Roku volume control

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Roku volume control

Postby greubel » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:03 am

One thing that would be really nice, is the ability to adjust the audio volume. I don't know about others but I have to cut the volume in half when I switch to the Roku. Maybe be this could be added to the "device settings" or give us a level control. Any thing that could give the user the ability to match the output level of their other components.
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Re: Roku volume control

Postby RokuKevin » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:20 am

Good idea.

We've discussed this in the past, but have previously chosen the "make thinks simpler path". It's worth tracking how wide spread the audio volume issue is. We've also discussed adding "Advanced Settings" for those that want to fiddle with all the knobs.

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Re: Roku volume control

Postby gonzotek » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:42 pm

RokuKevin wrote:Good idea.

We've discussed this in the past, but have previously chosen the "make thinks simpler path". It's worth tracking how wide spread the audio volume issue is. We've also discussed adding "Advanced Settings" for those that want to fiddle with all the knobs.

---Kevin
I've experienced volume differences between older and newer Netflix content(ie. Season 1 of Buffy is comparatively quieter than Season 4 of Bones) and a large difference between the video and audio channels. I've begun to make a habit of turning down the volume before entering an audio channel because the volume is so much louder than in the video channels. For reference, the Roku audio output is attached to my cheapo home-theater-in-a-box system via stereo RCA cables. The volume scale goes to 25 in half-step increments and I generally never need to go above 10 for any device attached to the HTiB. For video consumption, the Roku usually sits around 7-8, while audio consumption through the Roku requires a 3-4 setting for a comparable perceived volume.

/edit: For KISS reasons, I'd think a player setting for volume normalization (on or off) might work, if a decent normalization routine is even possible on Roku hardware.
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Re: Roku volume control

Postby jbrave » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:03 pm

What might be better than a volume control is some dynamic range compression - so that quiet speaking parts are nearly as loud as the big explosions. Maybe just include a few presets and "off". If you want to put in an advanced setting, you could go all out and include threshold, attack, curve and release rate controls. ;-)

The wide dynamic range of programs on the Roku (which is nice if you are an Audiophile) makes it really hard to hear words if want to turn down the volume of Gunshots and Explosions, and if you turn up to hear the words, your ears and your neighbors ears are shattered by the unexpected Boom.

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Re: Roku volume control

Postby TheEndless » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:32 pm

gonzotek wrote:the Roku audio output is attached to my cheapo home-theater-in-a-box system via stereo RCA cables. The volume scale goes to 25 in half-step increments and I generally never need to go above 10 for any device attached to the HTiB.

For what it's worth, all three of my Rokus are connected via HDMI for audio, and the volume level is pretty consistent with the rest of my components, so this might be an analog-only issue.
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Re: Roku volume control

Postby greubel » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:06 pm

Dynamic range compression might be good for some folks but I would say that most of my users play music. And I wouldn't want a method that distorts the media.
Just a simple gain control like there is for the sound effects volume. Maybe even use those settings ??
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Re: Roku volume control

Postby gonzotek » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:05 pm

TheEndless wrote:
gonzotek wrote:the Roku audio output is attached to my cheapo home-theater-in-a-box system via stereo RCA cables. The volume scale goes to 25 in half-step increments and I generally never need to go above 10 for any device attached to the HTiB.

For what it's worth, all three of my Rokus are connected via HDMI for audio, and the volume level is pretty consistent with the rest of my components, so this might be an analog-only issue.
It might be. Just to be clear, I was only comparing video(Netflix, Amazon, TWiT, Rev3, iTPC, TED) vs. audio playback(Pandora, TuneIn Radio, MOG) on the Roku itself, not its overall volume compared to other devices. As far as that goes, I think for video, it's overall a little louder than the TiVo hooked via hdmi to the same amp. Maybe 5-10%, just enough to make me reach for the remote in order to adjust. And that could be down to the amp, it was a Woot special :)

greubel wrote:Dynamic range compression might be good for some folks but I would say that most of my users play music. And I wouldn't want a method that distorts the media.
Good point.
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Re: Roku volume control

Postby jbrave » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:21 pm

greubel wrote:Dynamic range compression might be good for some folks but I would say that most of my users play music. And I wouldn't want a method that distorts the media.
Just a simple gain control like there is for the sound effects volume. Maybe even use those settings ??


