[eli5] Why is it so hard to hear the dialogue in a lot of movies and shows when everything else is so loud?

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I’m constantly having to turn the volume up and down depending on the what the scene is. It’s not just me either. A lot of people I know have resorted to just turning on the closed captioning so they can hear what they’re saying. I don’t remember this being an issue before.

In: 2005

Did you try changing your sound preset to voice?

It’s the worst!

I have to watch movies with headphones on because the action scenes blow up out of nowhere and shake the house; but without having it turned way up i wouldn’t be able to hear any of the dialogue.

I can’t put on subtitles because I’m usually knitting while watching

If you can believe it, I think some of those movies are intended to be like that because it is the director’s choice, I think it was Christopher Nolan who is famous for this. For some other movies, i think its because the sound is put in during post editing and that’s the best they can do.

A lot of good discussion is here:

https://www.axiomaudio.com/blog/home-theater-sound

– ambient noise
– absolute sound level
– sound system capabilities
– distance to speakers
– environment
– sound mastering

To deal with this often users employ dynamic range compression algorithms

Turn dynamic sound off of your tv/speakers/playback device; or if you have the option, make sure it’s set to voice. That should help level out it out.