Thursday, April 14, 2016


There's no denying that a big screen TV will give you a big picture to watch -- that's just sensible to say. But what about sound? Try watching a TV show or movie without the audio and it seems like all the energy has been sucked out of the room. But just turning up the volume of the TV isn't enough to give you the best sound possible -- for that you need to become involved and work to integrate the sound with the picture to suit your personal environment. Making the sound as powerful and enjoyable as possible requires making a few choices, but they will be worth it when you listen to your favorite TV shows or the next time you watch a movie -- be it streaming from the Internet or coming off of a high resolution Blu-ray disc (courtesy of a 1080p Blu-Ray player or the even higher 4K resolution from a 4K Blu-ray player).

The sound being put out hasn't been set to sound the best in the room the TV is located in -- it's set to a default standard instead. Contrary to popular belief, there's a lot of adjustments that can be made to the audio -- some of them specific to the particular TV manufacturer, but many are "generic" in that everyone includes them. And which go beyond the obvious raising of the levels of the treble or bass. For example, these adjustments include the ability to create a pseudo-surround sound effect (using the two speakers that the TV uses for stereo) with a variety of "tweaks" to make this more dynamic or apparent to the listener. Another adjustment is that for moderating the sound levels to insure that very minute sounds don't get lost amidst the louder audio being played (this is distinct from the "night" settings that many TVs have which keeps the audio playing low even when a commercial comes on at full blast). Still another adjustment is designed to enhance the quality of the audio while digitally removing hiss and other problems in the audio stream. Finding what audio adjustments can be made is as simple as looking at the TVs menu selection (since most TVs eschew a printed manual) or by searching from the embedded or online manual that details what the TV can do. And should the results annoy or offend the ear, accessing the "reset" setting will return the audio to how it was before you started so you can begin again.

For those looking to have more control over the sound, the first thing to do is avoid the audio from the TV completely by adding external audio. There are two selections that can be made here: the first is b getting a soundbar. A soundbar contains a number of speakers which, by virtue of it being independent from the TV, can be larger (the soundbar's size is also variable as well). Connecting a soundbar to the TV is simplified these days through the use of an HDMI plug, which in some cases will also allow the soundbar's menu to be viewed on the TV. Inputs on the soundbar can be used for getting audio from other sources than just the TV, for example from the cable box/satellite receiver directly or from a DVD or Blu-ray player. The soundbar doesn't take up much room and is designed for placement in front of the TV. This can be on the same cabinet the TV is placed on or, if the TV has been wall-mounted, then the soundbar can be wall mounted below it (for those concerned about wall mounting of a TV, professional installers, for example Just One Touch, can take care of doing this for you in a manner that will enhance the room). Additionally, most soundbars include a subwoofer for adding deep bass to the overall sound. Since a subwoofer is omnidirectional, it can be placed in the room without concern. And since the connected subwoofer works wirelessly in most cases, no wires need be involved.


Those with the room, and inclination, can duplicate how movie theaters arrange their sound by having multiple speakers to provide true surround sound. The basic setup requires a left and right speaker (for stereo) plus a center speaker for the "center channel" which is where the dialogue (voices) emanate from. Besides a subwoofer, two surround speakers (left and right) are placed on either side where the listeners are located to form a 5.1 audio situation (this number is increased as more speakers are added to further the surround effect, such as 7.1 and higher).  Newer technologies, such as Dolby Atmos, add to the surround effect through specialized speakers and their placement -- some of this can be done by the listener themselves while other setups might work best using in-wall, in-ceiling speakers put in by a professional installer

Regardless of how the speakers are placed, an AV Receiver (amplifier) is also needed to provide the power for "driving" the sound to the speakers. AV Receivers come in varying power configurations and with varying features, just as is the case with TVs. However you don't need to match a specific AV Receiver with specific speakers as regards the brand names -- what must be matched up is that the speakers are able to handle the amount of power that the AV Receiver can put out, and that the AV Receiver has been constructed so as to handle the amount of speakers that are designed for use (as well as having the audio technologies that are desired for the surround sound effect also).

Having great sound to go with your TV doesn't take technical expertise so much as it does patience and planning for accomplishing the results you want. Once you gain the audio quality that matches the level of the visual quality of your TV, it'll be time to sit back and enjoy.


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