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Volume Variance on action movies

1086 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  DDigitalGuy05
Not sure if this belongs here or in the receiver section.

I've recently purchased a few upgrades on the video side of my home theater (KDS-60A2000, HD-D1 HD-DVD Player and PS3) but on the audio side of things my equipment is a bit old (Denon AVR-3200 and NHT SuperOne Speakers purchased in or around '97/'98).

Everything other than the HD-DVD player (which uses the analog inputs) go to the receiver via toslink.

Today I watched X-men 1 on DVD. In some scenes I had to adjust the volume manually by as many as 10-12 'notches' to be able to hear the dialogue without having my ears blown off by the action sequences. Most discs aren't this bad, but all sem to have some problems to a varying degree.

Seems to be a problem with movies no matter what I play them on (HD-D1, Xbox 360, PS3).

Finally my question:

Is there anything that can be done to mitigate this effect? Do 'modern' receivers have any features that lessen this problem? Am I just screwed?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Most people like the dynamic range, but on Dolby Digital tracks you enable 'midnight-mode' or Dynamic Range Compression (different receivers will have different names for it).
Question the first: have you calibrated?

Question the second: what are the acoustics like in your listening space?

These are the two most common problems. Proper calibration and proper acoustics will render this less of an issue most of the time, despite the wide DR on many movie soundtracks. If these two have been properly covered, boosting the center channel a couple dbs above calibrated can help aid dialogue intelligibility, and if worse comes to worse, you can use a compression mode like midnight mode etc.
Thanks for all the responses. The acoustics in our living room are certainly not ideal. I have not used a sound meter to calibrate, but I have set speaker distance and some minor channel level adjustments like making the center speaker louder etc.

It would appear that my receiver had more Dynamic Range Compression options than I was aware of (My only complaint about my Denon is the user interface...not very friendly at all) since the DRC options are only listed on the onscreen menu when a Dolby Digital Source is actually playing in the background (And since the receiver will only pass S-Video I have a seperate input set up to use the receiver's on screen display and never really made a point of having the DD audio going while I did that).

So I do see some improvement with DRC set to on in the receiver for DD and my HD-DVD player's DRC set to on for the analog input (Since my receiver won't modify that in any way) but I may research some newer receivers to see if they have more features in this area. Would be nice to have one that does component and HDMI switching anyways.
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Calibrating a home theater system is a must. But anyway good luck. to you. wish i can afford a hd set.
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