Dynamic range compression on recent Disney releases - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 24 Old 08-08-2018, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Dynamic range compression on recent Disney releases

I read Ralph Potts excellent review of the new Avengers movie and in that review he put his finger on something that I had noticed, albeit subliminally, when I had previously watched Thor:Ragnarok. I had thought there was an issue with my audio system as the volume was very low and there was limited deep bass.

Reading some more past Disney reviews, it seems there is a pattern here and it had been going on for a while. I see complaints on people who bought The Last Jedi. I couldn't stand that movie and don't plan to watch it ever again so I dodged the bullet on that one.

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post #2 of 24 Old 08-09-2018, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nebrunner View Post
I read Ralph Potts excellent review of the new Avengers movie and in that review he put his finger on something that I had noticed, albeit subliminally, when I had previously watched Thor:Ragnarok. I had thought there was an issue with my audio system as the volume was very low and there was limited deep bass. Reading some more past Disney reviews, it seems there is a pattern here and it had been going on for a while. I see complaints on people who bought The Last Jedi. I couldn't stand that movie and don't plan to watch it ever again so I dodged the bullet on that one.
Before we go down yet another path to beat another dead horse, I think it's important to remember that there are two separate issues at play with Disney releases (that only sometimes overlap). They shouldn't be conflated because one is a serious problem while the other is just inconvenient:

1. Reduced dynamic range - Solution: can only be fixed by Disney at the source
2. Reduced volume - Solution: turn it up louder

There have been many other threads on this topic, many change.org petitions, etc. since Tron Legacy, IIRC. If Disney hasn't gotten the memo by now, they never will.
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post #3 of 24 Old 08-09-2018, 05:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanddrews View Post
Before we go down yet another path to beat another dead horse, I think it's important to remember that there are two separate issues at play with Disney releases (that only sometimes overlap). They shouldn't be conflated because one is a serious problem while the other is just inconvenient:

1. Reduced dynamic range - Solution: can only be fixed by Disney at the source
2. Reduced volume - Solution: turn it up louder

There have been many other threads on this topic, many change.org petitions, etc. since Tron Legacy, IIRC. If Disney hasn't gotten the memo by now, they never will.

Nathan,
This is an interesting point and something that comes up on other forums where the conversation is much less about theater rooms ,building, gear etc and more about the films be it the film itself or the home media. Do the studios read or consider any of the conversations on internet forums ? A little wading usually allows one to see that there are many valid concerns .


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post #4 of 24 Old 08-09-2018, 06:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I never knew there was an issue with the Tron Legacy soundtrack. I own that as well and my copy seems fine.

Good point about there being a second issue with the overall mastering volume. You are correct and mine is low as well. To me, that is not very concerning as I can simply turn the volume up.

Glad that there are petitions out to Disney about this, if their current trajectory continues they will wind up owning everything and then we will really need them to get this fixed.

I did some searches and didn't find much about this but I did find a conversation on bluray.com, which has somewhat of a different user base than AVS. There they surmised that Disney was doing this on purpose in order to cater to soundbar owners. That thread turned funny when a soundbar owner chimed in and said that his Thor:Ragnarok disc sounded terrible on his soundbar.

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post #5 of 24 Old 08-09-2018, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by nebrunner View Post
I never knew there was an issue with the Tron Legacy soundtrack. I own that as well and my copy seems fine.
Several of the surround tracks clip, but the stereo track does not. Due to Tron Legacy's otherwise AMAZING effects and score combined with the very style of the audio, it is easy to dismiss as intentional, but the non-clipped stereo track proves that it is an error. You don't know what you're missing until you hear it (er, or don't).
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post #6 of 24 Old 08-13-2018, 08:38 AM
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I've played a few Marvel DVDs on my high-end car audio system with sub and the audio there is fine. The Blu-Rays are another story, past a certain point. I'm not sure in the slightest what is going on with their mixing goals, but I can tell you that the first few MCU films were handled by Skywalker Sound and now they only do the sound design for all MCU films (Disney also has them doing this for pretty much every film that comes to them from somewhere else, with a few exceptions.), while Disney handles the mixes at their DDSS facilities, sometimes using Skywalker Sound personnel.
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post #7 of 24 Old 08-19-2018, 04:27 AM
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Turning up the volume is not a solution, it is part of their problem.

