Official Pioneer SC-75/77/79 Thread - Page 3 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #61 of 1257 Old 08-18-2013, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

Reviews would be nice smile.gif

I have a question for the new owners. do any of you play SACD's and have a player that can send DSD w/o converting to PCM first?

I want to know if the SC-77/79 can process DSD direct from a SACD, no conversion to PCM, when Pure Direct mode is selected.

It doesn't look like the SC-68 can do it, because I've tried with an Oppo 93 & a Pioneer 62, both sending DSD direct over HDMI and no dice...the 68 converts to PCM in Pure Direct mode. This is something I didn't try when I got it, and just getting around to testing.

I do, and I do. Oppo BDP-103 outputting DSD. With the SC-77 in Pure Direct mode, the character display shows DSD, but the DSD PCM indicator remains lit which is supposed to be indicating DSD to PCM conversion, so apparently no dice. The old Sony AVD-C70ES I have actually has a built in SACD player and supposedly processed DSD directly through its Class D amps. It still allowed individual channel level adjustment, which I've seen claimed as being impossible without conversion from DSD. If anyone is interested, this document details Sony's approach to Class D before they abandoned it in 2006 (iirc) : ES Series Receivers Technical Background.

I don't believe Pioneer has published any similar documents explaining their approach to Class D amplification, but I'd be very interesting in reading them if they did.

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post #62 of 1257 Old 08-18-2013, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by KC-Technerd View Post



The dialog normalization feature is not documented in the operators manual, but is automatically implemented on Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams. You'll sometimes see something like "DIAL NORM -4" flash on the display momentarily. This is supposed to help with the consistency of the volume of dialog. There is also an "ALC" or "Auto Level Control" function that is described on page 61 in the manual which will further automatically equalizes sound playback levels when selected. The other thing you may be able to do is set your TV to variable output level and "steady sound" or a similar function. This would be dependent on your TV having those features and it's ability to apply the "steady sound" function to the variable output.
This is a case where you might find the iControlAV app very handy. You can control most of the functions of the unit with it, without the need to see what is being displayed on the receiver itself, plus in the "Control" mode it will mirror what is being displayed on the receiver's character display on whatever device you are using the iControlAV app on.
The connector on the FM antenna simply slides onto the small center pin of the FM antenna jack on the receiver. Nothing is connected to the outer part (round silver part) of the jack.

I'll give the iControlAV and the audio features a test run later this afternoon/evening. But my initial concern after reading reviews in the apple store is that some people's previous pioneer model no longer is supported. Seeing as how I'm essentially looking for a "lifetime" proof receiver, i'm wary of pioneer abandonng the iControlAV feature. A remote will always work, but a store app might no longer be supported without warning. I'll continue to give the rceiver a go for a few more days, but the lack of on screen display really is a big hindrance. Anyone have any suggestion on a receiver with a superior on screen displayed if the receiver is hidden inside a closet?
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post #63 of 1257 Old 08-18-2013, 01:53 PM
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Unless you remove the App yourself once downloaded you will always have it and if you dock your iDevice to ITunes it will back up all that you have.
So far to date there is no such thing as future proof just ask the people that bought into the Integra 10.5 and yes I was one of them great AVR but far from future proof.
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post #64 of 1257 Old 08-18-2013, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strawberryyogurt View Post

I'll give the iControlAV and the audio features a test run later this afternoon/evening. But my initial concern after reading reviews in the apple store is that some people's previous pioneer model no longer is supported. Seeing as how I'm essentially looking for a "lifetime" proof receiver, i'm wary of pioneer abandonng the iControlAV feature. A remote will always work, but a store app might no longer be supported without warning. I'll continue to give the rceiver a go for a few more days, but the lack of on screen display really is a big hindrance. Anyone have any suggestion on a receiver with a superior on screen displayed if the receiver is hidden inside a closet?

