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ABC audio issue or more?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Suddenly, about four weeks ago, ABC entertainment programing became an audio nightmare. Programs are simply too bad to tolerate. Here's my trouble shooting to date:
I checked all speaker/receive audio connections. Finding a bad center channel connection, I feared I had cooked my PSB Image C8 tweeter and replaced it. This seemed to slightly improve the issues, briefly.
I have also replaced all HDMI cables. Audio from iPods (direct USB input) and CD player (optical input) play fine. HDMI input is less than ideal. Blu-Ray, DirecTV (HDMI sources) are not performing perfectly, though most are OK. ABC programing is terrible.
Here's my hardware lineup:
Good PSB speakers that have performed well for years;
Pioneer VSX 920 Receiver (I wish I could have done better at the time I bought this - like going for an NAD or at least Marantz) but the Pioneer had performed decently until recently.
Directv HD DVR;
Philips Blu-Ray player.
A bit more on trouble-shooting: I suspected the center channel output in the Pioneer receiver could be failing, but switched the audio to just the main speakers, excluding the center channel, and the audio remained terrible. I moved onto the HDMI theory. Replacing the cable brought brief, partial relief, but the audio again deteriorated (especially on ABC programming).
Questions: Is this all just some ABC audio mess, for which I am pointlessly/needlessly troubleshooting my hardware?
Is this the mediocre Pioneer receiver dying a slow death (with ABC being the first bloody casualty, other HDMI content to follow, and stereo sources destine to be the last hold outs)?
post #2 of 30
What station are you listening to, and what's your source (over-the-air, DirecTV, Comcast, etc.)? Also, can you describe the problem? Distorted, no highs, no lows, over-compressed, etc.
post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 
The problem occurs while watching live or replaying from DVR ABC television programing. DirecTV is the source (via HDMI to the Pioneer receiver). Sound is raspy/staticy/fuzzy. Distortion is more extreme at volume peaks and in higher pitches. So the peak speaking inflections of a female voice are the worst.
post #4 of 30
That kind of audio issue would not be a result of what ABC sends to the affiliates. If it were, affiliate and viewers all over the country would be complaining, or at a minimum in a particular time zone (there are three ABC timezone feeds).

As you are the only complaint that has appeared, it is either you, or your local affiliate.

Listen to the audio at a friend's house, and/or, at a place that also has D* and listens via a stereo system (vs the TV speakers).

You need to eliminate, or verify, that the source is the problem. It certainly isn't ABC.
post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Van Alstine View Post

The problem occurs while watching live or replaying from DVR ABC television programing. DirecTV is the source (via HDMI to the Pioneer receiver). Sound is raspy/staticy/fuzzy. Distortion is more extreme at volume peaks and in higher pitches. So the peak speaking inflections of a female voice are the worst.

You'll need to be more specific when you say "ABC television" -- what's the local station you're watching? For example, WABC in New York, KTWO in Casper, Wyoming, etc. In order for you to get ABC programming, it has to flow through an affiliate before it ends up on DirecTV, and a lot of bad things can happen.
post #6 of 30
Not only that, but something that I forgot about, is that does the problem appear ALL the time from this affiliate, or only during ABC network programming, or when it isn't ABC network programming?
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
It is everything from my ABC affiliate; both network programing and local programming, such as the local news (WTEN).
post #8 of 30
Well, that eliminates ABC net as a problem. Still to be eliminated is your home system, the local affiliate, or D*.

As I suggested, you need to go elsewhere, where a high quality stereo system is set up that can tune the affiliate off-air as well as have D*. At a minimum, be able to tune the affiliate off-air. Speaking of that, can you tune them off-air?
post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 
" Speaking of that, can you tune them off-air?[/quote]
Thanks for the help, can you explain "tune them off-air"?
post #10 of 30
Many D* boxes allow you to add an antenna (internal "rabbit ear" or external) and tune the broadcast signal coming from the affiliate's transmission tower, i.e., off-air.

If not, you need to connect an antenna to your TV and have it scan the off-air frequencies, looking for the digital transmissions.
post #11 of 30
It has to be the signal either from the affiliate or how DirectTV inputs the affiliate's signal into their satellite system.

If it was anything to do with his electronics, it'd be on other channels/networks as well. It wouldn't select just one channel.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimP View Post

It has to be the signal either from the affiliate or how DirectTV inputs the affiliate's signal into their satellite system.

If it was anything to do with his electronics, it'd be on other channels/networks as well. It wouldn't select just one channel.
That's not necessarily true.

ABC is a 720p station. If he never watches other Disney properties like ESPN or Fox channels, he might only be encountering an issue on that one channel if his system is somehow reacting badly to it. For that matter, even watching ESPN might not trigger the problem since they have a different audio setup than ABC (or the affiliates).

Even if the above doesn't apply, it's always possible there's some inncorrect audio flag being sent out by the affiliate that only affects his particular combination and path of equipment. So, while technically it's the station's fault, there's possibly something he can change to avoid the issue.
post #13 of 30
Like what? biggrin.gif
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimP View Post

Like what? biggrin.gif
It could be anything, much like the way the DTS bomb only affects certain receivers - and some only when used within certain setups.