The issue affects all recent Disney releases from all the affiliates. The majortiy of Marvel phase 1 and 2 releases are fine. Deadpool 1 is somewhat down, as is Guardians 2. Since Last Jedi, Thor Ragnarok and Black Panther are currently some of the worst offenders. Dynamic compression is one problem, Volume is the other, both are Disney's fault and they are not listening to the complaints.

I watch the vast majority of my films, which I regard as correctly mixed @ -32dB. Hot mixes get lower to -34 to -36dB. All the films mentioned require -24dB or higher. This is a 10dB difference, ie twice the volume and the power to achieve the same level. Not some insignificant issue, and not one everyone can correct. I can I have good degree of power on tap as a number of other do, a lot do not, so having to push the equipment that high can causes issues.

Likely incoming problem discs are
Deadpool 2
Avengers Ultron (possibly already mentioned, not released yet for us)
Solo
Ant man and Wasp
Incredibles 2

You could blame them for trying to push UHD discs, however the Atmos tracks there seem to indicate the same issues. Perhaps they just prefer if you saw it at the Cinema.
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post #8 of 24 Old 08-19-2018, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanddrews View Post
Before we go down yet another path to beat another dead horse, I think it's important to remember that there are two separate issues at play with Disney releases (that only sometimes overlap). They shouldn't be conflated because one is a serious problem while the other is just inconvenient:

1. Reduced dynamic range - Solution: can only be fixed by Disney at the source
2. Reduced volume - Solution: turn it up louder

There have been many other threads on this topic, many change.org petitions, etc. since Tron Legacy, IIRC. If Disney hasn't gotten the memo by now, they never will.
It's not beating a dead horse as long as new movies keep being released with these issues. And you're missing the two big problems:

1) reduced dynamic range - solution can only be fixed at the source
2) reduced ULFE bass under 30hz - solution can only be fixed at source or with some sort of add-on equalization system. Increasing volume does not fix.

Problem 2 as you identified is not a problem. People can just turn up the volume.

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post #9 of 24 Old 08-19-2018, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Bookmark View Post
Turning up the volume is not a solution, it is part of their problem.

The issue affects all recent Disney releases from all the affiliates. The majortiy of Marvel phase 1 and 2 releases are fine. Deadpool 1 is somewhat down, as is Guardians 2. Since Last Jedi, Thor Ragnarok and Black Panther are currently some of the worst offenders. Dynamic compression is one problem, Volume is the other, both are Disney's fault and they are not listening to the complaints.

I watch the vast majority of my films, which I regard as correctly mixed @ -32dB. Hot mixes get lower to -34 to -36dB. All the films mentioned require -24dB or higher. This is a 10dB difference, ie twice the volume and the power to achieve the same level. Not some insignificant issue, and not one everyone can correct. I can I have good degree of power on tap as a number of other do, a lot do not, so having to push the equipment that high can causes issues.

Likely incoming problem discs are
Deadpool 2
Avengers Ultron (possibly already mentioned, not released yet for us)
Solo
Ant man and Wasp
Incredibles 2

You could blame them for trying to push UHD discs, however the Atmos tracks there seem to indicate the same issues. Perhaps they just prefer if you saw it at the Cinema.
Deadpool is from Fox and is not part of this problem.


Most people say Disney's issue started with Age of Ultron in 2015 so anything released before that should be fine.
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post #10 of 24 Old 08-19-2018, 05:37 PM
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This was posted on another forum. Haven't tried it but thought I'd share it.

“This was posted in one of the Facebook groups I'm in, I tested it with Thor Ragnarok and it sounds 100x better!!
"So I know alot of us have issues with the lack of dynamic range, low end extension, and use of heights (or lack thereof) in Disney Atmos tracks.
I got this idea from a guy in this group or the SVS one (couldn't find post to give credit) but he said to run the 4k disc in dolby digital 7.1 instead of the default Atmos 7.1.4.
I tried it myself with TLJ & Ragnorok, and "Lo and behold" theres much better low end extension and overall bass output. Surrounds and heights come to life immediately and the audio just has better dynamics and more overall "punch." Has anyone else tried this?"