Understand that when the people are complaining about their model being "no longer supported" they are talking about the newest app not supporting their old model receiver. For example: iControl AV 2013 does not support or work with the SC-67 from last year. iControlAV 2012 did, and still does work with the SC-67, and is still available from the app store for use with the 2012 models. iControlAV2 is still available for the models before that, and iControlAV is still available for the ones before that. When Pioneer comes out with the SC-8X models next year, there will most likely be an iControlAV 2014 app that has a few new functions. That app will mostly likely not be compatible with our SC-77s, but iControlAV 2013 will still be available and will still work with the SC-77. There will most likely be those who complain because iControlAV 2014 will not support the SC-75/77/79. I don't believe there is anything "lifetime" proof in home or personal electronics.

That being said, I believe the latest Sony receivers have a far superior on-screen GUI menu. Take a look at the video in this link http://www.audioholics.com/av-receiver-reviews/sony-str-da3700es-video for an example. Sorry, I'm not certain what the other manufacturers are doing for the video menu interface as this wasn't an important feature for me when I was shopping.

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post #65 of 1257 Old 08-18-2013, 03:34 PM
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Even though nothing is future proof, I am pleased that Pioneer is finally starting to release firmware updates to older models. Even though the 68 can't be considered old. I just noticed they updated the firmware for HTC. In the old days they wouldn't have done that. I hope that continues for 4 o5 years on this model.

I was crying when my son walked out with my SC-07 by the way. It is bigger and weighs more than this new one. But this sound is so amazing and I havent even ran MCACC. Everyone also has noticed a subtitle improvement on my Sony LED if that is possible. It's always been good but this seems extra good.
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post #66 of 1257 Old 08-19-2013, 09:15 PM
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I'm having a couple of issues with playing bitstreams from my Oppo BDP-103, and I'm not sure if the Oppo or the Pioneer is at fault. First, I'm getting different audio levels between LPCM output and Bitstream output by 4 dB, which matches the DIAL NORM +4 indication I'm getting on the SC-77's display. Bitstream (Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master) reads 4 dB higher on a SPL meter than they do if the Oppo is set to output LPCM over HDMI. I'm uncertain if the DIAL NORM +4 indicates that the dialog normalization metadata is 4dB above reference, or that it is increasing the volume by 4db to bring it to reference. I can find absolutely NOTHING in the operator's manual for the SC-77 regarding dialog normalization.

Secondly, on some Dolby TrueHD programs I'm getting static, pops or dropouts when delivered by bitstream to the SC-77. This is not occurring with DTS-HD Master, or if I set the Oppo to convert the Dolby TrueHD to LPCM. I have eliminated the HDMI cable as a possible culprit, but I'm not certain whether to blame the Oppo or the Pioneer.

Any thoughts on these items would be appreciated. Does anyone know of any documentation regarding the implementation of Dialog Normalization on the Pioneers that I'm missing, anyway to view the Dialog Normalization data other than the momentary indication on the display at the start of play, or any available settings regarding it?

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post #67 of 1257 Old 08-19-2013, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC-Technerd View Post

The dialog normalization feature is not documented in the operators manual, but is automatically implemented on Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams. You'll sometimes see something like "DIAL NORM -4" flash on the display momentarily. This is supposed to help with the consistency of the volume of dialog. There is also an "ALC" or "Auto Level Control" function that is described on page 61 in the manual which will further automatically equalizes sound playback levels when selected. The other thing you may be able to do is set your TV to variable output level and "steady sound" or a similar function. This would be dependent on your TV having those features and it's ability to apply the "steady sound" function to the variable output.
This is a case where you might find the iControlAV app very handy. You can control most of the functions of the unit with it, without the need to see what is being displayed on the receiver itself, plus in the "Control" mode it will mirror what is being displayed on the receiver's character display on whatever device you are using the iControlAV app on.
.

I was able to fiddle with the iControlAV application, and I'll say that it's pretty cool. If only Pioneer would have an onscreen display as colorful, and organized as the iControlAV. I guess having the app as a substitute for the limited, restricted current pioneer on screen display is an acceptable compromise.

