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Am I crazy, or is dialog now in days recorded to hot on blu-rays?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
It just seems that more and more often I am hearing dialog that is continually recorded to hot with audible clipping ensuing. Has anyone else noticed this new trend on a variety of movies? Its insane! Once you begin to hear it, you can't help but not hear it. Lossless audio sometimes spoils the movie for me .

Before someone says, my center is broken, I have verified all of this on my computer using HD555's, clipping is still there.

Movies that I have heard it in recently:

Transformers 1 (dialog clipping at the end of the movie)
Transformers 2
Transformers 3 (several scenes, voices audibly crackle)
Thor (same as transformers 3, many offending scenes)
Bugs Life (When Hopper is in the ant hill yelling, screams "lets ride" and also when the two jumping bugs in the bar yell "your fired, your fired".
Gladiator (the extended edition master is terrible with audible clipping in not just dialog, but sword fighting and crowd cheering as well, the region 1 DVD never had any of this)
Rambo 4 (Dialog clipping throughout many talking scenes)

These are just a handful of movies with many others as well.

Am I going crazy or is anyone else noticing this trend?
post #2 of 20
I notice this too. Most recently in star wars ep IV in the first darth vader scene. The worst movie for this would have to be righteous kill, terrible movie too, but I thought something was wrong with my center channel on that one. No mention in any reviews I read, so I think some people are more sensitive to it than others.
post #3 of 20
It's not just movies. Even with music, the mixes are hot now. Even an album from 20 years ago runs hot on recent re-releases.

So, not only does the mix sound hot in a lot of cases, there aren't any dynamics. It's all loud.

The funny thing is, usually thinking things were "too loud" meant you were getting old...right up until nothing seemed loud enough...
post #4 of 20
post #5 of 20
The practice of dynamic-range compression has been going on for a long time, at first to accommodate the limitations of car radios, now also to accommodate the limitations of earbuds and similar low-end audio devices that cannot easily handle a wide dynamic range. The problem is that in lowering the levels between loudest and softest notes, you get a 'crushed' result without much loudness range at all, a result audio engineers can then pump up to obscene output levels to compensate for the loss in dynamics. People seem to like loud more than realism.

Insofar as movies go, I suppose some audio engineers do the same for home use, since so many people have cheap home speakers (most people use the speakers built into their TV's, after all), and since so many people complain about a wide dynamic range ("Why do I have to keep turning the volume up and down to hear the dialogue, Martha?").

However, I can't say I've heard much compression on the movies you mention above, which on my audio system sound pretty good. You might want to take one of the discs in question to a friend's house who has a good system or even an electronics store and test it out there.

By the way, as an afterthought, you want to be sure it isn't actually the wide dynamic range on these movies that is over driving your center speaker. A lot of people turn down the volume on wide-ranging discs because the effects can be so loud, and then they have to turn up the volume to hear the dialogue. Sometimes, they turn it back up too loud, and if the center speaker can't handle it, the speaker distorts. To make matters worse, as compensation for a wide dynamic range, some engineers dial up the center-channel dialogue too loud, thus compounding the problem. (I use a sound meter to calibrate my system, and I have turned my center speaker down about three decibels.)

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Oh, my system is properly calibrated, I've made sure of this. The issue is not in the volume of how I watch my movies, its how it was recorded. I can turn the volume down and still hear it. Its not over driving the speaker... but its clear, either the volume was boosted by the engineer during the mixing stage (stupid) or the gain was turned up far to loud on the microphones (also stupid). Its just something I am noticing more and more and I personally believe that its unacceptable, though I am sure that because I have bright speakers to begin with (paradigm monitor's), that it most certainly reveals more flaws then otherwise.
post #7 of 20
I just have trouble with your hearing such distortion on "Transformers" and on what I assume to be the newly remastered "Gladiator." I hear no such audio problems on them, nor did Ralph (Potts) in his official AVS reviews of them. In fact, Ralph gave "Transformers" a perfect audio score.
post #8 of 20
This is a timely thread since I just watched the Thor BD last night and heard several instances of major crackling unlike anything I've ever heard in any soundtrack. I was concerned that my system was somehow clipping (something I have never heard it do before), but this crackling was independent of volume (and my amps have soft-clip protection).

