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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’d like to provide some observations and possibly get responses to some un-answered questions about my HR20.

My concern is that as I change channels I have to constantly adjust the volume on the HR20 in order to get my wife’s and my “normal” volume. I find that as commercials come on, whether in HD or SD, they are much louder than my “normal” volume and we have to adjust the volume.

This also happens when we change a channel from: HD -->SD, SD -->HD. Their initial volumes often need to be readjusted to our “normal” volume.

How is it that I can listen to any song on a CD player and not have to change the volume – once set? I can listen to any AM/FM radio station in the car and essentially never have to reset the volume as I go from station to station? On both these devices the volume control is perhaps the LEAST used of all the controls!

Yet on the HR20, I very often have to readjust the volume to my “normal” volume? Is this a problem inherent in the HR20 box? Is this also a problem in the SA or the Series 3 boxes?

I can assume that there is a chain of broadcasting services, that is, original recording, distribution, satellite distribution, conversion (HR20), and eventually to my audio amplifier. Are they enforced broadcasting audio “standards” that each of these services should/must adhere to?

As essentially the last link in this chain (HR20) prior to going to the amp, should the converter (HR20) be the device that controls or normalizes the sound level to be consistent across ALL channels prior to going to my amp?

Thanks!

Joe
 

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RBR Hitit tillit bricksit
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My H20 also does this so I do not think it is box related. Not sure if there are any normalizing processing in these boxes but it would be nice if there were.
 

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Brantel said:
My H20 also does this so I do not think it is box related. Not sure if there are any normalizing processing in these boxes but it would be nice if there were.
Uhhhh...no it wouldn't...unless it was user set (could be turned off). I don't want anything "modifying" my audio for me...it just introduces artifacts and distortion. The very idea of "automatic gain control" completely flies in the face of the dynamic range built into the movie by the artist. This is a very bad idea...and what you will get for it is garbage. There is no way to normalize the audio without compromising the integrity of the source material. It ruins music and special effects both. I could go into the technical reasons (there are MANY) why this is unavoidable if you normalize the audio, but I won't bore you with the details. These are basically hifi audio boxes, let's not turn them into lofi junk so someone doesn't have to change the audio level when changing networks/channels.

Now...the main problem of wildly varying audio levels is a source issue. The HR20 isn't doing anything (and it shouldn't). NBC DD is just awful...it is more than 13 dB down from all the other networks. It's a poor setting from the NETWORK. Contact the network, don't rewrite the HR20 code to try to make up for it. It won't work without ruining the high quality audio performance of the HR20.
 

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hasan said:
unless it was user set (could be turned off).
Of course you would want to be able to turn it off. This is so the 1% of audiophiles out there that could tell the difference in normalized audio and non normalized audio don't have any complaints.

I hate to break it to you but all of the audio we get, OTA, DVD, DBS, CABLE, etc has been modified at some point down the pipe.

DD itself compresses the audio and the A to D conversion also introduces errors.

It is a digital world we live in today. Some can make a great argument that this is not better but the benefits outway the pitfalls.
 

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Brantel said:
Of course you would want to be able to turn it off. This is so the 1% of audiophiles out there that could tell the difference in normalized audio and non normalized audio don't have any complaints.

I hate to break it to you but all of the audio we get, OTA, DVD, DBS, CABLE, etc has been modified at some point down the pipe.

DD itself compresses the audio and the A to D conversion also introduces errors.

It is a digital world we live in today. Some can make a great argument that this is not better but the benefits outway the pitfalls.
That is correct, but introducing AGC is one of the worst things you can do to an audio signal. Your 1% argument would also apply to CDs....fewer than 10% of the listening audience can hear above 15,000 hz...so why bother with cd quality?

The other approach, which is historic in its nature is to deliver the best quality at a marketable price. The industry settled on flatness 20 to 20,000 Hz, which is not unreasonable (given young ears)....the operative word here is "flatness"...AGC is anything but flat. (in addition other nasty problems). We have boxes that deliver CD quality...and DD is no exception....dynamic range is a CRITICAL component of the DD spec...let's not wreck it with "toaster oven" solutions.

