TV audio/volume

Joined
16 Sep 2006
Messages
3,135
Reaction score
524
Location
Fife
Country
United Kingdom
Without wanting to start my post off on the wrong foot with anyone, let me first of all say I am not interested in going into my tv audio settings and changing them x times a day ;)

Why is it that some tv progs, in the main, always have audio levels that mean you can clearly hear what people are saying. For example the news, soaps (not that I watch them), documentaries, panel shows etc. Even old movies you can hear the spoken word without issue.

Then, when it comes to many modern tv shows e.g. BBC dramas or movies, the audio levels for speech are TERRIBLE. Take a movie for example, you know the tv is loud enough volume wise cause other sounds come across loud and clear, however so low is the spoken word I can't be the only one that puts the subtitles on?!?

Before you ask, my hearing is fine :)

I was visiting mum at the weekend and she had Strictly Come Dancing on. There were video clips of the couples talking/training ahead of the show. You could 'hear' them talking, however the levels were all over the place, the 'background' music was literally drowning out their words.

Rant over, but my point is if some progs get it right most of the time, why do so many not? And why, with the millions at their disposal, do movie producers so often muck this (important) part up?

There'll be some on here that are into their audio in a big way, so please explain it to me.
 
Sponsored Links
Joined
24 May 2016
Messages
3,612
Reaction score
660
Country
United Kingdom
It is down to the sound mixer during the recording. A friend of mine was a sound engineer and he moaned merry hell about some people in the game.
 
Sponsored Links
Joined
16 Sep 2006
Messages
3,135
Reaction score
524
Location
Fife
Country
United Kingdom
It is terrible nowadays. Everyone seems to whisper.
Yeah, not that I'm an expert, wtf do I know about tv/movie production. However you've hit on something there. Whilst they (the producers and sound folk) perhaps think it makes their production more gritty and realistic (low speaking voices and mumbling), ultimately they are producing a piece of entertainment, a critical part of which is HEARING WHAT THE ACTORS ARE SAYING!!!

Surely they must notice this in post production or whatever it's called?!?
 
Joined
30 Jun 2008
Messages
15,526
Reaction score
1,810
Location
Suffolk
Country
United Kingdom
My wife has very good hearing, I on the other hand, have impaired hearing which means I have to supplement my hearing with hearing aids.
We tend to watch a lot of programmes on the likes of Netflix, Prime, BBC iPlayer etc but a lot of the times they don't have the subtitle function available which means we either don't watch the programme or it has to be on higher than my wife is comfortable with. Sometimes, if we really want to watch one I sit on the armchair nearest the TV instead of on the sofa next to each other.
Our other big moan is, you find a show where you can hear the talking, and then suddenly there is a very loud music section which drowns out everything.
 
B

Brigade77

There is a known, modern phenomenon, where certain audio/visual broadcasts have very poor audio speech quality. I could go deep into the reasons surrounding this, but then it just becomes another "conspiracy theory" doesn't it?

Please don't confuse this with a channel like YooToob, where audio levels can vary immensely between clips & unless it's a problem to an individual then it often goes unnoticed or ignored. That is, if you haven't already discovered how to equalise the sound level over every clip automatically . . .

One of my bestie mates is a music sound engineer (not to be confused with a music producer), & I've got to sit in on some VERY interesting sound recordings over the years !

They say that it's your neighbour who first diagnose's your failing hearing. I say "WHAT, WHAT DID YOU SAY? ME, I'M NOT DEAF" :)
 
Joined
13 Sep 2010
Messages
5,340
Reaction score
766
Location
Wrong side of The Channel
Country
United Kingdom
Any film with Jason Statham in it definitely needs subtitles. He seems to have perfected muttering and whispering at the same time. As far as I know, there's nothing wrong with my lug holes.
 
Joined
27 Feb 2017
Messages
27,151
Reaction score
3,185
Location
Essexshire
Country
United Kingdom
Flat screen TV's have tiny speakers so not that good. I bought a Bose TV speaker and it was definitely better, especially for speech although I have either got used to it or my hearing is getting worse so I occasionally have to have the subtitles on.
 
Joined
12 Jan 2014
Messages
4,513
Reaction score
687
Location
Essex
Country
United Kingdom
Your not wrong, it varies from scene to scene aswell.

There was a period of time where I seemed to be forever turning up the telly to hear the talking, then there be a scene change and all of a sudden my ears are being blown to pieces with sound effects.

It's bloody annoying.

Now we don't tend to watch normal telly, it's always Netflix Amazon or sky movies oh and Disney plus.

I have found that with these I don't have to keep turning the volume up and down. Although each channel has different volumes the content within seems to be the pretty similar.

I have an onkyo surround system with amplifier (about 10 years old now) and when I decorated the lounge last spent a lot of time fiddling with the settings, this may have something to do with it, I've also got all sound coming from the HDMI ARC port.

Also having a decent seperate speaker setup does help with the changing volumes of various scenes and talking/whispering

We like to have the TV quite loud for film night, for the full cinema experience, but normal telly is watched at a normal volume where we can still talk to each other
 
Joined
31 May 2016
Messages
9,187
Reaction score
1,176
Country
United Kingdom
I suspect the audio was designed for a different system with more channels and it’s lost some of the punch being down graded to stereo. I’m not a fan myself, but maybe a “surround” sound bar might help ?
 
Joined
22 Aug 2006
Messages
3,696
Reaction score
332
Country
United Kingdom
I think it's because the sound engineers aren't very good.
Not the guys with the mikes, the ones above them.
I dare say we've all used VU meters if recording. Sound level is perfectly measurable, in dBµV or similar, so it's the management at fault.
Quite often you'll notice the sound starts loud and immediately goes quiet - that's AGC, = auto gain control. That sort-of guarantees some control of levels but it brings all sorts of problems with noise and squashing of differences in levels. So the noise, background music and speech jump up and down in volume to be the same as whatever the average level is "supposed" to be. The speech gets buried because the music has come up, so it all got turned back down together.
You stand a better chance of hearing the speech if they have not used AGC, but then you have to adjust it yourself :mad:
There are clearly more sources and outputs to deal with than previously, but it's not good enough.

You just can't get the staff.
 
Joined
30 Dec 2018
Messages
14,031
Reaction score
2,118
Country
United Kingdom
I have the same problem with some channels, productions - especially when there is 'background music' which isn't in the background, but swamps the speech. I think some sound mixers, are automatic (AVC), so no sound mixer employed. I was watching (trying to follow) a docu on Smithsonian, the background music was OK, but the commentary level would just keep dipping down to a whisper, swamped by the low level music. Does no one in the production studio watch there own output, is no one noticing these defects?
 
Joined
19 Apr 2005
Messages
3,684
Reaction score
577
Country
United Kingdom
Then, when it comes to many modern tv shows e.g. BBC dramas or movies, the audio levels for speech are TERRIBLE. Take a movie for example, you know the tv is loud enough volume wise cause other sounds come across loud and clear, however so low is the spoken word I can't be the only one that puts the subtitles on?!?

The BBC is currently waging a campaign to destroy anything traditional or conventional. One part of this campaign is to remove, debase or mock any content that contains classically or properly trained acting, on the grounds that it is elitist to excel at anything. This is why BBC "actors" now mumble their lines, as it is the opposite of what they should do.

If that sounds stupid it's because it is! The only TV setting required for the BBC is "OFF".
 
Sponsored Links
Top