But after a couple of days, my main concern is with the sound audio consistency, or whatever it is that the elite sc77 is doing to the audio. I checked out page 61 in the manual, but maybe I'm doing something wrong. Is there any way or is there any setting where the pioneer doesn't try to auto adjust the sound volume, and just leave it up to the original source. Watching tv without a receiver (as stated previously, this is my first ever receiver), the sound during he commercial breaks are always several decibels louder than the actual show. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the receiver is making the audio during commercials softer.

I also tried connecting my hdmi cable directly to the TV instead of through the receiver, and the sound seems better, or the sound level is more consistent. The volume doesn't seem to get forced up or down unnaturally.

Is there anyway to completely turn off the dialogue normalization feature? Is there anyway to turn off the dialogue normalization in dolby digital or the dts bitstream mode?

I'm wondering if the Denon 4250 receiver does the same or simply let's the "audio be" so to speak?
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post #68 of 1257 Old 08-19-2013, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strawberryyogurt View Post

But after a couple of days, my main concern is with the sound audio consistency, or whatever it is that the elite sc77 is doing to the audio. I checked out page 61 in the manual, but maybe I'm doing something wrong. Is there any way or is there any setting where the pioneer doesn't try to auto adjust the sound volume, and just leave it up to the original source. Watching tv without a receiver (as stated previously, this is my first ever receiver), the sound during he commercial breaks are always several decibels louder than the actual show. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the receiver is making the audio during commercials softer.

I also tried connecting my hdmi cable directly to the TV instead of through the receiver, and the sound seems better, or the sound level is more consistent. The volume doesn't seem to get forced up or down unnaturally.

Is there anyway to completely turn off the dialogue normalization feature? Is there anyway to turn off the dialogue normalization in dolby digital or the dts bitstream mode?

I'm trying to find out if there is, but I don't think the dialog normalization can be turned off. Actually, I'm not 100% sure it is turned on. The operator's manual doesn't mention it at all, but I believe it is supposed to be required on Dolby Digital and DTS decoders, and I thought everything now did it automatically, but it is either apparently not working in those decoders in my Oppo BDP-103, or in the SC-77, and I'm not sure which at the moment. The SC-77 does flash the DN info on the display, so at least I know it is recognizing it, but that doesn't confirm that it is applying it. The Dialog Normalization is encoded in the the original source bitstream, so it is a part of the original source.

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post #69 of 1257 Old 08-20-2013, 03:17 AM
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Dialog Norm is part of Dolby Digital, the receiver does nothing to it and can't be defeated. other than using Pioneer's ALC mode or THX Loudness Plus, sound variances are not the receiver at work but the source.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialnorm
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_7_2/feature-article-dialog-normalization-6-2000.html
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=72945
https://www.avsforum.com/t/1269862/turn-off-dialog-norm-on-my-onkyo/0_100

many people, myself included, have misinterpreted what it does.

here's 2 things, try the 1st one first since it would do the least "harm" -

1. go into the THX audio settings and try turning off Loudness Plus.
2. you can go into the audio parameters menu and select the DRC option, which is Off by default. apply some dynamic range compression to make loud sounds softer and soft sounds louder
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post #70 of 1257 Old 08-20-2013, 03:35 AM
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Dialog Norm

I found this description in the manual for the Anthem D2V prepro:

"Dialog Normalization:
Dolby Digital program material contains non-audio data which the processor uses to adjust playback level, when necessary, so volume variations between movies and programs are eliminated. Without Dialog Normalization, movies not encoded at standardardized levels for the dialog could lose dynamic range - higher levels can result in distorted peaks, lower levels can result in quiet sounds disappearing into the noise floor. Dialog Normalization also ensures that Dynamics control works as intended.

If the display reads "Dial Norm Offset -4.0 dB" at the start of a movie, it is indicating that the recorded level is higher than the standard by 4.0 dB - the playback of all channels is then automatically reduced by 4 dB."

