Memo to David Simon and Treme: Turn it up!
Turn it the fuck up.
I’m loving more or less every second of the second season of HBO’s tortured love song to New Orleans music, cooking, African-American genius, cultural gumbo, and much else, and the successor to Simon’s transcendent Baltimore epic, The Wire. Among other things it’s the best portrait of jazz and jazz musicians and the glories of musical miscegenation in the history of television. (I bet even David Simon is getting tired of the phrase “in the history of television.”)
My one giant peeve about the show is that whoever’s doing the sound recording and mix is failing miserably when it comes to serving up presence and punch. I’d almost swear that the frequent anemic-sounding musical interludes are set at a lower volume than the spoken dialogue. I’ve got my TV sound running through a receiver and feeding Epos speakers and a big, fat subwoofer, and I watch the entire show gripping the remote in order to drastically crank up the sound during the music, and then instantly tone it down when the dialogue resumes to avoid having the voices blare. Even at high volumes there’s a notable absence of low-end and mid-range muscle when the music’s playing.
There was a recent joke on Glee about “hate-watching” Treme. I’d never go that far, but Treme‘s sound design is (softly) begging for a severe ass-whupping.