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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all

I have an issue that has been nagging me for some time. I have just finished my home cinema project and have started with the tuning / critical listening phase.

The system consists of:

3x Klipsch THX kl-525 fronts in bafflewall
KS-525 surrounds
2x XTZ subwoofers
Anthem mrx-700
Dune HD 303D
Playstation 3 for blu-rays

One day watching Noah i suddenly noticed some ambient noise every time a character spoke. It was like a faint pink noise in the background like you could here the microphone being turned on in the studio. When the dialog ends the noise disappears.

I started thinking that it was my system, so i tried different sources and configurations but with no luck. Then i went to the computer - put in the disc and i could locate the same sound in my headphones from the computer. So my conclusion is that it is in the mix... It is a bit harder to hear it coming from the headphones but my home theater system exposes it very clearly.

After this experience i have heard it in several other movies including Thor 2 and others. It is really annoying and often i can't focus and enjoy the movie because of the distraction.

Do you know what i am talking about or is it just me?
 

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What you're probably noticing IS the mic, more specifically, the dialogue track. If the dialogue track has "noise," then when the person mixing lowers the volume you'll hear a difference. I've noticed that before on some movies, but it isn't a wide problem. Anyone else have input?
 

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The only movie I have really ever heard the noise is in the most recent Spider-Man, it was so bad I thought something was wrong but it's been confirmed by at least one other person that the dialog track was noisy during quiet sections as if they were over gaining the mic to get more volume.
 

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...One day watching Noah i suddenly noticed some ambient noise every time a character spoke. It was like a faint pink noise in the background like you could here the microphone being turned on in the studio. When the dialog ends the noise disappears.

I started thinking that it was my system, so i tried different sources and configurations but with no luck. Then i went to the computer - put in the disc and i could locate the same sound in my headphones from the computer. So my conclusion is that it is in the mix... It is a bit harder to hear it coming from the headphones but my home theater system exposes it very clearly.

After this experience i have heard it in several other movies including Thor 2 and others. It is really annoying and often i can't focus and enjoy the movie because of the distraction.

Do you know what i am talking about or is it just me?
The type of "pumping" action you're hearing could have been introduced at the mixing stage by compressors or limiters. These signal processors can be used to mask noise in an audio track, though that's not their primary purpose. The noise floor can become more or less evident as the main signal is manipulated by processor settings (rise/attack times & thresholds). Aside from pumping and other artifacts, heavy-handed use of compressors or limiters can crush the life out of a mix by robbing it of dynamics.

I watched Noah too, but can't remember being distracted by the effect you describe. It might have been noisy in the house while I watched, or maybe my system isn't capable of resolving to that level of detail. Some people are more sensitive to subtleties than others, be it a musical performance or a video presentation. Can you let me know a specific point where the effect occurs? I'll try to hear it on my system, and get back with you.
 

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The type of "pumping" action you're hearing could have been introduced at the mixing stage by compressors or limiters. These signal processors can be used to mask noise in an audio track, though that's not their primary purpose. The noise floor can become more or less evident as the main signal is manipulated by processor settings (rise/attack times & thresholds). Aside from pumping and other artifacts, heavy-handed use of compressors or limiters can crush the life out of a mix by robbing it of dynamics. I watched Noah too, but can't remember being distracted by the effect you describe. It might have been noisy in the house while I watched, or maybe my system isn't capable of resolving to that level of detail. Some people are more sensitive to subtleties than others, be it a musical performance or a video presentation. Can you let me know a specific point where the effect occurs? I'll try to hear it on my system, and get back with you.
It'd be interesting to see who else can hear it from Noah specifically.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Can you let me know a specific point where the effect occurs? I'll try to hear it on my system, and get back with you.
I hear it in most of the silent passages when there is no other sound than the dialogue.

Another issue in Noah 18 minutes in (where the giants speak) there is cracking sound that makes it very hard to hear what what one of the giants is saying. I think this is a error in the mix.

Recently i have also watched Edge of tomorrow where that same ambient noise is present in quiet dialogue.

I will try and make some video examples and upload them to dropbox of the issues
 

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Sorry for the delay. I'll audition the passages you mention, especially where you notice a "cracking" sound.

