Sound Effect too loud compared to regular speech. How to fix? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I am using my home theater in a box (A pretty good one ... Onkyo 5.1). My problem is that the sound of the voice (when during a movie characters speak is not as loud as when there is some sort of loud sound effect.

So let's say ... I have to increase my receiver's volume at 70% power to hear clearly the conversation and then if there is a car explosion or any loud sound effect, the volume is toooo loud. I almost jump for my remote to make it lower.

Now ... my center channel is just 1-2 points louder than my left and right speakers. Everything else is set to 0 (original settings).

Please help me fix this problem. Any ideas?

Denon AVR 4311ci, Ascend Sierra-1 NrT, Ascend HTM-200 (surrounds), Rythmik F12, Panasonic TH50PX60U, Samsung BD ES6000, Denon DVD-2910 SACD/DVDa, Sony 222ES SACD, Monster HTS 5100 MKI, Logitech Harmony One, Sennheiser HD600, Schiit Modi/Vali
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 11:51 AM
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Does your receiver have a equalization system with a microphone, etc. Do this first. It will account for sensitivity difference in the speakers. Also, does your receiver has a dolby night time mode. This might help too.
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post #3 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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My entire system cost me $600 about 6 years ago. So ... mic equalization is not there.

The night mode. ... yes good idea, BUT it's not always working. Very strange.

Any idea why I get such effect from the speakers? I mean I know I can switch to the night mode, BUT why am I getting this problem?

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post #4 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 11:58 AM
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It might be because your speakers are not equalized and the center channel does not have enough output. Most vocals come from center channel, while other audio comes from the L and R speakers. Also, many movies are made to have big explosions. May be your sub is turned too high. Regardless, you need a calibration DVD and a SPL meter (radio shack). Make sure all speakers are level adjusted.
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post #5 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 12:43 PM
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If your well calibrated and it still happens? It's often a room issue that unduely(sp?) reduces accoustical volume of the center channel and dialog in particular.
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post #6 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
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I increased center speaker to +4 while left and right were set at 0 and sound got worse. I am now back to +2 for center speaker.

Denon AVR 4311ci, Ascend Sierra-1 NrT, Ascend HTM-200 (surrounds), Rythmik F12, Panasonic TH50PX60U, Samsung BD ES6000, Denon DVD-2910 SACD/DVDa, Sony 222ES SACD, Monster HTS 5100 MKI, Logitech Harmony One, Sennheiser HD600, Schiit Modi/Vali
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post #7 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 12:53 PM
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Have you tried running just your fronts without the center? You might find it an improvement over what's happening now.
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post #8 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I actually like the sound coming from the center. Problem is with the loud sound effects. Maybe a receiver problem?

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post #9 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 01:02 PM
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Lower end speakers (like the kind found in HTiB systems) are often lacking in midrange clarity. So you have to turn it up louder to be able to hear what they are saying. A great deal of the sounds related to speech intelligibility are located in the 1-5khz region. This also happens to be where the crossover is located in most 2-way speakers (or MTMs). Properly designed crossovers can increase cost substantially, so speaker manufactuers cut corners in here a lot. You will rarely find more than a couple capacitors, a resistor, and maybe an inductor. Sometimes they just let the mid without a lowpass, which can result in a good deal of distortion in the speech frequencies. When you open up your speaker and just find a capacitor on the tweeter, you know you have a well designed crossover A properly designed 3-way speaker can greatly improve speech intelligibility, but the cost can rise substantialy, especially in crossover parts.

...So, it boils down to this: You have to turn it up to make out what they are hearing. Not necessarily because it is too quiet, but probably because it's just harder to understand. Then when an action scene comes along, the volume is too high and, well, you know what happens from there.

There is little you can do if it is an issue with the speaker design. Sure you can calibrate everything so the levels are equal. Or you can crank the center channel up so voices are louder. But when the explosion is in the center channel, that's not going to help you out much.

Eventually you just have to upgrade... You'll find that with a higher end speaker you will be able to make out voices you didn't hear before and actually be able to listen at a lower volume.

Maybe I should be a salesman.
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post #10 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 01:04 PM
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You never mentioned the room. Hardwood floors, anything like that?

I also completely agree with the poster above me with regards to your speakers.
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post #11 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Yep ... hardwood floors with a huge rug covering 70% of it.

So ..... will purchasing a very good Center Channel speaker greatly improve my Audio experience?

