Monday, March 07, 2016

Full Volume

I've been experimenting over the past few weeks to try and find which films are noisiest on my TV.  By and large, it seems to depend upon their age.  Which shouldn't really be surprising, as the sound recording systems used in film making have improved significantly over the years.  These experiments are a direct result of my adding a soundbar to my new(ish) TV - the one I was forced to buy last Autumn when its predecessor died on me without warning.  The sound produced by the speakers on flat screen TVs is notoriously bad: tinny and lacking depth.  Indeed, the sound on my current TV is even worse than on the previous, smaller, flat screen - with both vastly inferior to any of the old-style 'tubes' I previously watched.  At normal volumes dialogue is frequently inaudible and, with the volume turned up, it is marred by reverberations on the speakers.  Consequently, I bought a cheap soundbar.

I have to say that the soundbar has opened up a whole new world of sound to me: when set to 'movie' mode it does a pretty good job of reproducing the low bass rumble you get in cinemas.   In this mode it makes even most ordinary of TV programmes sound so, well, dramaticCasualty, for instance, now seems incredibly exciting, with every musical cue seeming to signal that something epic is about to happen.  Even the weather forecast now seems full of dramatic tension.  But back to the point - obviously 'movie' mode has a dramatic effect on any films I watch.  It is quite surprising the difference decent sound reproduction can make to a film viewed on TV - the first film I watched using the soundbar was a nineties science fiction potboiler called The Sender, starring Michael Madsen: with the enhanced sound this low budget direct-to-DVD b-movie suddenly sounded like a big budget blockbuster.  Since then, I've ascertained that post 1971 Bond movies are loud, and from the nineties on are very loud.  Of the Brosnan Bonds I've watched so far using the soundbar, Tomorrow Never Dies just edges out The World is Not Enough in the noise stakes.  As for the most recent Daniel Craig movies, so far I've only seen Quantam of Solace with the new sound set-up:  I actually had to turn down the volume quite significantly as I feared that my hearing might be damaged.

Of course, whilst the soundbar fills my living room with sound, I'm guessing that it is producing vibrations through the walls to my neighbours.  Which is fine by me, as they aren't exactly quiet themselves.  In fact, one of the best things about my enhanced TV sound system is that it completely drowns out any of the frequent and not inconsiderable rackets made by mt neighbours. Anyway, I really must watch Argento's Opera again using the soundbar - now, that really will be a fucking row...



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