All I'm saying is that we can't merely discount his setup just because merely seems to only be related to one channel. Without knowing the specific channel, we can't account or discount the role it plays.

Discounting a theory merely because it doesn't logically fall into your result is bad science. That the apple seemed to fall on Newton's head by itself doesn't negate the possibility of it being an issue with that particular apple. You need to test several apples from several trees (and maybe some oranges, too) in order to confirm something is affecting them all equally. Otherwise, it could have just as easily been the work of an irrate squirrel.
Edited by NetworkTV - 2/16/13 at 8:24am
post #15 of 30
I think you're trying to make more out of it than necessary.

If it only happens on one channel, it's very unlikely to be his equipment.
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Van Alstine View Post

Suddenly, about four weeks ago, ABC entertainment programing became an audio nightmare. Programs are simply too bad to tolerate. Here's my trouble shooting to date:
I checked all speaker/receive audio connections. Finding a bad center channel connection, I feared I had cooked my PSB Image C8 tweeter and replaced it. This seemed to slightly improve the issues, briefly.
I have also replaced all HDMI cables. Audio from iPods (direct USB input) and CD player (optical input) play fine. HDMI input is less than ideal. Blu-Ray, DirecTV (HDMI sources) are not performing perfectly, though most are OK. ABC programing is terrible.
Here's my hardware lineup:
Good PSB speakers that have performed well for years;
Pioneer VSX 920 Receiver (I wish I could have done better at the time I bought this - like going for an NAD or at least Marantz) but the Pioneer had performed decently until recently.
Directv HD DVR;
Philips Blu-Ray player.
A bit more on trouble-shooting: I suspected the center channel output in the Pioneer receiver could be failing, but switched the audio to just the main speakers, excluding the center channel, and the audio remained terrible. I moved onto the HDMI theory. Replacing the cable brought brief, partial relief, but the audio again deteriorated (especially on ABC programming).
Questions: Is this all just some ABC audio mess, for which I am pointlessly/needlessly troubleshooting my hardware?
Is this the mediocre Pioneer receiver dying a slow death (with ABC being the first bloody casualty, other HDMI content to follow, and stereo sources destine to be the last hold outs)?

I have TWC and have the local affiliate of WTEN. I have noticed the same issue with the audio on ABC, static mostly. Since the only show I watch on ABC is Modern Family, this has only been a minor annoyance. My guess the problem lies with WTEN.
post #17 of 30
I have this same issue. Static like a blown tweeter. It affects Elementary and Person of Interest. Extremely frustrating. Minnesota, on Comcast Cable.

The issue is not present on any other channel or source. With Jimmy Kimmel being SD even on the HD ABC channel, I'm assuming its a local affiliate problem.
post #18 of 30
Thread Starter 
I really think ABC national is part of the problem here. Since I posted this, I've done a ton of trouble shooting. I did (probably needlessly) replace some speaker components. I upgraded my receiver to a Denon 2113CI (big help with ABC audio problems and an altogether better AVR). My local ABC affiliate admitted they were having audio problems. ABC and its locals are trying to deal with audio. It's a though spot. They are trying to mix sound that will work decently through crappy 2" speakers in TVs, sound through "sound bars", sound through tiny plastic-case home theater systems, and through real AVRs with good speakers. Tough job.



since my earlier post, and upgrades to my system, ABC still remains a trouble spot. I believe ABC, and affiliates are in tinker mode, but not really talking about it much. Post upgrade, ABC sounded much better, cleaner, but really base heavy. Then, a few weeks later, the balance improved. Before this problem started, ABC audio was quite good: My wife's "guilty pleasure" Dancing WT Stars and My "Guilty Pleasure", Nashville, were among the best-sounding programs on air. All these months on, both now sound disappointing compared to other sources. Further, I have weird evidence that ABC is tweaking stuff. Dancing with the Stars uses "flash backs" to engage/remind the audience of the past week. During one week's show, the flashbacks were base-heavy, as had been an issue for a few weeks, while the new program content was better balanced.

Now, Center channel (dialog especially) remains disappointing. This is only on ABC content.
Dreamliner, you are in Minnesota and using cable. I am in NY and using Directv. Both of us have isolated the problem to ABC, yet clearly we are dealing with different local affiliates. I am inclined to believe this is an ABC issue. However, since they are a hugh corporate beast, they are likely to be working on this in-house and would likely not admit to any problem.
post #19 of 30

Here in Stockton I get ABC on OTA and Comcast cable. For years I have had an ABC center channel problem on some shows, often dramas in the 10:00 PM slot. On a show like Castle the dialog in the squad room plays second fiddle to the background noises and soundtrack bass laden music. It's definitely show specific, Nashville is fine.


