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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gang,


We're moving into a new house and my wife is putting the brakes on a HT until I find a better solution to the constant volume up, volume down, up, down, up, down.... that we do to adjust our HT to the DVDs we play back.

I've called it "thumb gymnastics" at home, since it is part art and part pure thumb athleticism. My thumb will be competing in Athens later this year.


Right now, we have a HT circa 1999: best that we could build given the state of the industry back then, with only DVD player upgrades since. Yamaha 2095 (DTS), Speakercraft 8.x speakers in 5.1 setup, optical out. Our setup is shallow, as we're in a condo: only about 14 feet from us to the TV, 16 feet from front channels to our ears. Ceilings are 8.5 feet All speakers were installed with sound deadening boxes, but behind the front channels is concrete block.


This problem occurs on every movie, but varies depending on the degree of action. We tend to watch DTS whenever it is available, DD otherwise.


I'll typically tune the center channel up or down in the early minutes of a movie, depending on the level of conversational volume. But then there will be a screeching car crash and we'll both jump through the roof, the baby will wake up, and the movie is over for us.


How much of this volume up/down is typical? Are you guys thumb gymnasts, too?


What could i test now to determine whether it is the setup or equipment?


What can I do in the next HT to avoid this constant workout?


As I get a handle on this and some potential solution, I'll likely be seeing you in the HT DIY section, so suggestions on future HT build-out are more than welcome.


In the meantime, I'm working with the Olympic committee to get thumb gymnastics "officially" recognized as an Olympic sport.


Thanks,


Todd
 

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Todd,


I never adjust the volume once the movie starts. I typically do set it down a level when we play the xbox (way too intense!), but with movies - everything is great.


In fact, that's a sign of a well balanced system and a good acoustical environment. You might want to invest in a setup DVD and a sound meter (although Radio Shack has discontinued their excellent analog model).


I still have some adjusting to do on my setup - movies work great, but concert DVDs produce too much bass and the Xbox playing Clone Wars shakes the whole house!


Good luck!


Randy
 

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Hmmm sounds to me like your HT is working fine. When watching a DVD at reference levels that is almost what is supposed to happen, i.e. when people are talking it sounds like they are actually in the room talking at a normal volume, and when there is a car crash it is VERY loud.


Lets say you are in your HT talking to someone..... obviously the baby stays asleep and everybody is calm. Now lets say in the next moment there is a big car crash outside of your house........... now the baby is awake and you have just "jumped through the roof". So if you ask me your HT is working great!!! ;)


Now for a solution, My receiver (Pioneer VSX-D912K) has a feature that allows you to basically output everything at the same volume, however it only works with DD (not a problem with DVDs). I havent used it yet myself I just remembering reading about it in the manual. See if your receiver has something similar.
 

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if your reciever or dvd player has that..i think its called "Dynamic Compression" or "Night Mode" where it basically compresses the extreme loud parts of a movie and sorta normalizes it

i would reccomend you use it
 

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First of all - no, it's not just you, thought you might have it worse than most. As others have said, try and run the sound through a receiver with Night Mode.


However, the serious HT geeks will tell you that the problem is with your room accustics. You shouldn't have to turn the volume up to hear the quiet conversations. The fact that have to do so is an indication that you have a poor acustical setup.
 

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I was having this problem due to a small center channel I once had. Talking required me to raise the volume, action required me to lower it. Constantly doing this throughout a movie. I upgraded to a bigger center channel, calibrated with AVIA and do not need to adjust the volume at all anymore.



Peace Out~:D
 

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As mentioned by someone earlier in the thread, both my receiver and DVD player allow you to compress the dynamic range of your movies. Look for this feature in the menus on your equipment. At night when you must keep the volume down, this will allow you to keep the volume loud enough for diologue and not knock you off the couch when something explodes.
 

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I think Sima makes some stand alone equipment that can compress or expand the dynamic range, at least it is part of the A/V switcher I bought. So if you don't want to change your equipment there might be an add-on that might fix the problem
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Guys,


Thanks for the help!


I found three problems in my receiver setup:


1. The dynamic range setting was on "max" and should have been on "min" -- thank you Vlad and Gizzy.


2. The front channels were set as "small" which sends their bass to the LFE, but since we have the sub turned waaaay down, the sound was going nowhere. With a quick reset to "large" (which is correct), the sound is much more balanced.


3. There was a setting called "Main Level" which is for the main speakers. It was set at -10db, and is now set at "normal." That seems to have also helped get output levels back up on the mains.


Just tested with a few chapters of Saving Private Ryan and it sounds much, much better. I set the overall volume max to just below "wake the baby levels" during Omaha Beach (Ch 2) and then skipped ahead to some dialog chapters. I had to ramp the center channel slightly (+5db), but with that one tweak, I was able to play the movie for another 30 minutes WITHOUT touching the volume!! Might have been longer, but had to run.


I'm not going to say I've got it nailed just yet, but with some tweaking, I think I'm on the right path now -- thanks to you guys!


Who knows, my thumb may get so damn lazy now, we'll blow off those olympics. Much obliged, gang!


TC
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Ron-P
I was having this problem due to a small center channel I once had. Talking required me to raise the volume, action required me to lower it. Constantly doing this throughout a movie. I upgraded to a bigger center channel, calibrated with AVIA and do not need to adjust the volume at all anymore.

I think I'm going to have to invest in a sound meter and AVIA (just googled that: hadn't heard of it before).


Thanks for the tip!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by richr8
As mentioned by someone earlier in the thread, both my receiver and DVD player allow you to compress the dynamic range of your movies. Look for this feature in the menus on your equipment. At night when you must keep the volume down, this will allow you to keep the volume loud enough for diologue and not knock you off the couch when something explodes.
Just found out my DVD player has this, too -- so now I have 9 options to test:

1. DVD - Max Dynamic Range / Normal / Min Dynamic Range

2. Receiver - Max Dynamic Range / Normal / Min Dynamic Range


Since the probs are mainly with DVDs, I may change my receiver back to normal from min and play with the DVD again. I wouldn't have bothered to even look at my DVD player if it weren't for your comment -- I would have just looked at the receiver. This could be a great solution.


Thanks!


TC
 

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I turn on the dynamic range control on the DVD player. I also turn the main volume a bit lower and increase the center channel. This way, the dialog is listenable, and explosions don't boom thru all 3 front speakers too loudly.
 
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