Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Support for and discussion of the HDHomeRun Premium TV service
Ron
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Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:49 pm

Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby Ron » Sat Dec 15, 2018 3:30 pm

As stated in the subject line, there’s a huge disparity between OTA and premium. Premium is at a substantially higher audio level. Any way to equalize them?

jbis
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:41 am

Re: Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby jbis » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:26 am

I'd like to know too! Very annoying

dinki
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Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:35 am

Re: Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby dinki » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:29 am

I'd also like to see this volume difference 'normalized' as well.

ACraigo
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Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby ACraigo » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:56 pm

The 'Difference', unfortunately is that your OTA may be too quiet.

Every single item that's manually added to my Plexiverse is sent first through Xmedia Recode to bring audio levels up to the industry standard - 89db. My OTA is also pumped up via MCEBuddy. My PTV material is pretty much on par with everything else - or I'd be doing something about it... and I'm not.

Investigations should begin by downloading Xmedia Recode:
https://www.xmedia-recode.de/en/download.html
(Super Easy - no documentation necessary)

Drag some various material to Xmedia Recode, visit the 'audio' tab and 'analyse' some tracks to see where everything is. The results may be shocking.

nateb
Silicondust
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Re: Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby nateb » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:18 pm

Out of curiosity, could you guys describe your audio setups? I tend to only do stereo, and haven't noticed a huge disparity, but sometimes things like that can slip in when mixing AC3 channels with AAC channels.

gtb
Expert
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Re: Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby gtb » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:08 pm

Out of curiosity, could you guys describe your audio setups? I tend to only do stereo, and haven't noticed a huge disparity, but sometimes things like that can slip in when mixing AC3 channels with AAC channels.
Or 2.0/5.1 setups with different sources (some stereo and some 5.1). Down/Up mixing is inconsistent across many different setups. The classic example here is the "commercials are louder than the programs" complaint which is because the commercials were 2.0, and the show 5.1, and the extra 3.1 worth of channel power was disappearing into the non-existent side/center/woofer.... So, yes, details (very specific details, at every level (OS, TV, A/V receiver, etc.)) always matter. Obtaining those details is left as an exercise to the audiophile.

ACraigo
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Re: Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby ACraigo » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:54 pm

The only thing I have to go by are those two holes on each side of my head and the volume button on my TV Remote.
When I'm done all three items are reporting similar levels - not without some fiddling.

I will add that for maximum comfort I use:
TV Shows/5.1 - 84db <----usually TV Shows are heavily 'processed'.
TV Shows/2.0 - 89db <----never higher
Movies/5.1 - 86-89db <---I always use the head holes/volume control for any fine adjustments - often necessary
Movies/2.0 - 89db <--- never higher
For my OTA MCEBuddy janks it up to the tune of 99.5% - my sweet spot.
PTV by way of some miracle, or by design, is right in line with everything else and all commercials are cleaved from the programming so that's not a problem.

My OTA comes in at around 73db - noticeably quiet... hence the boost.

jazzy112
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Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:35 pm

Re: Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby jazzy112 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:35 pm

I notice it.

Xbone to Toshiba Tv to Klipsch Soundbar via toslink. Soundbar does decode 5.1

I also experience this while watching any internet content. My soundbar has two settings when watching network content, loud amd off....for night watching anyway.

We experience this because of the CALM act. While the difference is annoying, I'll take the louder better sound over the level mangled stuff on broadcast any day of the week. My soundbars have always been a problem on these tv's due to the lack of variable audio out.

Swap the tv for a Sony, and the sound for a Yamaha RX-A3000 and the variance is still noticeable.

nickk
Silicondust
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Re: Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby nickk » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:41 pm

Variance in volume level...

If you have 2 speakers:

If the TV channel is carrying stereo sound then each audio channel maps directly to a speaker.

If the TV channel is 5.1 there is an official equation to convert to stereo. This conversion can be done by the application, by the OS, or by the TV (for example when using AC3 passthrough). Most things that do this conversion will also reduce the volume to avoid the risk of clipping due to the surround or center channels adding too much energy.

TV stations will often broadcast in 5.1 all the time, but map stereo source material to just the L and R audio channels (nothing on the rear or center speakers). When this is converted back to stereo the volume reduction is quite noticeable.

The HDHomeRun app does not have this problem. If you use the HDHomeRun app you either get AC3 passthrough or you get 5.1 to stereo conversion while maintaining the volume level.

If you have 5.1 speakers:

Windows: make sure that you are using AC3 passthrough and/or you have Windows set to 5.1 audio. The Windows OS defaults to stereo audio output which results in everything being converted to stereo even if you have a 5.1 surround sound home theater system. It may not be immediately noticeable because most home theater systems will up-convert stereo content to 5.1 so you get sound out the rear speakers even though everything is being converted to stereo.

If the TV channel is 5.1 and contains true 5.1 content then everything directly maps and sounds great.

If the TV channel is stereo then the application or home theater system will usually convert to 5.1. The volume should be comparable.
The HDHomeRun app outputs AC3 passthrough if it can, otherwise it converts the stereo content to 5.1 surround sound.

The problem situation - the TV channel broadcasts 5.1 audio but maps stereo source material only to the L and R audio channels. The home theater system thinks it is getting 5.1 audio so doesn't do the stereo to 5.1 conversion and you only get sound out the L and R speakers.

In theory it would be possible to auto-detect this situation and fix it in the HDHomeRun app. Let us know so we can make a case for it being a wanted feature.

Nick

Ron
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Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:49 pm

Re: Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby Ron » Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:28 am

I predominantly use Plex and this difference is most noticed when watching TV, live or recorded, on Plex via my mobile device (iPhone).

groundhog22
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Re: Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby groundhog22 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:49 pm

While using the HDHomeRun app I hear this situation most pronounced in my non-5.1 viewing areas -- Kitchen, BRs. In those locations we are running either the FireTV/dongles/sticks or Mibox3's to Stereo TV. It is also prevalent in the Win10 app with stereo output. There is a substantial difference between the regular broadcast cable channels (AC3 5.1) from the Prime and the PremiumTV channels (ADTS) coming from the Quatros. It is less pronounced, but still noticeable when using surround sound since there are additional channels in the venue to boost the db.

With regard to newer FireTV devices, the advanced audio option "Volume Leveler" available on the FireTV dongle (2017? OS 6.2.5.5) and 4k stick can helpwith this issue, but it also seems to reduce sonic quality. Using this setting with the surround system, the Premium (stereo only) channels seem compressed instead of reduced, but the sound quality is livable with the leveler setting in the bedroom where someone might otherwise jump from their skin from the blast when changing the channel from locals to Premiums (recordings)...

GetMatt
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Re: Audio level difference between Premium & OTA

Postby GetMatt » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:08 pm

Not posting a problem here but a setup comparison. He have a Xbox One going directly (HDMI) to a Yamaha Receiver and another going directly (HDMI) to a Sony Soundbar. On one the Xbox is outputting Atmos and the other is outputting DD 5.1.

With our setup there is no difference between OTA, Premium, Streaming (Netflix, VUDU, Youtube etc.) The only thing we see a major sound difference on is a bluray that has DTS (any kind).

So I don't think it is a problem with the App (at least not on the Xbox). It is most likely an issue with the setup especially where you have Xbox (or other device) -> TV -> Soundbar. TV optical outputs can really mess things up in how they convert to stereo (most won't output anything else). Always better to come direct from the source to audio device when possible


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