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Audio software to auto-average volume output.

KiFe

TRIBE Member
I'm looking for a piece of software that will take a live input digital source (read: digital audio from my PVR) and output the same audio with smoothed out audio (i.e. the explosions on a tv show are equally loud as dialog)

I want to put an end to loud commercials which interrupt the quiet dialog of any show. I constantly find myself tweaking the volume on my tv and it's really annoying... i figure there MUST be some kind of software that will do this for me.

I have an HTPC, so i figured i would simply pump the audio into my HTPC so that it can be averaged, then back out and into my amp.


ideas?
 
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beaker

TRIBE Member
what you need is a compressor and it's a really common audio device. it is the same thing that enables you do "NIGHT" mode on most common receivers these days. it basically takes all the loud stuff and pushes it down to a lower level.

it's easy to find a software program with a compressor, but it won't really work with your pvr because i'm pretty sure the digital audio signal from your pvr is encoded as AC3 or dolby digital. the software won't read that data stream as audio. it needs to be converted and i don't think you'll find anything on the free market that will do that very well in real-time (i could be wrong though).

if you can't find that sort of thing, then your best bet is to get a receiver with a decent night mode.

or you could accomplish it real easily if you used the analog outs.
 

KiFe

TRIBE Member
my amp has a night mode.. maybe i should try it out a bit before going to such an extreme solution as integrating my htpc.

Thanks Matt, hopefully that solves the issue.
 

coleridge

TRIBE Member
Yeah I agree that processing the analog signal is the easiest (perhaps only) way to go. Otherwise you're looking at having to convert the digital audio signal into something the software or hardware can handle. Then convert it back into the original format.

This is a huge problem I think with everyone. Turn it up for the show, turn it down for the commercials.
 

KiFe

TRIBE Member
The thing is, i wen't out of my way to buy a pretty sweet audio card for my HTPC... it's actually called the mystique 7.1 with DDlive.

the cool thing about it is that ANY audio running on the machine is converted to dolby digital, which then outputs via toslink to my amp. So regardless of what form the input audio comes into the machine, it always leaves coded as DD.

Naturally, if the source material doesn't have surround sound, it's not outputting 5.1 true channels... but any signal, whether it's DTS or 2 chan stereo, leaves the pc in Dolby format.


I'll have to give night mode another go on my Amp... i remember "perfect volume" being one of the key reasons i chose this amp over others, but at the time of installation, hastily tossed aside the instruction manual and just got right to using it.
 
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videotronic

TRIBE Member
why would you want to convert dts to dd? thats like having a magic mug that takes cristal and turns it into budweiser before you drink it...

look for a DRC or dynamic range compression mode in your amp...the DD standard requires that all decoders have some sort of DRC built in..the degree of control will vary from unit to unit, but it should be there..theres metadata in all DD streams that will provide control over compression...i doubt itll work on a converted stream though, regardless of whether the source is 2 channel stereo or dts...

at the end of the day though, the reason why there are dynamics in the program material is because youre SUPPOSED to hear things at different volumes...if you take that away its like removing a huge part of the impact of whatever youre watching...
 

beaker

TRIBE Member
that's all true but i think he's talking more specifically about commercials which are mixed louder to have more "impact" on the audience. you probably know that loud commercials and loud trailers are a notorious pain in the ass for people who work in audio post since it always results in their meticulous work being played too quiet. but the spots are usually mixed and delivered in stereo so there is definitely no drc profile or dialnorm value. and most of them aren't even mixed in calibrated rooms. even for 5.1 tv shows and dvds, i think it is still rare for people to properly tag dialnorm and drc values. it's a good system in theory but there are a lot of problems with how and when it should be applied.
 

KiFe

TRIBE Member
Yeah.. in the end, it's not really a question about converting one format to another... simply taking an input and evening out the volume levels.

I've located the night settings on my amp and it seems to make a pretty good difference... i didn't find myself throttling the volume knob all night last night... which is definately refreshing.

Thanks sound doods for your help.
 

videotronic

TRIBE Member
keep in mind that if youre watching a movie on dvd or something you should take that night mode off, unless its like..3am or something

the amount of life it sucks out of a properly mixed dvds soundtrack is gargantuan
 
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