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


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:


– 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.