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Sound (Audio) advice needed

I have a problem with my audio on my television programs, and would like to get some advice on how to fix it. My setup is Directv reception through an HD DVR, to a Zenith 25" CRT. The HD DVR has Component Out, Audio, Video, S-Video Out, Digital Audio Out, and HDMI.
My Zenith only uses Yellow Video Out and Red and White audio.
The problem seems to be with Audio reproduction on some of the movies, where the background sounds drown out the voices. What can I do to this setup to get better defined sound?
When listening to regular broadcast, the volume is normal, and can be heard quite well. On some of the movies, the volume has to be set quite high just to hear anything. If this makes any sense to anyone, I would appreciate any sound counsel.

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this happens a lot

In reply to: Sound (Audio) advice needed

its the great dynamics of movie soundtracks that does this. this happens more so in multi row dedicated theaters, especially for those sitting in the rear. I have my center running hot now, and slowly but surely do I notch down the surrounds.

Outside of running the center hotter, the other usual culprits are speaker placement. examples:

-stuffed in cabinet, with reflection issues
-if not on-axis, speaker is not angled at listener
-poor center speaker design
-sitting off-axis (say at about 20 deg or more) with typical MTM horizontal speaker. At typical x-over points,you suffer from serious lobing issues that vertical aligned drivers do not have to deal with.

for now, just run the center hotter...

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Sound Advice

In reply to: this happens a lot

Sorry, I guess I wasn't very clear. I don't have any equipment, such as speakers or amp, yet, and after looking at some of the offerings, and reading some of CNETs reviews, I am still confused as to what I need. With PC speakers, you just buy a set of 5.1s, 6.1s, etc, plug in the cables and away you go with great sound. Apparently, there is an additional need to get an amplifier after you buy your HTIB. Looking at some of the offerings, I cannot imagine anyone ever needing 500 watts of power in their living room.

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In reply to: Sound Advice

7.1 HTIB w/ RECEIVER. MANY MODELS AVAILABLE (also 5.1 systems.)

J & R of N.Y.C. as well as CRUTCHFIELD'S HAVE DECENT PRICES. Do some online shopping.

Best wishes,

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In reply to: Sound Advice

You were perfectly clear. It seems as though yor problem stems from the fact that you don't have surround equipment, more on that later. Moderm movies are usually presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital from Satellite TV, especially when viewing an HD channel. Unfortunately for you, you have a simple stereo setup with your current system. This means that the two speakers in your TV are trying to reproduce the sound that was intended for 6 speakers. There are more speakers dedicated for surround and background effects than dialogue.

You have several options at hand. One, look into the settings on your HD-DVR. There might be an option regarding audio and you may be able to set it up to only output in stereo. If there is no option, you are SOL with your current equipment. Which leads to option two: get a separate audio sytem from your TV. It doesn't have to be surround sound, as dedicated speakers can create a better sense of depth than TV speakers, so there will be a great deal more intelligability in the sound, but not quite like surround sound. In most modern receivers, there are digital inputs at your disposal, which dramatically increase the clarity of the sound over your current setup. The sound will be good, just not quite as exciin as surround sound, but bearable.

Your third option is t purchase a full surround sound system. Keep in mind that the right system for your room is none of these: 1. The Biggest one you can get; 2. The cheapest one you can get; 3. a BOSE system. Choosing the correct surround solution for your room is complex, but a correctly built system can provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Be sure to select a receiver that is capable of future A/V formats, even if you don't have those formats yet (i.e 1080p/24hz, upscaling and processing, HDMI support, DTS-HDma, etc...). This will allow your system to be up-to-date as long as possible. My favourite A/V receivers come from Yamaha, Denon, Rotel, and Classe (listed from least expensive to most expensive). My suggestion would be to check out one of those first. Your speaker selection will commence from there (favored brands are B&W, Totem Acoustic, JBL). From there, simply choose power solution (Monster Power, or Richard Gray's Power Company), and cabling (Monster cable, Analysis-Plus). Easy enough? Maybe not.

In response to what you said regarding PC systems versus HT systems I say this: Wattage does not equal loudness. In fact, wattage is rated differently amoung manufacturers and should not be a determining factor when mking your sound system purchase. PC sound systems are designed for PC spaces, small offices at largest. HT systems are designed for the smallest of spaces to the largest of rooms, how loud it goes is up to you. And compared to HT systems, PC systems sound lik junk, give no definition whatsoever, and have reliability issues.

I hope this helps, and please take a look at the brands I have suggested above, they have never let me down and they stand behind their product.


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Thanks for the great response

In reply to: jevenew:

ns387241. I already know about some of the manufacturers you mention, and will be using CNETs reviews to help determine my setup. Also, I think I will visit some of the electronic palaces and see if any of these systems are set up for display.
Again, thanks.

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sorry that I did not read more carefully

In reply to: Sound Advice

it seems you want to take a minimalist approach. if that is true, a pair of speakers will be the easiest bang for buck upgrade. Even without the center channel, the "phantom imaging" can be very good, though at the possible downside of some compression. But, since it appears you only like moderate volumes anyhow, I doubt this would be an issue.

I would guess that even a pair of self-powered monitors would suffice. Maybe some Mackies?

just an idea to check out. no need for amp.

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