Oh come now, some of you people have been at this for years and years, and I know you aren't goofy enough to think you can edit your video soundtrack the same way you would a music CD and not have it distorting people's built-in TV speakers, so stop holding out on me.
Besides heavily compressing certain things, I've been ripping audio from various DVD's to test the signal frequencies, and it appears that none of them have much of anything below 120Hz.
Audition wish-list: It would be oh so nice if Audition would allow you to send a signal out firewire to your VTR and then to the TV to test the audio instead of having to save it and import it into Premiere first.
I wouldnt edit sound any differently for video. Most folk play the audio through a stereo system these days, not 3 inch tv speakers. Edit fo the highest common denominator not the lowest. The guy playing through a 3 inch tv speaker isnt going to be the one who cares anyway.
"Most folk play the audio through a stereo system these days, not 3 inch tv speakers."
I don't know where you get your information from, but it strikes me as way off the mark. I'm in and out of people's houses everyday with my main gig, and about the only place in town I ever see anyone watching a TV connected to a home theater is in the crooked country club sector. DTS did a study a couple of years ago which claimed that 37% of us in the USA own a home theater system. Of course coming from DTS I wouldn't put too much stock in that. But even if that were true it still leaves the majority of people in the USA listening to their two or three inch TV speakers. I also have a feeling that if you or I ever submitted a feature for someone like NPR and they found that it was distorting ANYONE'S TV set speakers that we wouldn't be asked to submit anything else.
You are right that markets will vary. But Im not sure I see any benefit to tweaking audio for a specific set.
Well I just want to keep up with the rest of the industry. I'll be finishing up on my first feature soon, and I just want to make sure the sound is gonna be what people expect. I come from an audio background, and when mastering for CD release every audio engineer will test his recordings over and over on all kinds of speakers including boom boxes and out in the car. It's the smaller speakers that we pay the most attention to because if we can make a mix sound good there--it'll sound good anywhere. I figure guys mastering for movies probably are keeping a TV release in mind in case it goes there and will likely test his recordings over a variety of small speakers like those found in TV sets. I'm not even sure what the typical size and frequency range is on most TV speakers, but I'm guessing most are either two or three inches in size and have very little low end and a low sound pressure rating. Anyhow, I've never come across an article focussing on EQ'ing for TV speakers, and I was hoping someone here could point one out.
It's the smaller speakers that we pay the most attention to because if we can make a mix sound good there--it'll sound good anywhere.
I just don't know where to begin correcting that.
I figure guys mastering for movies probably are keeping a TV release in mind in case it goes there and will likely test his recordings over a variety of small speakers like those found in TV sets.
I've never come across an article focussing on EQ'ing for TV speakers
Probably because it just isn't done. You do your Mastering using the best possible equipment you can lay your hands on. It's just not possible to try and accommodate other people's equipment. (Unless you're delivering to only one person, of course. But even then, what if he upgrades?)
"I just don't know where to begin correcting that."
Lots of luck trying. Do you really know of an honest to goodness recording engineer anywhere who doesn't test his mixes on small monitors for exactly that purpose? Show me one. Roger Nichols, George Massenburg, Alan Parsons, who? Show me one good sound engineer that doesn't have at least one good set of near field monitors with 2-way speakers and a woofer no larger than seven inches.
From the Sound Engineer blog at Blogspot: "By the mid-80’s the near-field monitor had become pre-eminent. The larger studios still had large main-monitors mounted in (or on) the wall but they were now mere supplements to the small monitors sitting on the meter-bridge and were viewed as prestige items mainly there to 'impress the clients' and occasionally check for low-bass anomalies."
No offence, but do you even know what "near field" means?
From John Scrip of Massive Mastering: "Studio Monitors are what we used to check mixes on to see if they sucked on small, bad-sounding speakers. Now, people use those same small, bad-sounding speakers as their mains."
From David Simmons book Analog Recording: "Though custom control rooms are equipped with highly sophisticated monitoring systems, for years many studio engineers have employed the cheapest, thinnest-sounding speakers they could find - car radio speakers, boom boxes, etc - as 'referrence monitors', with the idea that if it sounds good on small, tinny speakers, it'll sound good anywhere."