Edited by Garrett Adams - 5/12/13 at 5:14pm
post #20 of 30
Thread Starter 
Interesting, Garrett.
Quote:
It's definitely show specific, Nashville is fine.
"I'm assuming its a local affiliate problem."(Dreamliner)
"My guess the problem lies with WTEN."(Weak knee willy)
It seems to be emerging that there is some audio problem here, but it is inconsistent and variable. Perhaps the problem is originating with ABC national, and local technicians have to deal with sound processing and broadcasting to their local markets. The locals may all be trying different solutions to the same original problems, yielding variable results. I'll see if I can get my local ABC tech to clarify.
post #21 of 30
Pick an upcoming ABC sow and I'll capture the network feed and extract the audio and I'll throw away the commercials and then create an AC-3 DD5.1 file @384 kbps and an MP3 stereo mix @ 320 kbps. The MP3 stereo mix will treat the surrounds as just stereo audio (which it is) and fold it in with the front and take the center and Lfe and mix them together in the center.

Then you can record the same show and compare the audio.

I do not watch ABC via the sat feed or via the local affiliate, other than Jimmy Kimmel and Nightline, via the affiliate. I never hear any audio issues with those two shows.
post #22 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

Pick an upcoming ABC sow and I'll capture the network feed and extract the audio and I'll throw away the commercials and then create an AC-3 DD5.1 file @384 kbps and an MP3 stereo mix @ 320 kbps. The MP3 stereo mix will treat the surrounds as just stereo audio (which it is) and fold it in with the front and take the center and Lfe and mix them together in the center.

Then you can record the same show and compare the audio.

I do not watch ABC via the sat feed or via the local affiliate, other than Jimmy Kimmel and Nightline, via the affiliate. I never hear any audio issues with those two shows.

Thanks MrVideo. I understand what you are doing on your end (mostly). But, how will we be able to compare the audio?
Regarding picking a show, How about Dancing With the Stars (Monday)?
Thanks again.
post #23 of 30
Thread Starter 
I see there is a very similar discussion here:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1434976/abc-primetime-audio
post #24 of 30
Dancing with the Stars is a unique situation where I can capture not only the ABC network feed, but the feed from LA->NY from the CBS studio.where the show is actually produced. I'll have to capture the LA-NY audio first and then the east coast ABC net feed.

As for comparing the audio, the MP3 file might be a little easier as you could throw it on a CD and play it via your DVD player, or if you have streaming capability, you can do it that way. As for the AC3 file, that will probably require an optical connection between your PeeCee and your stereo system.

Because the CBS teleport center in Hollywood does the feeding, the audio (IIRC, as I do not watch that show) will be Dolby-E encoded. And yes, I can tear that apart into the 6 separate audio channels.

Because the show is two hours, that would make for a rather large audio file, so I will more than likely only be able to put up a portion of the show. If there is a portion of the show that you think has a problem, let me know what that is and I can make that portion available.

As for what I'll be doing, I have some programs on the PeeCee that extracts the audio from the transport stream which creates the 6 separate mono wave files for conversion into a DD5.1 AC3 file. For the MP3 mix, the same program will be used to create three stereo wave files for use in the audio editing program. The audio editing program will then be used to create te MP3 file.
post #25 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks MrVideo.
Just a segment of the show should be enough to shed light on this (no need to deal with the full 2 hours).
The MP3 file should be easy to deal with. I should also be able to stream the AC3 file via iTunes from my iMac, using AirPlay to my Denon 2113 CI AVR.
Thanks again. This should be enlightening.
post #26 of 30
Interesting discussion. For the most part, OTA audio here in the Bay Area has been fine on the 4 major networks. Occasional audio issues but by and large the audio has sounded just fine. Some shows have a more defined 5.1 track than others but it sounds to me that's more of the way the show was/is produced than anything else. Always clear and well defined with no muddying at all.
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Van Alstine View Post

Thanks MrVideo.
Just a segment of the show should be enough to shed light on this

As you are watching, make notes as to what you think are problem areas, so that I can pull audio from what you consider the worst area.
post #28 of 30
I just discovered there are two threads about ABC audio.

Can a moderator either join these or make a note in this ine and then lock it (as this is the newer of the two)?

The originating studio to ABC NY feed has been captured. The ABC east feed is being captured at the moment.

I suspect that the sat feed is a backup to a fiber connection and is the feed to Canada.
post #29 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks MrVideo.
I found the other thread, too, a couple days ago. (http://www.avsforum.com/t/1434976/abc-primetime-audio) Would make sense to merge them. In fact, if I had found the earlier thread initially, I would have posted to it, rather than start this thread.
Thanks for capturing the audio. I found the entire DWTS program to be equally poor in quality. If you want to look at one segment, I'd suggest that from about 8:20 pm EST to 8:35.
post #30 of 30
I hope you mean 8:20 EDT. I never use the middle letter, as it gets misused a lot.

In any event, about 20-25 minutes after the start of the program.

I have both feeds captured, so I'll get to it as soon as I can. Gotta get some sleep at some point. biggrin.gif
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