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Old 05-15-2013, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,850,190 times
Reputation: 35910

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Very often, I cannot understand what people are saying on TV, and I suspect that the electronic voice technology is tilted to best transmit the adult male voice. I can never, ever understand children's voices coming through speakers, and sometimes women's voices. I think part of it nowadays has to do with Dolby Digital and the failure of TV Cable to accommodate Dolby, which is aimed at the big screen cinema sound. Conventional studio TV is usually OK, but anything on a movie channel becomes hopelessly muddy. But I believe microphones and speakers are probably designed to maximize frequency fidelity within the adult male speaking range, but don't need to be, as nowadays women practically outnumber men as announcers and presenters. Anybody have any knowledge about this?

I think (but an mot sure) that anatomically, male vocal apparatus produces sound through a much wider range of frequencies than female, so a sonogram of a male voice would be a wider than than the sharp line of a woman's voice. So if the narrow mix of frequencies in a woman's voice deviate from the ideal of the microphone or speaker design, little remains to fit into the optimum sound quality, and would nearly all lie outside the ideal.

I recognize that part of the difficulty is my own age. Which makes me think . . .
With more and more people living to old age, and virtually every teenager inflicting permanent hearing loss by turning up their volume, maybe all media audio should be produced with that in mind, and have a separate rolloff capacity for older hard-of-hearing people to switch their sound to reproduce at lower frequencies that they can hear better. And voice separated from gratuitous background clutter, so the latter can be turned off. Simply turning up the low pitch volume wouldn't help, unless those lower registers are also created faithfully at the source. I can remember some car radios having a toggle, to switch between Music and Talk, to try to overcome the interfering harmonics of road noise.

I once developed a defining truism about American radio. Talk radio is radio in which the incidental music is louder than the talk, and Music radio is radio in which the talk is louder than the music. The reason for that, of course, is that the commercials are the deviations, and are turned up louder.

Last edited by jtur88; 05-15-2013 at 12:44 PM..
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,194 posts, read 17,757,474 times
Reputation: 7982
I think you need a new HiFi.





Audio quality has only improved over the years, both in the studio and at home. I occasionally notice that the sound on a particular show isn't very good, although it mostly has to do with post-production artifacts. Also, the volume may be very low (usually) or high (occasionally) on a show or commercial. But overall, sound quality is quite good in pretty much any modern production.

It's more likely your age is playing a part. Could also be that your hearing is defective in certain frequency ranges, due to prolonged overexposure to that frequency. E.g. I worked in a server room that had a very large (and noisy) air conditioner in it, in one of the high rises in downtown L.A. One of the guys I worked with there had worked primarily in that room for many years and was deaf as a rock - but only in certain frequency ranges. Some people he could hear fine, and others he couldn't hear at all.
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:16 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,935 posts, read 51,594,061 times
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There is different loading for compression schemes, and you could be having some problems there if the channels are not properly decoded and (especially in movies) the center or derived center channel is too low or missing. That one channel typically carries most of the dialogue, and sound techs love to crank up the other channels for the "oohh wow, we are immersed in gunfire!" effects. If you set has any audio adjust capabilities, kill the surrounds, boost the center and leave right and left at normal.

The Onkyo receiver we use has about four or five different "styles" of sound. I still use a pink noise source an microphone to periodically balance things with my old graphic equalizer. As equipment ages, things change. The aging in the ear does affect ranges differently, as pointed out. High frequency rolloff is commonly more pronounced.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,850,190 times
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Of course, I'm talking about the standards that are used for stock, built-in audio components in basic-priced equipment, out of the box at WalMart. If one throws enough money at any audio system, better results can be attained.

Even then, if the original producer of the audio fails to capture the audio data, nothing can be done to restore it in the receiver. And that is my issue -- the failure on the part of the producers to effectively capture the higher pitch component of the human voice so that it can be retrieved by the listener. The engineering standard places the bias in favor of the adult male voice frequencies.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:40 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,935 posts, read 51,594,061 times
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Sorry, but that is more of a user issue than reality. As the bass has more inherent power and is easily picked up, Dolby and the various compression schemes pump up the higher frequencies. About the only credible reduction in high frequency might be from excessive use of socks (the foam thingie over some microphones that limits wind noise). Now if someone was pirating and did a Dolby decode twice...
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:33 PM
 
27,059 posts, read 38,310,511 times
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Background music.

For any given tv broadcast I can understand people talking until the show decides it needs music. As soon as the music starts I have problems with characters speaking.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,935 posts, read 51,594,061 times
Reputation: 27956
For me it is over when the fat lady sings. Gotta leave the room then.
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