Why do I find dialogue in films so hard to make out?

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  • Why do I find dialogue in films so hard to make out?
  • Premier Icon porter_jamie
    Subscriber

    I struggle as well. I might be partially deaf though so I always have the subtitles on.

    Premier Icon neil the wheel
    Subscriber

    At some point when I wasn’t looking, it became law for everything in films to be accompanied by a “Foooooom!!” sound like the gates of hell slamming.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    PS I have set up with Audyssey, is that the problem?

    No idea what that means, but bear in mind dialog on films will come from the centre channel so if that isn’t set right it will be muffled (or inaudible!) How many speakers have you got?

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    A full compliment of 5.1, I recently changed my centre from a keff to a larger infinity to see if that cured the problem, but alas not 🙁

    You’re watching the wrong films?

    I was listening to an old mark kermode podcast not so long ago. They were discussing audio levels in many movies (Hollywood) being incorrect on DVD and blurays causing dialogue to become both distorted and drowned by sound effects/incidental music etc. It was from a podcast dating back to 2010 I think and they had a few film producers being interviewed about the issue.

    Certainly I find with some of my DVDs that the sound effects are painfully loud but dialogue is barely audible.

    grievoustim
    Member

    I agree it’s a problem for me too – often need subtitles on

    With DVDs/ blu rays/ Netflix etc i often find the sound is set to 5.1 as default

    I don’t have a 5.1 system – switching to a regular stereo soundtrack (if there is one) often seems to result in clearer sounding dialogue for me

    Premier Icon cloudnine
    Subscriber

    Turn the centre speaker up via the settings.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    Can you increase the volume of the centre channel only from your amp to make it clearer?

    Agree though that modern films often have quite “mumbly” dialogue, sometimes I have to rewind bits a few times or stick the subtitles on to work out what people are saying! Could just be our ears though!

    ji
    Member

    A better subwoofer may help (directs the bass away from other speakers). I also have my front speakers set as small rather than large as this improves the sound as well.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Small / large is nothing to do with volume, it’s relating to the range of frequencies supplied to the speakers. Set them as ‘small’ and it’ll send less bass to them (ie, the low end cutoff is higher). Or at least, that’s what mine does, YMMV.

    Random thought, you’ve not got the centre channel out of phase have you?

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    I thought all this new HD sound & digital mastering was supposed to make things better?
    All I hear are the explosions & background noise…
    Or is it just me?

    Your thoughts please.
    Cheers.

    PS I have set up with Audyssey, is that the problem?

    loddrik
    Member

    I just avoid films with explosions, gunfights and car chases. Utterly tedious.

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    Well thanks to Couger I tried switching the crossover frequency to 70 htz and things are a lot better, so thank you to all & especially Couger.
    Cheers.

    wobbliscott
    Member

    You need to mess with the channel levels. Turn up the dialogue channel and all will be well with the world. I have Audessy on my system, but I have set it up manually as it didn’t seem to be that effective in my room with my layout.

    PrinceJohn
    Member

    If it’s set up with audyssey it might be the dynamic range that is the issue, when I run mine at full in order to have the dialogue at a reasonable level any loud noises make the house shake. I like this more than the neighbours and the girlfriend. It might also be known as a late night listening mode.

    dantsw13
    Member

    Do you have the same issue in the cinema/other people’s houses? The lower frequencies are generally the first to go with hearing – picking out speech from noise clutter being a common symptom.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I have this problem in films when watching on my 5.1 but not in real life or the cinema.

    I think they want you to have ooh wow mega explosions that are realy loud, so it you set the volume for sensible explosions and effects the dialogue is too quiet. Too much dynamic range. Varies per film though.

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    My sub may well be a bit of an issue as it’s quite a monster of a REL, it can pressurise the room, but as I said changing the front & centre frequency has eased the issue some what.
    I’m currently watching a BD copy of master & commander to make sure.
    Cheers.

    b r
    Member

    There is a ‘night’ setting on my system, it lowers all the other noises so that voices are louder by overall volume – does yours have this option?

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    I just avoid films with explosions, gunfights and car chases. Utterly tedious.

    Why pay to have that at home when when you can get it all in your local carvery 🙂

    I just avoid films with explosions, gunfights and car chases. Utterly tedious.

    Star Wars??? 😯

    Daniel
    Member

    I always struggled. When I started watching films etc. with subtitles my wife started nagging me and I went to the docs. I now have hearing aids. I still watch some stuff with subtitles though 😐

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