(bold is my emphasis added)

so instead of causing a volume "problem", it helps maintain the proper volume balance to meet Dolby's standards. you wouldn't want to defeat it wink.gif

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post #71 of 1257 Old 08-20-2013, 06:48 AM
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Dialog normalization is a failed attempt at leveling playback volumes when switching between sources. It failed because it relies on the person doing the encoding to enter valid DN values, which rarely happens. Newer approaches such as Dolby Volume do a better job with this than dialog normalization.

While decoders always process dialnorm by lowering the volume by the amount of the offset, there is no consistency in how receivers report and/or compensate for dialnorm. Some report it as negative numbers while others show positives and some processors compensate by increasing the volume after the decoder has lowered it. Of course, AVR manuals rarely explain what is being done.
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post #72 of 1257 Old 08-20-2013, 07:11 AM
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SS9001,

Thank you for the info. I discovered this item quite by accident while attempting to set the audio delay on the BD input. I thought I would go through all the possible input variations in order verify correct A/V synchronization from my Oppo BDP-103 blu-ray player. While playing the A/V sync pattern from the Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark 2nd Edition I found that there was a noticeable volume decrease when I switched the HDMI audio option from bitstream to LPCM. Theoretically the volume output should be the same as the only difference is whether the bitstream is converted to PCM in the Oppo, or in the Pioneer (with dialog normalization being applied at the point of bitstream to PCM conversion). I verified that this volume decrease occurred on both DTS-HD Master and Dolby True HD sources. I then used the audio levels calibration section of the S&M disc with an SPL meter to measure the decrease at 4dB which happened to match the DIAL NORM +4dB indication that momentarily is shown on the Pioneer's display when audio playback begins on the S&M disc. I assumed that the DIAL NORM +4dB was indicating that the SC-77 was increasing volume by 4dB in response to the dialnorm metadata (metadata value at , so my reaction was that the BDP-103 was not applying dialog normalization when converting these bitstream codecs to LPCM. When I posted mention of this in the Oppo BDP-103 owner's thread, a very knowledgable Oppo beta tester suggested that it was actually the other way around, and that dialog normalization can only decrease the volume from reference level, which then pointed the finger back at the SC-77 as the culprit. I originally thought he was mistaken about dialog normalization only being able to decrease the volume from reference level, but after re-reading some articles on Dialog Normalization, I realized that he was absolutely correct. Since the metadata value can range only from 0 to -31, and at -31 no volume correction is applied, then volume correction can only be in the range of 0 (with metadata at -31) to -31 (with metadata at 0). He also noted that most blu-ray audio that has a volume adjustment encoded in the metadata has an adjustment of -4. On many Blu-ray discs I'm playing, I'm seeing DIAL NORM +4. So now I'm guessing that the +4 actually means the dialog level is 4dB above reference and the Pioneer should be reducing the volume 4dB (4dB louder with codec decoded in SC-77 than when codec decoded in BDP-103, finger back at SC-77 as being the one that is not applying dialnorm correction). What is even more confusing is that when playing back TV audio through the optical digital input, I'm often seeing a DIAL NORM -3 indication. So what are the + and - indicating? If these indicate positive and negative, what are the DIAL NORM numbers in reference to? Can't be in reference to the metadata reference value of -31, since the metadata numbers can't be less than -31 making a negative number impossible. Can't be the actual metadata value itself since it only has a range of 0 to -31 making positive numbers impossible.

I'm not overly concerned with having or not having dialog normalization, in that I HAVE to have it, or I HAVE to not have it, but I am very very curious why I'm getting the 4dB difference when theoretically there should be none, and I'm very very curious what the DIAL NORM indication are really telling me.

Brett

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post #73 of 1257 Old 08-20-2013, 08:54 AM
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^^
"I found that there was a noticeable volume decrease when I switched the HDMI audio option from bitstream to LPCM."