Just why the hell do you think NS-10s have outsold every monitor ever made? Do you even know what NS-10s are? Have you ever in your life stepped foot in a recording studio. Which one? I know it wasn't mine.
From Hilary Wyatt's book: Audio Post Production for Television and Film, "More and more motion picture feature films, mixed for the cinema, are being distributed for home use; indeed, the majority of the income from feature films is derived from video sales. This means that it is in the home environment, and probably from the spakers of a television, that most soundtracks are likely to be heard. In general, soundtracks mixed for the cinema will, when replayed at home, have the music and effects at too high a level and the dialog can become inaudible or unintelligible. In addition, the dialog equalization used in cinema soundtracks to improve articulation and intelligibility can, in the domestic environment, be reproduced with sibilance, giving the impression of distortion. "In the home, the speakers are in a near field environment, which is flat and narrow with little reverberation. This is incompatible with the motion picture theater...."
"Gee, why do you think that is?"
So my "Iron Man" DVD was mixed while monitoring cheap TV speakers? I'm not being antagonistic here, nor am I being deliberately obtuse. I'm genuinely incredulous that such a thing is being suggested (or even considered)! Because my M&K sub gets hold of some really low frequencies. Or are you talking about a 2-channel mix that's included with the multi-channel mix?
I can't imagine anyone who cares about sound quality using TV speakers for anything but a cursory check. Unless you shop at very different stores than me, absolutely *nothing* sounds *good* on TV speakers.
[Sidebar]: I guess we should define "good"? Something like, "Hey look! It didn't blow out the TV speakers when we turned the volume up to 100!"
Again, I'm not being antagonistic; I'm just not really sure I understand what the point is here. Logic says there must be multiple mixes on the DVD, but you haven't specifically said so (unless I missed it). And unless you make the thin version the default version, 90% of the viewing public will never hear the made-for-TV mix because they'll never get that far in the DVD menu. But for a single mix, I never consider cheap TV speakers.
"So my "Iron Man" DVD was mixed while monitoring cheap TV speakers?"
No, which is why I didn't say so. Although it's true that no engineer worth his weight in cow plop mixes to large monitors, he also isn't mixing to TV speakers obviously. But a seven or eight inch cone is about as big as anyone is mixing to, and five inch cones like those on the popular Fostex PM-05s are found all over the world too. Few boom boxes or car speakers are going to be smaller than that, so going smaller for a CD mix is pointless. (DVDs are a different matter, and of course anyone mixing for television is going to check his mixes often on TV speakers). But you can bet that an engineer who has anything on the ball is also going to check his mixes on big speaker systems as well as out in the car and several other places. David Foster was the first guy I ever heard admit to checking his mixing out in the car back in the early 80's when I was first starting, and I was glad to hear him say it because I had already been doing it too after noticing that my mixes sometimes sounded a little thuddy on my car's system.
Now I've never really mixed for TV before, but I have noticed that my home-made DVDs using CD reference music couldn't be turned up very loud compared to commercial DVDs beofore distorting and that they sounded a bit bass heavy on a TV. Common sense should tell anyone that if you're going to master for a TV audience that you have to make sure your mixes sound good on that medium. Taking out some low end and compressing the signal more is a trade-off. You can still get a reasonably good sound, but obviously it won't be quite as good as what you would mix for a CD, thus DVDs never sound as good as CDs.
"I can't imagine anyone who cares about sound quality using TV speakers for anything but a cursory check. Unless you shop at very different stores than me, absolutely *nothing* sounds *good* on TV speakers."
You're correct when you say that nothing sounds good on TV speakers. Those DVDs don't sound "all that" on a great sound system either when compared to CDs which were mixed for a slightly better equipped audience. Your sub-woofer doesn't playback low-end that's on the DVD because it isn't there. A real bass bin is about the size of a 27" TV set or much bigger. Haven't you ever been to a live concert before? Do you not know what a real bass bin looks like capable of producing extreme lows? The tiny sub-woofs that typically sell to home theaters produce artificial low end using a bass port. Yes, it's an illusion of sorts. If there were really that much bass on the DVD it would certainly blow out any small built-in TV speaker.