I absolutely agree with you on the music front.

I was talking about watching movies. Dynamic Range compression could be only applied when video is playing.

Also, I was speaking from the standpoint of myself as a consumer of media on the roku.

Most DVD players have a dynamic range compression settings, so this should be considered a standard thing to implement, and there are a ton of algorhythms available in public domain for this.

I would love it if I could control the volume with the Roku remote. (Anyone been shocked awake by the Visine commercial while watching hulu recently?)

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Re: Roku volume control

Postby thehunmonkgroup » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:45 am

any progress or timeline on this?

i have powered speakers that i use with all of my other audio devices, which have volume control, but the Roku doesn't :(
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Re: Roku volume control

Postby RokuKevin » Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:34 pm

It's not coming anytime soon...

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Re: Roku volume control

Postby bunklung » Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:43 pm

This drives me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't turn up the volume loud enough to hear the voices without blowing my ears drums off with other sound effects (explosions, gun fire, action sequence)
I can't turn down the volume enough to enjoy the sound effects without turning the dialog into a silent movie.

Is this just a analog problem? I do not use digital audio out/5.1 or HDMI output on my XDS.

It's like a roller coaster to keep the volume in check when watching a movie. Kinda makes the movie experience suck. Sorry for the lack of a better word.

With DVD players you can at least alter the dynamic range.

With a DVD player you can at least turn on closed captions.

I can do neither with ROKU. I understand that the closed caption is out of your hands.

Please allow a dynamic range option. Thanks.
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Re: Roku volume control

Postby destruk » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:11 pm

This problem also affects NetFlix.
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Re: Roku volume control

Postby RokuMarkn » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:53 pm

bunklung wrote:I can't turn up the volume loud enough to hear the voices without blowing my ears drums off with other sound effects (explosions, gun fire, action sequence)
I can't turn down the volume enough to enjoy the sound effects without turning the dialog into a silent movie.


Does your TV (or whatever you have the Roku audio plugged into) have any equalization settings that might be causing this? In general most encodings do not have different volume for voice vs. effects. If you're seeing this on most content, there's probably something in your audio setup that's affecting it. Also see this thread: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=35141&hilit=encoding+issue&start=15#p227463

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Re: Roku volume control

Postby jbrave » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:08 pm

I think it is a side effect of a wide dynamic range. The solution in the analog domain is to stick a compresser/limiter into the audio signal path. Behringer makes good inexpensive ones, albiet slightly more expensive than a Roku. Compression/Limiting is not too difficult to implement in software, so I am hoping that eventually something like this will be built into the Roku. Other companies that make them include DBX, Alesis and other. Prices seem to range from $69 to over $3000 and all are targeted at recording studios and sound system installations. I can't find any that are targeted at the consumer market. You might consider dropping into your local music store to see if you can find a stereo compressor/limiter on the cheap or used.

A volume control won't really help with this area - you will still be turning the volume up and down like I do, but using a compressor to lower the peak volumes should help. You have to play with the settings to get it just right.

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Re: Roku volume control

Postby bunklung » Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:59 pm

There is no TV setting to change. The link you suggested refers to "Equalize overall volume levels across all channels and VIDEO inputs. (On/Off)". This is a TV model specific feature and has to do with equalizing the levels across channels and videos inputs.

My problem is dynamic range. Roku needs some form of dynamic range compression.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range_compression

Joel has some good/expensive info. I only wish Roku would add some form of dynamic range compression that comes standard on most DVD players. I think dynamic range is less of an issue when you use high end or 5.1/7.1 gear with center channel speakers.

RokuMarkn wrote:
Does your TV (or whatever you have the Roku audio plugged into) have any equalization settings that might be causing this? In general most encodings do not have different volume for voice vs. effects. If you're seeing this on most content, there's probably something in your audio setup that's affecting it. Also see this thread: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=35141&hilit=encoding+issue&start=15#p227463

--Mark
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