Volume Control

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Volume Control

Postby jlsoaz » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:20 pm

It seems like a recent matter: It seems like on a couple of different channels or movies or radio stations I have found myself having immediately to turn the sound way down. I am on a RadioTime station right now and I had to turn my TV sound down to 1 single bar above zero.

Is there a setting within the Roku system itself that has caused any relative imbalance in how the volume control is coming over the system? Or perhaps this is channel specific? Or unique to my setup? Right now it's a deal-with-able situation, but I sure hope I don't accidentally turn the volume up to a moderate number of bars, off of Roku, and then come back to Roku and forget. Also, it doesn't allow me any room for a real level of softness, as there is so little room left at the bottom, between zero and moderate sound.
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Re: Volume Control

Postby robertm » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:34 pm

No. It is pretty much all over the place for me too. I am sure it has something to do with how the encoding is done but you'd have to ask someone smarter than I am on that issue.
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Re: Volume Control

Postby jlsoaz » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:53 pm

robertm wrote:No. It is pretty much all over the place for me too. I am sure it has something to do with how the encoding is done but you'd have to ask someone smarter than I am on that issue.


I just listened to a few more stations on RadioTime and they were fine. So, one station was bad and three or four were ok, at a quick sampling.
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Re: Volume Control

Postby derobert » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:01 pm

It has to do with how the audio is processed. The audio formats allow for both loud and quiet sounds (how much different the loudest allowed sound is from the quietest is the dynamic range). This is normally good, you want to have the leaves crunching as someone walks through a forest at night be quiet, and the monster jumping him be loud. (Or the explosion, or whatever)

Now, when you don't need the dynamic range—when you want everything to be the more or less the same volume—you have a choice of where you put that (in the range of leaves crunching to explosion). Different channels (or radio stations, in this case) have chosen different levels. That's the volume difference you're hearing.

It'd be nice if each channel were volume normalized to the same reference level... but as you've noticed, some channels don't even do that within the channel!

Try Pandora with classical music, adjust the volume for a symphony, and then put on some metal. Well, after covering your ears.
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Re: Volume Control

Postby sweller » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:19 am

Believe it or not, there's a bill pending to control the volume of loud commercials. Maybe it will "trickle down."

http://eshoo.house.gov/index.php?option ... &Itemid=79
http://www.bbb.org/sanjose/business-reviews/electronic-equipment-and-supplies-wholesale-and-manufacturers/roku-in-saratoga-ca-223541
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Re: Volume Control

Postby Gilgamesh » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:33 am

sweller wrote:Believe it or not, there's a bill pending to control the volume of loud commercials. Maybe it will "trickle down."

Whenever I hear "trickle down" I think "tinkle down" and I wonder who's being pissed on.

It'd be nice if each channel were volume normalized to the same reference level... but as you've noticed, some channels don't even do that within the channel!

There are volume normalizers that work very well. I use one in my system and have NO volume problems. See:
http://www.amazon.com/Terk-VR1-Automati ... 717&sr=8-1
I use that one on the output of my AV switch between the switch and my AC receiver so it controls the volume for all my gear. Works great.
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Re: Volume Control

Postby jlsoaz » Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:50 pm

Gilgamesh wrote:
[...]

It'd be nice if each channel were volume normalized to the same reference level... but as you've noticed, some channels don't even do that within the channel!

There are volume normalizers that work very well. I use one in my system and have NO volume problems. See:
http://www.amazon.com/Terk-VR1-Automati ... 717&sr=8-1
I use that one on the output of my AV switch between the switch and my AC receiver so it controls the volume for all my gear. Works great.


Thanks for the tip, this looks kind of interesting, and affordable. I don't have my TV hooked up to any sort of external sound system, but I suppose going forward this is certainly possible.
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Re: Volume Control

Postby Robert99 » Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:32 pm

Gilgamesh wrote:There are volume normalizers that work very well. I use one in my system and have NO volume problems. See:
http://www.amazon.com/Terk-VR1-Automati ... 717&sr=8-1
I use that one on the output of my AV switch between the switch and my AC receiver so it controls the volume for all my gear. Works great.

