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Why bass management makes my life tedious

Soundmixer

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Defensive? If you only listen at reference level you have no need for dynamic EQ or similar

I am not sure you can ascertain one being defensive over the internet, so can we keep away from internet-based psychological evaluations?

There is ZERO evidence that not listening at reference levels requires compensation of the lows and highs. The evidence says at "LOW" levels, which would mean even 5-10db below reference would still not require compensation. I use a house curve, and I listen at about 10db below reference. I have no need for DEQ.
 

Soundmixer

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As a possible segue to another thread (Thank you for your generous responses here BTW) if you're open to it because of your experience mixing for the theater release, your nearfield mix comment brings up a question I've always had: when determining Atmos overhead effects during your nearfield mix, the current complaint among consumers is the lack of these effects in HE action movies like Aquaman.

Just to clear something up. Those of us that do HT nearfield mixes don't determine what goes up in the height channels. The folks that do the theatrical mix do that work, and we just enhance and tweak what is there for the platform we are delivering to. If the sound designer or dubbing folks didn't put it there, you are not going to hear it in the HE mix. The only time we get to make editorial decisions like this is when repurposing a 5.1 or 7.1 track(and in some cases stereo tracks) to Atmos specifically for a HE release.


I'm just a bit confused why some action movies like MI: Fallout can have such amazing Atmos objects while other action movies literally have nothing from the Atmos overhead speakers. In a conversation I had with @Soundmixer it appears that the HE disc release is simply converting the theater release mix but he's not removing overhead effects of they were already there to begin with. So this takes us to the theater mix - is it the creator's sincere belief that overhead Atmos effects should be absent or is their absence more a function of (1) budget/time constraints, (2) studio ambivalence (do it this way, no exceptions), or (3) mixer's inexperience?

This is Audio2920's lane, and I happen to agree with his observations and comments.
 

Soundmixer

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Lastly, there's bound to be an element of personal preference; be it the mixer's, the supervising sound editor's or the director's, and there's probably little standardisation of personal preference possible... I think overheads can be perceived as distraction unless the picture specifically shows us what's going on, so outside of that scenario, there's quite a fine line of density vs detail that has to be walked. I.e. the more sounds you have going on, the less "focused" the mix is. And it's a preference that has always existed in all formats, I guess it's just more obvious to talk about it in terms of overhead use than LCR or surround. If someone's pre-disposed to a less dense mix, that will translate to less overhead use of course.

Out of all that you mentioned in your comments, this one sticks out to me because of personal experience with Directors and Producers. I think a lot of Directors are intensely afraid of dense mixes because they think it will distract from the visuals instead of enhancing them. While I agree that too much can be distracting, too little can leave the movie sonically flat and uninvolving. Finding the balance is often very difficult because it is subjective and changes from person to person.
 

Trell

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There is ZERO evidence that not listening at reference levels requires compensation of the lows and highs. The evidence says at "LOW" levels, which would mean even 5-10db below reference would still not require compensation. I use a house curve, and I listen at about 10db below reference. I have no need for DEQ.

DEQ is a preference like your house curve, and some like while others do not. I happen to like it as I usually listen at low levels (25db to 30db below, at night even lower).
 

Soundmixer

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DEQ is a preference like your house curve, and some like while others do not. I happen to like it as I usually listen at low levels (25db to 30db below, at night even lower).

Thank you for making my point!
 

Soundmixer

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And the same goes for your posts about Dirac and other room compensation systems: Nothing more than your own opinions, preferences and biases.


You are correct again!!!! I hope this makes you feel better.
 

Chromatischism

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@audio2920

Just to make sure I have this right - if a mix gets its low bass levels reduced for a home mix to prevent low bass buildup, that reduction is done to the speakers or the LFE?
 
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audio2920

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@audio2920

Just to make sure I have this right - if a mix gets its low bass levels reduced for a home mix to prevent low bass buildup, that reduction is done to the speakers or the LFE?

Short answer; I would probably reach to adjust the "speakers" first.

My logic being, in the cinema we had no bass management on screen, and when in non-Atmos we had no bass management at all, with surround speakers that probably give up at 60-80Hz or so. We also had speakers that probably didn't reach super low for the LCR. So now we're listening in HE, we're (a) mono'ing the bass together which may sum too constructively and (b) getting an octave extra. The LFE meanwhile is likely doing it's own thing with specific content that's de-correlated phase-wise; and that hasn't been changed by moving to an HE environment, except it now gets married to the BM. So, to my mind it's the summing and extension of the main speakers that's new when we go HE, not the LFE, which is a simple discreet track that goes to the LFE bin. (As I've said before, that's actually untrue, as the phase correlation of the material in the LFE to the mains *does* matter, it's just I have to start somewhere!)

