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Important Question

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joe zabrosky
Important Question
on Jun 27, 2014 at 5:06:37 am

Hi,

I know audio is subjective. Nobody seems to have definitive answers - even so called experts. Please be patient as i need to set this up. The question is at the bottom of post.

Project potentially for tv, theater and or online.

Mix sounds good online and haven't gotten to theater mix.

For tv have sought the lowest common denominator to test my mixes on. I have found that the smallest visio hd tvs have the worst audio system on their tvs - 2 - 2 watt speakers that don't seem to have any kind of woofer, sensitizer, etc.

the project sounds good on probably the second worst hd tv, insignia, that has 2 speakers at 5 watts total, seems to have something like a cone woofer, but am not positive. A bass boost mix doesn't distort with levels between - 6 and -12 on the insignia, but does in places on the visio both at 50 and 100 volume (100 being the highest it can go).

I did a different mix reducing bass and this mix between -6 and -12 sounds fine on the visio even at 100 volume. Did another low bass mix with levels above -6 and it distorts at 100 volume but sounds fine at 50 volume. through testing a couple other movies that didn't have any big sound effects, and putting the volume up to 100, they both sounded fine, thus i believe if you have a good mix you should be able to play your movie at the highest volume and it shouldn't distort. Perhaps I'm wrong on this. If so, please explain.

My question is - what would be the wisest choice - use the mix that goes above -6 and sounds fine at 50 volume but distorts in places at 100 volume, or use the -6 to -12 mix that doesn't distort at 100 volume? The above -6 mixes having extra db is obviously louder / easier to hear, which is very valuable. I'm sending the dvds out as screeners to various prospects who will either watch on computer or hd tv.

Thank you for your help / input. joe

joseph zabrosky


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Brent Cook
Re: Important Question
on Jun 27, 2014 at 6:53:33 am

I'm not an expert in any way and don't know standard practices of audio for TV, but I do have audio recording experience. If your mix isn't clipping on an accurate meter and it distorts on a cheap TV's speakers with the volume cranked, isn't that a shortcoming of the TV? Does it make sense to "dumb down" your audio to sound good (not distorted) on crappy TV speakers at full volume?

I'm interested to hear what the experts say...


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Important Question
on Jun 27, 2014 at 3:00:30 pm

It's an impossible mission. Get out while you can.





Really, audio is not just about overall level, it is about what you do with the level within the given boundaries.

-6 is just a measurement of relative levels, it does not account for the quality of the sound. I can have something over modulated and clamp it to a -6db hard line, it will still sound like shit, even though the measurement is not clipping.

A mix that doesn't go too far about -12 can sound stupendous, depending on how it's handled.

There isn't a straight answer to your question without getting a sense of the initial quality of your audio.


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joe zabrosky
Re: Important Question
on Jun 27, 2014 at 4:53:02 pm

yeah, I know. i had to get rid of a lot of bass for it not to distort even when levels were below -6. the bass made the sound richer and fuller. i agree.

joseph zabrosky


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Important Question
on Jun 27, 2014 at 5:08:23 pm

Honestly, Joe, I know you're trying to do the right thing, but there's no way you can account for everyone's setup in their home. if someone is listening to something at full volume on their tv speakers, I doubt they are going to care what sounds good or bad.

Are you going to be sending your final version out for a professional mix?


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joe zabrosky
Re: Important Question
on Jun 28, 2014 at 5:40:06 am

I already had a so-called professional mix and that's what it got me on low end tvs.

joseph zabrosky


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Bill Davis
Re: Important Question
on Jun 28, 2014 at 9:02:05 pm

Joe,

Eseentially, you're asking for the audio equivalent of "I want the perfect condiment, something that makes everything taste better whether it's a hamburger or an ice cream treat."

And obviously such a thing just does not exist.

There is no "perfect mix" just as there is no perfect condiment.

Stuff that's great for a 5.1 surround mix sound like CRAP on a bedside alarm clock radio. And vice versa.

The best you can hope for is a super clean "middle mix" with not too much bass to screw up the small speaker stuff - and not too terrible bass so that it sounds anemic at the 5.1 cineplex.

But that middle of the road mix won't sound particularly great on either extreme.

That's why most audio content is COMPRESSED to hell and back with whatever carries the bulk of the informative load pretty far up front (typically the voiceover) - it's valuing communications practicality over aesthetics.

It's only when you KNOW the playback situation that you can optimize for that.

Sorry. but that's just the way it is.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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joe zabrosky
Re: Important Question
on Jun 29, 2014 at 7:47:44 pm

Thanks Bill - appreciate your input

joseph zabrosky


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joe zabrosky
Re: Important Question
on Jun 27, 2014 at 4:50:15 pm

Hi Brent,

Thanks for your input.

The reality is that it has to sound good on what your prospects could be watching it on. Thus, one of my prospects might have a crappy visio 24" or something similar so if i can make it sound good on the worst it will sound good everywhere else. In other words a dynamic sound is not going to sound good on a tv that has a crappy sound system as most dynamic sounds will need at least some kind of subwoofer. joe

joseph zabrosky


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Tim Jones
Re: Important Question
on Jun 27, 2014 at 8:34:36 pm
Last Edited By Tim Jones on Jun 27, 2014 at 8:34:52 pm

[joe zabrosky] "if i can make it sound good on the worst it will sound good everywhere else."
Joe - this is a very bad assumption to make. I've worked with a lot of high end studios and there really is a science to getting the audio good on the low-side and stay good on the high side.

Here's one thought - if you're creating a normal DVD, your answer may be in multiple audio options - Stereo for low-end systems to Digital 5.1 for the high-end systems.

Mix the basic stereo audio to focus on the sounds between around 350Hz and 12.5KHz. Don't completely toss the other frequencies, just roll them off. You're going to lose the bass, but at least you won't be crackling those little speakers.

You can then focus on the full mix for the high-end systems without sacrificing your audio quality.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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joe zabrosky
Re: Important Question
on Jun 28, 2014 at 5:37:57 am


Mix the basic stereo audio to focus on the sounds between around 350Hz and 12.5KHz. Don't completely toss the other frequencies, just roll them off.


Thanks for your response Tim. Can you explain the details as to how you do this in fcpx? Thanks, joe

joseph zabrosky


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Craig Alan
Re: Important Question
on Jun 28, 2014 at 7:11:48 pm

High end audio editors do not use FCP X for audio. In FCP X, select a clip. In the inspector, select the audio tab. Under channel configuration you will see a pull down where you can select mono or stereo or left right center surround. For the low end, you might or might not get better results with dual mono or stereo. For high end, use the last option. Do a search on google for using this feature in FCP X. If you have a player with cheap audio components, it will always sound like crap if you boost the amp all the way up. I would test each playback at 12 o'clock. At 12 it should bring the recording back to life without distortion.

If the original audio recording was poor, there is only so much you can do.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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joe zabrosky
Re: Important Question
on Jun 29, 2014 at 7:48:51 pm

Thank you Craig for taking the time to respond. Appreciate it.

joseph zabrosky


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