Volume Level Issues with WD TV Live

I’m not sure when this problem started (maybe more than 6 months ago) but whenever I play a movie from the WD TV Live, no matter what kind of file format (avi, mkv, mp4… etc.) it would get really loud when music, explosions or other non-dialogue sound come on, but when it shifts to just dialogues, it would become extra quiet. This forced me to constantly adjust the volume level when I watch movies, sometimes as much as 10 levels on my TV. I also think the situation worsened with the recent firmware upgrades.

BTW, my WD TV Live is connected to my TV via a HDMI cable. I’ve tested the same cable with my DVD player and my Uverse box and both devices performed fine.

Please advise.

Would you be happening to be listening to a 5.1 track but only connected to Stereo sound?

The 2.0 track on the disc is much better suited to stereo listening.

Yes, this problem has been there for a very long time and there have been numerous posts about it.

As RoofingGuy said, if the video has a 5.1 soundtrack, and you are using the stereo output of the WD, the dialog is very soft while the rest of the channels are very loud. If the movie has a Dolby 2 soudtrack, then switching to that will improve things a lot. However, the big problem is that most of the recent movies do not have a dolby 2 soundtrack. In that case, there is not too much that we can do about it except to keep complaining and hope that WD will put this on their list of things to fix.

If you want you can roll back the firmware, but you will have to way way back to one of the 1.02.xx versions to see any difference. I don’t think that doing that will make you very happy either.

Ok, I admit I don’t have the best ears in the world anymore… I’ve lost my top end and my bottom end from my hearing.

But, my personal opinion is that the earlier firmwares were “wrong” and the current firmwares are correct, and that this isn’t a “bug”, but a fixed bug.

What would make me say something so ridiculous??  Well, if I put a DVD in my standalone player, and play its 5.1 track through RCA stereo to the TV, then the dialogue is low and the sound effects are high.  I usually had to turn the subtitles on, because if I had the volume low enough that the gunfire didn’t wake the newborn, I couldn’t hear the dialogue.

My WDTV Live sounds like it’s producing the exact same stereo down-mix of DD5.1 that 3 different stand-alone DVD players do.

So, either my JVC, my Toshiba and my Sony all shipped with the same “broken audio” that WD has “broken” in newer firmwares, or the WDTV is doing what it’s supposed to be doing when it produces a 2.0 mix from a 5.1 track.

RoofingGuy, I think that you are probably right about that. My DVD player does the same thing. However, it has been pointed out by several people that the earlier firmwares did not have this problem. I really don’t know what is right or wrong, but listening to it, the earlier way that they handled it sure sounded a lot better.

I think that most folks that really care already have a 5.1 system, so they will not have this problem.

I would guess that almost every remaining 2.0 user would prefer the “old way”.

I’m just not too sure WD’s Dolby Digital licence would allow them to mess with the mix… for all I know it was Dolby that made them change it in the first place. :wink:  After all, I don’t really think people would have complained “this mix sounds really good… please mess it up” in bug reports to WD. :smileyvery-happy:

I’d like to see it changed too, for all my TV DVD’s that are 5.1 only (most of my movies have come with a 2.0 mix on the disc, so I’m able to play the 2.0 track for them)… I just don’t want folks to get their hopes up of this ever being “fixed” because it may not be possible.

Ah, thanks for the replies.

Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

So just to recap, if my movie file only has 5.1 audio and my TV can only do stereo, my choices are to either upgrade to 5.1 or roll back my firmware in order to have a more “balanced” volume level?

Yes, as far as I know, the current “solutions” are:

  • live with the “unbalanced” 5.1 downmix to stereo
  • downgrade to one of the eariler firmwares where the mix sounded better
  • buy a home theater system that will play 5.1, instead of just using the TV’s stereo speakers
  • try and mess around with each media file and create a different stereo mix and then re-mux the new audio into the old file

I’ve never tried the last one so I have no specific softwares to suggest… but it should be possible with audio editing software… just way too much work for me.

My personal lazy choice is just the first option, with subtitles when necessary.  Not ideal, but it was how I was watching them straight from DVD anyways.

Thank you very much for your help. I managed to mess around with my TV’s audio settings and it’s now much more tolerable lol