Longer answer, however, I do temper this approach against the fact that when the mix eventually makes it's way to 2.0, the LFE will likely be removed completely, so it's no good me removing all the "speaker" LF just for for the sake of leaving the LFE full level, so sometimes it ends up being a bit of both. In the end, if the HE listener has bass management, I don't feel it matters so much how the bass gets to the bass bin, so long as it gets there. But for those that don't, I don't want to restrict the main channels unnecessarily. It's very much case by case and content dependant.

I should re-iterate that all of this is only in cases when it becomes a problem, and often even when needed, the adjustment is slight.

Not to confuse things further hopefully, but, there have even been a few cases (when there's the headroom to do it, the content in the LFE is more 40-100Hz than 20-40Hz, and it's important content) when I've taken the cinema LFE and deliberately re-directed it to the HE L/R pair or center channel, setting the level so the end result (with BM) is relatively the same as it should have been in the cinema. There are advantages and disadvantages to doing this of course, but sometimes I've found it gives me the ability to wrangle things better, and then the bass (ignoring what the surrounds bring to the BM party) retains an absolute relationship with the screen content, even in 2.0 or sub-less HE. Whether the consumer's speakers can repro it is another matter; but at least it's there for the taking if someone wants to BM it or have big screen channels, a big stereo system, or listen on headphones. This is rarer for me, as mission critical sound is rarely in the LFE in the cinema mix, but I have done it!
 

Bartl007

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If you have a dedicated theater, there is no need for DEQ. If you don't have any need to play your system at low volume levels, there is no need for DEQ. DEQ works in situations where the optimum listening volume is unachievable for various reasons. Just because one does not listen at reference levels does not mean you actually need it. I don't listen at reference levels, and I have never needed it. My rooms are quiet enough that there is no need for DEQ or Dynamic volume to keep the sound above the ambient level of the room or to correct the falling bass and highs at any volume I listen to.

I'm interested in your perspective on the production side of content for HE and the need for loudness compensation on the consumer side (my AV processor uses the ISO 226:2003 spec)


My listening space is dedicated/sound isolated/ low noise floor (built to ~NC-20 spec), yet I find myself utilizing a large range of volume levels depending on the source content. FWIW I use the Nvidia shield pro 2019 as my main source device running Android tv.


For content created/mastered for Disney plus, I find myself typically listening around -10db from reference.


For content on major broadcast networks/cable television shows/movies via YouTube TV, I typically listen around -30dB from reference.


I typically use the loudness compensation feature of my AV processor (monoprice HTP-1) to help with the wide variation in content mastering volumes and to help maintain what I perceive to be correct spectral balance.


I'm running Dirac bass control with multiple (3) subwoofers in an acoustically treated room with the default Dirac Target curve active.


Am I hearing what the content creator/mix editor intended?
 

Chromatischism

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I'm interested in your perspective on the production side of content for HE and the need for loudness compensation on the consumer side (my AV processor uses the ISO 226:2003 spec)


My listening space is dedicated/sound isolated/ low noise floor (built to ~NC-20 spec), yet I find myself utilizing a large range of volume levels depending on the source content. FWIW I use the Nvidia shield pro 2019 as my main source device running Android tv.


For content created/mastered for Disney plus, I find myself typically listening around -10db from reference.


For content on major broadcast networks/cable television shows/movies via YouTube TV, I typically listen around -30dB from reference.


I typically use the loudness compensation feature of my AV processor (monoprice HTP-1) to help with the wide variation in content mastering volumes and to help maintain what I perceive to be correct spectral balance.


I'm running Dirac bass control with multiple (3) subwoofers in an acoustically treated room with the default Dirac Target curve active.


Am I hearing what the content creator/mix editor intended?
Nice system and good questions.

Have you been able to take any measurements to see what the loudness compensation is doing? That's a nice feature to have, usually with Dirac you don't get it.
 

Bartl007

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Nice system and good questions.

Have you been able to take any measurements to see what the loudness compensation is doing? That's a nice feature to have, usually with Dirac you don't get it.
I haven't taken extensive measurements to validate, but the few REW measurements I have taken confirm it is doing what it says it is. You can actually tweak how much compensation the setting provides. Default setting is "80". From the htp-1 manual:

Screenshot_20210910-102041.png
Screenshot_20210910-101630.png

More details of my room here for those interested:

https://www.avsforum.com/threads/the-“synthesis-on-the-cheap”-theater-50k-max-gear-budget.3202732/
 

Chromatischism

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Well, I was never interested in the HTP-1, but now I am. Still can't afford it, but it's good knowing it exists. And it's cool that you don't need a MiniDSP 2x4 to round up multiple subs like you normally would with Dirac.
 

