Originally Posted by Josh Z
NBC as usual sucks for technical presentation. The picture was just about the worst HD I've ever seen, looking softer than some VHS tapes I own.
The 5.1 audio was also awful. The dialogue was so low I had to crank my volume about 15 db higher than normal, which then nearly shook my room apart when the 3-6 Mafia started performing.
I suspect the grainy picture was intentional and "artistic" on the part of Sorkin and Schlamme. Personally I'm with you and can't see how a super-sharp "West Wing" HD clarity could have hurt, but this show is darker and reminds me more of "Sports Night". I'll give it a few more weeks, and I suspect I'll get used to the look and feel.
As far as audio, NBC shows in general have been about 15db below where they should be ever since they started with 5.1 in time for the 2004 Athens Olympics. I've complained to NBC here in LA but to no avail. There's been plenty of discussion about the very low level of audio on all NBC shows, but apparently the NBC engineers believe they have it right.
Personally, I'm with you and feel strongly that it greatly detracts from the audio quality when you have to turn the volume up in order to hear what they're saying. The dynamic range of the audio originally recorded at such a low level really ruins the fidelity when you turn the volume up to what might be considered "normal". Just dreadful, and has been for 2 years now.
I mark NBC shows at around -18db to -22db (on my EQ), while CBS shows are at around 0db to -4db and ABC shows are at around -2db to -6db. HBO and SHO are both at around -2db. Like night and day, NBC being unbelievably lower. And yet they continue to insist they've got it right (Dolby values and all). I don't know what they're listening to, but it doesn't sound good to me and turning the volume up just makes it harsh and intense and loud.