When you say you've tried different sources and configurations, do you mean both streaming media and physical media, or do you mean different A/V sources (preamps, players, etc.)?

Here's a silly question, but it needs to be asked: If you're only investigating problems that follow the disc, is the disc itself in mint condition?
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)

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I hear it in most of the silent passages when there is no other sound than the dialogue.

Another issue in Noah 18 minutes in (where the giants speak) there is cracking sound that makes it very hard to hear what what one of the giants is saying. I think this is a error in the mix...
I tried this from memory last night, so forgot about the passage with the cracking. I'll have to audition that next time. For now, this is what I found playing the Blu Ray version on my Oppo 95 in either LPCM or Bitstream through my system with or without DSP applied:

A lot of sibilance and some background noise seemed to be present, but it was hard to tell at first because of the masking effect caused by the soundtrack's intentionally windy conditions. About 12 minutes into the movie when Noah was talking inside a tent with the wind blowing outside, the background noise you mention was a little more noticeable. With all speakers playing, hissing seemed to ride just under and around each character's voice. But I had to strain to hear it the first time through. After a few tries, I decided to mute the mains and surrounds, listening only through the center channel VERY LOUDLY. I was then able to hear an unnatural hiss, but for me, didn't interfere with the soundtrack's intended mood.

Do you think you may be running your center a bit hot? Have you noticed the same noise with music-only material? The speaker itself has excellent credentials, so I'm confident it's not contributing distortion at loud levels (unless of course you're exceeding it's capabilities or running your amp into clipping). I have no personal experience with horn-loaded designs, but others have stereotyped them as being somewhat brighter than cone-driven ones. Your Klipsch's probably reveal a LOT more high-frequency content than my B&W's, so I have no trouble imagining the background noise to be noticeably annoying in your system with your electronics in your room.

Bottom line? I now notice the background noise knowing it's there--thanks a lot, pal! :thud: (that's the sound of suspended disbelief crashing down) :foottap: :D

Seriously now. Your system correctly revealed finer detail in a less-than-stellar soundtrack, and it was objectionable to you. The system can't discriminate between detail you do or don't want to hear, so you have several options. Buying less revealing speakers would make the biggest difference, but storing a different EQ curve for poor media might be the most cost effective.

In the end, it boils down to personal preference. I voice my systems far to the warm side of neutral, because I want to play more than 75% of my collection without cringing. Some hobbyists say that's introducing distortion. Fine. I'm not trying to please them. There are a lot of bad mixes out there be they analog, digital, audio, or video. But I try not to let that keep me from enjoying great performances. At least video productions are held to an industry standard, unlike their music-only cousins which currently span from horrid to jaw dropping realism. You're definitely not alone in wanting to reshape the media-quality landscape.

The music-listening side of me has evolved to the point where I easily get lost scrutinizing the sound, instead of enjoying the music. Okay, good life lesson. Now that I've jumped into HT, I'd like to leave those habits behind, but I still catch myself at it: Shouldn't that sound effect be coming from over there? Why are voices realistic in one movie, and just murmurs in the next? Once you start putting your system's performance under the microscope, it's hard to get off the upgrade/tweaking merry-go-round. I'd like to offer some friendly advice as someone whose chased the nirvana of total suspended disbelief: you might want to consider leaving some of the really close scrutiny behind lest you lose sight of the forest through the trees. :sick:

Assembling and tuning the system is a journey, and it can be fun. Sometimes it helps to have a vision of how you'd like to balance it's performance, because it can't be all things all the time. Pointing it toward "more enjoyable for all media and mixes" makes it "less enjoyable for well-mixed media." In other words, tuning a system to sound excellent for special effects and demo material can make it unbearable for poorly-recorded material, while the opposite philosophy doesn't allow the system to perform to its full potential. I know that sounds like so much audiophoolery, but many of the concepts of good stereo listening carry over into the HT realm. There's a trade-off between accuracy and enjoyment. It's an age-old dilemma only you can solve.