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post #11 of 24 Old 08-20-2018, 02:16 AM
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You are quite right about Deadpool being a Fox release, I stand corrected, although of course it is on track to be part of the Disney stable shortly. That said Deadpool is down a bit on the volume of previous Marvel releases, but nowhere near the level of Ragnarok or Panther.

Since the Blu-rays for Ragnarok and Panther don't have Atmos, just a Dts HDMA, down coding to the Dts core amazingly still improves it. I am surprised. Dolby Plus tracks for both French and German are also lot better.

I have to say this is a bit worrying. Lossless should not be inferior to the lossy track.
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post #12 of 24 Old 08-20-2018, 03:04 AM
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Have you tried a playback at Reference Level, -20 dBFS RMS at 85 dBC per channel with an SPL meter?
I wouldn’t rely on autoEQ systems for setting reference level. YPAO on my AVR does not set reference level.
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post #13 of 24 Old 08-20-2018, 03:40 AM
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Yes, I redo the levels and distance after the YPAO for the adjustments with an external meter to within 0.5dB. I can make reference easily since I am overpowered for the room size. The levels I mentioned due to the neighbors complaints are not particularly relevant other than the difference between the normal usual level and the of problems ones.

I can't overcome dynamic issues only the volume one, but I shouldn't have to, this is a problem with Disney releases. As mentioned previously why is that Panther, I have yet to check Thor, Dts HDMA is so much lower than the embedded core Dts or the DD+ foreign language ones. Others have mentioned similar problems with the UHD Atmos. Of the other Dts HDMA, Atmos or Dts:X disc I have, this isn't a problem.
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post #14 of 24 Old 09-12-2018, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Solo is coming out soon. I haven't seen it yet, waiting to watch at home. I hope they get the audio issues worked out for this one!

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If I run these titles at reference they sound about as loud to me as they do in the theaters. I think the issue here is that Disney is releasing theatrical mixes on their discs while every other studio is doing near field home theater mixes that are designed to play back louder on systems people typically have at home.
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post #16 of 24 Old 10-16-2018, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nebrunner View Post
Solo is coming out soon. I haven't seen it yet, waiting to watch at home. I hope they get the audio issues worked out for this one!

Not even close...


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If I run these titles at reference they sound about as loud to me as they do in the theaters. I think the issue here is that Disney is releasing theatrical mixes on their discs while every other studio is doing near field home theater mixes that are designed to play back louder on systems people typically have at home.

The issue is not just low volume (which can be fixed by simply turning up the MV), but with a severely borked dynamic range (which cannot be fixed anywhere but at the source). I have heard that Disney is simply trying to reuse a downgraded mix made for TV speakers (or cell phone/tablet screens, etc), as opposed to offering a different mix for proper sound systems. Unfortunately, that leaves those of us with capable sound systems out in the cold....

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post #17 of 24 Old 11-10-2018, 10:58 PM
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Incredibles 2 makes the list of "disneyfied" tittles.

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post #18 of 24 Old 02-06-2019, 06:22 PM
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Marvel 4K BD Question

I’ve got all the Marvel films on 4K starting with Guardians 2 - Ant-Man & The Wasp. I’ve got all the pre Guardians 2 films on Blu-Ray. I’ve always said that I won’t upgrade my Blu-Rays to 4K except in rare cases of price or extreme quality boost. The sound on the 4K’s I have is so/so and down right quiet when compared to movies like Venom, Deadpool or The Predator. Anyone with the pre Guardians 2 films on 4K notice a real difference?


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post #19 of 24 Old 02-28-2019, 09:37 AM
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This topic piques my interest.

Compression exists throughout many stages of the recording processes. With the final mastering of music recordings, the louder the tracks, the more dynamic range compression exists. Dynamics are crushed so the whole CD/digital file is playing close to peak levels. This is thought to be more desired listening to music in a car or on headphones where there's competition with other noise. (It's also thought to increase sales). During playback, the user doesn't need to turn up the volume very high to have loud, in-your-face sound. Pick up any "remastered" music release, and you'll notice they're dynamically compressed compared to the original.

