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Hard to hear voices in movies and potential hardware fixes.

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I’m going to post this on a home theater forum, but thought we may have some audiophiles here that are knowledgeable in this area. Plus its something to discuss other than Coronavirus.

As I have gotten older and my hearing has gotten worse, it’s hard to hear voices in TV and movies that have a bunch of music or other background sound.

What hardware do I need to take down the background and pull the voices out better? I would assume I need a stereo receiver with a built in equalizer??

Thanks for any ideas.

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What gear are you using?  Most systems should have a level adjustment for each channel.  For instance, my speakers and receiver are too big for the room they are in. I have to adjust everything but the center channel down and then the center up. It helps to allow the voice be louder than the fronts, sides, or rears. 

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Sound bar is an easy fix. I got a Bose Solo 15 after getting tired of a receiver and 6 speaker set ups. Bose Solo 5 is a fantastic version for the money. Mine has a "Voice" button that drops out most of the excess noise. Most have a one plug hook up, mostly optical, and plug in the wall and go.

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18 minutes ago, abusfullofnuns said:

What gear are you using?  

65" Class NU7300 Curved Smart 4K UHD TV,MODEL NUMBER: UN65NU7300FXZAhttps://www.samsung.com/us/televisions-home-theater/tvs/uhd-tvs/65-inch-nu7300-curved-smart-4k-uhd-tv-un65nu7300fxza/


SAMSUNG HOME ENTERTAINMENT HT-H5500W-ZA
https://www.samsung.com/us/support/owners/product/2014-5-1-channel-blu-ray-home-theater-system-ht-h5500w

 

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As we get older our ability to hear frontal sounds becomes diminished. I would move my speakers to accommodate more sound from the sides.

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32 minutes ago, jhc77 said:

Sound bar is an easy fix. I got a Bose Solo 15 after getting tired of a receiver and 6 speaker set ups. Bose Solo 5 is a fantastic version for the money. Mine has a "Voice" button that drops out most of the excess noise. Most have a one plug hook up, mostly optical, and plug in the wall and go.

We, Susan and I, are both in the same situation. Me worse so. Hate the absolute idiocy of the background vs vocal levels in movies these days. I'd say 50% or more of the current crop of movies have vocal tracks that are darn near inaudible.  Even using the remote controls for what little variance it gives, we strain to hear some things. Musical background and blasting sound effects get to be painful in the effort to hear dialog.

I'd been thinking along the lines of a sound bar, but really hadn't looked at anything. I'm a very tactile person and just have to touch and see what I think about buying(mostly lol firearms excepted).

The stores I frequented before Corona days, didn't have much to look at. Granted, I didn't go to places like Nickelsons to look.

So I guess I'll start with your recommendation, and start checking on Amazon for ideas.

Thanks.

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14 minutes ago, hipower said:

We, Susan and I, are both in the same situation. Me worse so. Hate the absolute idiocy of the background vs vocal levels in movies these days. I'd say 50% or more of the current crop of movies have vocal tracks that are darn near inaudible.  Even using the remote controls for what little variance it gives, we strain to hear some things. Musical background and blasting sound effects get to be painful in the effort to hear dialog.

I'd been thinking along the lines of a sound bar, but really hadn't looked at anything. I'm a very tactile person and just have to touch and see what I think about buying(mostly lol firearms excepted).

The stores I frequented before Corona days, didn't have much to look at. Granted, I didn't go to places like Nickelsons to look.

So I guess I'll start with your recommendation, and start checking on Amazon for ideas.

Thanks.

You are going through the same thing many of us are. Simply buying a soundbar is not the answer, I have many (3) soundbars and so do my friends. Without the ability to adjust the different levels; I don’t think any of them will do what I need.

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My Sony sound bar just died so i need to replace it...not sure which I will go with at this point.  Also, I've noticed movies on Amazon and Netflix are particularly hard to understand the dialog.

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1 hour ago, jhc77 said:

Sound bar is an easy fix. I got a Bose Solo 15 after getting tired of a receiver and 6 speaker set ups. Bose Solo 5 is a fantastic version for the money. Mine has a "Voice" button that drops out most of the excess noise. Most have a one plug hook up, mostly optical, and plug in the wall and go.

So you are a fan of the Bose Solo15?  I need to replace my Sony sound bar that just died...do you recommend it?

