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  1. #1
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    "Ambient Noise" Distractions in a Home Theater.....

    I know this is probably supposed to be directed in the Home Theater forum, but I fear a proverbial can of flaming wars will be opened, so I'll address the issue here......

    It seems whenever I sit down to watch a DVD, and even if my receiver (dont get me wrong --- we're talking about 80 watts x 6, or x 5 in MY case; nothing house-breaking) is cranked up pretty high, I can STILL hear what I like to call "ambient noises" during quieter moments of a film --- Im in a really huge room for the theater setup, which is adjoining a kitchen with no wall inbetween, so whatever is going on in the kitchen overpowers the sound of the home theater; the sweet spot listening position is a good 15 FEET from the front soundstage and TV, and the surround channels are up in a cathedral ceiling above the heads of those in the sweet spot, some NINE FEET up......so its a fairly large room to pressurize with sound.....however, Im just wondering if it is, in fact, NORMAL, to be able to hear certain "distractions" over what's going on during the playback of a DVD and a surround system is up pretty high --- I mean, let me be honest.....it's a LOT harder to be able to talk over the really, really loud scenes in action films when the system is cranked, or to hear other sounds, but in general, during dialogue sequences in films and quieter moments, I can STILL hear the sounds of our barking dogs, people talking next to me on the couch or in the recliner next to the couch asking me questions about the film we're watching, snack bags "rustling around" and even the phone ringing......is all this considered "normal" in home theater, or should EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME be drowned out by the DTS or Dolby Digital soundtrack that's running?

    I was told by other enthusiasts on another home theater site that there are some THX certified professional movie theaters in which you can actually HEAR another movie going on in the theater next door during quiet passages of a film, and that cinema watching is not a RAVE --- meaning, there is not going to be CONSTANT audio blaring at you all the time, drowning out all noise, no matter what kind of power your receiver is putting out.....

    So would you agree that these "ambient noises" are to be expected in home theater; that is, being able to hear someone talk next to you or across from you on another couch, dogs barking, phones in the house ringing, etc, OVER the audio coming from the surround receiver? Is this all normal?

    Thank you in advance to anyone who wishes to enlighten me on this topic.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular Peter_Klim's Avatar
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    You just need to tell veryone to shut the F*CK up!!!

    But seriously, what you are hearing is normal. But my HT processor has a "Night" mode that supresses the dynamic range -it make the loud sounds softer and low sounds louder. The better Onkyo units have this feature. Try it out.

  3. #3
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Of course your going to hear stuff during the talking parts because its only your center. I here my refrig running. Now when all my speakers are going during a good action flick,i dont here anything but the movie. I guess thats why they say to set up your receiver late at night when theres less outside noise.
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  4. #4
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    "You just need to tell veryone to shut the F*CK up!!! "

    Thats going to be my next move although I have tried this already and its difficult because with my family, you gotta just ALWAYS be explaining something about a film to them --- they just dont get any plots; its so annoying.......I like watching films by myself most of the time for this reason......

    "But seriously, what you are hearing is normal."

    Thanks....makes me feel a bit better....seriously.....I never tried my night time mode (if my model Onkyo has it) but I DO keep my DVD player's DIGITAL RANGE COMPRESSION set to off because I would just think this would make things much lower in output.....

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=shokhead]Of course your going to hear stuff during the talking parts because its only your center. I here my refrig running. Now when all my speakers are going during a good action flick,i dont here anything but the movie. I guess thats why they say to set up your receiver late at night when theres less outside noise.[/QUOTE

    Yeah but Im talking about not only the dialogue parts of a film ---- even when there is some LIGHT action going on, you can hear the phone ringing over the system, or the dogs barking; and there are moments in films, I dont know if you know this or not, that are just quieter than others but dont have EVERYTHING coming from just the center; there may be some really light score or ambience and THIS is the kind of stuff I can hear noises over too......of course, this ISNT with my receiver CRANKED TO MAXIMUM, but, still.....I find I enjoy home theater much better late at night, as you say, because its a MUCH MUCH quieter environment......

    Any more thoughts Shok? Thanks.......

  6. #6
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Go to post #2. LOL
    Just remember the popcorn is cheaper at home.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Go to post #2. LOL
    Just remember the popcorn is cheaper at home.
    So what are you referring to with regard to post #2? Which part?

    The popcorn may be cheaper.....but it doesnt taste as good.......

  8. #8
    Mutant from table 9
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    I think everyone deals with ambient noise. I finished a dedicated HT room in my basement a couple of months ago with ambient silence in mind. Still I can hear the ice maker lines kick on as they run through the ceiling right above the couch. I can hear the washing machine too. Such is life.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlumpBuster
    I think everyone deals with ambient noise. I finished a dedicated HT room in my basement a couple of months ago with ambient silence in mind. Still I can hear the ice maker lines kick on as they run through the ceiling right above the couch. I can hear the washing machine too. Such is life.
    Thanks for your thoughts, Slump....

    I was going to ask if having a DEDICATED room for home theater would make or break the "ambient noise" issue because I am watching in a NON DEDICATED room shared with a busy kitchen, but I guess you answered that, thank you.

    I noticed that when I saw WAR OF THE WORLDS yesterday in a theater, during dialogue sequences, I was able to hear people cough or whisper or whatever so I guess thats kind of normal; but I was concerned how much ambient noise should be creeping into a HOME theater.....

    Thanks again for your thoughts........

    Oh, and PS, when you say "you can still hear" all those things in your house, you do mean WHEN WATCHING A FILM through your audio system, right?

  10. #10
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    Buy some headphones.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arturo7
    Buy some headphones.
    Thanks for the awfully thought-provoking insight......I think I'll stick with our $9,000 surround system for now though.

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