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Old 09-10-2018, 08:37 PM
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Top Jimmy Top Jimmy is offline
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Default Can anyone explain bad sound at theater?

So my son and I usually attend a local Regal cinema when we go see a movie. On occasion we might visit an AMC or an independent Village Center theater, but we've never had an issue at either of these.

3 times in our last 5 visits to the Regal cinema, the sound has been atrocious. This problem is not isolated to just one theater in the cinema, but in multiple theaters. We first experienced the problem during Ready Player One where the sound was one-dimensional, had no dynamics and everything was the same flat volume coming from the screen.

The same thing happened for Infinity War with the sound all one dimensional at the screen, but it was also worse having been turned down in SPL. I took a reading on my phone and what should have been somewhat loud musical crescendos were maxing out under 80dB.

There was also a third movie suffering from the flat, one-dimensional sound but I can't remember what it was at the moment. Complaints to Regal about them needing to fix and possible recalibrate their sound systems at this cinema fall on deaf ears.

Can anyone pinpoint what might be going on with these theaters at this cinema?


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Old 09-11-2018, 06:46 AM
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Default Re: Can anyone explain bad sound at theater?

Jimmy, I bet someone has been complaining about overly loud movies and they went and turned all of them down.

I bet you could ask the managers and see.


That being said, what is normal for a theater? What SPL would be considered normal?
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Old 09-11-2018, 06:52 AM
Cheesehead Cheesehead is offline
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Default Re: Can anyone explain bad sound at theater?

Some cinema chains just don't care about their sound systems sadly.
I can't speak for the USA but its the same over here in the UK.


I've been in cinemas where the the left and right surrounds are totally unbalanced, no doubt to stop leakage into adjacent cinemas. One where the whole left side wasn't working and another where only the amp for the centre speaker horn was working. Its just pot luck. Its hopeless complaining to these people, they have no idea what you're talking about.


I've found 4 or 5 really exceptional cinemas in my area, newer/ refurbished ones with modern equipment, properly maintained and at the correct level (or fairly close) and that's where I go to watch films.
Support people that care about the presentation I reckon.
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Old 09-11-2018, 02:31 PM
AlexLakis AlexLakis is offline
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Default Re: Can anyone explain bad sound at theater?

They probably just turned it down. But who knows who "they" is anymore.


There used to be someone working the projector and in the projector room at all times, they would have employee showings to make sure the film was put together correctly. Now? You insert a DVD and push play and leave. So who the hell knows?


Another all-but-dead industry much like our own.
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: Can anyone explain bad sound at theater?

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Originally Posted by alexlakis View Post
another all-but-dead industry much like our own.

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Old 09-11-2018, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Can anyone explain bad sound at theater?

Regal and AMC play their films back at Dolby 4-4.5
That's 74.79 and 76.47 SPL
Thats 9-10 db down from Reference.
Now remember the surrounds are 3 db down from there.
That's why it's lifeless.
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Can anyone explain bad sound at theater?

Dolby Reference at 7 on the box is 85spl.
Rarely do you get reference played back.
I have a great Cinema near me that plays back Reference or 3 db down
and it looks and sounds great.
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Old 09-13-2018, 04:10 PM
Reckless Erik Reckless Erik is offline
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Default Re: Can anyone explain bad sound at theater?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr sound View Post
Dolby Reference at 7 on the box is 85spl.
Rarely do you get reference played back.
I have a great Cinema near me that plays back Reference or 3 db down
and it looks and sounds great.
Too few of them around Marti
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:42 PM
Cheesehead Cheesehead is offline
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Default Re: Can anyone explain bad sound at theater?

In the UK I've only found Vue and Cineworld that play back at 6.
Many others are much lower unless you ask them to turn up.

No one, from my research asking cinema staff, plays at 7.
Very sad.


As you rightly say Marti its the surrounds that go first, totally losing any immersive feel.


Anyhow, we struggle on.
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Old 09-13-2018, 07:31 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Can anyone explain bad sound at theater?

If you like loud movies, go to a Regal in the Nashville area. If the movie has explosions and gunfire, I end up with my fingers in my ears I'm used to standing in front of Marshall stacks and large PA systems, but some of these movies go way overboard.....a "standard" that isn't standard.....
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