Trouble hearing Dialogue

mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
Hi,
when I’m watching certain movies. I struggle to hear the actors talking so I have to turn the volume up very loud....
Are you able to watch a TV channel on that setup, specifically a news channel or program? How is the dialogue?
Some movies or series must be recording audio as they are filming not spliced in afterwards and that adds such issues, poor mics or sensitivity. Sibilance added, etc.
 
J

joji

Enthusiast
I’m moving into a new house so room for the speakers will not be a issue. But I have a awesome Sub. Hsu Research VTF-1 MK2


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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
While I wouldn't discourage better speakers, also consider that some movies are simply recorded/mixed that way....any particular movies? Might also try a dynamic compression routine in your avr if you have such. Any reason you don't spread L/R speakers out some? What's the rest of the room like? Where is the seating in relation to what is pictured?
 
nbk13nw

nbk13nw

Full Audioholic
The OP was questioning about towers, so he would arrange to install some. IMO, tower speakers would provide a fuller mid-range which he has been missing with his current system. The center speaker should ideally be identical to left and right ones for good front sound stage.
Yeah. I missed that requirement.

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WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Field Marshall
when I’m watching certain movies. I struggle to hear the actors talking so I have to turn the volume up very loud.
Before you go spending any money, go into the menu for center channel EQ and boost 2-4 kHz a few dB, and perhaps cut in the 80-100 Hz range a few dB. That should help the dialog cut through better

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
This is one of the commonest complaints we get on this forum.

The plain fact is that the vast majority of center speakers are just not fit for purpose.

This fact is recognized by BBC engineering who say that a center channel should not even be provided as it so often makes matters worse. I actually agree with them at the current state of play. As putting dialog on a center channel and playing it back though the vast majority of center speakers just adds to the problem of not hearing the dialog.

Making a center channel speaker as a horizontal MTM crossed over to the tweeter in the speech discrimination band is just not acceptable and will always add to problems and not solve them. For a start it causes maximum dispersion in the vertical plane. Since it is under or over a TV, then you maximize reflections from the screen and floor. This really impairs speech discrimination.

The next issue is that a ported alignment is less than ideal for a center speaker. This is for two reasons. A center often has to be close to a room boundary and the ports are usually rear facing. Next a ported alignment is by definition a resonant alignment.

So what is the best way to proceed.

As far as speaker alignment, then a low Q sealed alignment is best, given that this might require a higher crossover to the sub at times. The need for this would be mitigated by the second order 12 db roll off.

If you have room, a TL alignment is a good option but hard to implement.

Unfortunately there are few good full range drivers, but a center is a good application for them. I can testify this works well.

Failing that a good coaxial design works well. Unfortunately we do not have a coaxial unit that can be crossed above the speech discrimination band. So that means the crossover has to be expertly implemented.

The final option is a three way with vertical alignment of tweeter and mid.

Here again we have few mids that can handle the whole of the speech discrimination band from 400 Hz to 3.5 KHz or above. However they are out there.

So I have implemented a full range design.

In the AV room I have a coaxail/TL design. I have a sealed three way design with crossover points 400 Hz and 4 KHz in our living room system. (My wife's system)

Speech clarity is excellent and natural, and we don't have the issues so often complained of here.

I also have a 2.2 system that also has good speech clarity with crossover point of 400 Hz and 4 KHz.

It is crucial that no resonant bass is allowed to cover speech and subs too loud a very, very common problem is a big cause of poor dialog.

The a non resonant mid design and preferably a single unit covering the whole speech discrimination band with very even response, would put an end to these complaints.

One thing I'm certain of though, is that a bad center is far worse then no center.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
We need a sticky thread or maybe just a front-page article on how to improve dialogue intelligibility. This is too common of a problem.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
We need a sticky thread or maybe just a front-page article on how to improve dialogue intelligibility. This is too common of a problem.
I know it is, but the fundamental problem is incompetently designed center speakers.

The only really easy fix, is to make sure the subs are not too loud. Running subs hot is a major offender here.

The next fix is center speaker positioning. That can be easy, but sometimes not.

Running the center hot has its downsides as it collapses in the sound field, making the program less atmospheric and destroying the balance of the background music in a highly deleterious fashion.

Boosting the speech discrimination band 400 Hz to 4 KHz helps intelligibility, but it again ruins the atmosphere and music. If there is a soprano in the offing she will bore a hole in your head!

These later are highly inconvenient fixes, as it means constantly going into the menu and changing settings for different types of program. Also in essence it just swaps problems so that it becomes the lesser of two evils for the program you want to enjoy at a particular time.

