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Does the PS3 have inherently horrible center-channel audio or is there a setting I'm missing? - Page 2

post #31 of 46
Thread Starter 
If the designers of content choose to go with "good enough" approaches toward their audio then there is nothing I can be bothered by. It's their choice where they want to cut corners to keep profits up, its business and i get it.

But.....


It's a huge problem when they cut the corners but claim full delivery. These games I have clearly state full support of the audio and they don't deliver. Imagine bringing home your brand new Avatar or Avengers or whatever Blu-ray and finding that it only has 4 channel sound or 720p image, despite the box stating 7.1 and 1080p. You can argue all day that some people wont see much difference between resolutions or hear the difference in sound but- I can. And I, like many consumers, want what I was charged for.

We have paid for a feature and that feature was not delivered. It amazes me how many people say "but its good enough" without a second thought.

Playing the game for a while and not hearing your center channel and not noticing it isnt an argument. People have watched movies for years on normal TV speakers and "not noticed" that they lack sonic clarity and positional audio, that doesnt mean It's as good as it aught to be.

Boy do i like Q_Q'ing from time to time.

Damn the man. Save my Surround Sound.
post #32 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Many don't use the LFE channel because its superfluous - your receiver has bass management. The games are mixed on the fly, there's no real use to pre-baked LFE.
Now I'm worried that once you find out all those "1080p" games are 720p, your head will explode. tongue.gif

/Popcorn.JPG

It's true though. Hell most games are SUB 720P and hardware scaled to 720/1080.

Back to the audio, the idea is that they want to provide true 3D surround sound. Movies do not, and are a baked in mix to give the appearance of surround sounds. Most of the time a center channel is just superfluous, because the left and right will handle the cross sounds just fine. Most game's typically only use it for some things that will not change such as your own weapons fire, or dialogue in cinematic cut scenes (just like movies)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cityinruin View Post

But.....
It's a huge problem when they cut the corners but claim full delivery. These games I have clearly state full support of the audio and they don't deliver.

Wait till you find a game where they claim to have online, or even the ability to play (ie not crash your system)

/sniff, twisted metal, sniff...
Edited by TyrantII - 10/19/12 at 5:58pm
post #33 of 46
Thread Starter 
true 3d sound MUST include the center channel. It's leaps and bounds more important then surround left and right. Surrounds are drastically easier to simulate then frontal positions. why? because most action does exist in your 0 degree field of view, therefore most frontal audio must come from the center channel.

*Human evolution has positioned our eyes in a front flat horizontal postion to provide depth perception, as a result human evolution has led us to perceive audio in a frontal field of view in a fidelity of accuracy drastically superior to any other direction (even just 15 degrees up,down,rear or forward, supply dramatically less detail to our brains then that horizontal level) and therefore those three front channels are actually truly accurate to our brains.

If you dont believe me, try listening to any television, movie or game in 2.1 or 3.1 and then respond weather you can tell the difference.

in short, the center channel represents our natural predatory/omnivore sensory perception center of audible reception. Without actually hearing sound from the 0 degree we must use our passive imagination to provide that directions sound. It's not natural and not accurate. Just because you think you cant hear it doesnt mean you can, it just means your frame of reference is too small. Again, try the 3.1 to 2.1 test on any properly mixed source.

Basically there is no justifiable excuse for 4.0 audio. Center channel directional sound is undeniably the most important source of audible media our brains can compute. Lacking that degree of sound hollows out our entire field of depth, distance and detail.

Good enough is not good enough when actually good is important enough to achieve.



*source- entire adult life to this point as combat arms in the U.S. Army.*
post #34 of 46
Arguing "human evolution" when you're talking about simulated content (whether audio or video) doesn't mean much. There's nothing "natural" about video games. It's like arguing about how unrealistic games are. They will always be unrealistic.

It's an interesting point that you're making, but what you're arguing is an aesthetic difference, not a natural one. It isn't a technological limitation. Modern games do use the center channel, just not as much as you're used to.

I also wonder if designers focus on 2/4-channel audio more because they know that most gamers don't use full-blown surround setups. Makes more sense to target your audio design around 2-channel audio rather than surround. Hell, most seriously competitive FPS gamers use 2-channel headphones for the best "positional" effects. This might throw your "human evolution" theory out the window.

We really need to talk to a game audio designer.
post #35 of 46
Guess what? A phantom center channel image can typically work just as fine as audio coming from the center channel. Provided your left and right speakers are positioned properly, you'd likely be hard pressed to tell if something is coming from the center channel or not.
post #36 of 46
For the most part, modern games do a pretty good job on surround audio positioning. There are the outliers in some of the Halos or Call Of Dutys that completely ignore the center channel, feeding the receiver dead air, but those really are in the minority. A more disorienting problem is in 3rd person perspective games that put the audio render home position at the character's location instead of the camera's position.