I also want to thank you for the tip. I may just pick up that device!

In my case, I have an older (manual button) audio source switch feeding into the (single) auxiliary input to a stereo system. Normally I've got the audio switcher set to feed from the audio output jack of my 32" TV, so that I can get the good sound (much better than the TV's built in sound) quality of the stereo for any TV program I'm watching from any source (not just TV from the ROKU). However, feeding from the TV obviously doesn't work when the TV is turned off. So when the press of a button (on the audio source selector box), I can switch the audio (fed to the TV) to the stereo output of the ROKU (thereby letting me listen to audio only ROKU content, without having to leave the TV turned on).

This setup seems to work fairly well. However, like others I've found myself jumping for the stereo's remote when switching between various programs/channels. So my thought is that simply inserting such a "volume normalizer" (like the one you suggested) between the audio source switch and the stereo should help my stereo to maintain a more constant volume for any (external the stereo) audio source I should like to hook up (which currently includes both the TV and the ROKU, but may include other devices in the future).
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Re: Volume Control

Postby derobert » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:48 am

Gilgamesh wrote:There are volume normalizers that work very well. I use one in my system and have NO volume problems. See:
http://www.amazon.com/Terk-VR1-Automati ... 717&sr=8-1
That sounds like some sort of compressor... So, my guess is, it'd destroy music (or at least classical music). That may or may not be a problem, depending on how much you use e.g., Pandora.
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Re: Volume Control

Postby sweller » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:58 am

derobert wrote:
Gilgamesh wrote:There are volume normalizers that work very well. I use one in my system and have NO volume problems. See:
http://www.amazon.com/Terk-VR1-Automati ... 717&sr=8-1
That sounds like some sort of compressor... So, my guess is, it'd destroy music (or at least classical music). That may or may not be a problem, depending on how much you use e.g., Pandora.

It won't destroy it. It may degrade it. Recording engineers use compression/expansion algorithms routinely. But if you're an audiophile, it's very unlikely that you'd use one of these, anyway.
http://www.bbb.org/sanjose/business-reviews/electronic-equipment-and-supplies-wholesale-and-manufacturers/roku-in-saratoga-ca-223541
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Re: Volume Control

Postby BoloMKXXVIII » Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:30 am

The audio on commercials typically has the dynamic range compressed so they can raise the overall volume. It is a shame the Terk device doesn't just reduce the volume. According to the web site:

1) Advanced Digital Signal Processing for quick, automatic volume adjustment - in less than 2/1000-ths of a second
2) Built-in Noise Reduction removes the 'hiss' present in some sounds
3) Adjusts bass and treble signals for improved dialogue

I see no reason to "process" the signal. If it was simple automatic volume adjustment it would be more attractive.
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Re: Volume Control

Postby derobert » Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:44 am

sweller wrote:It won't destroy it. It may degrade it. Recording engineers use compression/expansion algorithms routinely. But if you're an audiophile, it's very unlikely that you'd use one of these, anyway.
OK, "destroy" was probably too strong a word. I agree there is nothing inherently wrong with companding as part of audio engineering, especially for "modern" music.

Mainly, I wanted to point out the downside of devices like this, that their effects on music, particularly Classical (and some Jazz, etc.), is likely to be quite unfavorable.

@BoloMKXXVIII: They have to process it, that's what volume leveling is! Basically, a compressor is a feedback loop (measure power, adjust volume, measure...) that targets a (more) constant audio power. So, when the device sees low power for a while, it will up the volume. When it sees high power for a very short while (2ms, according to the spec), it will lower the volume. That alone is audio processing. The hiss removal is needed, because otherwise intended silence will be amplified, producing a quite notable hiss. The equalization is probably to help the feedback loop more closely approximate perceived loudness (which differs from audio power substantially; the ear's response varies substantially by frequency).
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