Originally Posted by Doug Nash
Thanks! Trust me, I've been, and still am pouring through all the great FAQ sections which you have all spent so much time generously creating.
However, sometimes it's still tough to coordinate my questions with what I find in those comprehensive lists.
So much of the discussion still seems to revolve around multi-speaker HT.
After running Audyssey, it seems quite clear that my TV watching has improved, even with just my two-speakers.
However, I'm confused about music. I can understand the value and my ears seem to be able to detect a clear improvement with Dynamic EQ for stereo music. However, it seems like the volumes are a little louder WITH Dynamic Volume turned ON. Like it's boosting the volume. But my understanding is that it's only supposed to modulate the abrupt highs (like for commercials) so my impression would be that I should set Dyn Vol to OFF for all my music. Can someone help explain why I'm hearing such dramatic differences with stereo music?
Both dynamic volume and dynamic EQ are "scaled" to function properly with material recorded at movie reference. In a nutshell, because of the way movies are mixed (unless they've been remastered for home use) if a sound is recorded on the disk at -20 dBFS, I KNOW that in the mixing stage, they heard that sound at 85 dB from the relevant speaker. Very important, especially when applying the AUdyssey equivalent of the fletcher munson curves, bcasuse how much correction is needed depends on how loud the sound was when heard by the mixer and how loud it is with our reduced voluume level.
Music has no standards. So sound encoded at -20 dB on a classical or jazz record mibht have been 75 dB when the mastering engineer heard it. It shifts the pivot points both for dynamic eQ and Dynamic volume, because the expected initial volumes are different. If you happen to only listen to music mastered during the loudness wars time period, there is almost certainly no portion of the disc except fade outs or fade ins that are as low as 20 dBFS. Not uncommon for all the sound to exist between 0dBFS (loud as possible) and -6 dBFS (2 notches lower) on average. At movie reference that would make everything constantly 99-105 dB in the mastering suite, and it's very unlikely they monitored that loud. More like 85 or 90 for averages, likely. Much music is encoded "louder" on disc than movies, which counterintutively means that the mixer/mastering engineer had a LOWER effective "reference level" when playing back, so that that barrage of near-max noise doesn't make him unable to hear the cymbals on the next album he's mastering that day. That's why Audyssey implemented offsets for the dynamic EQ and Dynamic volume processes. My receiver predates those, so I use a separate output to play music and reduced the level for that receiver input by 10 dB to lessen the effect of DynEQ and DynVol on music. Works well. But because there is no standard, there's no one-offset-perfectly-fits-all-music number you can use. I like the fuller bass of DynEQ, but find bloated bass very unattractive, so I keep my source levels low enough that I'm probably undercorrecting much of the time. That's okay with me. Better is better, I don't have to get "perfect". Plus, the whole "reference" concept is a little less applicable to music, where you know you are mixing and mastering for a wide variety of playback from crappy in-ears to cars to boomboxes to finely tuned stereos. "Portability" becomes important - your music needs to work on every playback device reasonably well, even if it could be more perfect if you had a known playback setting.
Plus after somebody spends weeks mixing a complex pop or rock record, they send it off to a different person who uses different equipment to "master" it so that it no longer sounds exactly like the mixer's hard work anyway. Who's vision do you want to recreate? It starts to get murky . . .