Originally Posted by 3ll3d00d
I think adjusting the overall volume level down (and beq to bring the ulf back) seems likely to be a system specific change and suggests that looking at how that side of the system is configured could be beneficial. On the other hand, it might just mean one has much more sub capability than mains.
I agree, but looking at my case in particular, I don't think it explains why I can't listen to to TIH at my normal levels without my ears hurting. I have an ~8dB house curve, so I do have my subs cranked pretty good. My subs/Crowsons are certainly very capable, but I can and do max them out with the big bass flicks at my normal levels. My mains, on the other hand, never even come close to breaking a sweat, but a lack of room treatments become my limitations there. Perhaps
can test this one since his system seems to check all the boxes on capabilities, running his bass really hot, and room treatments that allow him to listen at reference. In this particular mix, I really think it just comes down to the 40Hz+ part of the track is just really loud, and it puts a cap on how loud one can watch it comfortably, and if one turns it down below their "normal" the <40Hz range ends up lower than normal. I'll post some graphs below to illustrate.
Originally Posted by brahman12
This is quite interesting. I listen to movies loudly compared to a lot of folks on AVS. For the life of me, I don't know how so many people are watching at -20 or -15 from zero and getting powerful dynamics and impact when watching at those levels.
The only thing that keeps me from watching every movie at or slightly above reference is the highs on so many tracks become ear-splittingly unbearable. Never complain about lows or mids in a track....it's those darn highs that hurt.
I feel exactly the same way. The highs are (almost) always what make me turn it down as well. There are a few exceptions, and A Quiet Place is probably the best one I can think of, but the vast majority of the time, I'm turning it up as high as I can without the highs killing my ears. The low bass (<40Hz) is almost never a deterrent to turning it up.
Here are a couple charts comparing some of the "normal" tracks (Ready Player One, Tomb Raider, Justice League) with two of the familiar hot tracks (Dunkirk and The Incredible Hulk). Note that on these charts the legend says filtered but there are no filters entered; I just wanted it to show the solid lines. The first chart is the familiar 1-160Hz PvA:
Notice how the peak line is very similar in all of them in the 20-40Hz range falling in that -15dB to -20dB band, and of course Hulk being full-bandwidth it stays in the band <20Hz. IMO that band is the sweet spot for that <40Hz bass, and that is a big reason why we love these mixes. Note that I'm really only looking at the peak line; the average line will tell a similar story, but Tomb Raider shows a big difference in the average line between 20Hz-40Hz even though it is similar to the other mixes in that area on the peak line.
As we go above 40Hz into the mid bass and high bass, Dunkirk and Hulk start to pull away from the rest of the pack and we start to see that they are louder than the other mixes. Dunkirk in particular is just an abomination. The shape of the curve is really strange, like someone let their kid into the mixing studio and he was playing with the sliders.
Now here's a second chart where we'll look at 160-3750Hz:
It's somewhat difficult to compare because there's no smoothing on the graph, but it still tells the story pretty well. Dunkirk and Hulk continue to be significantly louder than the rest of the pack, the three normals stay pretty consistent, and Dunkirk in particular is all over the place. That bump in Dunkirk between 2-3kHz is probably a major reason why it's so harsh.
Now I'll add the suggested 5dB negative gains to Dunkirk and Hulk:
Dunkirk and Hulk become much more in-line with the rest of the pack. Dunkirk still has it's strange curve that we can't do anything about short of doing a full EQ of it, so it's still a bit harsh, but tolerable.
Now let's look at the standard 1-160Hz graph with these adjustments:
Above 40Hz, Dunkirk and Hulk fall in closer to the pack as we saw up higher, and Dunkirk is still all over the place to some extent. The problem is when we now look <40Hz. Dunkirk and Hulk have dropped out of that sweet spot -15dB to -20dB band down into the -20dB to -25dB band.
Hopefully this illustrates my line of thinking on this, in that knowing what kind of MV adjustment the overall mix dictates can give me valuable information as far as tuning my BassEQ design around it. If I know a particular mix dictates a positive or negative MV adjustment, I can adjust my target accordingly, so that I'm not shooting at a moving target.