I have found that to be true using 2 Pioneer & 1 Oppo player. All 3 had lower volume when set to decode to PCM. And this is with both the Pioneer SC-68 and the SC-09TX I still have. It didn't matter which receiver, which player or which encoded format - sending as PCM always results in a lower overall volume level. Even though I have a RatShack meter, I never tried to quantify the difference, but subjectively it seems like several dB, enough to notice wink.gif When I do send as PCM, I just increase the volume 2-3 dB smile.gif

Don't know why this occurs, just that it does.
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post #74 of 1257 Old 08-20-2013, 03:29 PM
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I ordered my SC-77 today! Looking forward to joining the ranks of SC-77 users on Thursday! I've already read the manual, and yes, I have lots of things to try, and (probably) lots of questions for you guys! Go easy... I'm upgrading from a Lexicon DC-2. So yes, I'm impressed with the simple, new technologies in the SC-77. Audio AND video through only ONE cable !?!? :-)
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post #75 of 1257 Old 08-20-2013, 03:48 PM
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Anyone here that has an SC-75/77/79, and the Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark 2nd Edition Blu-ray disc that would be willing to do a short listening test on a portion of that disc for me? Please PM me if you'd be willing. Thanks!

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post #76 of 1257 Old 08-20-2013, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

^^
"I found that there was a noticeable volume decrease when I switched the HDMI audio option from bitstream to LPCM."

I have found that to be true using 2 Pioneer & 1 Oppo player. All 3 had lower volume when set to decode to PCM. And this is with both the Pioneer SC-68 and the SC-09TX I still have. It didn't matter which receiver, which player or which encoded format - sending as PCM always results in a lower overall volume level. Even though I have a RatShack meter, I never tried to quantify the difference, but subjectively it seems like several dB, enough to notice wink.gif When I do send as PCM, I just increase the volume 2-3 dB smile.gif

Don't know why this occurs, just that it does.

I found this in the manual for a Pioneer VSX-AX3-S/K (older European model). It certainly makes it sound like Pioneer just uses the Dialog Normalization as an advisory, not as an adjustment.

Dialog Normalization
When a Dolby Digital soundtrack is played back the Dialog Normalization function of the receiver activates automatically. Dialog Normalization is a Dolby Digital function that establishes the average dialog level for the program source being played. If the receiver’s level does not match the average dialog level, first you see “DIAL NORM” and “OFFSET +4 dB” (as an example) appear in the receiver’s display. In this example, the number +4 dB is the difference between the receiver’s gain structure and the Dolby Digital average dialog level. To match the average dialog level, subtract or add the OFFSET level. For example, if the OFFSET level is +4 dB, the amplifier’s output is 4 dB over the average recorded level.

However this statement in the Pioneer Elite SC-09TX manual makes it sound like it actually performs the adjustment.

"Another feature, called Dialog Normalization, attenuates programs based on the average level of dialog in a program relative to its peak level (also known as Dialnorm) in order to achieve uniform playback level."

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post #77 of 1257 Old 08-22-2013, 02:48 AM
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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.
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Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

Dialog Norm is part of Dolby Digital, the receiver does nothing to it and can't be defeated. other than using Pioneer's ALC mode or THX Loudness Plus, sound variances are not the receiver at work but the source.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialnorm
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_7_2/feature-article-dialog-normalization-6-2000.html
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=72945
https://www.avsforum.com/t/1269862/turn-off-dialog-norm-on-my-onkyo/0_100

many people, myself included, have misinterpreted what it does.

here's 2 things, try the 1st one first since it would do the least "harm" -

1. go into the THX audio settings and try turning off Loudness Plus.
2. you can go into the audio parameters menu and select the DRC option, which is Off by default. apply some dynamic range compression to make loud sounds softer and soft sounds louder

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.
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Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

Dialog Norm

I found this description in the manual for the Anthem D2V prepro:

"Dialog Normalization:
Dolby Digital program material contains non-audio data which the processor uses to adjust playback level, when necessary, so volume variations between movies and programs are eliminated. Without Dialog Normalization, movies not encoded at standardardized levels for the dialog could lose dynamic range - higher levels can result in distorted peaks, lower levels can result in quiet sounds disappearing into the noise floor. Dialog Normalization also ensures that Dynamics control works as intended.