On the other hand, music titles that are less compressed sound "quieter" at first listen, require a raise on the volume control compared to their dynamically compressed cousins. But snare hits, cymbal crashes, guitar solos, and vocals all come out more dynamically at different moments, as the whole soundtrack have greater dynamic range throughout. These are the sought out editions that anyone who cares about sound quality seek out. They sound wonderful in the home but may present some challenges while driving with the sunroof open. Thus, there should always be two editions of an album (or compression technology enabled in each portable device). Loud, compressed music on a home system is fatiguing, brittle, often bassless, has fat vocals, and, well...not musical sounding.

I don't own any of the movie titles in question but I'll pick one up just to find out what the noise is about.

If these soundtracks appear lower because they offer more dynamic peaks throughout, I'm on board and I hope all releases follow suit. But if it's a dynamically squished soundtrack that's lowered erroneously then there should be a fix.

Home theaters - especially those that don't compete with other household noise - greatly benefit from soundtracks that deliver significant swings in dynamic range. Dynamic range compression - where most sounds have little difference in volume and present as loud all of the time - is not a practice that I want on film soundtracks.
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post #20 of 24 Old 03-08-2019, 09:48 AM
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Ralph Breaks the Internet was pretty punchy to me, especially on the low end. Much better than Infinity War, at least.

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post #21 of 24 Old 03-09-2019, 04:29 PM
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There is a Dolby Atmos and then there is a Disney Dolby Atmouse with super high bit rates filled with stream of vacuum mixed for TV speakers and soundbars.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanddrews View Post
Before we go down yet another path to beat another dead horse, I think it's important to remember that there are two separate issues at play with Disney releases (that only sometimes overlap). They shouldn't be conflated because one is a serious problem while the other is just inconvenient:

1. Reduced dynamic range - Solution: can only be fixed by Disney at the source
2. Reduced volume - Solution: turn it up louder

There have been many other threads on this topic, many change.org petitions, etc. since Tron Legacy, IIRC. If Disney hasn't gotten the memo by now, they never will.
3. Reduced bass except in certain scenes (Mary Poppins Returns, abysmal bass save the cannon shots).

Really, I think a shaming name may be required to get them some notice (even by Dolby themselves perhaps). I've come up with DOLBY SADMOS to refer to Disney's screwed up soundtracks.

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post #23 of 24 Old 04-15-2019, 01:05 PM
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3. Reduced bass except in certain scenes (Mary Poppins Returns, abysmal bass save the cannon shots).

Really, I think a shaming name may be required to get them some notice (even by Dolby themselves perhaps). I've come up with DOLBY SADMOS to refer to Disney's screwed up soundtracks.

I vote for Dolby Dismos (Disney + Atmos = dismal audio)



Mary Poppins was the latest and most severe offense to me, at least.


I think I could count with the number of fingers on one hand how many times my sub "moved" (or made any noise) during my entire viewing (implied that I didn't finish watching/suffering through the disc), by 20 mins mark I had to switch to another movie, any movie, to be instantly reassured that my sub wasn't broken, because it had been dead asleep up until that point, and not much activity after.


If a complete lack of LFE isn't enough (and I'm not advocating thunderous LFE for a light hearted family musical), the Atmos track is extremely flat in dynamic range. Bumped up the volume a lot, just to realize there's little change in volume dynamics, nothing gets louder, nothing gets quieter, just a really flat and thin wall of sound.


complete lack of LFE + super flat dynamic range = extremely boring (as, the opposite of lively sound) audio experience, that's a crying shame for an award winning (or just nominated?) musical.

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post #24 of 24 Old 04-15-2019, 01:34 PM
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I now figure putting Dolby's name in it isn't the best idea (don't want to tick them off too much). Disney's Sadmos works better for me and indicates all their lousy soundtracks not just the Atmos ones. Disney's Dismos sounds repetitive in the name. Disney's Crapmos could work too. If they start DTS:X usage at some point, Disney's CRAP:X or SAD:X could be a thing to go with it.

Of course, you could have Disney's Flatmos, Crapmos, Offmos, WTFmos, Trashmos, Rotmos, Jokemos, Sickmos and for DTS MasterHD 7.1 you could have: Crapster 7.1, Dumpster 7.1, Flatster 7.1....

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