What are the best audio renderers or DSP's or audio decoders (and settings) for achieving voice/dialog clarity when watching movies? A lot of movies have dialog that sounds too soft to be heard when music or sound effects are playing at the same time.
The only thing I know is setting speakers to 2/0/0 which helps a bit if I remember correctly. (for example in FFDshow audio's settings or PotPlayers internal settings)
I personally use PotPlayer as my player of choice. It has a "voice emphasis" setting but it makes the audio sound worse.
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Because nobody answered.....
Try use equalizer (shift+E) and Live settings.
+Normalize in audio processing (it is default)
Hope it helps a bit.
You can apply dynamics compression with normalization to dialogues (Center channel usually) - this will for sure improve voice legibility - i usually adding additional downmixed track to already existing one with some dialogue improvements - nowadays it is not big issue.
No I mean normalize in audio processing. Or in Preference -> audio -> Normalizer/freeverb. I also have checked here Boost audio.
You can play with equalizer to get best result of course.
The standard Potplayer normalisation probably just turns the volume up slowly, then reduces it quickly when it gets loud, then slowly turns it up again. It'd be horrible if that's how it works. The standard normalisation in MPC-HC and ffdshow works the same way.
I don't use Potplayer much, but here's the TomSteady normalising found under Potplayer's Audio/Normalising preference (is all of Potplayer a collection of other people's software?)
I "think" TomSteady is a type of compressor or loudness leveller, but traditionally a compressor has a set threshold and any audio peaks above that threshold are compressed making the audio less dynamic, so you can increase the volume and hear the quiet parts. It's hard to configure a compressor to work correctly for all audio though. For instance, if the next audio file you play has no peaks above the set threshold, nothing gets compressed. If the audio after that is predominantly above the threshold it's overly compressed.
The alternative is to look ahead a little when playing the audio and amplify the quiet parts. The end result can technically be the same as traditional compression, but it tends to work far better from one file to the next without adjustment.
As I said, I haven't used TomSteady, but I think that's what it does. I use MPC-HC myself so I use ffdshow to process the audio and load a similar Winamp compressor plugin called RockSteady. Potplayer has an option for loading Winamp plugins itself, so you should be able to achieve much the same thing without needing ffdshow to decode. I'm not sure what downmixing options Potplayer has but this is my ffdshow/RockSteady setup and I find it works quite well.
You can re-order ffdshow's filters. I start with a 6dB volume reduction as it seems to allow a little more headroom for downmixing and the compressor plugin to work.
Downmixing (accidentally disabled in the screenshot). The defaults for the faders at the bottom are all 100%. I boost the centre channel a little, reduce the surround channels a little, and disable the LFE channel completely. It really only boosts the low frequencies, which can interfere with the compression, and my sub speaker can still produce plenty of low frequencies without the LFE channel.
My RockSteady configuration. It levels out the volume a bit without any noticeable "pumping", 99% of the time. Pumping is where the effect of compression is for background sounds to go up and down in volume as louder foreground sounds cause the compressor to work. That sort of thing. My TV has a "night mode" audio setting which compresses quite a lot, but there's "pumping" for days. For some reason I'm the only one who notices, but I find it distracting.
An alternative to RockSteady is Loudmax. The WinAmp DSP version has nothing but a single slider. Don't let it fool you though, it's very good.
Rocksteady only copes with stereo, 16 bit audio (which is fine if you always downmix as I do). Loudmax may work with multichannel audio without downmixing. I'm not sure as I haven't played with it for a while.
How to get Potplayer to load WinAmp plugins:
You don't need to install WinAmp to use the plugins. If you try any of that, please post back to let me know what you think.
Last edited by hello_hello; 13th Jun 2016 at 02:17.