Something that you might want to consider in your delivery is to include two mixes, kinda' what Jeff suggested, and allow for the user to decide which sounds best on their system, whatever it is. I do this all of the time with DD 5.1 SS track and DTS track - 2 different Audio tracks for the same Timeline in Encore, and they are user selectable via Menu (globally, not from within the Chapter).
Now, I can see your point in wanting the Audio to sound the best with poorer quality equipment. I think you're on the right track with the originally stated limits, though I am anything but a sound engineer.
Good luck, and let us know if you do find the right EQ for the TV speakers, as I'd be curious what settings work best in your tests. Noble cause for a sound engineer and probably not really jousting with windmills. Nice of you to think of the "little guys." Still, I try to work toward the highest common denomenator, but am not working with theatrical releases either- obviously.
PS I've got three "home theater" setups in my house, and do my critical viewing and listening with these. However, I have four TV's without benefit of good processing gear and additional speakers. On my pool deck, where I watch most broadcast TV, I rely on the speakers in the Toshiba 42" - no additional equipment whatsoever (though that is about to change also). There, I'm just glad to have Audio - of any kind/quality.
Your sub-woofer doesn't playback low-end that's on the DVD because it isn't there. A real bass bin is about the size of a 27" TV set or much bigger. Haven't you ever been to a live concert before? Do you not know what a real bass bin looks like capable of producing extreme lows? The tiny sub-woofs that typically sell to home theaters produce artificial low end using a bass port. Yes, it's an illusion of sorts. If there were really that much bass on the DVD it would certainly blow out any small built-in TV speaker.
I think my M&K MX-100 powered sub with dual 12" drivers in a push-pull configuration can reproduce those low frequencies just fine, thank you. DVD-Video isn't the only audio source that I enjoy.
And I've been to a fair number of concerts and seen the bass bins you describe. I just never thought they'd be practical in my home, even in a custom home theater installation.
"Something that you might want to consider in your delivery is to include two mixes, kinda' what Jeff suggested, and allow for the user to decide which sounds best on their system, whatever it is."
The thing is...no one is really doing that. I mean, you often are given a choice between 5.1 and stereo, but they still make the 5.1 sound good on little TV speakers if you choose it. But I haven't come across any DVDs yet that say, "Choose track1 for home theater or track 2 for TV speakers." I'm not saying you couldn't do that, and who knows, maybe you'll start a trend, but I'm not seeing anything like that at the moment. What I intend to do though is to make the sound more full range for my film festival release and then re-mix for the DVD release.
I think if we all can admit that we're flying dark in this area that we can learn together. When comparing movie soundtracks to CDs the frequency analysis isn't telling me much of anything. They don't really "look" all that different accept the DVDs seem to be much more compressed, and I'm guessing that rather than compressing across the board, certain things are being compressed more than others, and that's what I'm mainly having trouble with. If I run an EQ through the side-chain of a compressor then I can compress specific frequencies. I'm sure the frequencies being compressed on DVDs are in the low-end and high-end with the mids being pretty much left alone more often than not. At least that's what it sounds like, and it would make sense given what must be the limited SPL of 2 inch full range speakers. I'm having a very difficult time finding any data on typical TV speakers. I can mostly just find the size and voltage of them. It would help a lot of somebody could find any info on that. Pretty much every book you find on film/video sound production focuses on capturing sound on location and gives very little info about post production. That's a book waiting to be written I think.
That's one of the books I quoted from earlier Curt. It's a great book, but unfortunately, aside from telling you to test your mix on TV speakers, he doesn't go into any detail about them. It's really good for a lot of other things though.
I do not think I was clear in my previous post. What I am doing is offering an either/or DD 5.1 SS or DTS. For your clients with the TV speakers only, you could do similar, with two different mixes. To date, I have not seen any of that, but then I do not handle a lot of commercial DVD's. I would *assume* that most are rather like mine with a DD 5.1 SS (that will play as stereo on non home theater units), DTS and maybe a few other flavors of Dolby.
With the power of DVD-Video and Encore, depending on the Duration and bit-rate of the Video, one could include several different Audio Tracks. Forget what the limit is. Then, the user could determine which mix they wished to hear. You could even do a Play First with one Audio Track, but of the two different mixes, back to back, with a Title explaining, "The first Audio that you'll hear is Mix A." "The second Audio that you'll hear is Mix B. From the next Menu, choose which one sounds best for your system." That sort of thing. For a mainly music DVD, I did similar with a tone in each of the six speakers, one at a time, should anyone wish to check their system. I'm not sure if anybody did.