If the display reads "Dial Norm Offset -4.0 dB" at the start of a movie, it is indicating that the recorded level is higher than the standard by 4.0 dB - the playback of all channels is then automatically reduced by 4 dB."

(bold is my emphasis added)

so instead of causing a volume "problem", it helps maintain the proper volume balance to meet Dolby's standards. you wouldn't want to defeat it wink.gif

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?
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Originally Posted by KC-Technerd View Post

I found this in the manual for a Pioneer VSX-AX3-S/K (older European model). It certainly makes it sound like Pioneer just uses the Dialog Normalization as an advisory, not as an adjustment.

Dialog Normalization
When a Dolby Digital soundtrack is played back the Dialog Normalization function of the receiver activates automatically. Dialog Normalization is a Dolby Digital function that establishes the average dialog level for the program source being played. If the receiver’s level does not match the average dialog level, first you see “DIAL NORM” and “OFFSET +4 dB” (as an example) appear in the receiver’s display. In this example, the number +4 doB is the difference between the receiver’s gain structure and the Dolby Digital average dialog level. To match the average dialog level, subtract or add the OFFSET level. For example, if the OFFSET level is +4 dB, the amplifier’s output is 4 dB over the average recorded level.

However this statement in the Pioneer Elite SC-09TX manual makes it sound like it actually performs the adjustment.

"Another feature, called Dialog Normalization, attenuates programs based on the average level of dialog in a program relative to its peak level (also known as Dialnorm) in order to achieve uniform playback level."

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 have been reading the denon 4520 thread, and the amount of issues and concerns has me thinking keeping the pioneer sc77 to be best. Plus the pioneer is about $500 - $600 dollars cheaper after taxes.
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post #78 of 1257 Old 08-22-2013, 03:01 AM
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Pure Direct has the least, shutting off MCACC EQ, Phase Control and Standing Wave Filters, any other digital processing. For analog, it's pure analog, no analog>digital>analog conversions. There is one form of "processing" still added: the preamp level adjustments made during calibration (ch levels). If you want to get down to true bypass, you can go into MCACC and select one of the non-calibrated presets which will have all channel levels set to their default 0.0 dB, no boosts or cuts.

Direct has processing, including MCACC, Phase Control, Standing Wave Filter. But it will give you exactly what's on a disc. 5.1 stays 5.1 for example, with no PLIIx, NeoX, THX post decode surround processing. It would be straight Dolby Digital, straight TrueHD, straight DTS-MA, and not creating 7.1 or 9.1 from 5.1. All of MCACC is used: EQ, ch levels, delays, distances. you can, however, for into presets and change from Symmetry to Front Aligned, obviously.

Auto Surround is the starting place to select post decode processing, PLIIx, Neo, Pioneer's ALC or Optimum. think of Auto Surround as a file cabinet containing all the processing modes and when you select a mode, you're opening its drawer and pulling the file out smile.gif

Hope this helps.
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strawberryyogurt - dialnorm adjustments simply lower the overall volume a few dB. That no more alters the original work than does listening at a level other than reference. And, you can always undo the DN adjustment by simply turning up the master volume by the amount the decoder lowered it.

Also, dialnorm never increases the volume. It can only lower it. Some processors may bump the volume back up, but only by the amount the decoder lowered it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strawberryyogurt View Post

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?....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?

no & no
2nd BIslander's comment.

what you described are effects of using things like dynamic range compression, Dolby Volume or Audyssey's Dynamic Volume.

if you went into the Pioneer audio parameters menu and tweaked with the DRC setting (default is Off), that would make soft passages louder & loud passages softer so they all tend to sound the same level, flattening out the volume differences. this would be like how modern pop/rock/rap music is compressed so much that all sounds, vocals, instruments, songs and parts are at the same volume - no peaks no valleys, just squished & loud.
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post #81 of 1257 Old 08-22-2013, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by strawberryyogurt View Post

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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^^
I see a rising new Pioneer Guru in the making wink.gifcool.gif
keep it coming.

