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If you’re having trouble hearing the TV, your speaker settings are likely to blame


Tired of muffled dialogue? You can repair it.

Screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

The newest TVs could have the opportunity to produce wonderful photos, however they will additionally undergo from poor sound high quality. The purpose? Flatscreen TVs are so skinny there’s nowhere for the audio system to go, and this implies they will additionally sound skinny. You do not want to stay with dangerous sound, although, as a result of we’re right here to assist.


Brett Pearce/CNET

If you’re struggling to perceive the dialogue in your new favourite present, it is most likely the TV’s tiny audio system that are to blame. However, there might be different causes — for instance, when you discover that folks’s lips are transferring however speech is not correlating, it’s possible you’ll want assist with a lip-sync challenge.

If your principal drawback is that dialogue sounds muffled and incomprehensible, whether or not you’re utilizing the TV audio system or a separate sound system, right here are three issues you are able to do to repair it.

1. Check your TV’s sound settings

TV audio system usually sound horrible, however most TVs have settings you should utilize to enhance their audio. Recently, some mates known as me to repair their TV sound — they stated the dialogue was boomy and onerous to perceive. Upon arriving, I discovered the soundtrack was distorting at something however the quietest ranges. A glance inside the settings uncovered why: Someone had created a bizarre Custom mode that had the bass jacked all the manner up.

TV calibration

Fine-tuning your TV sound settings could make dialogue sound far more comprehensible.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Bass specifically is the enemy of comprehensible speech: It tends to conceal the frequencies that assist us decipher what individuals are saying. Rather than play with particular person bass and treble controls, the best factor to do is to attempt the preset sound modes first. 

1. Use your distant to entry the TV’s settings menu, then search for a bit known as Audio, Sound or one thing comparable.

2. At the prime of the menu ought to be a collection of presets corresponding to Movie, User or Standard

3. While watching a speech-heavy present or film, cycle by means of the modes to see which of them sound finest. 

If you’re discovering the dialogue is mumbly, for instance, attempt a Dialog, News or Speech Boost mode. If that is not out there, Movie or Standard is the subsequent best choice.

Also, attempt biking by means of audio enhancements like Bass Boost or Surround, which frequently hurt dialogue, or Night Mode, which may also help (or not). Every TV and each room sounds completely different, so it is worthwhile to experiment.

If your TV has one, you too can attempt decreasing the particular person bass management like I did in the instance above. (My mates did not even want the soundbar.) Just a little enhance to treble may additionally assist enhance intelligibility. Once you’ve got bought the audio nearly as good as you may, merely exit the menu. You normally do not want to reserve it; the TV ought to keep in mind.

2. Have a soundbar or speaker system? Try these tweaks

External audio system will sound higher than what’s constructed into your TV, however they might want slightly tweaking to assist with dialogue too. Your audio system is likely to be too shut to the wall, as an example, or stuffed inside a cupboard. 

Here are some frequent fixes for dangerous sound, and so they do not value a cent. First, merely choose the type of system that you’ve got:


As with TVs in step 1, attempt setting the soundbar to a speech-enhancing mode, Movie or Standard.

If your system has a subwoofer, it might be too loud in contrast to the remainder of the system. While explosions are enjoyable, they should not be at the expense of a very good story. If you’ve a separate bass or sub management, attempt turning it down. You also can attempt inserting the sub in an optimum place with this information.


The Klipsch Reference Theater Pack is a set of ultracompact 5.1 encompass audio system with a wi-fi subwoofer.

Sarah Tew/CNET

AV or stereo system with audio system

If you’ve tower or bookshelf audio system, attempt transferring them away from the partitions and corners, after which level or “toe” them in in direction of the center the place you sit. Removing speaker grilles can even enhance the midrange by a few decibels. These little adjustments alone will not be sufficient to rework Sly Stallone into Laurence Olivier, however might be sufficient to discern what an actor is drawling about.

The different factor to attempt is a calibration — whether or not through your receiver’s menu or app, or guide. I choose to do them by ear as automated calibrations virtually at all times want guide tinkering anyway. See CNET’s information to calibrating sound with your cellphone.


The Creative Stage is a funds soundbar that may simply enhance your TV sound.

Sarah Tew/CNET

3. Buy a brand new soundbar

If the earlier choices aren’t reducing it for you, it could be time to spend money on some new gear. Thankfully wonderful soundbars aren’t very costly, and virtually something will sound higher than a TV speaker. The Creative Stage, for instance, is simply about $90 and provides HDMI connections and a subwoofer. Vizio additionally makes a wonderful vary of soundbars.

Read extraBest soundbars to improve TV dialogue

There are some soundbars particularly designed to make speech extra intelligible. For occasion, when Zvox branched out into hearing support design the firm introduced the tech to its vary of AccuVoice soundbars. The firm has fashions beginning at $100, and it consists of the flagship Zvox AV357.

Going the subsequent step and shopping for a encompass system additionally has added advantages — particularly if the system has a devoted heart channel speaker. In encompass mixes dialogue usually comes primarily from the heart channel, and having the ability to enhance its quantity independently can actually assist.

More sound system suggestions

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