Just some thoughts.
Good luck, and we look forward to your feature. Please share a trailer in the Lounge.
I think if we all can admit that we're flying dark in this area that we can learn together.
I'll say. I know that this concept is news to me. But I've always been a video guy first and an audio guy waaay second.
I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that once you create a "perfect" sonic mix using speakers that faithfully reproduce the live music that was recorded, you would have to deliberately move away from that beautiful-sounding mix just so that car or TV speakers would sound good.
With video, I've always produced the best product that I could as viewed on a calibrated reference monitor, and let my clients deal with however their TV is set up. Any errors that are introduced by their TVs when my DVDs are played are the same errors that are introduced when Hollywood's DVDs are played on their TVs. So in their minds, my discs look just like commercial DVDs.
In General, how do the artists feel about their stuff being mixed for the lowest common denominator?
"I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that once you create a "perfect" sonic mix using speakers that faithfully reproduce the live music that was recorded, you would have to deliberately move away from that beautiful-sounding mix just so that car or TV speakers would sound good."
I know what you're saying. But the thing is, even if you get your sound as perfect as possible on one set of flat referrence monitors, it won't sound that way on another. Speakers are all a little different, including what are supposed to be flat monitors. For instance, the Yamaha NS-10s that used to be so popular--a lot of guys thought they produced a little too much treble, so there was this simple solution that a lot of people used where they taped a piece of tissue paper over the tweeter so it wouldn't be quite so bright. It was a low tech solution that worked quite well. But the bottom line was--those speakers weren't perfectly flat. None are. You can get very close, but not perfect, so even studio monitors meant to be as flat as possible are all slightly different sounding. I've got two pair of AKG 240 headphones that have pretty much been an industry standard for several years for doing flat referrence headphone work. I bought them a couple of years apart. The first pair had a bit too much high-end. People complained. AKG changed the drivers a little and now my second pair have a tad too much bass. Nothing's perfect. When you get your mix sounding perfect on one set of monitors, they'll sound less than perfect on another. Now when you factor in that consumers aren't using flat monitors, but speakers that are built to enhance certain frequencies, and all of them very different sounding...you just can't win. That's why you have to test on as many different speakers as you can and come up with a happy medium. It's not uncommon to see three or four sets of monitors in the mixing room of a studio, and sometimes more. I think it was David Foster who used to have around a dozen. Here's a typical setup that includes:
CUSTOMIZED JBL L112 MONITORS
GENELEC 1031A POWERED MONITORS
YAMAHA NS10M STUDIO MONITORS
REALISTIC OPTIMUS 7 SPEAKERS
"In General, how do the artists feel about their stuff being mixed for the lowest common denominator?"
I don't know how they feel about movies and TV. I can tell you that a lot of them are unhappy about what's become termed as the "loudness wars" when it comes to mastering CDs though. Mastering houses/record lables seem intent on rendering music CDs unlistenable these days by hard limiting them to hell and back. In this childish contest to see who can make their songs the loundest so they'll stick out more on the radio all they do is suck all the life out of the mix and bring everything to the brink of distortion (and sometimes past). Here we have CDs capable of producing sound unheard of thrity years ago, and instead CDs are sounding worse than LPs ever did. I can't stand to listen to rock music anymore on the radio unless they're playing older CDs. I bought my sister that Beatles "1" CD a couple of years ago when it came out. It was horrid sounding. No dynamics whatsoever. If given a choice between a newly mastered CD of an old album and an older CD version from the 80s, I'll take the older one every time. And, unfortunately, I'm seeing a lot of people do this same thing with amateur video. YouTube is a prime example. Everybody seems to be trying to make the sound as loud as possible and to hell with dynamics. I mean, I'm not seeing it with professional DVDs, but somebody needs to tell these young guys on YouTube to wake up.
"What I am doing is offering an either/or DD 5.1 SS or DTS."