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^ LOL. I like to know what my gadgets are doing.

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From everything I've seen, the decoders must apply the dialnorm offset. The fact that you get different levels when decoding in the player and receiver can still be explained. For example, the Pioneer may boost the level to offset the dialnorm reduction when it does the decoding while the player makes no such compensating adjustment. Also, some players such as the PS3 are known to output PCM a few dB lower than a bitstream decoded by a processor.

As for positive numbers, the receiver may be reporting that it has done its own boost or it may be suggesting that user needs to increase the volume by that amount to undo the dialnorm reduction. It's hard to know since I have yet to see a manual that is clear on the subject.

There's a thread at blu-ray.com with an extensive discussion of dialnorm. Lots of it is about the specific offsets of various movies. However, if you search the thread for Pioneer, there are several posts about what the Pioneer display numbers mean (or don't mean).

http://fhttp://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=121087orum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=121087
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

From everything I've seen, the decoders must apply the dialnorm offset. The fact that you get different levels when decoding in the player and receiver can still be explained. For example, the Pioneer may boost the level to offset the dialnorm reduction when it does the decoding while the player makes no such compensating adjustment. Also, some players such as the PS3 are known to output PCM a few dB lower than a bitstream decoded by a processor.

So, you're saying that rather than not applying the offset, it may be applying the offset, then offsetting it again by an equal and opposite amount? Isn't that the same thing as not applying it in the first place? I've certainly seen it implied many times that decoders must apply the dialnorm offset, but I've never seen it specifically stated. Again, the only mandate that I have seen specifically stated for dialog normalization is that the metadata for it must be included in the encoding process.
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As for positive numbers, the receiver may be reporting that it has done its own boost or it may be suggesting that user needs to increase the volume by that amount to undo the dialnorm reduction. It's hard to know since I have yet to see a manual that is clear on the subject.

I would understand seeing DIAL NORM messages with positive numbers, or seeing DIAL NORM messages with negative numbers, but I don't understand getting both positive and negative numbers. Looking through thread again that you linked I'm wondering if it may be referencing the Dolby encoder default of -27, rather than -31. I'll have to do some more thinking about that. It might explain the 4dB difference that I'm measuring, and the positive and negative numbers.
Quote:
There's a thread at blu-ray.com with an extensive discussion of dialnorm. Lots of it is about the specific offsets of various movies. However, if you search the thread for Pioneer, there are several posts about what the Pioneer display numbers mean (or don't mean).

http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=121087orum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=121087

The original posts on that thread are one of my primary references for understanding Dialog Normalization. I'll have to do the search as you suggested for the Pioneer information. Thanks for suggesting that!

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post #86 of 1257 Old 08-22-2013, 08:08 PM
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Ok. I think I've got it now. Apparently the DIAL NORM number indicated on the Pioneer SC-77 is relative to the -27dB level (the default dialnorm metadata value for Dolby encoders), and the Pioneer is making it's adjustments relative to that level. For example, DIAL NORM +4 is indicating that the metadata value is -31, and the Pioneer is adjusting that by adding 4dB to the volume level. No DIAL NORM indication means that the Pioneer is making no adjustment to the volume, and a DIAL NORM -2 indicates that the Pioneer is reducing the volume 2dB. This is the equivalent to setting everything relative to the -31dB level, then attenuating it by 4dB. Being a THX certified receiver, it also uses this same method for DTS bitstreams.

I believe the reason I'm getting the 4dB difference when the Oppo decodes the bitstream codec into LPCM is because it is adjusting everything (Dolby and DTS) relative to the -31 metadata value rather than the -27 value. The 4dB difference is consistent regardless of the DIAL NORM number indicated.

