Hi. I realize it's been a while since this thread has been active. I was hoping dr.sound was still lurking because I want to ask him:
At what actual level was the near-field track mixed at? Another poster made mention of Audyssey Dynamic EQ. Dynamic EQ is a loudness correction method that requires the correct "reference level offset" to be specified to work properly. Audyssey generally advises using "reference level offset: 0" for all movies on the assumption that the sound tracks are mixed for 85 dB SPL. If the actual mix is done at a different level, than this offset must be adjusted accordingly.
I've only recently learned that mixes for DVD and Blu-ray are very often done at lower levels. While I understand the pragmatic reasons for reducing dynamics (even if I'd rather this not be done, at least for one of the audio tracks), I don't understand at all why these mixes are done at lower levels. Just about any surround sound AVR or processor is capable of providing the necessary gain. Most consumers will increase the volume if they can't hear the dialog. Unfortunately when releases are mixed at lower levels, the enthusiasts with reference level capable systems may end up playing them back too loud, and of course, those of us with Audyssey Dynamic EQ may be using too much loudness compensation resulting in excessive output of extreme lows and highs and surrounds that play out of balance with the front stage!
All whining aside, I thought Oz sounded great on my home system and am strongly considering buying it for its demo-ability despite the rather lame plot and casting. :) When I played it back on my system, I started at -5 (from cinema reference) and eventually backed it down to -10 as any high and many familiar sounds (i.e., doors opening and closing in the black and white scenes) sounded unrealistically loud. After settling into -10, I also switched my Dynamic EQ reference offset to -10. I was surprised at how much bass and dynamics still came through at this level, but I also couldn't help but wonder what might have been sacrificed with 10 dB less headroom.
So was the mixing done at 75 dB? Admittedly my system, as it is currently calibrated, sounds subjectively a bit brighter and (as a consequence) louder than I think it should. That's despite my having calibrated for a flat instantaneous response rather than a flat direct response. My speakers have high directivity horns, so I use a kind of X-curve (albeit a milder version) to target a flat instantaneous response, which is verified using windowed measurements. I expect the subjective balance will improve once my room is treated for its boundary problems.