As for whether the center channel is needed for humans to appreciate surround audio? City, you are giving the human audio subsystem far too much credit. We are bad at hearing. It's not nearly as bad as our terrible visual subsystem, but it is still quite poor. We have two ears, not three, not seven, not forty. Given our two ears, pick any number of speakers, an appropriate software solution for them, and a properly designed source and you rapidly get to the point of "good enough". Two speakers fed an appropriately mixed source with phase tricks involved is very good at fooling our fairly simple human audio subsystem. Why? Because humans are far better at being clever than they are at sensing things. Well, one human isn't, but generations of humans have been building on this science for ages. Standing on the shoulders of giants, yo.

So, is four channels a problem? Absolutely not, if it's mixed properly.

To make a suggestion: How about instead of paying attention to the numbers and worrying about whether your center channel is getting the work that it should, enjoy the game being presented. A crap game in 8 discrete channels with poor audio engineering is not better than a stereo game with great audio engineering and great gameplay mechanics.
post #37 of 46
"true 3d sound MUST include the center channel. It's leaps and bounds more important then surround left and right. Surrounds are drastically easier to simulate then frontal positions. why? because most action does exist in your 0 degree field of view, therefore most frontal audio must come from the center channel."

An additional point: This is basically the same argument as the argument for stereoscopic 3D video. "We have two eyes that want two distinct images!". The issue is of course that stereoscopy is the least important part of human depth perception. Sure, it's nice to have, but people with a single functioning eye get by extremely well due to the importance of motion and parallax perception to human depth perception. A 2D image in motion that has depth gets you 95% of the way to fooling human depth perception. Adding stereoscopic rendering to that really only gets you another 2% closer or so.

Our two human ears work the same way. Yeah, a center channel is nice. Regardless of the number of speakers in play though, just get the audio to the pair of ears in a fashion that the ears expect to hear stuff and you are golden. That's why ProLogic-style software rendering works so very well. We are simple creatures to fool.
Edited by darklordjames - 10/21/12 at 2:07pm
post #38 of 46
Thread Starter 
I noticed that the center channel had no usage from my seated position, that rite there is undeniable proof that the channel is needed. I suspect it has nothing to do with my speaker positions but you may be able to debate my speakers themselves.

So i went ahead and tried a few different ones just to be sure it wasnt due to poor pairing (which i admit is an issue until my new speakers arrive this week)

Regardless of the set used, the center channel is always a desired addition for my ears.


The argument of "two ears only need two speakers" is only valid with binarual audio (spelling?) which doesnt really exist in any current consumer media. and even then it only works with headphones, which is an extremely different experience (Im a huge fan of cans , i have several and my current favorite all arounds are my sennheiser hd598s. amazing bang for buck).


The best evidence that center channel audio is important is Final Fantasy 13. Listen to the games initial cutscene and then the following in-game action. More importantly listen to the occasional voice dialog that comes from the center. The cutscenes are believable and alive and the in game speech is.... horrid.

Because nothing but the voices comes out of the center in-game it sounds very odd, unnatural and synthetic. It is unnatural to hear nothing from that direction, and becomes obvious when you hear only one thing from that direction. Humans are able to destinct audio direction. Far too many people take very specific simulated circumstances and try using that is proof otherwise but that's just not how it works. Our ears can be fooled when the source is trying to fool them That isnt the case with these PS3 games, there is not effort-driven effect of phantom center channels or quality sound.

The bizzare experience of the center channel issue is so distracting that I cant enjoy the game at all, I have to try return or sell it. Ive tried ignoring it and ive tried just "getting over it" but to me sometimes having no sound is as bad as having a whistle blowing endlessly. just cant ignore it.

Uncharted however is a realy joy (if i cent the in-game center channel to "large" which i still havent seen anyone else comment on and would like to). The positional audio is as good as I hopped for and the immersion with PLIIz turned on is outstanding. I was beginning to consider going to rears instead of front highs up until this experience. The waterfalls and the jungle sounds and the monster-monkey-people things (dont know what they are yet im only just at the nazi complex) are night-and-day better then Final Fantasy. And the center channel works, my pistol fires from where it is located and my lady friend shouts from her actual direction be it dead center or rear left or whatever.



The center channel is not an option, it's the standard. Without it, things dont sound rite. There really are no if-ands-or-buts about it. Play Uncharted in 3.1 and then turn it to 2.1 for a while before trying to tell me otherwise. You WILL notice the difference, i bet you my 60es8000 on it.
post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by cityinruin View Post

Because nothing but the voices comes out of the center in-game it sounds very odd, unnatural and synthetic.
This pretty much proves that what you're hearing is a design decision, not a fault of the technology. You simply don't like the way game audio sounds. There's nothing wrong with the technology. Nor is there anything wrong with having your own opinion.
Quote:
It is unnatural to hear nothing from that direction, and becomes obvious when you hear only one thing from that direction. Humans are able to destinct audio direction.
What this proves is that human senses are adaptive. Movie audio is no more "natural" than game audio. You're just more used to how movie audio sounds, so you think that movie audio sounds more "natural." But the fact is that you're simply not used to game audio, while you are used to movie audio.
Quote:
The bizzare experience of the center channel issue is so distracting that I cant enjoy the game at all, I have to try return or sell it. Ive tried ignoring it and ive tried just "getting over it" but to me sometimes having no sound is as bad as having a whistle blowing endlessly. just cant ignore it.
I have an analogy for you. I wear contact lenses. For almost a decade I wore only contacts and never wore glasses. Two years ago I got a pair and started wearing them. But I was totally freaked out by the visual distortion I saw at the periphery of my vision when I wore glasses. I went back to the optometrist and told him I needed different lenses because the ones I had weren't "right." I couldn't stand it. We tried a number of different lens types and shapes. Ultimately it just turned out that my eyes (and therefore, my brain) had gotten so accustomed to contacts that glasses just looked wrong. Now, two years later my eyes have grown used to it (my brain, actually), and I don't notice anything one way or the other. Everything looks "natural," whether I wear contacts or glasses.

