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Crunchy mid range dialog on Star Trek Discovery
Old 27th January 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Crunchy mid range dialog on Star Trek Discovery

Does anyone know what causes this lovely crunchy mid range dialog sound? It's most obvious on male dialog.

Is it a creative choice, does it aid intelligibility or is it a side effect of noise reduction? It sounds like there;s quite some noise reduction going on.

I could also imagine the mic could contribute to the sound but the thing is that it's not very subtle. It sounds almost like multiband saturation which would seem an unlike choice.

I would love to hear some thoughts.
Old 28th January 2019
  #2
There are some other problems with ST Discovery like unintelligible dialogs when listen to in stereo. Sound effects that sound like "sound effects" and buried dialogs in certain scenes especially when one actor is in the foreground and the other behind them. Not sure what the reason is but they are spending a great deal of money on SFX too bad they are not paying that much attention to the audio.

I too have wondered about the "gravely" sounding dialog.

I guess all these shows must be mixed in surround but I wonder how many people actually listen in surround. I just calibrated my surround system with my trusty SPL meter so I know my levels are correct. It seems like either the monitoring systems they are using are not accurate or sized to the "normal" listening room size or the mixer has some problems with their hearing (unlikely). Shows like NCIS Los Angeles seem to have perfect audio with great mixing on the dialog and sound effects. Not sure what is going on.
Old 5th February 2019
  #3
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iluvcapra's Avatar
They mix ST:D at Warner Bros. don’t they?

I wonder if this isn’t having to do with CBS All Access? But if NCIS sounds fine, maybe not?
Old 9th February 2019
  #4
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Henchman's Avatar
I've been watching the show. And I'm not hearing what you're describing.
Old 9th February 2019 | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
I've been watching the show. And I'm not hearing what you're describing.
On TV or CBS All Access?
Old 9th February 2019 | Show parent
  #6
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
On TV or CBS All Access?
CBS all access
Old 11th February 2019
  #7
I watched two Episodes from the first season yesterday afternoon (episodes 7 & 8). I listened on both my surround setup and my stereo setup (and NOT at the same time). What ever the mix engineers are monitoring on is either not calibrated correctly or they are not paying that much attention to the audio mix. Other shows on CBS All Access are fine. One that is almost letter perfect is NCIS Los Angles which comes through perfectly. Not sure what the problem is but they should get it fixed and soon. FWIW
Old 11th February 2019
  #8
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dr.sound's Avatar
 

BTW: On NCIS LA Chris Haire is the Dialog Re-Recording Mixer who won multiple Emmy's on all the Star Trek series in the 80's and 90's. He's a great mixer !
He has mixed al the NCIS LA . Wilson Dwyer is the Sound Supervisor who also worked on the Star Trek series in the 80's and 90's.
He is also an amazingly talented guy!
Old 11th February 2019 | Show parent
  #9
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Yes, Star Trek (TOS) had a number of social firsts for television; I would look up the history of the show - pretty interesting.

Randall

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Star Trek was always about social justice from day one.

I love this new series.
Old 12th February 2019 | Show parent
  #10
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cLoudBase's Avatar
 

No problems here, very enjoyable. (Netflix)
Old 12th February 2019
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

I definitely hear that in my studio. It sounds fine on my tv at home.
Old 12th February 2019 | Show parent
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.sound View Post
BTW: On NCIS LA Chris Haire is the Dialog Re-Recording Mixer who won multiple Emmy's on all the Star Trek series in the 80's and 90's. He's a great mixer !
He has mixed al the NCIS LA . Wilson Dwyer is the Sound Supervisor who also worked on the Star Trek series in the 80's and 90's.
He is also an amazingly talented guy!
Is it mixed in the same studio as Star Trek? If so then the mixers of Star Trek have some problems with what they are doing or listening to.

