Originally Posted by strawberryyogurt
Does anyone know if "direct" and/ or "pure direct" sound mode has the least amount of audio processing, and if so, which one has the least? When watching television, I'm used to hearing the commercials louder than the actual program.
Pure Direct does the least amount of processing, followed by Direct. I don't believe either of these will have any effect on dialog normalization, or on the relative volume of commercials to other programs. I'll have to watch more carefully, but I haven't actually seen any DIAL NORM messages going to or from commercials on TV. I've only seen a DIAL NORM -3 message with TV audio. Are you seeing any DIAL NORM messages when a show goes to commercial, between commercials, or when returning from the show from commercial? I've sent the question of exactly what the DIAL NORM messages mean to Pioneer customer support, but so far their customer support rep seem to be copying scripted information rather than having any actual knowledge of the feature.
Found both of these and the "loudness plus" seems like it's accessible only using the supplied remote, and not through the iControlAV. But if I turn off loudness plus setting doesn't that defeat the purpose of the THX setting. Maybe both the loudness plus and DRC effects were subtle but I didn't notice much difference to the audio when watching tv.
Loudness Plus, by THX's description, is supposed to only affect the surround speaker levels when listening below reference volume (0 dB on the master volume control). I have measured the relative sound level from the front channels with both Loudness Plus on and off (with the master volume below reference), and I can't detect any difference. I believe you are correct, that the Loudness Plus setting cannot be accessed via iControlAV. Loudness Plus is a newer addition to THX's optional features. Turning it off does not affect the rest of the THX features.
Hypothetically, if the audio engineer actually wanted the audio to be extremely soft during certain segments, and if dialnorm bumps up the volume level during these critical soft moments, doesn't that change the audio engineer's original intent?
Dialog normalization is one setting for an entire program. It does not adjust the volume up and down during the program. It only changes between programs. For example, when playing the feature movie on a Blu-ray disc, the dialog normalization adjusts the volume one time when you start playing the movie. If you switch to special feature on disc, then it may adjust the volume one time when you start playing that. If you go back to the movie, it will readjust one time to the movie's dialnorm level. Switch to a TV show, and again it will adjust the volume one time and then leave it alone. The purpose of it is to keep dialog from being extremely loud in one program, and extremely soft in the next, not to change the volume up and down during a program. It's purpose is not to equalize the volume of all dialog, only to keep the average level of dialog in one program, similar to the overall average dialog level in the next.
Same as above, isn't dialog normalization technically changing the audio engineer's original work by making adjustments to the audio output? If the soundtrack ( movie or even television ) has already been "mastered," any extra processing to the audio output (volumeup or down) defeats the original artist's intentions, doesn't it?
I'll 3rd that it does not. Dynamic range and all other aspects remain the same. You are effecting the material exactly the same way anytime that you have set the master volume control to anything other than 0 dB.
I am almost certain that either my Oppo BDP-103 or the SC-77 is not actually applying the Dialog Normalization adjustments when decoding bitstream codecs as there is a measurable difference in sound output, depending on which unit is decoding the codec, that happens to match the DIAL NORM value that is displayed on the Pioneer when it is doing the decoding. From what I've read about the subject a dialog normalization value is required to be encoded in the the metadata of Dolby Digital bitstreams, but I haven't seen any information stating a requirement for Dolby licensed decoders to actually do anything with the dialnorm metadata. So I'm not certain that all Dolby decoders actually adjust the volume in response to Dialog Normalization. Some info I've read in a manual for an older European Pioneer model suggested that it actually does not adjust the volume, but displays the Dialog Normalization offset so the user can elect to adjust the volume accordingly. However information from newer Pioneer manuals suggest that the volume is actually attenuated in response to Dialog Normalization, and of course the manual for the SC-77 doesn't mention it at all. I'm also confused that the DIAL NORM numbers I'm seeing are both positive and negative. There are multiple ways of referencing dialog normalization, but none that I'm aware of should produce both positive and negative numbers.