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Author Topic: Movie theatre loudness  (Read 522 times)
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Andrew Meronek

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« on: Dec 23, 2017, 09:41AM »

I know I can be a bit of an oddball, but I have had bad experiences almost every time out to see a movie I want to see in a theater, due to the volume levels being too high. Last time was Blade Runner 2049. Fantastic movie, but whoever set up the sound did a terrible job in that particular theater.

Anyway, a rant on that experience: everything in that theater was loud, not just "loud" moments. It sounded like the sound was set up by a 16-year-old EDM enthusiast. In the very first scene, foot scuffs on the floor from a character walking in a room were loud. That's just stupid. This was not IMAX which I know to avoid like the plague; just one of the regular theaters. I'm just really tired of having to worry about bringing earplugs to a movie theater viewing. It's not just about protecting my hearing - I just don't like experiencing pain for no good reason!  >:(

Is anyone else frustrated with this trend? It does seem to vary from theater to theater on just how bad it gets, but it still is a trend, and it seems like a lot of the theaters also don't want to hire people who know how to mix sound properly. I do think it's fair (in my limited experience) to lay blame on local theaters, not the production made by the Hollywood engineers who I suspect really are competent.

I want to go check out a movie or two this weekend, but basically me previous experiences are scaring me off due to this issue.
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 23, 2017, 10:00AM »

I once walked out and told them if they didn't turn it down I would leave and wanted my money back.  It worked.
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 23, 2017, 10:45AM »

I haven't had trouble at the movies, but the last time I went to a minor league hockey game, they played music at ear-splitting levels at ever break of 5 seconds or more.
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 23, 2017, 10:48AM »

RANT ALERT !

THX certified movie theaters volume should be set to (expletive deleted) 105 dB for the loudest scenes!

A typical theater is about 85 dB.

Why?
  • To keep people from talking on the cell phone - ha
  • For a more visceral "metal concert" experence

Musicians, who are good listeners of course, will find this way too loud.

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robcat2075

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« Reply #4 on: Dec 23, 2017, 11:20AM »

Yes, I have also found it too loud. Particularly the previews tend to be all-loud.

I have taken to sitting farther back than I normally would.
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 23, 2017, 11:26AM »

"The Greatest Showman" is out this weekend and it is a great movie!
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 23, 2017, 11:33AM »

Bring earplugs.

Everywhere.

I always carry several around in my pocket...32 or 33 db-rated. I use the foam ones...they are inexpensive and easy to adjust, from barely in to almost deaf. This culture has learned to substitute volume for content, and not just in music. Cars, trains...especially subways...sirens, whistles etc. can be uncomfortably loud as well. So can percussion instruments, trumpets and other loud, high musical sounds.

Protect yourself.

You're all you've got.

AG
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Andrew Meronek

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« Reply #7 on: Dec 23, 2017, 11:46AM »

I once walked out and told them if they didn't turn it down I would leave and wanted my money back.  It worked.

I've done this too, but it's only worked once. I remember it: watching Moneyball several years ago, I ended up finding a manager and explained to him that in the theater where I was trying to watch this movie, the bass was cranked so much that dialogue was hard to understand. I then saw him poke in and out of the theater a couple of times and he dialed it in quite nicely. I got the impression that no one even bothered to balance sound for that movie (probably had settings from a previous movie) until I said something. In a different theater, I remember going to see TRON II and complained to no effect, and walked out, never to return and recommending to everyone I know to avoid that theater.
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 23, 2017, 11:47AM »

I think part of it may be that people always have earbuds in so you get used to the source of sound right next to your ear. But most earbuds don't do noise isolation, so they pump up the volume so that the earbuds are merely louder than whatever happens to be going on around rather than trying to keep some of that noise out.  Result? Everything needs to be louder when its acoustic to get the same sensation.  

I do what Sam does. I always have foam earbuds with me.  I put them in when I drive, take the train, go to the mall, etc.  It does tend to make me more sensitive to sounds but I haven't noticed a problem with my brass playing thus far.
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Andrew Meronek

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« Reply #9 on: Dec 23, 2017, 11:50AM »

Bring earplugs.

I have a set in every instrument case, and for my day job, in my tool bag. Not custom earplugs, just solid, reusable 28dB reduction that fit well enough they don't give me a headache.

I also just avoid environments that I know will be loud, in general, if I can.
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 23, 2017, 09:53PM »

I rarely go to movies in theaters anymore because the volume is too loud and the mix is so bad that the music obscures the dialog.

I just wait until the movies come to my Tivo and then I can watch them with closed captioning on.
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 23, 2017, 10:09PM »

I always bring my musician's earplugs to the theater. Brings everything to a perfect volume for me.
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 24, 2017, 06:44PM »

Iím beginning to think Iím hard of hearing. Iíve never found the theater too loud. Any theater Iíve been to.
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