Different Sound Levels in Movies Means a More Frustrated Experience for Viewers

How many times have you gone to a movie, rented, streamed, or watched one on TV? How many times have you had to adjust the volume because the dialogue is low yet bullet sounds, explosions and car crashes are just painful to hear?

You are not alone.

I can also admit that I have had to fiddle around with the volume control on my remote. It’s a growing trend with modern movies – the sound difference, or dynamic range, as it’s technically called, is used to try to give movie watchers the “ultimate cinematic experience.” But because of this endeavor, the dialogue and the sound effect range have become quite far away from each other.

Well, audiences are not impressed.

While OSHA has a standard among movie theaters about loud systems, movie goers everywhere are complaining about the difference of volume while watching a movie anyways. But it’s not just the theaters, it’s at home too.

Take your average parent or spouse who is trying to watch a movie while others are sleeping – so many complain about needing to adjust the volume because they turned it up so high for the dialogue, and now after a sudden car crash, has a screaming child wide awake because of it.

While most movies are designed for the “hottest sound systems,” most people do not invest that kind of money into extra gear, yet movie makers insist on that being the standard. Most people streaming Netflix or Hulu are either watching through a video game console, player, mobile device or computer with no extra sound system hooked up. And it doesn’t seem like the movie industry wants to cater to the frugal crowd.

There is a minor solution though. Most devices like flat screens and Blu-ray players have sound settings that can be tweaked. Usually if you switch to Dolby 2.0, or switching to the center speaker, then some shows can be fixed. However, every device is different, and the language gets changed slightly depending on the device’s design, thus making the user needing to either look it up on the web, or that manual you have probably thrown out.

For me, a movie or show’s dialogue is pretty important as far as advancing a story. I like to hear intelligent thought formed into dialogue, but the experience is taken away when I have to playing with my remote after my ears are bleeding.

And yes, too loud of sounds can damage ears, according to every professional sound developer.

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Author Profile: Consumer Expert Stephen Jacobi

Stephen has worked in entertainment for over ten years, and now lends his opinions and aspirations to News for Shoppers delving into media, tech, and entertainment. He is also a member of the Grammy Recording Academy too. During his free time, he manages a separate blog called Feed the Monkey!, writes short stories and novels, and is an avid movie watcher, book reader and video game player.

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