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rasputin1963

Loudness Wars

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Have you noticed that the commercials on TV are very often louder than the program they're interrupting?

This is especially noticeable to me when I am trying to watch TV at low level so as not to disturb others in my house...

Wazzup with this? Yes, I suppose they DO capture my attention-- but my attention is unfavorable... I rush to grab the remote and ratchet down the volume.

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same goes for women that want attention.....only they don''t have remotes.

 

:D:D

 

actually this problem can be solved - it requires the TV stations to employ a sound mixer who overseas transmission levels as opposed to the current audio follows video switching that occurs now.

 

I know this as I've done it.

 

Unfortunately no station is prepared to meet that cost.

 

cheers

john

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thats where tivo or any dvr system comes in... eventually you will get to know how many "jumps" it will take to miss the commercials entirely... you spend less time overall staring at the idiot box so you can have more time to waste here! and, you can watch all your shows whenever you want to... such as, whenever american idol comes on, i make sure to have plenty prerecorded that i HAVE to watch at that time, so my wife has to go to the bedroom where the other receiver is to watch her beloved show of bad singing! there is a solution to american idol...

 

paulski

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If I remember correctly, there used to be a VCR that, when recording a show, could figure out from the dB change that a commercial was on and pause...is that my imagination?

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Actually, I'm solving this problem by renting at good ol' Blockbuster.

I rent about 8 episodes of a TV drama for less than $5, and Blockbuster lets me keep it for 10 days (3 days rental + 7 days grace period).

This lets me watch a 1 hour drama in 40 minutes without having to skip over commercials (TIVO or VHS), and also usually has bonuses like director/actor commentary. It's a pretty good value.

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Radio is the worst.

 

Artists with material crushed. Commercials trying to outcrush the music. And dj's trying to outcrush the other two.

 

And all of this getting re-crushed through the limiters/etc.

 

Radio is just one big case of ear fatigue and mud.

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I spend a time putting TV audio to air as part of my TV training back in the 80s. We used to listen off air to the return signal from the transmitter - when you had a quiet ending to a suspenseful episode the leveler on the transmitter would automatically raise the level - so when the commercials hit in they hammered it.

 

I used to pull back the commercials fader maybe 40 db to compensate for this and the commercials came in at a respectable level and as the leveler settled down I'd slowly increase the commercials so we ended up running at zero gain again.

 

So it can be done - it's just that the TV stations aren't interested in funding the extra employment position.

 

cheers

john

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TV commercials have been doing this for decades. Back in the 70s, when I was trying to explain about compression in articles, I'd often use commercials as a point of reference..."you know how the commercials always seem louder than the programs? Well, that's one example of compression/limiting/dynamics processing..." and go on from there.

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Here in Canada, we have two chains that do something that is really pathetic.

 

Global and CTV. Both these networks puchase the rights to broadcast US shows, (take yer pick...Lost, Law and Order etc). The local US based stations in New England buy their feed from Global and CTV instead of dierct from the mothership of ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX etc.

 

What Global does (and to a lesser extent CTV) is that the volume of their broadcast is up to industry standards, but the US based station that pick up Global's feed are at least 4 to 5 db quieter. So, you click over to Global and wacth their broadcast... and their commercials.

 

BTW... Global also has the habit of bad synching. Their broadcasts start and end before NBC's feed does. So, if watching a US stations feed, at the start of the show, you see the show intro, then it cuts and replays it. At the end of the show, it cuts and you re-watch the end of the show, and scene's from next week's episode... really annoying.

 

Oh yeah, and because of Global... Canadian's never get to see Super Bowl commercials as in the original American broadcast. We get the same Nissan commercial over and over.

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Thank you for your comments, everyone.

 

I have another question: when I watch COMEDY CENTRAL, just before they break for a commercial-- about 3 seconds before-- the audio portion of the show undergoes a bizarre sonic squash. It's a creepy sound.

 

Is this to signal someone, something? e.g., TiVo users?

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