Soundmixer

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I'm interested in your perspective on the production side of content for HE and the need for loudness compensation on the consumer side (my AV processor uses the ISO 226:2003 spec)


My listening space is dedicated/sound isolated/ low noise floor (built to ~NC-20 spec), yet I find myself utilizing a large range of volume levels depending on the source content. FWIW I use the Nvidia shield pro 2019 as my main source device running Android tv.


For content created/mastered for Disney plus, I find myself typically listening around -10db from reference.


For content on major broadcast networks/cable television shows/movies via YouTube TV, I typically listen around -30dB from reference.


I typically use the loudness compensation feature of my AV processor (monoprice HTP-1) to help with the wide variation in content mastering volumes and to help maintain what I perceive to be correct spectral balance.


I'm running Dirac bass control with multiple (3) subwoofers in an acoustically treated room with the default Dirac Target curve active.


Am I hearing what the content creator/mix editor intended?

This is my opinion. You are using loudness compensation as an audio normalization processor, and that is a very different use than DEQ is used for. Mastering levels used to be standardized, but that standard has been abandoned years ago. Mastering levels these days are all over the place, so It would be difficult (if not unnecessary) to know if you are hearing is what the content creators want you to hear in terms of ultimate volume. Your issue is varied content mastering levels, not trying to compensate for listening at lower levels than reference.

I am going to say this. You will never actually hear what the mixing person heard unless you have their system, their ears, and sit in their studios. I think you have done all you can to accurately hear what is on the disc, and that is the best you can do.

I use the M-2 in my studio. Terrific sounding speaker for sure.
 

Bartl007

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This is my opinion. You are using loudness compensation as an audio normalization processor, and that is a very different use than DEQ is used for. Mastering levels used to be standardized, but that standard has been abandoned years ago. Mastering levels these days are all over the place, so It would be difficult (if not unnecessary) to know if you are hearing is what the content creators want you to hear in terms of ultimate volume. Your issue is varied content mastering levels, not trying to compensate for listening at lower levels than reference.

I am going to say this. You will never actually hear what the mixing person heard unless you have their system, their ears, and sit in their studios. I think you have done all you can to accurately hear what is on the disc, and that is the best you can do.

I use the M-2 in my studio. Terrific sounding speaker for sure.
Thanks for your thoughts. I agree the M2's are fantastic speakers.

Now if the Disney imageneers can just figure out how to unpair the Atmos codec from the HDR video stream (which almost no projector supports), I can actually enjoy the Atmos audio instead of being relegated to 5.1 audio!

I'm currently using the workaround of casting content from a tablet to my Nvidia Shield which allows the Atmos stream (even though it's compressed), but certainly less than ideal.
 

Soundmixer

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Now if the Disney imageneers can just figure out how to unpair the Atmos codec from the HDR video stream (which almost no projector supports), I can actually enjoy the Atmos audio instead of being relegated to 5.1 audio!

The two are not paired together technically. They are paired together as a premium package marketing angle.
 

Bartl007

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The two are not paired together technically. They are paired together as a premium package marketing angle.
Thanks. Yeah, for some reason every other streaming platform (Netflix/prime video,etc) has figured out how to enable Atmos audio streams with various quality of cooresponding video quality (4k w/ HDR10, 4k w/o HDR, 1080p, etc)

I guess the technical wizards at Disney think that the only people with Atmos capable systems have 50" flat panel displays (Dolby vision/ HDR10 capable).... Not very cinematic if you ask me.

In the old days, you would normally just say: "go buy the disc if you want the best quality audio and video". But now with so much content being released for streaming only (Loki, Wanda vision, What if?, Premier access day in date releases, etc), there really should be an "advanced user" setting in the app to enable more granular control of audio and video settings for those of us in the enthusiast community who actually care about hearing what the content creators intended.
 
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audio2920

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there really should be an "advanced user" setting in the app to enable more granular control of audio and video settings for those of us in the enthusiast community

I would love this. I guess for 99% of people the automatic selection just works, so I suppose that's good. Don't know if it's exactly true, but I heard that Netflix (and probably all of them..) transcode the master to about 800 different files for streaming with different permutations of video/audio quality etc which get selected from [and switched seamlessly between in the case of network conditions changing]. Surely somewhere in that lot must be the one you / we want :D
 
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