Undoubtedly, the effects in Thor were some of the loudest my system has ever reproduced. I suppose the crackling could still be coming from somewhere in my amplification chain - wish I had thought to try the digital volume control on my Oppo before it went back to Netflix. Unfortunately, I have no control of my preamp's output to my monoblocks, or that would have been my first experiment.

Weak movie IMO, but quite a lot of interesting audio - I just might have to pick it up for future demos and experimentation.

Oh, and regarding the first Transformers BD, I have never noticed any crackling there (love the sound of that movie). It would be helpful if someone could post some times where it is most noticable and I would be happy to check it out. BTW - there is a similar thread on blu-ray forums about this same crackling in both TF1 and Thor. Makes me think the studios are carelessly pushing the envelope, but perhaps some systems handle it better than others.
post #9 of 20
I've noticed this too and I also don't think it's center channel related, but perhaps it's another link in the system that's introducing this distortion (blu-ray player, for example). I always find it odd when it's in a movie where a reviewer has given it perfect marks, so maybe they really just aren't hearing it on their systems.

Also, sometimes there's just defective discs floating out there. I had an Akira disc that simply did not have the 192khz mix. I made a thread about it on here and everybody was telling me it was my system's inability to decode it that was the problem. It wasn't--I got another disc from Netflix and, lo and behold, it had it on there. I also have a very distracting dialogue hiss on my Sin City blu-ray that I've never seen anybody complain about on the blu-ray, only the dvd. Maybe some discs have vocal distortion and others don't.

BTW... your thread title is misleading. I thought this thread was going to be about diminished dynamic range. It's presumptuous to assume that dialogue being recording too hot is the cause of this distortion we're hearing.
post #10 of 20
I know it's an old thread but I thought I would chime in, I recently got a new onkyo receiver and was noticing this immediately from blu ray track, never heard it before on the old receiver playing the regular dts soundtrack via optical through my old sat/sub speaker setup. But these same speakers started producing this crackle on dialogue.

I then have bought a quality 5.1 speaker setup with fronts capable down to 30hz and centres and rears to 55hz and sub 19hz. I watched Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes on blu ray and it was flawless. Unbelievable actually. Then I watched Transformers 3 lastnite and it displayed this crackle on speech much the way throughout the movie, especially when people raised their voice. The same crackle appeared with the volume down. Turned off my centre speaker redirecting the centre channel to my fronts and the crackle appeared through the fronts now. The onkyo amp is in an open front back cabinet with 2 80mm computer fans sucking the air out keeping it very cool. I know onkyo's renouned for being fairly revealing and my speakers are fairly bright and raw with horn loaded tweaters.

It just to me like some recordings are pushing the dialogue volume too high and depending on your system, some obviously really reveal these flaws.
All I know is it is really starting to ruin my dts master audio experience. Must say I haven't noticed on any music cds but I'm sure it's there also on some re mastered or new cds.

Any new findings or advice to decrease the crackle/distortion??
post #11 of 20
I actually tried removing all components out of the equation by just running hdmi
from bd player straight to tv. In the exact same spots in transformers 3 the clipping crackle sound was heard exactly the same only through the tv speakers now. So at this point I'm guessing it's either the bd player, which is a samsung c5900 3d player, not being able to reproduce the full dynamic range properly resulting in clipping. Or it is in the mastering of the blu ray disk and some people can hear it and others can't. Or some players make it less noticable than others??

Would love some feedback to see people's thoughts.

If anyone would like to check these times in Transformers 3 Dark Of The Moon

- Around the 23min 42secs mark when John Malkovich says "Thankyou" loudly you can hear a slight clipping/crackle sound which happens a few more times as he continues to speak.

- Around 1hour 19mins 36 secs when the guy from Grey's Anatomy speaks.
Also 1hour 20mins 33secs when he starts to yell at the young punk.