Again, as long as it can be turned off, I don't care. The benefits of AGC cannot outweigh its pitfalls. It's a terrible solution (draconian one might say) to a minor problem. It is also available as an add-on dirt cheap. Let those who want it pay for it and not clutter up the box with unneeded hardware or bog it down with a software solution (which is also possible).
 

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I have a SIMA SVS-4 A/V switcher with an audio stabilizer circuit. It only works with left and right channels (White/Red cables), but will automatically switch to any active source, route it to your amp or TV, and also "compress" the audio to bring up the lows and bring down the highs. Commercials are almost always perceptively louder, and the SIMA will even them out. It will also bring down the pelting thunder of any good action movie, so I don't use it. With no DD5.1 ability, I have relegated mine to routing several secondary video outputs to a secondary monitor, and ignoring it's audio abilities all together.
 

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AllStar
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During my years at CNN it was common practice to jack up the audio for commercial spots because focus group studies showed it got your attention and made you look at the TV. I've always hated this practice myself, but it still happens.

Something I notice, and hate, is when watching something that's DD and then when a commercial comes on that's in PCM (my AV receiver is set to auto detect) the volume jump will throw you out of your seat. I always have to be ready with the remote for such occasions.
 

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I've got a JVC VCR that has a "commercial skip" feature. It looks for that minute black signal between shows and commercials, and pauses the recording until the end. I haven't used it much, but it did work when I did try it.

I usually hit MUTE when commercials come on. It seems to me that if my JVC can tell when a commercial starts, that someone should be able to make a little black box that will automatically MUTE your commercials for you when they start, and restore volume when the commercials are over.

Just an idea. Feel free to steal it. If you do, consider sending me a free one.
 

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Road Rage said:
During my years at CNN it was common practice to jack up the audio for commercial spots because focus group studies showed it got your attention and made you look at the TV. I've always hated this practice myself, but it still happens.

Something I notice, and hate, is when watching something that's DD and then when a commercial comes on that's in PCM (my AV receiver is set to auto detect) the volume jump will throw you out of your seat. I always have to be ready with the remote for such occasions.
Yep! Hence the call for gain limiting...but the cure is worse than the disease. There is no "good" solution that wouldn't cost more than the HR20 itself. If you really want to get blasted watch something in DD 5.1 from NBC (adjusting volume for a good level), then switch to CBS Network....reminds me of the Maxell commercials with the guy in the chair in front of the speakers with his scarf blowing out behind him!:D
 

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hasan said:
Yep! Hence the call for gain limiting...but the cure is worse than the disease. There is no "good" solution that wouldn't cost more than the HR20 itself. If you really want to get blasted watch something in DD 5.1 from NBC (adjusting volume for a good level), then switch to CBS Network....reminds me of the Maxell commercials with the guy in the chair in front of the speakers with his scarf blowing out behind him!:D
I disagree. Give people like you the option to turn it off and I bet many of you would still turn it on. And if you didn't, the existence of the feature wouldn't hurt you.

But for those of us that are annoyed when a stereo commercial comes on while watching a DD program, at what seems like 2x the volume, an automatic lowering of the volume would be a WELCOME feature indeed.
 

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iacas said:
I disagree. Give people like you the option to turn it off and I bet many of you would still turn it on. And if you didn't, the existence of the feature wouldn't hurt you.

But for those of us that are annoyed when a stereo commercial comes on while watching a DD program, at what seems like 2x the volume, an automatic lowering of the volume would be a WELCOME feature indeed.
Choice is good, however bad one of them might be:D
 

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hasan said:
Choice is good, however bad one of them might be:D
You're coming off as a bit of a snob. For many of us who don't consider ourselves "audiophiles to the highest degree," the benefits of a consistent volume level would drastically outweigh any slight degradation of signal - particularly if the LOUDER content (commercials, typically) is the content that suffers the slight degradation.

