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Those mixing on near/midfields for theater: X-curve?
Old 12th June 2019
  #1
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Those mixing on near/midfields for theater: X-curve?

We've done a fair amount of mixing for theater, almost always on mid-field monitors. We've noticed that the mixes are slightly duller in the theater than we'd expected them to be, and I'm wondering if we should spend more time thinking about the x-curve.

Mixers: in 2019, is it a common practice to throw an x-curve simulation on your master for reference? Do you make adjustments for it? Or have theaters begun fixing this in their rooms (I'm guessing not)?
Old 12th June 2019
  #2
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May I ask - what midfields are you using and what are the theatre systems they are playing on?
Old 12th June 2019
  #3
X curve is applied to monitors in big rooms to better approximate what nearfield monitors would sound like
Old 13th June 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Mottl View Post
May I ask - what midfields are you using and what are the theatre systems they are playing on?
I'm not 100% sure but believe they're 8330A. We have the SAM system with GLM software.

As far as theaters, these will play across the country in many different theaters so I can't be specific.
Old 13th June 2019
  #5
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by akinla View Post
X curve is applied to monitors in big rooms to better approximate what nearfield monitors would sound like
That would be the opposite of the X-curve I'm referring to. Theaters exhibit high-end rolloff and reverberation due to a number of environmental factors which don't exist in smaller mixing environments. Therefore, what you hear when mixing in a smaller room will be brighter, and less reverberant, than what you'd hear in the theater, so compensations are made in the mix to emulate the theater.

Or maybe they're not, but that's precisely my question. For those not mixing in big stages, how do you deal with translation to large movie theaters?
Old 13th June 2019
  #6
On a large dubbing stage the x curve is applied to b monitor chain to make the room sound more flat.
Old 13th June 2019
  #7
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The problem that you are having is that your speakers are Genelecs.
Genelecs make everything sound clear and bright and when you listen to
your mix elsewhere it's dull, distant etc.
It has NOTHING to do with the "X Curve".

Those speakers are not meant to be mixing content for Cinema.
Try taking your mix to a properly calibrated Dub Stage.
Listen to your mix. That's the test.
Old 13th June 2019
  #8
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rubbish! if you can't mix on any genelecs, that doesn't mean they are all bad and/or unsuitable to mixing for cinema release: i know plenty of engineers who can do so very well!

to the op: i wouldn't use the x-curve but just a gentle hf shelving filter - before doing so, i'd check again how your studio measures: could it be that there's not enough damping in the hf (or a bit much in the mf)?
Old 13th June 2019
  #9
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Something to account for is also the Screen. In a theatre the speakers are behind the Screen. This filters some of the high end.
Old 13th June 2019
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
rubbish! if you can't mix on any genelecs, that doesn't mean they are all bad and/or unsuitable to mixing for cinema release: i know plenty of engineers who can do so very well!

to the op: i wouldn't use the x-curve but just a gentle hf shelving filter - before doing so, i'd check again how your studio measures: could it be that there's not enough damping in the hf (or a bit much in the mf)?
It would be great if you can provide us with an example of theatrical mix done on Genelecs (any).
And why wouldn't you use the x-curve?
p.s. I would also refrain from using harsh words like rubbish to describe other people's opinion.
Old 13th June 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colourdotz View Post
Something to account for is also the Screen. In a theatre the speakers are behind the Screen. This filters some of the high end.
Obviously the curve of the RTA according to Dolby specs needs to be achieved at listening position where it should manifest itself acoustically. Applying some EQ curve with the shape of the X-curve is not how you do it. The RTA at listening position has to be within the X-curve tolerance which obviously includes the entire system with screen etc. etc. Best to use Smaart or similar to do this.

Many people think the x-curve is some special kind of filter that is applied to the b-chain signal and you're done. This is not the case. How you achieve the x-curve on your RTA is up to you and your room and the tuning.
Old 13th June 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Branko View Post
It would be great if you can provide us with an example of theatrical mix done on Genelecs (any).
And why wouldn't you use the x-curve?
p.s. I would also refrain from using harsh words like rubbish to describe other people's opinion.
i'd be up to the contributor who made an untenable assertion to provide any evidence - imo statements such as 'genelec (or any other brand of speakers) are unsuitable for ...' (fill in any application) are just what i called them to be: rubbish!