Some people may hear nothing, others may hear a little but dismiss it.
But once I heard it, it drive's me nuts now on any movie that does it.
As I say not all movies do it - Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was amazing. Absolutey flawless!! But it seems there are a fair few of these movies popping up.
post #12 of 20
I know these are super pricey films, but is there a chance in some of these cases that the actor speaking or "yelling" the line clipped the mic when they originally recorded it and the filmmakers elected to simply keep it rather than do an ADR in post?

There's tons of older films that have distorted lines/sound effects as well. (I believe Bladerunner had a few for example.)
post #13 of 20
Yea anything's possible, it's just like the sound engineers when mastering it for blu ray really pushed the dialogue channel volume too high and it doesn't take much for the voice to raise a little and along with the voice you get a buzz/crackle like the audio has clipped. Not real loud but as it happens alot in tranformers 3, it gets very distracting.

And tonight I tried my old receiver connected via optical to the bd player and now I hear the exact same buzz/crackle in the exact same parts of movies on my old avr and old speaker setup. So it must have made the noise before but I just didn't notice it until I got the new AVR and was really listening closely to the sound? Pretty confused now..

Anyway I guess it's either my samsung bd player or the particular blu ray movies or a combination of certain players have problems with certain disks?
post #14 of 20
Sometimes it isn't because the mix is hot, it's because the original dialogue track has clipping in it. Gladiator and Righteous Kill on BD were actually was mixed hot however.
post #15 of 20
Thank God I found this thread, I was on the verge of having a nervous break down thinking I'd popped a speaker.

I've watched TF3 soooo many times since it came out, and managed to miss John Malkovitch's clipping, then the other day I tuned into it, then the paranoia set in as now Im tuned in to hearing it all over the place, so I was thinking I had changed a mysterious setting on my AVR or damaged my fronts.

Just been watching Star Wars Ep2.

Could anyone verify that on Chapter 34 or @ 1:24:58 When Anakin is ranting about it 'all being Obi-Wans fault'

As soon as he says 'HE'S JEALOUS!!' there is a nasty clip?

Does anybody else get this?

Im pretty sure that particular section is dialogue direct from the set, and not ADR'd so it would make sense that it just hit a peak, but as I said earlier, Paranoia has set in so Im keen to put the issue to bed :-)
post #16 of 20
I am revamping this thread, as I also hear the buzzing and crackle from Transformers dialogues( for me Transformers 2 is the worst) . Seems to be a problem with mastering the dialogues as the effects are really clean.
post #17 of 20
Have any of you who hear these problems, changed to other sound options from your players (S/PDIF PCM stereo versus bitstream versus multichannel PCM over HDMI), and/or tried different Blu-ray players? If so, what were the results?
post #18 of 20
This crackling sound during dialogue has been driving my nuts as well. I thought first it was my center channel (Sunfire Cinema Ribbon Trio), but ruled that out when I swapped the center with right speaker (also ruled out a bad speaker cable). Then I tried the same disc in both a PS3, and Panasonic Blu-Ray player with the same result. So I figured it might by my Onkyo TX-NR3007. Over the holidays I added an Emotiva XPA-5 and XPA-200 amplifier which essential made my Onkyo just a preamp and processor. This didn't help with the sound crackling in the center either. So I assumed there was something wrong with the processing in the Onkyo. Today I connected my old Marantz 6.1 receiver (Onkyo has a bad HDMI board and is out for a warranty repair) using an optical connection (Onkyo was HDMI), and I get the same crackling. It has to be certain discs. Most movies I don't hear it, but others are horrendous. The worst are Unstoppable, & Thor. I even noticed it in one XBox 360 game. At least I feel better it's not one of my components.
post #19 of 20
This has also been driving me nuts, I too thought of the possibility of blown speakers, but like many of you ruled that out, by connecting other speakers. Sadly, I'm so in tune to this crackle, that I pick up on it all the time now, and don't want to. Also, my wife swears she doesn't notice it at all, so I'm wondering if it's something that not everyone can pick up on!?
post #20 of 20
Oh thank avs, I've been on the phone with everyone tring to find my problem, I bought a integra 50.4 and a def tech cs8060 2 pm1000s and 2 800s with a svs pc-12 plus in a 1800 cubic feet room.

I hear this crackle in most action dts hd bd's and my wife doesn't notice it
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