I'm not telling you to "just get over it." And I don't think anyone else is here, either. We're just saying that nothing is wrong with the technology. You're just not accustomed to it. Either get used to it or don't. But no one's forcing you.
post #40 of 46
Why would I remove the center channel from Uncharted? It was mixed to use it and my room is set up for a center channel.

Again, stop paying attention to arbitrary numbers and play games for the game. Final Fantasy 13 is terrible, and it would still be terrible with perfect 7.1 audio mixed to your exact specification. How do I already know that you also think FF13 is terrible? You are paying attention to what hole the sound is coming out of instead of what's going on in the game world.
post #41 of 46
Here's what I don't understand though. In movies, the center channel is basically the dialog channel. Not the "sounds from in the middle channel". In my experience, you rarely if ever hear effects coming from it.

If that doesn't bother you in movies, why does it bother you in games?
post #42 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Here's what I don't understand though. In movies, the center channel is basically the dialog channel. Not the "sounds from in the middle channel". In my experience, you rarely if ever hear effects coming from it.
If that doesn't bother you in movies, why does it bother you in games?
But movies are more "analog" in their surround effects, while games are more "digital." With games, a sound is either in a specific channel, or it isn't. With movies, a sound (or range) is either "up" in the mix or "down."

I can totally understand how the OP is weirded out by the seeming "lack" of a center channel. It can be disorienting when you're used to hearing a spectrum of sounds from all channels, but instead get either all or nothing of a particular effect/sound(s).

EDIT for the OP: I was hunting around for solutions to a sound issue in the other thread, and discovered that some folks have been able to solve similar surround issues by manually selecting specific output frequencies in the PS3 sound setup. So to the OP, uncheck all of the outputs in the manual audio output selection menu, then add them one by one and see what happens. This may be a way around the problem. Tedious, I know, but it seems that it may have worked for others with similar problems. And the low center-channel volume may, in fact, be unique to your setup. There may be some output frequencies that your AVR doesn't like. So this may not be at all just something you're "not used to."

Worth looking into. Hopefully you haven't already given up in frustration.
Edited by confidenceman - 10/22/12 at 10:18am
post #43 of 46
Thread Starter 
I've found out what the problem is -

Many games are simply not actually using 5.1 or 7.1 audio fully. Some games do.

It is absolutelly not a matter of what my ears are used to, or a matter of hardware settings. It's a matter of the specific game.

After playing several games I've come to reallize that some games are done correctly and some are not. Many games are using the center channel as expected, many flat out don't use it at all. I don't believe for one second that not using it at all is ever a beneficial or ideal design decision, there's just no end-user-benefit to ignoring the channel.


issue resolved- nothign is wrong with the ps3s center channel usage, its just that some developers dropped the ball.
post #44 of 46
OP - Are you the blind gamer? Like the blind swordsman but that plays video games.
I get what you're saying...but then...I don't. Are you reviewing games based solely on their audio mix? Are you this "renegade" on everything you do? Do you have a thread on Seagate's technical forum laden with outcry over bit-loss in consumer harddrives?

Some things are. Its a design choice by developers. Play the game or don't.
post #45 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by cityinruin View Post

I've found out what the problem is -
Many games are simply not actually using 5.1 or 7.1 audio fully. Some games do.
It is absolutelly not a matter of what my ears are used to, or a matter of hardware settings. It's a matter of the specific game.
Call it what you want, it amounts to the same thing. If it bugs you that much, then your only choice is not to play games. That's why many of us suggested you simply try getting used to it. Games follow a different audio "philosophy" than movies. It's not an oversight. It's a deliberate design decision. A few games aim for a more "cinematic" experience and thus put a greater load on the center channel. Most don't. But it's by choice.

I'm really not sure what you expect. Either you play the games as they are, or you don't.
post #46 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by confidenceman View Post

Games follow a different audio "philosophy" than movies. It's not an oversight. It's a deliberate design decision.

I don't believe that for one second. There are plenty of "cinamtic" games that fail to use the center channel even as they clearly intend (final fantasy being the best example- it works fully in pre-rendered sequences but not in game play) it's very obviously a design flaw or a budget issue or simply lazyness. There are also very non cinimatic games that use the center channel correctly.

Some developers on some games simply decided to do it the cheap or lazy or easy way. Ill choose not to play games that have deveopement shortcuts and deliverate misleadings on the boxes for sure, which as you say is my choice.

I'm still shocked that people think that absolute neglect of the center channel is a "deliberate design decison" as though it were an artistic decision and not a budget or effort decision.
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