(no fan-boy of genelec here, but i do use them along with other brands such as tad/augspurger, tannoy, k+h/neumann, quested, jbl, meyer etc. and can't complain - i'm using dsp to adjust all of them though...)
Old 13th June 2019
  #13
On x-curve:

Most of the cinema theatres today do not exhibit those acoustical properties that were common back in '70s, when the x-curve was defined, yet we stubbornly continue using it in new installations.
Just to name the most important differences: rooms in the '70s were highly reverberant, today they're not, sound reproduction systems had limited power and frequency response, while today it is not the case, etc.
Applying eq to those systems (and using RTA as the only tool to calibrate them) resulted in many wrong conclusions along these decades.
In a dry room (as most of the theatres today are, compared to the '70s), EQing speakers to a x-curve response is nothing else than applying a 3dB/oct LP filter at 2KHz to a flat system.
Of course, your mixes will sound dull in a theatre, if you're listening on Genelecs in your studio because they're flatter than any speaker EQ'd to x-curve specs. Thus, your mixes will be 6dB down @ 8KHz, 9dB @16KHz, and that is quite a lot!
Old 13th June 2019
  #14
I use Genelecs 1038’s to mix music shows for cinema. The Genelecs and the room I mix in translate fairly well. I do listen to the endresult in local cinema, it always sounds a little different but not necessarily worse.
Old 13th June 2019
  #15
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minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by akinla View Post
X curve is applied to monitors in big rooms to better approximate what nearfield monitors would sound like

Quote:
Originally Posted by akinla View Post
On a large dubbing stage the x curve is applied to b monitor chain to make the room sound more flat.
*This*

If you mix on anything like Genelecs, your high end will not translate (presuming you are a sensitive and discerning mixer, your client may or may not notice). If you mix on most other speakers and take to a Dub Stage and hear in a theater then you'll find that it all translates. But once you listen on Genelecs, then you'll wonder why the mix is so bright! Although, I have heard well-tune 1037's and they sounded great!

If you are not mixing on Genelecs, then you may still find that the proximity to the speaker makes the high-end more pronounced than when you get some distance from your speakers.
Old 13th June 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colourdotz View Post
Something to account for is also the Screen. In a theatre the speakers are behind the Screen. This filters some of the high end.
But if the X-Curve implementation is properly done, this is taken into account!!! Otherwise, the room is not really tuned. An Engineer calibrates the entire system -- IOW, as played through the screen. You don't tune the speakers, then put the screen up, notice a loss in high end and just shrug.
Old 13th June 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
rubbish! if you can't mix on any genelecs, that doesn't mean they are all bad and/or unsuitable to mixing for cinema release: i know plenty of engineers who can do so very well!
You are correct.. I didn't mean ANY Genelec.
Let's look at the specs for 8330A
It's a 5" woofer
It MAX PEAK is 110 SPL

That leaves no headroom to mix a Feature Film.
My experience with Genelec:
I mixed a Feature Film called "The Grudge".
We needed to deliver a Home Theater Mix.
The Studio was Sony Pictures. They required a Nearfileld
Mix using Genelec Speakers. I rented the required Genelecs.
Started playing back and the Genelec sub blew. Flat. Done!
I called the rental company and they brought another one.
Blew up again. Returned it and got another.
GUESS WHAT, It blew again. I went through 4 Genelec subs.
Frustrated I borrowed a JBL 6312 Sub and I finished the mix.
No problems! I then put together my existing JBL 6328’s and bought
A JBL 6312 Sub and NEVER had another problem on ANY Theatrical
Mix.

So, I still feel that Genelecs..
Do Not translate. They do not have the Headroom for a Cinema Mix.
One may call my point of view rubbish but it’s built around my personal
Experience.
Old 13th June 2019
  #18
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TVPostSound's Avatar
Ill skip the long story.
But yes Genelec doesn't translate.
Marti turned me on to JBL, and never looked back.
Old 13th June 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.sound View Post
You are correct.. I didn't mean ANY Genelec.
Let's look at the specs for 8330A
It's a 5" woofer
It MAX PEAK is 110 SPL

That leaves no headroom to mix a Feature Film.
My experience with Genelec:
I mixed a Feature Film called "The Grudge".
We needed to deliver a Home Theater Mix.
The Studio was Sony Pictures. They required a Nearfileld
Mix using Genelec Speakers. I rented the required Genelecs.
Started playing back and the Genelec sub blew. Flat. Done!
I called the rental company and they brought another one.
Blew up again. Returned it and got another.
GUESS WHAT, It blew again. I went through 4 Genelec subs.
Frustrated I borrowed a JBL 6312 Sub and I finished the mix.
No problems! I then put together my existing JBL 6328’s and bought
A JBL 6312 Sub and NEVER had another problem on ANY Theatrical
Mix.

So, I still feel that Genelecs..
Do Not translate. They do not have the Headroom for a Cinema Mix.
One may call my point of view rubbish but it’s built around my personal
Experience.
that's a mucho more detailed view on things, so i'll step down from my somewhat rude verdict - while i generally agree that a wimpy system makes it hard on the engineer (it's more guessing than knowing how mixes might translate), there are some folks who turn out mixes which do very fine but were created under subpar conditions, not only regarding the speakers but also the room...

i've been using dsp to correct/tweak speaker response for years and therefore don't give much about the fr (although i don't mind if i don't have to correct things much) - most (larger) genelec systems imo sound okay, some of their newer versions have built in dsp which can be used to suit different needs. one cannot emulate the effect of radically different speaker designs, no matter what (amount of) dsp is getting used...

with the experience you made with the brand, i can easily understand that you're not much of a fan... - i have a about a dozen 1029a's (which i've been using as front fills for live shows, for installs and as a tiny 7.1.4 system) and never had any issues; same with a trio of 1037's.

for whatever reason, i don't like their subwoofers either and have mostly been using kh/neumann's - wouldn't wanna switch!
Old 13th June 2019
  #20
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elambo's Avatar
I didn't expect this to turn into a debate about monitors. While I accept the validity of the concept that "Genelecs are too articulate for cinema" I don't feel that mixing for cinema with Genelecs isn't possible, if you're cognizant of their profile and willing to adapt. It's quite possible to adjust their expressiveness to more closely emulate a theater, which is PRECISELY why I started this thread, and I'm certain that we can get our mix suite in better shape. Swapping monitors isn't an option.