At times the dialog almost seems garbled on Star Trek where on NCIS Los Angles it seems clear and sounds good in surround and in stereo. Something is not right if they are indeed mixing in the same studio(s).
Old 12th February 2019
  #13
Gear Nut
 

I don't hear anything weird. I doubt the majority of the viewing public would notice.
Old 12th February 2019 | Show parent
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisdmcc View Post
I don't hear anything weird. I doubt the majority of the viewing public would notice.
Well I do and I am part of the "public" but I am also a mastering engineer so I hear things most people gloss over. FWIW
Old 12th February 2019
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

I just started to watch season 2, and I can hear some noisy lavs. Not sure if that's what you mean.


Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd atema View Post
Does anyone know what causes this lovely crunchy mid range dialog sound? It's most obvious on male dialog.

Is it a creative choice, does it aid intelligibility or is it a side effect of noise reduction? It sounds like there;s quite some noise reduction going on.

I could also imagine the mic could contribute to the sound but the thing is that it's not very subtle. It sounds almost like multiband saturation which would seem an unlike choice.

I would love to hear some thoughts.
Old 12th February 2019 | Show parent
  #16
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
Because like a lot of the media, the reviewers are bought and paid for. Also the reviewers are in lockstep with the media's agenda for fear of being ostracized. So when they're force fed garbage, they give it high reviews.

There is a huge trend on Rotten Tomatoes where critics give high reviews and the public is the opposite and vice versa. Modern day media journalists are useless. They should just learn to code or something.
And I feel the exact opposite.
Stopped watching it after a couple of episodes.
Old 13th February 2019 | Show parent
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ManuG View Post
I just started to watch season 2, and I can hear some noisy lavs. Not sure if that's what you mean.
No the dialog is "crunchy" like a bad MP3 and the dialog gets lost especially when the characters are talking from farther back in the room. It is like they used a pole boom over the main character and forgot that others were speaking. Again shows like NCIS Los Angles seem to be better mixed and the dialog is never "crunchy" and you can hear all the dialog with a good live spacial feeling. The same for the Orville. I personally think either their monitoring system needs some calibration/setup or they are using some "effect" that is making everything sound crunchy. FWIW

FWIW I am not a sound mixer but I do have good ears.
Old 13th February 2019
  #18
Gear Guru
 

Thomas, judging from the other responses it really seems like something is just plain wrong when you're getting the show on your end. I have a hard time believing that the issues you mention are as bad as you say they are and that some of the other experienced engineers here hear no problems. That just doesn't compute to me.

If it was something that was wrong with the monitoring of the re-recording engineers' rooms then I'm sure we'd all hear the problems.
Old 13th February 2019 | Show parent
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Thomas, judging from the other responses it really seems like something is just plain wrong when you're getting the show on your end. I have a hard time believing that the issues you mention are as bad as you say they are and that some of the other experienced engineers here hear no problems. That just doesn't compute to me.

If it was something that was wrong with the monitoring of the re-recording engineers' rooms then I'm sure we'd all hear the problems.
Not knowing what others are using it is hard to say!
Old 14th February 2019 | Show parent
  #20
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dr.sound's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Is it mixed in the same studio as Star Trek? If so then the mixers of Star Trek have some problems with what they are doing or listening to.

At times the dialog almost seems garbled on Star Trek where on NCIS Los Angles it seems clear and sounds good in surround and in stereo. Something is not right if they are indeed mixing in the same studio(s).
No, two different Studios, two different crews.
Old 17th February 2019
  #21
I just listened to two more episodes. Season 1 episodes 8 & 9. I have a Dorrough Loudness Meter on my TV and I noticed that in some places the dialog goes from -20 dBFS to 0 dBFS in one second with the same person talking without moving or raising their voice. I also noticed on episode 8 a really poorly done ADR at about 18 minutes in. The ambience goes away and someone just pasted in the dialog. Who is responsible for final QC on a show such as this? The dialog is really buried in spots and gravely to boot. I am not nit picking but just trying to figure out how something like this gets approved and what they are listening on. Do they just run out of time or is no one listening to the final mix? I am streaming it off my cable provider. I am listening on a mastering grade monitor system and/or a high end consumer 5.1 surround system. Just curious since anything I do gets scrutinized and this is on national TV. Again shows like NCIS and NCIS Los Angles sound GREAT on my system. Thanks in advance!
Old 18th February 2019
  #22
Gear Head
 

I took a needle drop on this show out of curiosity. Definitely a mid-focused dialogue mix with some noise reduction going on. But nothing out of the ordinary in my opinion. Probably sounds killer on the average TV.

