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Different volume levels on different channels and when the ads come on - in this age!


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Old 16-07-2007, 12:21
djcr
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In this day and age with all the technology we have, why can't channels normalize their audio output?
You're watching a programme then it breaks for commercials and it goes much louder or you switch to another channel and the volume level is either much louder or much quieter.
It does my nut in, especially when i'm chilling out lying accross the sofa and the remotes for adjusting the audio are the other side of the room.
It's Sky i'm talking about here, no doubt other platforms are the same tho.
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Old 16-07-2007, 12:46
Kevin1960
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In this day and age with all the technology we have, why can't channels normalize their audio output?
You're watching a programme then it breaks for commercials and it goes much louder or you switch to another channel and the volume level is either much louder or much quieter.
It does my nut in, especially when i'm chilling out lying accross the sofa and the remotes for adjusting the audio are the other side of the room.
It's Sky i'm talking about here, no doubt other platforms are the same tho.
Yes; "other platforms" are the same.
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Old 16-07-2007, 13:06
richardwds
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Something clever that you plug into the earphone sockets would be good.
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Old 16-07-2007, 13:52
THEMANWITHSAT
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Theres a thing radio stations use, can't remember the name of it but it keeps everything at the same volume, thats whats needed
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Old 16-07-2007, 13:55
Geordie_Cy
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In this day and age with all the technology we have, why can't channels normalize their audio output?
You're watching a programme then it breaks for commercials and it goes much louder or you switch to another channel and the volume level is either much louder or much quieter.
It does my nut in, especially when i'm chilling out lying accross the sofa and the remotes for adjusting the audio are the other side of the room.
It's Sky i'm talking about here, no doubt other platforms are the same tho.
It is normalised (i.e. the maximum amplitude is the same). It has however different dynamic ranges so sounds louder.
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Old 16-07-2007, 18:29
snapey999
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The Paramount channels are the worst offenders. I swear they decrease the program volume so that the adverts are shockingly loud.
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Old 16-07-2007, 18:39
Dan Sette
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In this day and age with all the technology we have, why can't channels normalize their audio output?
Sadly, in this day and age, with all the technology we have is what allows the TV stations to do it. It's compression and it only makes it sound louder. If you put a meter on the output it remains at the same overall maximum level of the programmes (or that is allowed / enabled to be broadcast). Legitimately the TV stations can say to any complainers, be they ofcom or te casual listener, "nothing to do with us , Guv. It's all at the same level.

Theres a thing radio stations use, can't remember the name of it but it keeps everything at the same volume, thats whats needed
Not strictly true. Radio stations use the same trick. Listen to Radio Four for a while, then tune into your local radio station. You'll find a huge difference in apparent volume (local BBC stations also do it). It is to make the station sound more immediate.

Again if you check, you'll find the levels (at the loudest) are the same.
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Old 16-07-2007, 18:42
davidweller
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The volume control on my tv goes from 0-100 these are the settings I use (when viewing/listening via cable):

ClassicFM - 26
BBCRadio3 - 31
ITV1 (+most other tv channels) - 45
Sky Movies - 60

So you can imagine the blast when I switch from Sky Movies to ClassicFM without adjusting the volume first
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Old 16-07-2007, 19:58
andrewatnufc
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ABC 1 and Paramount comedy 1 + 2 are the worst 2offenders, i cannot see why thre is no need for it because if i can hear the programme i am watching then surely i will be able to hear the adverts as well
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Old 16-07-2007, 21:04
AndyG05
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Absolutely agree, it drives me absolutely mad. South Park on Paramount 1 seems to be my worst offender, stupidly loud adverts and a too quiet show.
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Old 17-07-2007, 18:52
Paul555
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Absolutely agree, it drives me absolutely mad. South Park on Paramount 1 seems to be my worst offender, stupidly loud adverts and a too quiet show.

Funny I was just thinking this the other day and was going to start a thread on it. I am thinking that this is against the rules and we can complain to Ofcom?
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Old 17-07-2007, 19:46
Ambassador
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Funny I was just thinking this the other day and was going to start a thread on it. I am thinking that this is against the rules and we can complain to Ofcom?
Don't think its against any rules
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Old 17-07-2007, 20:14
technologist
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I seem to rember that C 4 was censured by either OFCOM or the ASA for allowing "high level" Adverts
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Old 17-07-2007, 21:20
DrCheese
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yea I recall ofcom smacking some channels around for having stupidly different volume levels for adverts.