Happy travels! :wave:
 

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I think you're not mad I just listened to this passage with my iPhone 5. When I put the speaker near my ears I can clearly hear what you are talking about and the iPhone is no where near an Hi-Fi system. I never noticied this while watching movie but I listen to them in french canadian so maybe the studio that recorde the french voice doesn't introduce these kind of sound or I just never noticed it.

Here is a passage from edge of tomorrow. Pay attention to the background noise as the woman speaks. It is especially clear in the end of the clip when she says "Yes". The noise starts half a second before she says yes and ends after https://www.dropbox.com/s/dsnuif4gtf5hj1w/AUDIO%20CLIP.mp4?dl=0
 

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I hear it in most of the silent passages when there is no other sound than the dialogue.

Another issue in Noah 18 minutes in (where the giants speak) there is cracking sound that makes it very hard to hear what what one of the giants is saying. I think this is a error in the mix.

Recently i have also watched Edge of tomorrow where that same ambient noise is present in quiet dialogue.

I will try and make some video examples and upload them to dropbox of the issues
The passage in Noah is awful. Something like that should not be allowed on the disc.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sorry for the late response

Thanks alot for your replys guys - i really appreaciate it. And thank you BlueRockinLou for your efford looking into it yourself. I am sorry if i ruined some of your future experiences - once you have heard this you will continuously be more prone to hear it :-(. All my speakers are level matched and not running hot. My room is however well acoustically treated so I can play very loud without ear fatigue which will reveal the errors more easily. Turning down the treble to -4 helps a bit but it also makes the sound more dull.....

I am stunned to find out that so many movies have such a poor audio quality with the sky high budget and state of the art mixing equipment. What a disappointment....
 

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No need to be sorry, Eotas, I was just kidding. I already notice poorly recorded music/movies a lot when I am in critical-listening mode or critical-viewing mode. Yes, it is a disappointment. But until the general public shows they care about audio quality, music and movie executives won't care either.

Watching movies is not a "destination activity" for a lot of people. In other words, they don't treat movies at home the same way they do in the theater: it's okay to talk, move around, open curtains, etc. But people like you and I (and our hometheatershack buddies, of course) want more than just an awesome TV. We want awesome sound; and we want it to be quiet and dark when we watch a movie, just like in a real theater.

Audio quality has generally taken a back seat to video. But new trends show that more people are voting with their dollars for better sound. They're buying home-theater-in-a-box, soundbars, and separates. Word will spread and maybe, just maybe, someone in charge will notice so almost all movies will have good sound.

Audiophiles have been ranting about sound quality of recorded music even before MP3 was invented. You don't need golden ears to notice bad sound, just like you don't need golden eyes to notice poor video. You just need to pay attention.
 

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Then i went to the computer - put in the disc and i could locate the same sound in my headphones from the computer.
I actually ordered new speakers in part due to hearing a nasty enclosure resonance on certain bass guitar notes at high volume. The new ones did the same thing though. Lo and behold, headphones on my computer while watching a youtube video did the exact same thing. The resonance was in the recording.
 

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It's especially annoying to those of us whose hearing is past its best - I've noticed it more since my hearing deteriorated.
Even more annoying is todays trend to making films 'dark and mysterious' by intentionally muffling the speech.
 

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I know the thread is about a defective sound track but I have grumbled for years about the dialogue in movies and TV shows being overwhelmed by the ambient sounds.
When I first heard about Atmos being object based I had visions of being able to turn up the volume of the dialogue without just turning up the center channel level.
Unfortunately that's not in the implications I know of.

Is Noah worth watching?
It seemed to make it to Netflix streaming pretty quickly.
 

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I know the thread is about a defective sound track but I have grumbled for years about the dialogue in movies and TV shows being overwhelmed by the ambient sounds. When I first heard about Atmos being object based I had visions of being able to turn up the volume of the dialogue without just turning up the center channel level. Unfortunately that's not in the implications I know of. Is Noah worth watching? It seemed to make it to Netflix streaming pretty quickly.
Charlie, did you know dts X has the ability to adjust the dialogue only?
 

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I did not know that.
Thanks.
After the Atmos did not do what I wanted I have not paid any attention to the new codecs.
Hopefully DTS-X will gain traction.
 
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