Oh yeah, I've seen several of those, and they often give a stereo option as well plus several language versions and other versions with various people involved with the production talking about the making of the movie. I also ripped that first Matrix movie to take part of a scene to study, and when I did I noticed that there was three versions of the same movie on the DVD plus a bunch of bonus features. That's why I giggle when people talk about supposedly losing quality when trying to fit only two hours of mpg video on a 4.7GB DVD. If you rip a movie from a DVD, most of the time there are so many bonus tracks and so on, that the main movie is under 5GB anyway, or just slightly above.
"Good luck, and we look forward to your feature. Please share a trailer in the Lounge."
I may, but it's just a documentary on a 19th century Scottish fantasy writer who was also a country parson and very important to several religious writers down the line such as CS Lewis and GK Chesterton. It would be pretty boring stuff for most people I reckon and would probably just get ignored if I posted it here. Thanks for he encouragment though!
Do you really know of an honest to goodness recording engineer anywhere who doesn't test his mixes on small monitors for exactly that purpose?
A misunderstanding. When you said "small speakers", in the context it was in I was thinking you meant something found in an alarm clock or boom box. Like a 2" full range speaker, or something.
"Gee, why do you think that is?"
More likely the dearth of information is because it's just not common practice to mix a movie for TV speakers.
thus DVDs never sound as good as CDs.
I would have to disagree with that as well.
they still make the 5.1 sound good on little TV speakers if you choose it.
I have to disagree here again. Listing to DVDs on TV speakers very often do have the previously mentioned problems - effects and music overwhelm the dialog, bass distortions, etc. This is because movie soundtracks are mixed to sound good a studio quality surround systems, not TV speakers. Listing to them on TV speakers will of course cause problems. Broadcasters do their own things to the audio to make it sound good in such environments, but not original mixers.
I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that once you create a "perfect" sonic mix using speakers that faithfully reproduce the live music that was recorded, you would have to deliberately move away from that beautiful-sounding mix just so that car or TV speakers would sound good.
I have to agree with Jeff on this one.
1, Windowman, or can I say Charles?.
Please do your own tests. I would suggest, mix and do sound check on good equipment, and then as a final, check it on both high and lower end equipment. If it sound good on both, you're good to go...
2. Charles, NEVER put loudspeakers in a corner of a room, that amplifies the bass of that loudspeaker (physics). Nor put loudspeaker too close to the wall (that depends some/many-times on how they are designed though).
3. Sound is religion! (As well as "film-look") Any kind of meaning is at best.... a meaning.
EDIT: "the biggest sound engineers", Oops, eh, btw, eh, they are not posting here, as far as I know anyway....
"More likely the dearth of information is because it's just not common practice to mix a movie for TV speakers."
It isn't? Do you have a source for that? The only book I've ever found on sound recording/mastering for cinema and television says he does exactly that. One mix for the cinema release--another for the TV/DVD version. If 60% of your audience is listening through tiny TV speakers then common sense would dictate that you make your DVD/TV release sound right on that medium. Otherwise you might as well be trying to sell Volkswagens to farmers to hall hay with.
"Listing to DVDs on TV speakers very often do have the previously mentioned problems - effects and music overwhelm the dialog, bass distortions, etc."
I agree that I sometimes do hear excessive lows on 5.1 soundtracks when coming across small TV speakers, but I've never heard a DVD that was so bad that I had to turn the sound down for fear of blowing the speaker(s). If they were mixing strictly for home theater sound systems they wouldn't be so careful.
"Broadcasters do their own things to the audio to make it sound good in such environments, but not original mixers."
TV Broadcasters compress the signal quite a bit just as radio broadcasters do. But I've never heard a DVD release that wasn't quite compressed already, and again, if they were mixing with only a home theater crowd in mind they wouldn't bother compressing the signal much at all. Have you ever looked at a sine wave from a DVD's audio? I had the audio from Close Encounters in Audition just yesterday analyzing the frequencies during the section toward the end of the movie where the giant spaceship is talking with the ground base by way of sound with those huge blasts of low notes (I couldn't think of any movie with deeper tones than that), and the sine wave throughout most of the movie looked like a Tootsie Roll.
"I have to agree with Jeff on this one."