Someone touched on the fact that modern theaters don't exhibit high frequency rolloff and reverberation to the same degree as those which were popular when this x-curve thing started. So, maybe it's not something that needs to be addressed as we're mixing. I'm just trying to cover our bases and have the most accurate emulation of the common theater (whatever that is) as we're mixing. Certainly our engineers will have to use their brains to consider other factors.
Old 13th June 2019
  #21
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple-q View Post
Many people think the x-curve is some special kind of filter that is applied to the b-chain signal and you're done. This is not the case. How you achieve the x-curve on your RTA is up to you and your room and the tuning.
I realize that, and if it were that simple there would be a preset in an eq which would tackle the issue, but, again, I'm looking for common practices for smaller mix suites who are mixing for larger theaters. "Get a (proper) room!" is obviously ideal, but since these types of mixes are only ~3% of our business we'll just need to find some solutions to apply to the master bus for emulating that environment.

Or not... if cinemas are already compensating for the effects of their environment, acoustically or electronically or however, then many of my concerns go away. I'm just looking for clarification.
Old 13th June 2019
  #22
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My impression from mixing in a few different (smallish) dub stages has been that just as bass reproduction varies from room to room, HF presence and "air" in the top range differs from system to system. There are stages where I feel the drivers are fast, open, extend way up like nearfields, others sound like "what the X-curve" looks like. And I assume (and believe) they are all in spec and calibrated by Dolby. Same with cinemas - some feel more rock'n'rool, some more hi-fi with smooth open highs.

That of course will change the impression of your mix
And yes, the Genelecs with the metal dome tweeters do sound very open in the highs right out the box.
How do these "theatrical mix on BluRay" films sound in your studio, have you listened to any?
Old 13th June 2019
  #23
For what it's worth I've found distance to mix position has a bunch to do with the top end translation. In a larger room, the audio goes through more air, that changes things. You can't really beat the physics of that.

In a large stage you have a better shot at getting stuff correct.

If you are in a smaller room minimum distance required is 4meters.

Add to that cinama playback systems quality of high end is not consistent. Some have good speaker systems others rubbish, add to that when playback levels get turned down sometimes the actual level of changes are more at different frequencies.

Listening to reference material on your system can help you tune into how your own system might translate... As It's not always possible to mix in big rooms.

Bruno
Old 13th June 2019
  #24
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I have been mixing on Genelecs (8250A + Sub) for the last 10 years and my mixes translate well to the big screen.

I do however have to say that I needed to repair 2 of them so far.
Caps dried up on the psu.
Old 13th June 2019
  #25
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Mottl View Post
How do these "theatrical mix on BluRay" films sound in your studio, have you listened to any?
You've pointed to an important rabbit's hole I've not yet wanted to go down, but, yes, this is a great question. If Avengers End Game was mixed for a cinema setting, is it going to sound proper in my home? Or did they provide a separate mix for home theaters? (I'm guessing not, but can't say for certain that someone didn't make tweaks for the BluRay). And is a separate mix even necessary?
Old 13th June 2019
  #26
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Elambo,
Check you PM.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
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I mixed 2 features this year that I started at my place - medium size room, 50sqm, Neumann 420s LCR, MTRX with speakercard, calibrated by Dolby - and both films were finished at the same cinema studio.
First one I mixed without X-Curve at my place and it was too dull and didn't`t translate well.
2nd movie I mixed with X-Curve and it translated perfectly.

Maybe just worked for my scenario, but maybe this helps for your case as well
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clipgod View Post
I mixed 2 features this year that I started at my place - medium size room, 50sqm, Neumann 420s LCR, MTRX with speakercard, calibrated by Dolby - and both films were finished at the same cinema studio.
First one I mixed without X-Curve at my place and it was too dull and didn't`t translate well.
2nd movie I mixed with X-Curve and it translated perfectly.

Maybe just worked for my scenario, but maybe this helps for your case as well
Just when I began to think that I didn't need to be concerned about this.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
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Then check it at "The Dub Stage" and know what you have. Otherwise you are guessing.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
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So let me ask these follow-ups, which, I think, will answer many questions on my end:

Is it common for theaters to apply processing in the b-chain to correct their spaces for this high-frequency rolloff? And are they using absorption to a degree that they're cutting back on the reverberation? And if so, are they getting results which at least approach a flat frequency profile? Or is it still a mess in there?
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