Sick and tired not being able to hear film dialog, anything I can do?


It seems every time I upgrade my setup, this gets worse. I can hear every splash when someone washes their face but can barely tell what people are saying even after turning the volume up to the point I want to stick my fingers in my ears in action scenes.
My room is silent except the TV, I've tried two different 3.1 soundbars specifically chosen for a dedicated centre channel, I've turned dialogue enhancer on.
And I don't mean people talking over a car chase or gunfight. The film will cut to two people having a conversation in the kitchen and I can't tell what they're saying.

On the other hand, my 5 year old crappy £100 Amazon tablet I can hear dialogue clearly through inbuilt speakers.
It's so bad it's like the AV is actively suppressing dialogue.

It's robbing all enjoyment watching films. What's the point of all this Atmos nonsense, or spending money on speakers if you can't hear what people are saying? Great, he's mumbling exactly 4 inches behind my left ear...


Well-known Member
I'm making the assumption that everything in your setup is functioning as it should and that is not the problem.

I too also struggled with dialogue using soundbars and was unable to find a solution. Instead I ended up purchasing an AV receiver and installed proper surround speakers including a very large and very good centre speaker. Dialogue is now clear and easy to understand in all scenarios. An expensive solution to your problem but it works.
Last edited:


Distinguished Member
Too many actors mumble and the dialogue is often too far deep buried in the mix.
I sometimes have to put subs on to understand what's just been said. It's ridiculous.
I'm pretty sure that there's a petition about the state of film sound mixes somewhere, you're certainly not alone here.
Last edited:


Active Member
Agree with this . Often struggle to understand dialogue clearly, even with the volume up too high, so that all other sounds are way too loud . Only really seems to be an issue with films for some reason. TV series on any of the streaming services seem fine.

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
It's definitely an issue with the soundmixes and audio editing in modern movies. Priority is given to sound F/X and music at the expense of dialogue.
Interstellar was one of the worst movies I've ever seen for this. It was so bad cinemas were putting up posters explaining there was nothing they could do and the director, Christopher Nolan said it was an "artistic choice" (seriously, it was hard enough to follow and you chose to make it difficult to hear what people were saying and understand the plot?)

Add in the current fad of actors using all their range and showing how authentic they are, also known as mumbling, to rapturous applause and it's worse.

I'm slightly hard of hearing and gave up going to the cinema a few years ago as I couldn't follow the dialogue any longer. Even now at home with a surround system I need subtitles on for everything, I don't need them all the time, but they're always there.

I have an older Samsung soundbar in one room which is 3.1 and do notice when I use the Clearsound mode it makes a difference. My surround system has the centre channel bumped up by a few db as well.


Active Member
I'm with you on this, everything else is crystal clear yet actors, men in particular, are mumbling their lines and you just can't understand them. Female voices are mostly clear as day.


Active Member
A Star Is Born is probably the worst movie I have watched for this. Bradley Cooper mumbles his way through the entire film.


I find it particularly weird that on my tablet or my £200 (cheapest TV I could buy) TV I have no issues with awful built-in speakers.
I'm aware of the mumble issue - and actors with stupidly deep voices. But to me it literally sounds like they turn the volume down in dialogue scenes - only in movies. Nothing else happening, it's just really quiet. Could they not get a microphone near enough?!

Sometimes I can hear the radio/TV they have on in a scene perfectly, but not the actual actors!

Sounds it is just one of these silly things then.


Distinguished Member
I often struggle with this too.

Far too much mumbling going on in movies these days.

I turned my centre channel up and that's helped but still struggle with some dialogue.

The latest video from AVForums

Maverick UK Premiere IMAX Review + Top Gun, Tom Cruise, Tony Scott and 4K + Movie/TV News
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom