Any other guys driven crazy by wives/GFs turning TV volume up and down?

I generally hate to “essentialize” stuff around gender, but this is an issue not only with me and my wife, but was one also with my ex-wife and every woman I’ve known since I got my first “home theatre” in the '80s (a hi-fi VCR hooked up to a TV and stereo).

The dynamic range of movies played over hi-fi equipment is a lot greater, by design, than that coming from a classic TV set’s speaker. This means that if you set the volume high enough to hear a quiet dialogue scene, it will be pretty loud when the scene shifts to a dance club, car chase, etc. Every woman I’ve known dislikes it when it gets loud, so they want to turn the volume down in those scenes and then turn it back up for quiet scenes. Or in my wife’s case, she’s okay with turning on the captions instead, but either option is grating to me, to say the least.

Relatedly, I’m actually surprised there isn’t a compressed dynamic range setting on home theatres. Women who live alone, men who have this same preference (though I don’t know any), and for that matter people who live in apartments with thin walls might appreciate it, though I would be as likely to press it as I would be to use my TV’s motion smoothing (“soap opera effect”) setting.

My problem is a lot of modern movies and TV have horrible sound balance where the dialogue is whisper quiet, but action scenes or explosions are excessively loud.

So yea I get told many times to turn that crap down are you deaf for an action scene, only to then have a exposition or dialogue scene where I can’t hear a word without turning it up.

People are always asking me why I use subtitles. I put the subtitles on in everything I watch. This is why! So I can understand the quiet dialogue scenes without cranking the volume.

I’m a guy, and I hate movies/shows that keep changing the volume on me. I will adjust accordingly.

me too. My wife uses subtitles, but I find them terribly distracting.

I’m a guy and I can’t stand watching TV at my parents’ house with the captions off. Vive les captions!


It also helps me keep track of characters’ names. I have a very visual memory.

Not a problem for me. I don’t let my wife use the remote. Maybe someday if she can pass the test. She does fine on the written portion, but on the actual viewing test she’s not switching fast enough when a commercial comes on.

It’s gender-reversed in my household. I’m riding the volume because of the poor sound mix. We have a great sound system, but I swear the quality of the product is decreasing, not increasing.* Dialog is often muddled, even in some first-run shows. And older movies? Sometimes the sound is horrible, even from bigger studios.

*Is this related to the return of vinyl? Mp3 compression ruining everyone’s ability to judge good quality? A product of the “loudness wars”? Laziness?

Count me as another subtitle user.

I guess I disagree that the sound balance is “horrible”. They are utilizing the same kind of dynamic range they have done for years in the movie theatre; some people are just thrown off by having that go on in their house. (Or maybe those same people don’t like seeing movies in the theatre?)

ETA: If subtitles are on, I always find myself “reading ahead” (I just can’t help it), which then makes all the dialogue sound like “lines” being recited by actors (which is of course what it is, but I prefer a suspension of disbelief). It also mars the cinematography.

Ears getting old?

This has actually been around for a while. I’ve had it on my blu-ray players as well as on my receiver. It’s called just as you’ve noted “dynamic range compression”.

Should be young people making the sound mixes, I’d think.

Maybe not.

Subtitles are distracting, Loud parts are also, but one has to hear the quite stuff. It’s a fine line.

Ah, interesting. Well, I guess I should be glad this isn’t just the default, and I can still enjoy dynamic range (at the risk of enraging my wife).

I think s/he meant *your *ears. As in, the quality of the mix has not been getting worse in recent years, it’s just that you *perceive *them as getting worse due to the aging process.

I don’t generally mind it, but some movies are worse than others. “The Avengers,” for example, is terrible for this. The dialog is so quiet you can barely hear it, and if you turn it up loud enough to hear, the action scenes blow you off the couch.

I like nice loud action movies, but I also like to be able to hear the dialog. And there’s nothing wrong with my hearing.

I have “The Avengers” on Blu-ray, and don’t have trouble hearing the dialogue. The action scenes are loud, but from my perspective it’s just that kind of movie. (My wife definitely agrees with you though.)

I keep my volume level at about 10 when I’m watching TV by myself. My husband, who is losing his hearing, keeps his at about 30.

And he watches a lot of racing.

I hate being in the same room when it’s his turn to watch his shows.

I wondered, but I did mention that, to me, not every TV show or movie has bad sound mix. Some are fine.

Upon checking my post, I see that I actually failed to make that distinction. Well, at least my hearing is still good.:slight_smile: