Are hi-fi speakers/amp good for TV?

JDXAV

Member
For general TV watching - rather than as an audiophile or serious film buff - how would plugging my TV into my hi-fi work out?

For our living room we aren't after surround sound, but TV speakers suck as we all know. The biggest annoyance we have is not being able to hear dialog clearly. We value that over other things, it's so annoying to turn the volume right up and still struggle to understand what people are saying.

I wonder would a couple of floor speakers be a good option, compared to say a soundbar, for clear room sound?
 

MonkeyCasino

Standard Member
Can your current hifi be connected to the tv (via optical probably) and are you happy to have the speakers either side of the TV? If so, testing this will cost you the price of an optical cable.

if you’re thinking about buying something specifically to help with hearing dialogue then a sound bar is going to give you better control over dialogue (plenty of options include dialogue adjustment) than a stereo set up.

Separates with a centre channel for dialogue would be the best solution but that means an av receiver and sounds like you already have a setup in that room for music which is likely better for that.

For more specific recommendations it would be helpful to know your budget and details of current kit.
 

JDXAV

Member
Thanks @MonkeyCasino. My thoughts were that speakers for music are probably better than the tiny ones they put in sound bars but I suppose so much is about the software these days.
I'm sure soundbars have all kinds of fancy stuff inside... Probably "AI" these days everything else is :) but is that actually more than a gimmick?

We have a Phillips soundbar already, it was not a budget option but it's about 10 years old and I've no idea if things have moved on much or the same money would get something similar today
 

MonkeyCasino

Standard Member
If you can try the stereo easily/cheaply then you should do that. Old Philips soundbar might only be 2 channel (left/right) so not have much in the way of dialog adjustment but could you again test in your setup?

If you’re looking to buy a new one then ensure it has an odd number of speaker channels (3.1/5.1/7.1.4 etc) as this will have a dedicated centre channel. Plenty of options with dialogue adjustment at all price points…increasing dialogue volume is a common feature request
 

Richardxx

Well-known Member
I am convinced the problem is the fashion for actors muttering and slurring dialogue/ directors being more concerned with artistic atmosphere than narrative clarity.
No amount of tech will help much just give you a more accurate account of the slurring and mumbling.
IMO
 

JDXAV

Member
I am convinced the problem is the fashion for actors muttering and slurring dialogue/ directors being more concerned with artistic atmosphere than narrative clarity.
No amount of tech will help much just give you a more accurate account of the slurring and mumbling.
IMO
Well yes there is that too. And the fact that unlike radio, TV isn't compressed. Seems designed for proper home cinema rooms (or actual cinema) where it's very loud in general.
"He's dead!"
"Who is?"
<mumble>
 

MonkeyCasino

Standard Member
Yes, although in fairness it must be hard to provide one sound mix which works for people using such a variety of listening setups. That probably wasn’t a concern until the mid nineties (?) as everyone just used tv speakers.
I suspect as well that language used is more varied, with more variety in accents and vocabulary (slang) which makes clear audio more of a pressing issue.
On a personal note, I suspect my hearing isn’t what it once was which doesn’t help.

In terms of solutions though, I’d still advocate @JDXAV consider a new soundbar which allows dialogue adjustment. Do you have an idea how much you’d be prepared to spend? And what tv do you have?
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
I've used hi-fi speakers for my TV for years without any hiccups. In order to get the best out of them depends upon the speakers level. As for connecting them to a TV, this is usually quite easy as most TV's now have an optical out and with a couple of setting changes, you should be ready to go on that side. With the amp, you either require one of three things. A simple DAC to convert the digital audio to analogue, a stereo amp with an optical digital input or if you have a very modern TV with eARC, you could look at one of the HDMI inputs like the Marantz NR1200

Of course you can connect an AVR and switch the other speakers off without any issues, but as a rule, if you are going to use this system as a stereo solution, then you will loose a little on audio quality as is the rule of thumb when choosing AVR over stereo amps when comparing audio quality differences. Now the benefit with using an AVR over the Stereo options is lipsyncing as almost all AVR's have this feature whereas you'll find almost none of the stereo solutions have this feature with the exception of the NR1200 and similar products to it. You can purchase another gizmo like the small DAC which will alter the issues that can crop up, but then you are starting to add more bits which will ultimately reduce the quality of the audio and at that point, the AVR or Stereo's with HDMI start to makes more sense
 

Richardxx

Well-known Member
Yes, although in fairness it must be hard to provide one sound mix which works for people using such a variety of listening setups. That probably wasn’t a concern until the mid nineties (?) as everyone just used tv speakers.
I suspect as well that language used is more varied, with more variety in accents and vocabulary (slang) which makes clear audio more of a pressing issue.
On a personal note, I suspect my hearing isn’t what it once was which doesn’t help.

In terms of solutions though, I’d still advocate @JDXAV consider a new soundbar which allows dialogue adjustment. Do you have an idea how much you’d be prepared to spend? And what tv do you have?
But things like the News and Adverts (never any issue with hearing brand names) are easily intelligable on every TV and AV set up from the cheapest LED TV internal speakers up. Strange there is no problem making dialogue intelligable from say a real war front line but not from a state of the art film studio.
As for slang etc in film and drama dialogue I often find it just as difficult to hear the words being spoken by characters of my own class, nationality, age etc as I do what is being said by American teenagers from the deepest 'hood'.
Concern about the intelligability of the spoken word has clearly cased to be a production value that is given any currency by many cinema and TV producers etc. I have a 5.1 AV sound system that cost around £2500 (speakers and AVR) and with a endless adjustments and experiments I still cannot make out a considerable % of the dialogue in films/drama from the last 10-20 years. News, ads, old movies, documentaries (even when real people are using slang or dialect etc) absolutely no problems at, speech on such material is almost always intelligable & clear as a bell.

/rant
 
Last edited:

JDXAV

Member
In terms of cost, I haven't looked to see what the likely range would even BE these days. I can say our current soundbar is a Philips HTL3120 (Amazon product) which was £200 back in Jan 2014 (so not quite as old as I thought) and at the time, seemed a good option. We quite like it, but it has always had this weird 'feature' where it gradually gets quieter as you watch.

The TV is an LG 49Nano866NA.
 

MonkeyCasino

Standard Member
That model does have a “clear” mode designed to help hear dialogue. Page 10 of the manual:

Manual

Is it an easy job to check how that works with your LG TV?
 

JDXAV

Member
That model does have a “clear” mode designed to help hear dialogue. Page 10 of the manual:

Manual

Is it an easy job to check how that works with your LG TV?
We have that on. It helps a bit so I'm not sure if realistically a comparable model from '21 would be much different.

It has a few niggles though:
  • sometimes the sound goes super-distorted, but pausing/unpausing or switching input source clears it
  • It gets quieter as you watch. If you toggle auto-volume on/off/on it'll suddenly go back to being a good volume, then gradually tail off again.
  • There seem to be some issues with ARC support. Sometimes it doesn't turn on with the TV, and we get awful sync issues watching live TV (not sure if this is an ARC issue) but it didn't happen with the old TV.
 

MonkeyCasino

Standard Member
I don’t have any advice on whether a new soundbar is going to give clearer dialogue but I would suspect one with a dedicated centre channel might be worth a try (so a 3.0 configuration). If you’re set on a new soundbar then might be worth perusing the
relevant forum here and starting a thread? There are a few threads on soundboard and dialogue, e.g. https://www.avforums.com/threads/dialogue-soundbar-for-£300-£400.2334577/

Perhaps you could persuade a local store to let you audition/test a couple in store? Richer Sounds have a good selection online so might be worth having a conversation with them if there’s one nearby. They will certainly offer advice. £200-£300 should be a good budget.

Regarding yours playing up, other than suggesting you try factory reset, I don’t have anything to offer other than maybe it is time for a new one if you can also improve dialog further. Here’s the process:

3BA21EB6-BBF6-4577-B3A6-F636E71CEEB3.jpeg
 

JDXAV

Member
Oh that's interesting, I'll give a reset a try. Big fan of RS, I'm sure they would let me test in-store. Thanks.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Many variables to consider.

You don’t say where your TV is placed in the room and how that relates to your seating.

Lots of options if you wish to use Floorstanding speakers with a Stereo Amp or Multi-channel AVR or even Active Speakers.

As others point out not all audio is created equal and some broadcast material is very poorly mixed and some actors simply mumble along at times.

Joe
 

JDXAV

Member
Many variables to consider.

You don’t say where your TV is placed in the room and how that relates to your seating.

Lots of options if you wish to use Floorstanding speakers with a Stereo Amp or Multi-channel AVR or even Active Speakers.

As others point out not all audio is created equal and some broadcast material is very poorly mixed and some actors simply mumble along at times.

Joe
I don't want to have speakers placed around the room, so the options are a bar, or left-right either side of the TV.

I hadn't come across 3.0 setups before, as @MonkeyCasino suggests. Looks like this is not always obvious without digging into the specs so I'll see what might be out there. Lots of soundbars focus on offering surround sound which I am pretty dubious about. Might turn all that off!
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
'I don't want to have speakers placed around the room, so the options are a bar, or left-right either side of the TV' - wasn't suggesting you had to have lots of speakers dotted around your room.

The question was about where the TV is placed in the room and how that relates to your seating position - a Soundbar or AVR with a 'centre channel' speaker of 'dialogue lift' function could be helpful if you are sitting 'straight' on to the Soundbar.

A pair of floor standing speakers either side of the TV would be my preference if your Room/Room layout allows it.

Joe
 

JDXAV

Member
'I don't want to have speakers placed around the room, so the options are a bar, or left-right either side of the TV' - wasn't suggesting you had to have lots of speakers dotted around your room.

The question was about where the TV is placed in the room and how that relates to your seating position - a Soundbar or AVR with a 'centre channel' speaker of 'dialogue lift' function could be helpful if you are sitting 'straight' on to the Soundbar.

A pair of floor standing speakers either side of the TV would be my preference if your Room/Room layout allows it.

Joe
See what you mean, but well it might change. It's not a TV room just a room with a TV so I wouldn't want to choose something geared too much towards a specific configuration, really.
With that said, it's currently in the corner of the room and we have a corner sofa. So we are pretty central/orthogonal perhaps 2-3m away.

It does sound like a soundbar with the extra channel could be the best bet based on space considerations. I'd never heard of such a thing before to be honest!
 

MonkeyCasino

Standard Member
I think of a soundbar as a number of speaker drivers in a room friendly box (ignoring options with external subwoofers and rear speakers).

If those drivers afford three distinct channels (left, right and centre) then the soundbar is effectively doing what an av receiver would do if you connected those 3 speakers to it. The software in the receiver or soundbar is taking the source material and deciding what to send to left/right/centre channel. By having a centre channel you are gain control (level/volume) over what is sent to that channel. Source material including a dedicated centre channel (blu ray, decent streaming etc) is going to be better in this regard than mono/stereo tv where the unit has to determine what to send to which speaker.

It seems like you’ve found some 3.x soundbars in your research so I’d encourage you to audition them. Samsung, Yamaha, LG (would play nicely with your TV) and Polk all make 3.x devices. Sonos too (but pricier)
 

JDXAV

Member
Are Sonos well regarded by AV aficionados then? I always thought they were viewed as low end kit in expensive packaging!
 

MonkeyCasino

Standard Member
Are Sonos well regarded by AV aficionados then? I always thought they were viewed as low end kit in expensive packaging!
I think it’s quite a subjective thing but personally think Sonos has a place and soundbars and one box audio is what they’re good at. Not cheap though and imagine that unless you need streaming or multiroom, you have better options
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
SONOS offer a range of streaming devices which either operate stand alone, as a multi speaker system in a room, as a multi-zone system or in conjunction with an existing sound system.

For most folk SONOS meets or exceeds sound quality expectations and delivers a very effective and intuitive control App which the rest of the market has struggled to compete with.

The BEAM and ARC are both options for you to consider - the ARC supports Immersive audio (Atmos) in addition to Surround sound.

The ARC and BEAM both offer a Speech Enhancement feature - the biggest hassle with both being trying to source stock at present.

The Yamaha YSP (Digital Sound Projector) range with their multiple driver array still offer the most control over ‘steering’ the sound, though they are big units.

Joe
 

JDXAV

Member
For most folk SONOS meets or exceeds sound quality expectations
Well yes I'm sure, but most folk have very low expectations to begin with :) I can see it's a decent option for easy multi-room, that part certainly works very well.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Plenty of folk with decent quality stereo systems use SONOS as a stand alone music streamer or as a way to integrate a stereo system into a multi-zone music system.

SONOS offers a range of solutions from the small portable battery powered unit to the PORT - you can add the PORT (formerly the CONNECT) to any level of stereo system, we have customers with SONOS acting as a streamer into tens of thousands of pounds worth of 'HiFi' gear.

If you are looking at a dedicated music streamer and are willing to pay the money there are more costly and more capable streaming devices combined with hi-res streams you could consider.

If you look at the various SONOS ARC threads here on AVF you will see plenty of positive feedback from folk who have ditched very decent quality surround sound separates and speaker systems in favour of the ARC+Surrounds+Sub and are very happy with the option.

Joe
 

JDXAV

Member
Thanks @Joe Fernand I wasn't aware you could use it as a streamer solution to your existing kit - basically the same premise as Google ChromeCast but on a higher level?

Sounds like either I was misinformed from listening to anti-Sonos snobs, or they've really raised their game in the newer hardware.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Panasonic JZ2000 Final Thoughts - TV Calibration: Should you? And More...
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Black Friday 2021: What you need to know
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
What's new on Blu-ray Special - The Cinema of Zhang Yimou & Gong Li
  • By Mark Costello
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 24th November 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Panasonic 2021 TV update brings full 4K resolution with VRR and HFR
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Best Hi-Fi Products of 2021 - Editor's Choice Awards
  • By Ed Selley
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom