio? This is news to me. Is this practice widespread in the industry to your knowledge? Why not normalize the cinema mix too?

When I hear industry people talk about the need to boost low level sounds so they can be heard in homes, I think they really underestimate the audibility of that content in a real world cinema. Even the nice ones I go to that play at reference only reveal a fraction of the low level detail I hear at home. The calibration / tonal balance problems that cinema standards (and perforated screens) induce are probably a big part of the reason. Another thing is that audience noise floor can be quite high.

I have mixed feelings about loudness normalization in film. On the one hand, a lot of movies mixes are just too loud and seem to fill the digital headroom up needlessly, leading to all kind of sound quality problems. Thankfully, that's becoming less frequent these days, perhaps because studios are normalizing.

However, I have definitely noticed fluctuation in dialog level that seems unnatural in a lot of movies. If this is the sort of thing that arises due to automated dynamics processing, then I have to ask: Is the desire for consistent program loudness worth potentially harming the narrative significance and emotional impact of the film? For some movies, the dialog is the primary art being exhibited. Being able to hear the actors express themselves, realistically, is a huge part of the experience for many films. I have noticed that a lot of film dialog these days ends up sounding kind of odd, mechanical, and flat.

What I'd like to see in the long run is for the studios to make two masters: a hi-fi master and a lo-fi master. The hi-fi master would be multichannel with full dynamics. It could be made in a small room but would be proofed on a dub stage to make sure nothing gets buried in a larger, more reverberant space. The lo-fi master would be normalized for playback on TV broadcast, or at low levels, or in high noise floor environments and would be done in a small room. Ideally both would be available for streaming.

I understand that most industry experts do not believe that mixes can be made to "translate" well between cinema and home theater rooms. Maybe they are right, but until we are able to calibrate both types of systems for *consistent tonal balance and overall loudness*, we can't even begin to assess that question. Meanwhile, tonal balance inconsistencies, not just between cinema and home theater, but between individual dub stages, cinemas, and home theater mixing rooms, will continue to cause great confusion.

BTW, if you're doing dialog normalization, why bother with the SPL calibration? Why not just let the mixer set the monitor master gain wherever he/she wants it?
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post #1858 of 2533 Old 06-24-2017, 06:26 AM
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Maybe. @andyc56 is very involved in the dedicated thread providing support. Have you posted in that thread for help yet?
Not yet. I have to figure out what I'm doing wrong to ask the right question first
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post #1859 of 2533 Old 06-24-2017, 08:30 AM
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You're using loudness normalization on home remixes of film audio? This is news to me. Is this practice widespread in the industry to your knowledge? Why not normalize the cinema mix too?
There's no choice about it unless they happen to mix long term average dialogue level at -31 LKFS. This actually works out in the end. If you calibrate your HT 85 dBC SPL @ -20 dBFS and i.e. the measured average dialogue for a given mix was -27 LKFS and the dts/DD encoder metadata control word DN was properly set...4 dB attenuation (for all channels) will applied by your decoder thus normalizing to the -31 LKFS target.

Quote:
I have mixed feelings about loudness normalization in film. On the one hand, a lot of movies mixes are just too loud and seem to fill the digital headroom
One should not equate high dynamic range with relative quality. When you say a movie is "too loud" it's really the result of to little DR compression. If the action scene peaks are too offset from the dialogue, your relatively slow adaption process is such that unless you turn up the volume at that point the dialogue will be hard to perceive... just like your relatively slow visual adaption time.

Quote:
However, I have definitely noticed fluctuation in dialog level that seems unnatural in a lot of movies.
For your decoder DRC to work properly, the dialnorm metadata control word must be set properly. I believe what you are referring to (and I agree) some mixing is just terrible, the one thing that's absolutely quantified / measured being miss managed is unfortunate. A lot of the time it is the movies director demanding action scene(s) volume emphasis.

Quote:
What I'd like to see in the long run is for the studios to make two masters: a hi-fi master and a lo-fi master. The hi-fi master would be multichannel with full dynamics.
When DR compression is done properly, it will be transparent perception wise. Again well done DR compression is hi-fi. It's easy for one to under estimate what can be conveyed in a professionally managed DR window.
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post #1860 of 2533 Old 06-24-2017, 10:46 AM
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Sort of off topic, but somewhat related....

For the past several weeks, we have been having audio problems with the CBS morning show (Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donell, and Gail King).

The audio moves from the main L/R to the center channel, goes back and forth and sounds weirdly compressed. It swims and gets sucked from L/R to center. I thought my preamp/processor was going bad (Bryston SP2). I don't have surround speakers or subs, it's set up just L/C/R. I checked all the setup parameters.

On other programs and other stations, audio is fine. Good L/R/C mix, no issues, so it's not the Bryston.

What the heck is going on with the audio on that broadcast?
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