My guess is that a bunch of audiophiles, too, would turn the feature on.

I'm not talking about a feature that normalizes all audio, and I don't think the original poster was either. I think we're talking about the differences between channels and the differences we encounter when an HD program switches to SD commercials with standard stereo sound.
 
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4DThinker said:
I've got a JVC VCR that has a "commercial skip" feature. It looks for that minute black signal between shows and commercials, and pauses the recording until the end. I haven't used it much, but it did work when I did try it.

I usually hit MUTE when commercials come on. It seems to me that if my JVC can tell when a commercial starts, that someone should be able to make a little black box that will automatically MUTE your commercials for you when they start, and restore volume when the commercials are over.

Just an idea. Feel free to steal it. If you do, consider sending me a free one.
I had a TV that claimed to normalize ALL audio. It was supposed to keep the volume the same so you wouldn't get blasted with sound while chaging channels. Never did work that well.
 

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One, maybe two, of my TVs has that feature. I have never turned it on due to what hasan is posting; it alters the intention of the moviemaker. An explosion after a whisper is supposed to be startling!

But hasan, I don't understand how you can say that NBC DD audio is automatically 13dB down from the other networks. We view our networks from local stations, either OTA or thru D*, and the local station can turn its audio up or down as it chooses, however it comes from NBC.

D* could also adjust its audio--the loudest sound on Channel A should hit the same peak as the loudest sound on Channel B. I am not talking about AGC, just properly setting levels before D* encodes it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
iacas said:
I'm not talking about a feature that normalizes all audio, and I don't think the original poster was either. I think we're talking about the differences between channels and the differences we encounter when an HD program switches to SD commercials with standard stereo sound.
Thanks iacas - this is what I meant to say in the original post. I'm not looking for an AGC to control the booming cannons and the whispers. Also, no one has responded on my issue of standards. Are there audio broadcast standards that address the this issue? I also go back to my changing of radio stations example - how come AM/FM can standardize on an audio signal? And yet broadcast TV is so inconsistent in the application of audio broadcast standards (if there are any)?
 

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iacas said:
You're coming off as a bit of a snob. For many of us who don't consider ourselves "audiophiles to the highest degree," the benefits of a consistent volume level would drastically outweigh any slight degradation of signal - particularly if the LOUDER content (commercials, typically) is the content that suffers the slight degradation.

My guess is that a bunch of audiophiles, too, would turn the feature on.

I'm not talking about a feature that normalizes all audio, and I don't think the original poster was either. I think we're talking about the differences between channels and the differences we encounter when an HD program switches to SD commercials with standard stereo sound.
No audiophile would turn that feature on...at least none that I have met. Having high standards doesn't make one a snob...any more than having low standards makes one a slob...so let's cut the name calling. Once you turn the feature on it will affect normal program material...it doesn't discriminate between commercial and program material. (it can't) The limiting of dynamic range is completely antithetical to good audio performance. Years have been spent trying to get these devices (amps/receivers/speakers etc. to have good dynamic range...the device you are advocating for destroys that very thing. To each his own.

You're in a catch 22. If you want the audio normalized (however you do it), you lose dynaminc range. It is not a price I'm willing to pay, nor would anyone likely do it who spent a grand on their home theater system.

There is NO SYSTEM that can normalize commercials without normalizing the regular program material. Take your pick. If you can't hear it, fine, but don't call someone names because they can, and have an understanding of the underlying technical issues, as well as the implications of same.

Anyone is free to do whatever they like....but don't kid yourself...there's no free lunch. People should make an informed decision, not just jump at the first idea that "sounds good" (reverse pun intended).

With that, I'll leave you and your agc buddies to yourselves, I have no interest in getting into a pointless dispute.
 

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hasan said:
There is NO SYSTEM that can normalize commercials without normalizing the regular program material. .
There is one system: An inteligent HUMAN.. but they are hard to come by and cost $$$ :lol:
 
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