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Have you checked your sound settings on your TV?  I have a LG smart TV and one of the sound setting options is clear voice and it does make a difference.

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10 minutes ago, MP5_Rizzo said:

Have you checked your sound settings on your TV?  I have a LG smart TV and one of the sound setting options is clear voice and it does make a difference.

Yes, I’ve played with all settings. Some are better than others. But I want to take full control. I haven’t kept up on audio and stereo equipment for many many years. But I’m pretty sure there are people out there that have.

I’m not looking for who has the best price, or what sound bar someone likes, I’m looking for what hardware I would have to buy to control the voices and the background sounds, independently.

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1 hour ago, hipower said:

Hate the absolute idiocy of the background vs vocal levels in movies these days. I'd say 50% or more of the current crop of movies have vocal tracks that are darn near inaudible. 

I think it's how the audio is mixed in movies. It's mixed for a theater setting where you don't mind everything being really loud. My ears aren't perfect, but I also have to crank the volume to hear the lines and then the special effects get really loud.  I think you'd need a pretty advanced EQ to be able to change the mix enough to get what you want. 

That said, we looked at sound bars recently and I was impressed with a Polk Audio one at Best Buy. I don't recall the model, but it was noticeably less expensive than the Bose. 

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Your current setup will allow for the adjustment that you need. I have attached a screenshot from the manual that describes it. These all in one solutions are not something that I have much experience researching. Either way increase center volume and decrease subwoofer and both front channel. 
 

It also will depend on what type of input you are using to get the audio to the receiver and the quality of the signal. Nothing is going to make a difference if you are using composite(rca) cables to provide the audio. I didn’t check what inputs the receiver can use. 

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Does anyone have one of those Sonos soundbars and satellite speakers they sell at Costco & Sam’s?

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5 hours ago, MP5_Rizzo said:

Have you checked your sound settings on your TV?  I have a LG smart TV and one of the sound setting options is clear voice and it does make a difference.

I have, It doesn't make a big enough difference for us. Still uncomfortable volume level required.

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Slightly off topic from sound systems, I'm planning to buy hearing aids. I have a hard time hearing in restaurants or noisy places. Some women are especially hard to hear. Men I can usually hear okay. What really bothers me are loud movies and loud music. It's like hitting me upside the head on certain notes.

Right now, I'm looking at this model for $109 apiece. Hopefully, the noise cancelling feature will block those really loud sounds.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MLBW5VN/?coliid=I276Q7EGZLEYHC&colid=2DMNFV6R09JYZ&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

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A sound bar with voice settings works for me. I have a fairly inexpensive Polk that I found at Best Buy. Made a world of difference to me.  :up:

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Looks like the attachment didn’t work earlier.  Make the adjustments to the level that I mentioned earlier and see if it helps. 

D5D2D691-C6B6-413D-8553-E347A71EA3DC.png

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I have learned that apparently being an audiophile is not a hobby anymore. TSM3AIx.gif

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What do you mean? An audiophile wouldn’t know how to respond to this problem as it’s so simple that it shouldn’t take an explanation. 

While I consider myself a low end audiophile, the price of admission to a starter home theater is around $2500. Anything less and I would argue it’s better suited for a bedroom. 
 

If you want adjustability with gain/equalizer/setup, the you will have to pony up and get a stand alone receiver and speakers of quality. 

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14 minutes ago, abusfullofnuns said:

What do you mean? An audiophile wouldn’t know how to respond to this problem as it’s so simple that it shouldn’t take an explanation

While I consider myself a low end audiophile, the price of admission to a starter home theater is around $2500. Anything less and I would argue it’s better suited for a bedroom. 
 

If you want adjustability with gain/equalizer/setup, the you will have to pony up and get a stand alone receiver and speakers of quality. 

Finally!

I’m not asking for an argument about what room it’s in, I don’t have a budget, I don’t need to use the equipment I’m using now; it won’t do what I want.

My comment was not directed at you. I just found it amusing that folks on the home theater forums got side tracked with “hearing aides” and “soundbars that sound good to you”.

Me being a simpleton (that shouldn’t need an explanation) and you being a low end audiophile…fill me in brother… what’s the $2500 home theater that will do what I want?

EqcmKa2.gif

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