I confirmed using the chart at this forum post: Understanding Dialog Normalization Post #2 that Star Trek 2009 indicated no DIAL NORM value on the SC-77 (vs. -4dB on the chart), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Scull - DIAL NORM -2 (vs. -6 on the chart), and Amelia - DIAL NORM +4 (vs. 0dB on the chart). So in all cases the SC-77 is reporting a DIAL NORM number 4 dB greater than the known dialog normalization offset (relative to metadata -31).
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post #87 of 1257 Old 08-23-2013, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC-Technerd View Post

Ok. I think I've got it now. Apparently the DIAL NORM number indicated on the Pioneer SC-77 is relative to the -27dB level (the default dialnorm metadata value for Dolby encoders), and the Pioneer is making it's adjustments relative to that level. For example, DIAL NORM +4 is indicating that the metadata value is -31, and the Pioneer is adjusting that by adding 4dB to the volume level. No DIAL NORM indication means that the Pioneer is making no adjustment to the volume, and a DIAL NORM -2 indicates that the Pioneer is reducing the volume 2dB. This is the equivalent to setting everything relative to the -31dB level, then attenuating it by 4dB. Being a THX certified receiver, it also uses this same method for DTS bitstreams.

I believe the reason I'm getting the 4dB difference when the Oppo decodes the bitstream codec into LPCM is because it is adjusting everything (Dolby and DTS) relative to the -31 metadata value rather than the -27 value. The 4dB difference is consistent regardless of the DIAL NORM number indicated.

I confirmed using the chart at this forum post: Understanding Dialog Normalization Post #2 that Star Trek 2009 indicated no DIAL NORM value on the SC-77 (vs. -4dB on the chart), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Scull - DIAL NORM -2 (vs. -6 on the chart), and Amelia - DIAL NORM +4 (vs. 0dB on the chart). So in all cases the SC-77 is reporting a DIAL NORM number 4 dB greater than the known dialog normalization offset (relative to metadata -31).
Thats some pretty good detective work and thanks for the time consuming work.
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post #88 of 1257 Old 08-23-2013, 06:40 AM
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+1 sure is

Dial Norm is one area I never put too much effort into on the details. I always had other technical areas of interest wink.gif But it's great that someone in a recent Pioneer thread did cool.gif everyone can benefit from KC's efforts. in fact I'm copying his posts to a txt file for keeping smile.gif

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post #89 of 1257 Old 08-23-2013, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC-Technerd View Post

"This is the equivalent to setting everything relative to the -31dB level, then attenuating it by 4dB. Being a THX certified receiver, it also uses this same method for DTS bitstreams.

I'm second guessing myself on this statement. I actually thought I had deleted it from what I wrote before I posted it. Supposedly from what I've read, Dolby uses a default metadata of -27, and DTS a default of -31. Dolby decoders are supposed to attenuate 4 dB at the end of the process. DTS decoders are not, except that most THX certified receivers apply the 4dB attenuation to DTS as well, so DTS isn't 4dB louder than Dolby. So exactly how this plays into how the SC-77 is doing things, I'm not entirely sure. But I think my statement above is in error. It probably should read "This is the equivalent of setting everything to the -31dB level, then boosting it by 4dB." But that doesn't fit in well with the 4dB attenuation that THX receivers are supposed to apply to both Dolby and DTS.

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post #90 of 1257 Old 08-23-2013, 10:45 AM
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THX receivers attenuate DTS tracks by 4dB. But, I believe they only do whatever the metadata tells them to do with DD 5.1, TrueHD, and dts-MA. DTS is different because there is no dialnorm data and THX decided to apply the Dolby default to those tracks.

While I laud your effort to determine what is going on with dialnorm and your Pioneer processor, remember this is only about small adjustments in overall volume. Most of us do manual adjustments at the start of movie playback anyway because of varying volume levels from movie to movie.

Have you reached out to Pioneer support to see if someone there can explain how its receivers process and report dialnorm?
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