Why is TV’s Dialogue So Quiet Without a Soundbar?
It's not uncommon in TV shows and movies for the dialogue to be quieter than the music and sound effects. Turning the volume up will make it easier to hear what the characters are saying until you are blown away by the loud sound a few seconds later. Constantly adjusting the volume of your TV is annoying. You can always turn on the subtitles, but this can make it difficult to read while watching the show.
The reason your TV has volume fluctuations is due to its speakers. Unlike soundbars that use separate channels for each speaker, TVs usually use only two channels. When sound is limited to just a few channels, action scenes can be too loud and dialogue can be hard to hear.
Some TVs do have a "night mode" setting that can help minimize wild volume fluctuations, but it still doesn't help improve audio quality. Instead, it just limits the volume of the action scenes so you don't have to worry about disturbing other people. When it comes to dialogue, it can still be hard to hear.
How Soundbars Help with Dialogue
Soundbars are components that are designed to improve the audio quality produced by other devices. The long, slim bar is comprised of several speakers that are placed in specific positions to produce surround sound. A soundbar accomplishes this by using a unique channel for each speaker. There is a separate channel for the front right, front left, the center, and for right and left surround sound.
The small speakers in the soundbar bounce the audio off of the walls so the sound is equal throughout the room. There aren’t any dead areas where it might be difficult to hear some sounds, regardless of the volume level. When you’re listening to music, bass will sound deeper and richer, while higher frequencies are crisp and clear. Soundbars will also improve dialogue quality, making it easier to hear the words and phrases.
Sound Clarity Technology
Each soundbar manufacturer has their own voice and sound clarity technology that helps make sounds crisp and clear.
Sometimes, soundbar manufacturers create high-quality sound with hearing-impaired people in mind, and other times, soundbar manufacturers simply create a high-quality sound that happens to meet the needs of people with hearing issues.
Additionally, soundbars do come with a number of built-in speakers to provide a more immersive sound that can aid people with hearing issues. Most soundbars are created to serve as at least a 2.0 sound system, which means there are two front speakers (left and right).
A lot of soundbars are created as a 3.1 sound system, which includes two front speakers, a center speaker, and a subwoofer. Sometimes, the subwoofer is built-in, and sometimes, it is external, which allows you to place it wherever you want.
When you move up to 5.1, 7.1 and beyond soundbar systems, you are likely having at least two external speakers, which really creates a high-quality, cinematic sound — especially in small rooms. This can be super helpful for those who are hard of hearing.
What Features to Look for in a Soundbar to Help with Dialogue
When you’re searching for a soundbar to provide the best sound for those with dialogue issues, it’s important to know what qualities to look for. To find the best choice for dialogue clarity, make sure to look for soundbars that have a dedicated center channel speaker, enhanced dialogue technology, and external speakers.
Center Channel Speakers
Having a center channel speaker is critical to hearing voices clearly. It truly enhances the dialogue on your TV, and once you’ve had a center channel speaker, you will never go back. A center channel speaker helps dialogue come forward and lets the left and right speakers take care of the background music, sound effects, etc.
A center channel speaker is the main speaker for most movie dialogue when enjoying surround sound. Without a center channel speaker, the dialogue in your entertainment can sound strange and sometimes drowned out.
It is also especially important if you are wanting a true surround sound setup, which can be a great asset for those hard of hearing. You’ll be able to hear dialogue more clearly, as well as be immersed in your media.
Enhanced Dialogue Technology
Many soundbar manufacturers are now offering enhanced dialogue technology as a standard component to their soundbars or soundbar packages. Sometimes, you’ll see it on higher-end soundbars or larger soundbar packages, and sometimes, it will be included with standard soundbars.
These manufacturers call their enhanced dialogue technology by different names, but they all serve the purpose of making dialogue clearer by separating voices from the rest of the soundtrack on your media.
External speakers can be very helpful for enhancing the sound and dialogue. Whether it be rear speakers, side speakers, ceiling-mounted speakers, or upward-firing speakers, external speakers help spread your sound out throughout the room and help you target sound to a designated area.
Make sure to look for a soundbar, preferably with specific technology implemented for dialogue clarity, and add external speakers when possible. Happy hunting!