Home Audio

Vanquish bad TV sound

July 12, 2014

Slim TV’s have tiny (TINY!) internal speakers, with resulting poor dialog clarity, nonexistent bass and unacceptable distortion levels.
Samsung TV Speaker
There are a number of ways to solve this dilemma.
First ask yourself WHAT are you trying to accomplish?  For example, do you want a movie theater audio experience in your home?  Do you simply want TV sound that is louder, clearer with more bass than your flat panel can deliver?  Is there someone in the house that is hearing impaired and needs a solution?  Do you already have parts of a sound system, but can’t quite figure out how to get audio from your TV into your existing system?
MOVIE THEATER SOUND in YOUR HOME –

THXUltra2System-white_635096748652530000_medium
Klipsch ULTRA THX Speaker system

Typically, solved with a surround sound receiver, five (or more) loudspeakers + a subwoofer and of course a source device like a cable/satellite box, plus perhaps an optical disc DVD or BluRay Disc player.
We offer a tremendous selection of products in a variety of price points to allow you to create a virtual movie theater in your own home.  Beyond products, we also offer technical expertise in designing, installing and configuring your dream system.
SOUNDBAR Solution –

YST1400
Yamaha YST 1400 pictured with optional subwoofer

Soundbars have become an easy go-to solution for many folks simply looking for enhanced sound from their television without the cost and complexity of a full blown theater system.  Although a soundbar will not offer the auditory emotional surround sound experience of a movie theater sound system, many find this relatively inexpensive and easy to hookup and operate product to be the perfect solution.  Prices for competent soundbars range from a low of around $200 to a max of about $1500.
Our favs include products from Yamaha, Klipsch and Sonos.
ASSISTED LISTENING Solution –

Sennheiser SET 840-TV
Sennheiser assisted listening headphones

A couple of vendors specialize in assisted listening headphones for those that need a bit of help hearing dialog.  These products can include anything from a basic wired headphone that plugs into the headphone out of a television, to a very popular wireless headset.  More sophisticated models incorporate balance and frequency equalization to help the listener customize the headphone for their specific hearing needs.
Often referred to as a “marriage saver” when one spouse is significantly hearing impaired and must turn the TV WAY up in volume to the consternation of everyone else in the house (and neighborhood).
Our favs?  Sennheiser
HOW DO I MAKE MY EXISTING PARTS WORK –
Many of our customers already have great stereo amplifiers and loudspeakers and simply want a solution to enable that existing system to provide audio playback of their TV sound.
IF your new flat panel has traditional left/right audio OUTPUT jacks, a simple RCA/RCA (Male) cable from the TV to an open INPUT on that hi-fi system is a quick and simple solution.
IF your new TV doesn’t have a traditional RCA audio output, look to see if your set has a headphone output jack.  If so, a stereo mini 3.5 mm to RCA (male) cable will provide audio to your hi-fi.  Be sure to check the audio menu of the TV to enable that jack and be aware that some TV’s then mute the TV speakers (which means that you MUST turn on that hi-fi system to have audio).
IF you new TV doesn’t have traditional RCA outputs OR a headphone jack, you aren’t necessary out of luck.  Your set will almost certainly have an optical (toslink) audio OUTPUT.  Inexpensive optical DAC’s (digital to analog converts) can convert TWO CHANNEL PCM optical signal to an analog RCA audio signal that will be compatible with your stereo hi-fi.  Be sure to check the audio menu of your TV to make certain that the digital audio output of the set is configured to output PCM.  Most inexpensive add-on DAC’s can only accept this PCM signal.  If you hookup a DAC to your set and can’t get any audio, it is possible that your set only outputs Dolby Digital (5.1 channel audio) which is not compatible with most DAC’s.
Interestingly, most soundbars can accept an optical digital signal in either PCM or Dolby Digital, so it might ultimately be easier and less expensive to purchase a soundbar over the added parts/complexity of trying to configure a TV to work with a traditional stereo hi-fi.
We’ve handled all of these scenarios multiple times, so feel free to drop by and ask how we can assist.

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