The only correct solution is centers fit for purpose, and they are far and few between.

I do note that sound bars, if not accompanied by an overblown sub can have good voice clarity. I think because they have small drivers and do in fact cover the speech discrimination band quite well. In addition they roll off quite high and so poor tuning does not become an issue. At least for dialog they can do their job, and I think most buy them for that.

I think that is one of the reasons for their popularity as well as small size and easy set up. I don't think most purchasers expect the full AV experience, their aims and desires are limited to start with.
 
J

joji

Enthusiast
I am very curious about the JBL sale. I cant get through to a human. It says free shipping. But if I don’t like them do I have to pay shipping to get them back. Ups says it is $150 to ship them back which is insane if I don’t like them.


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J

joji

Enthusiast
Also what would be a better choice for more definition in sound. The 530 or 580s


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afterlife2

afterlife2

Audioholic Spartan
Also what would be a better choice for more definition in sound. The 530 or 580s


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Either one. I’d swing for the 530 though. Same tweeter and your sub is a great one for lows. I highly doubt you’d return them. I’m hoping for a pair myself, but can’t at the moment. Cantons are also amazing and a sweet deal.
 
J

joji

Enthusiast
So you think they are clearer then deftech SM-55 I have.


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TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Also what would be a better choice for more definition in sound. The 530 or 580s


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Those speakers have a nasty peak at 1.4 KHz. That is a bad place to have one, and will be audible. There is another at 9 KHz, that is apretty bad place as well.
So be careful.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I know it is, but the fundamental problem is incompetently designed center speakers.

The only really easy fix, is to make sure the subs are not too loud. Running subs hot is a major offender here.

The next fix is center speaker positioning. That can be easy, but sometimes not.

Running the center hot has its downsides as it collapses in the sound field, making the program less atmospheric and destroying the balance of the background music in a highly deleterious fashion.

Boosting the speech discrimination band 400 Hz to 4 KHz helps intelligibility, but it again ruins the atmosphere and music. If there is a soprano in the offing she will bore a hole in your head!

These later are highly inconvenient fixes, as it means constantly going into the menu and changing settings for different types of program. Also in essence it just swaps problems so that it becomes the lesser of two evils for the program you want to enjoy at a particular time.

The only correct solution is centers fit for purpose, and they are far and few between.

I do note that sound bars, if not accompanied by an overblown sub can have good voice clarity. I think because they have small drivers and do in fact cover the speech discrimination band quite well. In addition they roll off quite high and so poor tuning does not become an issue. At least for dialog they can do their job, and I think most buy them for that.

I think that is one of the reasons for their popularity as well as small size and easy set up. I don't think most purchasers expect the full AV experience, their aims and desires are limited to start with.
I always go through four suggestions for posts like the OP's:
  1. Try to isolate the center as much as possible. If it is resting on a shelf, push it up where the front baffle is flush with the shelf. It's best when nothing is around it. I think simple bad placement is a real contributor to many of these problems. As you say, many center speakers are rear ported, and if they are close to a wall that can load the bass and boost it.
  2. Make sure the sub isn't running hot. Bass can mask upper frequencies very easily.
  3. Make sure the center speaker doesn't suck. Three-way centers have real advantages over two-way centers. Also many cheap speakers will have a bass boost around 80 to 100 Hz or so to make it seem like a more able speaker than it is. It is possible an easy fix to make the center better is to plug the port.
  4. If the center is good, turn off automated room correction like Audyssey. Many times room correction can be more of a detriment than benefit.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
We need a sticky thread or maybe just a front-page article on how to improve dialogue intelligibility. This is too common of a problem.
I was thinking this will be part of the Audioholics Drinking Game I'm working on! :p

Drink every time there is a complaint about Dialog Intelligibility.
Drink twice if it is a set-up error.
Drink thrice if it is a cr@ppy speaker.

:cool:

Oh, and I've got more, too!
o_O:rolleyes::D
 
J

joji

Enthusiast
Also if I don’t get
Floor speakers. I am going to need to mount them in my new house like the JbL 305. I have a Great Dayne and a 7 year old who will knock the speakers off there stands. So mounting is my best option on the front wall.


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afterlife2

afterlife2

Audioholic Spartan
Also if I don’t get
Floor speakers. I am going to need to mount them in my new house like the JbL 305. I have a Great Dayne and a 7 year old who will knock the speakers off there stands. So mounting is my best option on the front wall.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
On the JBL thread I linked there they recommend a couple of on the wall options. Here is a good deal too if you don’t mind refurb:
 
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