I remember reading they did it on purpose so that if we walked out the room during the ad break we could still hear it from the kitchen or elsewhere. The problem comes when they make it too apparent and you end up with massive differences
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Old 17-07-2007, 23:21
djonshore
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It's been the same on Sky since the digital service launched in October 1998. The radio stations on it you would notice more on. The reason is that majority of broadcasters use some sort of device that keeps the level gain the same and other broadcasters, i.e. the smaller ones don't have this.
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Old 18-07-2007, 17:39
ihatemarmite
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I get different volumes on different channels not just when the ads come on. I assumed this was normal, albeit irritating. Is there something wrong? Sorry if this is slightly off thread.
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Old 18-07-2007, 17:45
mikw
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It's deliberate, there was an interesting report on "Steve Wright" on radio 2 just a few weeks ago about this.

Basically, it's supposed to grab your attention to the adverts.
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Old 18-07-2007, 21:35
djcr
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Very interesting if it is deliberate then. I wonder if ofcom have noticed...
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Old 18-07-2007, 21:37
mikw
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Very interesting if it is deliberate then. I wonder if ofcom have noticed...
OFCOM tend to turn a blind eye to most things in commercial media, unless the public press them.
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Old 19-07-2007, 00:54
VB Fan
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I was watching something the other night, think it might have been on ch4. The show was quite quiet and as soon as the adverts came on they were incredibly loud. It's always a pain trying to find the remote to turn the sound down, especially when it's late at night. Theirs just no need in it, at first i thought it was a technical fault and that they must have accidentally turned the sound up.
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Old 19-07-2007, 08:09
Geordie_Cy
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OFCOM tend to turn a blind eye to most things in commercial media, unless the public press them.
As has been said, the maximum sound level is kept constant, the dynamic range (and, hence, perceived loudness) is changed. There is therefore no breach of OFCOM's technical guidelines.
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Old 19-07-2007, 09:08
juski
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It's true that volume levels on TV have always seemed to be different for adverts & programme content. This has traditionally been because adverts have their sound's dynamic range (the difference between the loudest & the quietest sounds) compressed. There are strict rules governing the amount of compression (or perceived loudness) used in adverts for both radio and TV.

That said, since I started recording TV from Freeview & cable I've felt compelled to check how much 'louder' adverts actually are.

On some channels, in some shows, the actual peak level difference between programme content and adverts has been as much as 12dB (the ads were well more than twice the volume of programmes) when I've measured it in an audio editing application. This means that even without adverts having their perceived volume cranked up, there's a real difference in volume.

Paramount Comedy has been a great example of this in the past - I've no idea if they're still as bad but it was definitely jarring when they went to ad breaks. Even Channel 4 & ITV are guilty, though the times I've investigated the difference it's often been much less than it seemed.

I expect that the real cause is more than likely a technical one & not a deliberate attempt to make adverts sound louder. Even so, it's hardly acceptable is it?

It's about time the record was set straight by somebody in control of matters like these. Are the broadcasters bothered about the viewing public & the hassle these volume changes cause? Do they normally do their best to keep these jarring differences to a minimum? The problem isn't that a 'maximum' level is being exceeded - the broadcasters' transmission processing should see to that. The problem here is that programme content is sometimes much quieter than adverts. When ads peak at -6dB they're well within the maximum allowed levels but that's no good if the loudest programme content peaks much lower than that. The fault isn't likely to lie with the programme makers either - they all pay a lot of attention to the sound level & quality during production. The blame here lies with the broadcasters (i.e. the channels) themselves.

Some might argue that since the IBA was disbanded, technical standards on TV have plummetted. I'd be inclined to agree with them.

Of course it's a long time since I watched an advert. These days everything I watch is recorded, meaning I can just skip the ads, thereby avoiding the problem
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Old 19-07-2007, 10:45
Elasticband
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As has been said, the maximum sound level is kept constant, the dynamic range (and, hence, perceived loudness) is changed. There is therefore no breach of OFCOM's technical guidelines.
Perhaps the 'technical' guidelines should be changed as it's obvious that the perceived volume levels reaching the ear are louder than those of the rest of the programme.

This does not have to be the case and there is no reason why, technically, it can't be changed.
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Old 19-07-2007, 16:30
Sesay2000
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Not strictly true. Radio stations use the same trick. Listen to Radio Four for a while, then tune into your local radio station. You'll find a huge difference in apparent volume (local BBC stations also do it). It is to make the station sound more immediate.
I always have to turn up the volume quite high if I'm listening to Radio 4 or a BBC Local in my car because the audio is so low. Then when I switch over to Radio 1 or an ILR/commercial I have to quickly turn down the volume.
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Old 19-07-2007, 16:36
Bundyman
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Radio uses compressor limiters which keep the audio level the same.

The difference between Radio 4 & most commercial stations is that Radio 4 is just about flatline with no compression. Most commercial stations add compression to the signal which adds to the volume slightly.

Some tv's have an AVL (Auto volume level) in the menu. If you have it, switch it on & it SHOULD keep the volume level the same
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