I think you're being unreasonable. I've shown you example after example of the biggest sound engineers and producers in music who all make sure their mixes sound good everywhere and on all medium including car speakers. I can't think of a single producer who doesn't mix to small, near field monitors for this very reason. You'll never get a mix to sound right on small speakers if you're monitoring on big speakers, but going the other way round is easy. When I recorded my first record in 1986, I tried to master to a fairly large set of American Acoustics. I thought it sounded really good until I heard it in the car. The kick drum was just this loud thud. Lesson learned.
The only book I've ever found on sound recording/mastering for cinema and television says he does exactly that. One mix for the cinema release--another for the TV/DVD version.
Well, there you go. I'd say one person qualifies as "not common".
I've never heard a DVD that was so bad that I had to turn the sound down for fear of blowing the speaker(s).
So you think that means there are two mixes? I just don't agree. Mixing a movie is a LOT of work. Your post is the very first hint I've ever seen anywhere that even suggests the possibility that rerecording mixers do what you suggest. That you yourself couldn't find much information on the subject is telling, I think.
if they were mixing with only a home theater crowd in mind
Most often, they're NOT mixing with a home theater crown in mind. They're mixing with a regular theater crown in mind. That's why we see things like THX modes on receivers which roll off the highs, which are often mixed a little bright for movie theaters. Occasionally you might find a DVD remix. The "Lion King" has one, I believe. But this is the exception, not the norm. And even then, it is a "home theater" remix, not a "TV speaker" remix.
I can't think of a single producer who doesn't mix to small, near field monitors for this very reason.
Again, that was a misunderstanding on my part. I've no quarrel with the idea of using near field monitors. By "small" I thought you meant something else.
But this is not the same as mixing a movie for TV speakers, a practice which I think you'll find (have found) is just not very common.
"Well, there you go. I'd say one person qualifies as "not common"."
And yet you've not offered ANY evidence to the contrary. Look up Hilary Wyatt at the internet movie database sometime. He's got no less than 43 major films and TV shows under his belt. He writes the only book I've ever seen on video sound POST production and says what anyone with the least inkling of common sense knows anyway, that you OBVIOUSLY have to mix separate for TV, and rather than just accept the obvious you're still trying to argue this away despite the fact that you can't find a single audio post production guy anywhere with anything close to Wyatt's credentials who will agree with you. I'd say "not one pro video sound man" places your argument in the "not common" category with spades.
"So you think that means there are two mixes?"
No, I'd say common sense tells me there are two mixes along with a sound professional with 43 major films and TV shows to his credit saying so. And your evidence would be?
"Your post is the very first hint I've ever seen anywhere that even suggests the possibility that rerecording mixers do what you suggest."
You might want to try actual books on the subject rather than rely on amateur internet talk.
"That you yourself couldn't find much information on the subject is telling, I think."
And yet I DID find info from an incredibly reliable source on the subject. You found none.
"Most often, they're NOT mixing with a home theater crown in mind. They're mixing with a regular theater crown in mind. That's why we see things like THX modes on receivers which roll off the highs, which are often mixed a little bright for movie theaters. Occasionally you might find a DVD remix. The "Lion King" has one, I believe. But this is the exception, not the norm. And even then, it is a "home theater" remix, not a "TV speaker" remix."
Proof? Evidence? Anything? What book did you get ANY of that from? I see nothing factual in that entire paragraph.
Edited to say that I doubt that even a semi-professional video guy would ever consider editing his footage using a computer monitor. The color and brightness are different than a TV or a film projector either one. Likewise speakers in a movie house are an entirely different animal than speakers in a TV set with completely different SPL, sensitivity, and frequency response with an incredibly narrow bandwith not so different from AM radio. And by the way, when recording studios prepare a mix aimed at AM radio they do things differently. Again, it's mostly about compression/limiting. ALL AM Radio stations employ a LOT of multiband limiting during playback. You have to hand them a mix that's not as loud to begin with as what you would make for an FM station. It has to be typically 6 to 10db softer. Really, it's all just common sense.
I don't know. Was some of it set in The Eagle and the Baby pub, where Lewis and Tolkien spent time over many pints?
Good luck with it, and please let us know how you decide to author it to DVD.
One potential problem with a room full of monitors, is that one gets some passive radiance from the "unused" speakers, unless they are totally shielded from the sound fields generated by the speakers in use. That is one of the reasons that a certain set of speakers, that demoed beautifully in a listening room, sound different when installed in an otherwise very similar room, without all of the passive radiators around.
