Originally Posted by casino187
I'm sorry if this is in the wrong forum.
Does anyone else have the problem while watching a movie? During the music/action scenes the speakers will be real loud, but when people are talking I always have to turn it up to hear them. I've also noticed this on other people's setup.
I'm not sure if it is the DVD, DVD player, speakers, or it's normal.
What you are experiencing is the feature of digital audio which extended the dynamic range? Basically, movies are mixed to be played at a reference level which is probably too loud for most people at home especially if you have kids in bed. Dynamic range on most DVD's (and players) nowadays is greater than 90-100dB (ratio of the loudest sound to the quietest sound). At reference levels, the dialog is understandable and the special effects are impressive. If you are trying to watch a movie in a quiet environment, such as after the kids go to bed, you'll turn the volume down. Since human hearing is not linear, the affect will be the dialog will be almost impossible to hear while the special affects is still quite loud.
Enter Dynamic Range Compression (DRC, night mode, midnight mode, etc.).. As many have mentioned, this feature actually compresses the whole audible range so that the loudest sound will be much closer in volume than the quietest sound. Basically, you are loosing what DD/DTS have worked so hard to give you. Although, I once detested the idea of DRC, I've come to appreciate it now that I have kids. It is one of the easiest ways to resolve the issues related to low volume movie watching. I don't think there is an easy way around it. I've got a "night mode" set for each of my inputs that turns on drc and adjusts various speaker levels to make the center louder than the rest. The DRC is not technically a separate soundtrack but a calculated alteration of the existing soundtrack. It should not sound brighter as a rule but one of the typical things that a "midnight mode" does beyond simple drc is that it attenuates the bass. It may also use a treble boost to enhance typical voice frequencies. Neither of these are part of the basic DRC. BTW, if you can't find DRC on your receiver, it can sometimes be found on DVD players as well.
No matter what, you have to face that this is not your ideal listening environment and live with it. I don't think an SPL meter will help you in this regard but having one is always good for adjusting your speakers in general.