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Best Soundbars to Fix Muffled TV Speech

Want to make dialogue easier to understand on your TV? Here are a few soundbar options starting at under $200.

Sometimes it feels like shows or movies intentionally turn down the dialogue, only to crank up the volume for music and sound effects. If you're tired of missing key pieces of dialogue thanks to subpar TV speakers, you may want to upgrade to a soundbar. There are plenty of other helpful tips and tricks to get better TV sound, but a proper soundbar can seriously improve dialogue clarity, as well as provide more immersive sound and better audio quality overall for everything you watch. 

Many brands offer soundbars that come with a dedicated speech mode, though some do it better than others. One company that stands out is Zvox -- it specializes in dialogue, and most of its products have at least one voice enhancement mode (and some as many as 12). Competitor Polk is also notable for its excellent VoiceAdjust feature, while Yamaha makes an affordable soundbar with similar options, too.

soundbar can cost a lot less than some other home theater systems, but can have just as much impact on improving your TV's sound. Whether you're looking for a budget speaker or something a little more premium, these are the best soundbars for dialogue.

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If you're looking for a soundbar that offers plenty of bass as well as crisp dialogue without using a subwoofer, the Zvox SB500 is a great buy. Even better, the company has added more levels of sound enhancement since I reviewed the SB500, which should make it even easier to dial in the dialogue the way you want it.

Read our Zvox SB500 review.


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The Zvox AV357 may not have many features as the larger SB500, but it's an excellent performer nonetheless. The speaker comes in a wood-grain veneer, and the remote control is friendly. If you want to connect more than just a TV though -- like a phone via Bluetooth -- the other options listed here are better for that.

Read our Zvox AV357 review.


$199 at Amazon
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The Polk React is a follow-up to the Command Bar -- the first soundbar that had Amazon Alexa on board -- and it offers an excellent mix of features and performance. Polk's VoiceAdjust is one of the better dialogue enhancement systems, and it's put to good use on this speaker.

Read our Polk React review.


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The Zvox soundbars are great, but they lack HDMI connectivity. The compact Yamaha SR-C20A not only offers the ease of HDMI ARC hookup -- which is found on most newer TVs -- but also has a dedicated Clear Voice mode to make dialogue a little easier to understand. It's also the least expensive option on this list.

Read our Yamaha SR-C20A review.


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The Bose Smart Soundbar 600 is a compact Dolby Atmos speaker with dedicated height speakers in a compact soundbar, and its sound quality is top-notch. Especially for dialogue-heavy movies and TV shows. The soundbar also adds in features such as multiroom music and the Alexa voice assistant.

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