Aside from the differences in playback equipment, each listener's frequency response will differ. What might sound "bass-heavy" to me, with limited upper frequency reception, might sound absolutely perfect to a "golden ear."
I've found that with Audio, there are even more vairables, than with Video reproduction. It goes far beyond the actual equipment, it's setup and the room, to the end users, as well.
I'd say go for the best to YOUR ears on YOUR gear, and the end-user is on their own to recalibrate THEIR gear and environment.
Jim Simon made a good comment (good to me, at least) in a recent, previous thread, when he said [to paraphrase], "moving my speakers 1/4" can be detected... " It can be as subtle as sitting 3" to the left, or the right, within the sound field.
Good luck, and let us know how you finally address this issue,
Lewis and Tolkien were both big fans of this author, but he died in 1905 when they were both still children. I'm sure they had many conversations about him at the Bird and Baby though. I was tickeld when I read Arthur C Clarke's last entry to the 2001 series (I thought all four of those books were really good) when he mentioned Lewis and his posse hanging out at the Eagle and Child.
Another thing with speakers is humity. I've not heard anyone mention it before, but I'm sure a paper cone can get dried out and lose mids in an arid environment. I keep my expensive Taylor acoustic guitar in its case during the winter months when I'm not playing it and keep a small sponge humidifier in the soundhole because the dry winter air tends to tighten the wood and make it very trebly sounding. Plus, I wouldn't want the wood to crack. That's standard procedure with acoustic guitars and there are several humidifiers on the market aimed at guitarists. I would guess that keeping a room humidifier in a home theater area wouldn't be a bad idea either depending on what material is used for the cones.
I'd enjoy seeing Neil Wilkes weigh-in on this, as it's his business, and has been for at least a decade with Audio mixing.
Interesting thread, still, and gives one something to consider, though not often it is likely to creep into most folks' actual production.
Thanks for provoking thought.
I was reading this forum and couldnt help but feel like I should comment. Us TV broadcasters do check our own mixes both for remastering on high quality soundsystems but also for the speakers on the end of our chain ie the customers TV at home. The TV station at which I am now the Operations Manager operates a bit like the PBS. We do live concerts and TV specials to gain partners (or donations) from veiwers who want to see more of the same. We are located in Sweden but do to our success we now have stations in Norway and India. Bottom line is that if the viewer at home does not like our programing we go out of business. When I first got here from my sports audio gig in Canada, the number one viewer complaint was the audio and these guys in Sweden were fast losing partners as a result. The only option was to mix for the end veiwer.
Consider this TV Broadcast goes through more than just in house compression. Our audio must be embedded into the video and then encodded to either mpeg 2, mpeg 4 or whatever standard the cable or satilite provider is asking for. All of these steps do impact the audio. We try to find the embeders and encoders that have the least impact on the audio but the bottom line is that this must be considered by us TV guys before we send out anything including commericals and programing we receive from outside producers. Every program we receive needs to be checked for sound before it airs to ensure the best possible output for the viewers without compromising the producers mix. Now for my station we are only broadcasting stereo but many stations offer 5.1 which means they will send out both a full mix and a stereo mixdown; this was the practice we held at the sports station in Canada. So this way if the viewer has the surround sound they get a fully mastered mix but if it is just a stereo tv the viewer gets the stereo mixdown. (many editing softwares can do a relatively good mixdown in the audio menus).
For high profile concerts and stuff we record both a highqaulity mix and send our live mix with a more TV friendly EQ (easy to achieve in our control room and it gives us the higher quality recording for remastering and DVD sales later). For live talk shows we tend to mix more TV speaker friendly. but all of our non live recordings we record highest possible quality and then mix for our various mediums in post.
I dont know if this helps you at all but I dont think that it is not so rare for broadcasters to check the end product to the veiwer. Most TV stations with bigger budgets even go so far as to gather market research on their veiwers so they know exactly waht quality range they need to be sending.
Bare in mind if its carp in then its carp out so as best we can we mix the best mix we can but we do try to avoid mixing for IMAX size speakers since we are targeting livingroom size speakers.
Again hope this helps