A while back I worked in QC at one of the major networks. Unless things have changed in the last 10 years. I assure you many people are listening to it. The majority of the time, this is how they either want it or are satisfied delivering it.

I can't speak to what happens in the broadcast chain and to whatever cable box it finally hits.
Old 18th February 2019 | Show parent
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DominicBartolini View Post
I took a needle drop on this show out of curiosity. Definitely a mid-focused dialogue mix with some noise reduction going on. But nothing out of the ordinary in my opinion. Probably sounds killer on the average TV.

A while back I worked in QC at one of the major networks. Unless things have changed in the last 10 years. I assure you many people are listening to it. The majority of the time, this is how they either want it or are satisfied delivering it.

I can't speak to what happens in the broadcast chain and to whatever cable box it finally hits.
I listened to it on a typical Samsung TV set at it still sounds bad. So maybe it is my cable provider but again shows such as NCIS and NCIS Los Angles sound great. FWIW

One thing I noticed is that the dialog volume is all over the place on Star Trek Discovery but more "normalized" on NCIS.
Old 18th February 2019 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Addict
Thomas do you have Netflix? I had a very quick listen to a bit of an episode and it seemed fine to me. If you could check it on there you’d be able to tell if it’s your cable provider affecting the audio in some way.
Old 19th February 2019 | Show parent
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garret View Post
Thomas do you have Netflix? I had a very quick listen to a bit of an episode and it seemed fine to me. If you could check it on there you’d be able to tell if it’s your cable provider affecting the audio in some way.
I just stopped my NetFlix subscription.

I have a very good relationship with my local cable provider and the two techs that work there are good friends and they said they are "doing nothing to the signal and just put through what the provider sends them" I am watching these episodes on CBS All Access so it is coming in digital form to my ROKU and from there to my Panasonic TV with the digital audio being split between my monitors and my surround setup. Other shows sound GREAT it is just Star Trek Discovery that sounds bad. FWIW
Old 27th February 2019
  #26
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Star Trek Discovery is the only show that bothers us in this way. We struggle to hear the dialogue most of the time, even though we have an excellent sound system.

We also notice that there is music competing with the dialogue nearly always. I wonder if this is contributing to the problem.

I hope they fix this soon!!!
Old 27th February 2019
  #27
I`m glad someone finally brought this up. I`ve been wondering about this myself. Watch an episode of Pawn Stars and you will hear it there as well, but it`s certainly more evident in ST Discovery. Like they mixed a bit more of that wet signal in there. I`m hearing this tone in some Electro House basses as well. Could it perhaps be a combination of some popular hardware units?
Old 27th February 2019
  #28
If you listen to NCIS Los Angles the dialog is mixed well and you can always hear what people are saying even if they are whispering. The music and the sound effects are also well done. Yesterday I listened to The Expanse which is on the SyFy channel and it too is well mixed. Then I listened to ST Discovery on the same system with the same settings and all the dialog sounds like it has too much ambience mixed in and even when the characters are front and center it sounds like there is an abnormal amount of ambience mixed in and the ambience has a gravely/grainy sound to it. It is almost as if the mixer was trying to add an overall sound effect to the whole production which is obscuring the dialog in a not too good way. Maybe they are trying to simulate the sound of the Discovery's engines??? Anyway it is annoying. FWIW
Old 27th February 2019
  #29
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Wilburguy's Avatar
I watch via Apple TV on a Sony TV. There are often portions where the dialog is unintelligible.
Old 28th February 2019
  #30
Just out of curiosity are you guys talking about Season 1, Season 2, or both?
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