Denon AVR 4311ci, Ascend Sierra-1 NrT, Ascend HTM-200 (surrounds), Rythmik F12, Panasonic TH50PX60U, Samsung BD ES6000, Denon DVD-2910 SACD/DVDa, Sony 222ES SACD, Monster HTS 5100 MKI, Logitech Harmony One, Sennheiser HD600, Schiit Modi/Vali
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post #12 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post

Yep ... hardwood floors with a huge rug covering 70% of it.

So ..... will purchasing a very good Center Channel speaker greatly improve my Audio experience?

Are you interested in building one from a proven design?

If you are looking to upgrade, here is my advice for someone in your position. I would either build or save up for a nice set of front speakers first. Then you can use a phantom center channel for a while (downmix to your mains) until you get a matching center. I would not run two totally different types of speakers for center and mains for an extended time. I used to, and the difference is very significant when you get matching left, right, and center. The front soundfield becomes very solid and panning sounds move much more smoothly across the screen.

Then you can look at the sub and surrounds.
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post #13 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 02:13 PM
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This is pretty much what happned to me. I finally got a plasma TV and when I hooked up my old HTIB - that I previously used with my computer - the dialogue issue came up. I don't know if it was using it in a bigger room or sitting farther back from the speakers or what, but all of a sudden my movie watching experiences were greatly diminished. Nevermind the giant TV.

So I got a proper center channel speaker. It simply dwarfed the THIB in both size and sound. I then got the matching mains. Much, much superior sound from the front, but the high qulity of the speakers really made it apparent that my receiver was now the weak link. 3 months and a dozen different receivers later, I found a keeper. Then it was time to upgrade the surrounds ...

The point is that what you are describing is a common problem and, I would speculate, a jumping off point for many of the forum members in their ultimate sound experience quest If I had to do it again, I would do a ton more research and audition heavily before actually buying something. I would also probably go used.
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post #14 of 19 Old 12-11-2008, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post

My entire system cost me $600 about 6 years ago. So ... mic equalization is not there.

The night mode. ... yes good idea, BUT it's not always working. Very strange.

Any idea why I get such effect from the speakers? I mean I know I can switch to the night mode, BUT why am I getting this problem?

Here is where your problem may lie...Night mode aka DNR

You need to check your Dynamic Noise range settings in your AVR and whatever disc player you have and make sure that they are off, tend to lower dialogue

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post #15 of 19 Old 12-12-2008, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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cansp6 ............. can you tell me what speakers you ended up buying? You say great things about them but didn't mention the model numbers.

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post #16 of 19 Old 12-12-2008, 08:29 AM
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Maybe your center speaker is blown. Run test tones with all other speakers disconnected. Run a full frequency test to test each driver.

You can download test tones as wave files online, google test tones. Then play record them to a CD or play them from a laptop or computer.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #17 of 19 Old 12-12-2008, 09:19 AM
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This is a problem almost everyone has. Room treatments, better speakers and a better receiver would help, but it seems that almost all DVD's are mixed this way. They try to replicate how the movie sounded in the theater, which sounds like a good idea, until you realize that theaters play everything very, very, LOUD!

Now until they change the way they mix the sound on DVDs (which means never) and until you get a chance to treat your room and upgrade your equipment, I recommend trying the night mode on the Onkyo. I had an old Onkyo 503 and the night mode worked wonderfully. It brought up the volume on the quieter sounds and and tamed the loud explosions without sacrificing overall quality.

My experiences with night mode are just the opposite of SaltwaterCat's, and I believe are more in line with what night mode is intended to do.
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post #18 of 19 Old 12-12-2008, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post

cansp6 ............. can you tell me what speakers you ended up buying? You say great things about them but didn't mention the model numbers.

They're in my profile. Klipsch RF-52, RC-52, Mission M31, Paradigm OM-105. An eclectic set to be sure, but they sound good to me.
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post #19 of 19 Old 12-12-2008, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmarkmyers View Post

This is a problem almost everyone has. Room treatments, better speakers and a better receiver would help, but it seems that almost all DVD's are mixed this way. They try to replicate how the movie sounded in the theater, which sounds like a good idea, until you realize that theaters play everything very, very, LOUD!

Now until they change the way they mix the sound on DVDs (which means never) and until you get a chance to treat your room and upgrade your equipment, I recommend trying the night mode on the Onkyo. I had an old Onkyo 503 and the night mode worked wonderfully. It brought up the volume on the quieter sounds and and tamed the loud explosions without sacrificing overall quality.

My experiences with night mode are just the opposite of SaltwaterCat's, and I believe are more in line with what night mode is intended to do.

I have to say, I don't have this anymore in my dedicated theater with really exceptional accoustic design. Still have it like mo fo on my living room system though.
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