: Poor Audio Quality on Blu-rays (eg: Planet Eath)


TechieFreak
2010-08-12, 03:53 PM
I love the series Planet Earth (narrated by David Attenborough). I first saw it years ago, when I bought the DVD. I recently bought the Blu-ray, and finally sat down to enjoy it with even better images.

As I expected the views in HD were spectacular. However the audio was very poor. The center channel was barely audible, and if I turned it up to hear Mr. Attenborough, I was overwhelmed with the volume of the music in the other channels.

I've had other Blu-ray shows with poor audio recordings (I can't remember titles right now). I'm using a Yamaha 7.1 (HTR-6060B) receiver, with HDMI inputs, and a PS3 as my Blu-ray source. All settings are default, used the included microphone to set the EQ.

Has anybody else experienced this, or is it just me?

cooper83
2010-08-12, 04:34 PM
You may want to read through the following thread:

http://digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=103203

What you're describing isn't necessarily poor audio quality, and you're not alone when having trouble hearing dialogue from the centre channel.

cfraser
2010-08-12, 05:41 PM
There are quite a lot of BDs where people question the dialogue level mix. I don't recall any offhand (think The Dark Knight was one such popular title), but do recall that Planet Earth isn't a problem for me since I watch bits of it on and off (it's always in my tiny media rack beside the BDP).

I know what you mean though, with Attenborough's smooth/even/calm voice... I would just bump up the center level (if appropriate for the dialogue in this case), I mean that's what channel level controls are for. :) I am never afraid to adjust the center level, even to an "unbalanced" extent if the film is extremely dialog-driven and I don't want to miss a single breath and I'm watching it for the first time.

What would be really wonderful is if they recorded only dialogue in the center channel. You'd think that would be a no-brainer, but if anything I notice on BDs that even more than ever is being put in the center channel. So many have virtually all audio in the center, and even the front L/R only have very occasional effects/music. So bumping up the center level on those doesn't help at all re dialogue clarity as dialogue won't stand out more, it's all just louder. As the quality of the audio has gone up, the quality of the mixing seems to have gone down. Just my general observation, there are many excellently-mixed BDs too, mostly the big action and sci-fi ones. OTOH there are some 7.1 DTS-HD MA tracks that for all practical purposes are (center) mono.

I found the mixing on typical BDs required me to drastically upgrade my center channel capability. There is so much going on there now that it seemed worthy of better attention. I never really had/have an issue with the center on DVDs. I have no explanation for it beyond the mixing. They used to put a lot of what would be "mono" non-dialog front sound in both the "stereo" channels, now they typically just jam it into the center with the dialog.

TechieFreak
2010-08-12, 06:46 PM
You may want to read through the following thread:

http://digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=103203

What you're describing isn't necessarily poor audio quality, and you're not alone when having trouble hearing dialogue from the centre channel.
I will try to use night mode tonight. However, that doesn't exactly address my concern. Some (most?) Blu-rays are fine, I don't have to make any adjustments (Kick-ass for example, I put the remote down, and just enjoyed the movie, btw...Kick-ass is the first movie that I know of that uses the extra rear channels - 7.1)

Maybe I'm wrong here, but I thought Dolby Digital (and DTS) were sound standards, that once implemented, would set all channels to optimum levels. Obviously, some studios change the sound levels according to what they like, it would seem.

eljay
2010-08-12, 06:58 PM
btw...Kick-ass is the first movie that I know of that uses the extra rear channels - 7.1"The Golden Compass" had 7.1 audio. It was effective, but not overly-impressive.

cfraser
2010-08-12, 07:08 PM
Shoot 'Em Up uses the back channels quite well. It is *such* an intellectually-engaging film too. :)

Stargate (15th Ann. edition) uses the backs decently too, especially in the stargate scenes.

I have never heard a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track.

I have thousands of DVDs, as compared to hundreds of BDs. I watch *waaay* more DVD than BD. So I really notice how the movie mixing differences have changed over the last 5+ years. They must have adopted a different mixing philosophy more recently. Probably some good market-driven reason for why they do it the way they do now. Which has nothing necessarily to do with improving mixing quality... Or they "all" use the same software that does a lot of it automatically, and only employ an experienced mixer for "special" stuff that actually has a sound design.

I quite regularly fine-tune the center ("dialogue") level on BDs. I almost never do the same for a DVD. Mostly I do it when I do (at the beginning of a movie) because I *can*, not necessarily because I absolutely need to. If I couldn't, I'd just listen harder LOL (damn I'm lazy). It's kind of valueless IMO watching at home if you can't adjust things to taste...to me that is the real big feature of HT. Besides convenience, watching the good parts again but LOUDER this time, etc.

David Susilo
2010-08-17, 11:53 AM
Maybe I'm wrong here, but I thought Dolby Digital (and DTS) were sound standards, that once implemented, would set all channels to optimum levels. Obviously, some studios change the sound levels according to what they like, it would seem.

DD and DTS are just CODEC standards. It has nothing to do with setting channels to optimum levels. Studios / Sound Engineers can do whatever they like. If a sound engineer wants to put the dialogue on the rear right channel and the rear left channel being set by the engineer to be louder than all channels, then that's how it's supposed to be encoded by DD/DTS and decoded back exactly as-is in the theatre and/or home environment.

hope it helps.

expressmoria
2010-08-26, 01:13 PM
Here are a couple of links containing this information:

http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Stats.php?OrderBy=Title&Audio=7.1

http://audiophile.wikia.com/wiki/Blu-Ray_Titles

David Susilo
2010-08-26, 03:11 PM
Don't forget that list are listing 'faked' 7.1 channel soundtrack since the original soundtracks are in 5.1.

The one and only movie that is theatrically 7.1 is Toy Story 3