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Reducing music in videos

Discussion in 'Audio' started by HarryA, Jun 2, 2018.

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  1. HarryA


    Jan 22, 2017
    Hello from Penn's woods.

    I and others are annoyed by the "background" music in videos particular
    in documentary videos like Nature, Nova, and others on Amazon prime. Often the
    music competes with the narrator and when there is no narration it blast out at you.

    With that in mind a put together an active low pass filter using a dual audio op amp
    that helps somewhat. I am thinking it would be helpful to have a circuit that limits
    the music volume as it rises.

    I found an interesting circuit that uses the nonlinear transfer function of diodes.
    I have to admit that I am confused by the plot of input versus output and what is voltage
    "with clamping" As the output exceeds the input I gather the output is from the
    MAX9700A at the speakers?

    the circuit is here:

    Example of a loud video:

  2. kellys_eye


    Jun 25, 2010
    The circuit you link to uses back-to-back diodes that will limit ALL audio above a certain level - but the 'limiting' will be in the form of clamping and will severely distort the resultant output.

    Since the speech is actually part of the music you can't reasonably or easily separate them - some form of digital processing may be capable of doing this but unless there is a distinct separation of music and speech then what you ask for is simply too difficult for most people to tackle. Indeed if such a facility was available then many, many people would be after it!
  3. dave9


    Mar 5, 2017
    I doubt any analog solution is going to be enough. You could do a band pass filter with the assumption that human voice is mid-range but music typically has a lot of components in that range too, and certain males and females are at the opposite extremes of that range, and there's bound to be ambient noise that falls outside of midrange and if muted would make a very sterile, unimmersive presentation.

    Frankly if I have to strain to understand what people are saying I don't enjoy it and just watch something else instead. At least with larger LCD TVs you have a better chance to read lips.
  4. kellys_eye


    Jun 25, 2010
    You could use the text facility on modern TVs to 'read' the lips!
  5. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    The problem is that as soon as I close my eyes they stop speaking clearly!
  6. Audioguru


    Sep 24, 2016
    The problem of loud music in movies is caused because the movie has many "takes" and the actors and soundman learn the dialogue and think the dialogue without even hearing it. They do not realise that the loud music covers up the dialogue.
  7. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    How does that explain it? Do you think there's an orchestra playing during the recording of scenes?

    Face it, as you age your hearing gets worse and it becomes harder and harder to discriminate between the sound you want to hear and the background noise. There's also evidence that your brain becomes less able to process the information.
  8. darren adcock

    darren adcock

    Sep 26, 2016
    There's a really great book by Oliver Sacks called Musicophilia, looks at a range of Audio type ailments. Audio hallucinations, earworms to audio processing disorders. I for one can't separate sounds very well at all and found the book useful. In terms of films I usually find versions with subtitles.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2018
  9. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

    Jun 21, 2012
    Subtitles work for me, too, most of the time. Listening through a pair of earphones also seems to help. There is a lot of "magic" that can be done with digital audio post-processing, and some of it is available online for consumers to play with. I am absopositively sure the NSA uses the latest and greatest stuff to gather intelligence from the immense quantity of "chatter" it continuously collects. There aren't enough trained analysts to listen to all that crap and decide what is actionable, so computers and software help filter the chaff from the wheat. Same-o same-o with digital imagery for sorting people in a crowd or identifying "changes" over time. Amazing gadgets, computers, and getting "smarter" all the time. @HarryA should look into that. Analog processing is NOT the way to go with this.
  10. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
    For some reason, British productions seem to be particularly bad in that respect. The lovely wife Morticia clued me in that if you watch the lips (when possible) it is easier to understand the speech, and she is right even though I would never say that I was doing "lip reading."

  11. HarryA


    Jan 22, 2017
    Bob I believe you are correct about the British productions. Also I asked my wife why are you
    sitting so close to the television? She replied "I have to read their lips"

    If it where not for the Canadians and the Americans the English language would have died out.o_O

    But what is "voltage with clamping"
  12. darren adcock

    darren adcock

    Sep 26, 2016
    Just an after thought here in that it might be worth looking at the acoustics of the space you are using. I suspect it might be fine with as being at home i'm assuming with lots of soft things to dampen. I Have to avoid locations with bad acoustics, or good as some think. For me the sound bounces around everywhere and i can't distinguish anything.
  13. HarryA


    Jan 22, 2017
    Thank you gentlemen. I think BobK is correct; turn down the volume and turn on the subtitles.
    Anyway I should spend more time building my canoe and less time watching videos.
  14. FuZZ1L0G1C


    Mar 25, 2014
    (A): Record the programme to your PVR / VCR.
    (B): Download the original music used as backing.
    (C): Using a video editor or audio mixer, align then mix the original soundtrack with inverted audio.
    Potential Problem: Finding exact music score used, and matching fadeins / fadeouts / studio edits.
  15. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    If the soundtrack is stereo, you might find that dialog is less balanced between the channels than the background music. L-R might reduce the background.
  16. Externet


    Aug 24, 2009
    Just incompetent audio engineers, trying to be impressive and impacting in their work, trashing the production.

    I called/messaged three or four times to the production companies shown at the credits end of documentals/movies to spank them and about half of times has worked, with more considerate background music and audio effects results in newer productions.
    If I remember, targeted programs like 'Nature' and other science documentaries.

    Digital signal processing can do wonders, but when you end tweaking controls of expensive equipment, the program is already ending...
  17. jorgen


    Jul 28, 2018
    I had a similar problem with movies, the music always overloaded the dialog, or the dialog would whisper and get too low to understand, but I know what you mean about the Nature documentaries, drove me crazy.

    What I ended up doing, since I use a desktop box to stream movies, was to get a cheap pair of Dayton B652s (like 50 bucks a pair), a little Pyle PCA1 15w a side amp, a Berringer Mini FBQ equalizer and the one thing that really made all the difference, a DBX-266xs compressor-limiter.

    The compressor is about $150 US and I think the EQ is around $60 or so.

    It was worth the investment for me to be able to hear everything clearly. That was three years ago, haven't had anything I couldn't hear since.

    If you decide to take the plunge, here's my DBX settings:
    threshold: -30
    ratio:      3:1
    attack:     fast-75% ccw
    release:    fast-75% ccw
    gain:       +10
    overeasy    on
    auto        off
    bypass      off
    stereo-couple  on
    You only need to set the left channel, the right will track the left with stereo-couple on.
    You can start there and mess around some more until you get the hang of it, that's just what I settled on.

    Berringer makes a similar compressor, but I stuck with DBX from past experience, it's a better unit.

    The EQ is to your taste, but you might want to drop some below 500htz and/or boost your highs because one of the side effects of compressors is to reduce the perceived highs (it's a psycho-acoustic thing).
  18. jorgen


    Jul 28, 2018
    Here's the rig, kinda jack-legged in but I can dig any dialog out from under sound track or background with it, never run into any media it couldn't handle (but I use it mostly for streaming movies).

    The only thing better would be to replace the graphic EQ with a multi-band parametric EQ, but that would get way too 'fiddly' for general use.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
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