Upping the "Speaking" volume



Is there a way to increase the amount of speaking (dialogue) volume when watching DVDs in dolby 5.1 surround sound. Although I like it loud, my wife does not, and we find that we continuously have the volume cranked to hear adequate dialogue when watching DVDs. Often we end up turning on subtitles to compensate. :eek:

I understand that most of the dialogue is routed to the center channel speaker. Is there a way to max the output to this speaker?

We usually use Sony's Cineplex stereo B setting which seems to provide the best dialogue clarity. Sound effects are still awesome, its just the "speaking" that gets us saying "eh" and rewinding.

My Specs.

Mitsubishi WS-55815 55" CRT RPTV
Sony DVP-NS300 DVD Player
Sony STR-K740P Digital 5.1 surround A/V control center
Sony SLV-N71 HiFi VCR



Audioholic Spartan
Not familiar with that receiver, but pretty much all receivers include channel level trims and you could max the center level if you want, but you really should calibrate the levels using the receiver's test tones and a radio shack SPL meter to get the level of each speaker to be similar. Then experiment with positioning of speakers to try to improve things.

You could also engage dynamic compression if the receiver supports it (sometimes called 'Midnight mode' or 'Late Night' or similar).

The real issue, however, is likely the interaction of your speakers with your room. Room treatment is a huge topic, but there is alot of good info on it at this site and elsewhere.


Full Audioholic
Read your manual. I had the same problem and it really annoyed me. I found a function on my Denon 1803 reciever that limits the range of sound differences...meaning when a bomb blows up it doesn't all of a sudden get laud. So basically you can turn the volume up enough so you hear the voices enough and no other sounds will have a segnificant increase.

The other option is to try and watch movies in 5.1 DTS sound rather then Dolby D. I find the voices in DTS comes out lauder.
Az B

Az B

Personally, I think compression is the last thing you should try. It may be the easy way, but it's not the right way. The more dynamic the better!

First step is to calibrate the volume of the speakers in the system. A test disc and SPL meter are required for this if the receiver does not auto calibrate.

Next, the distance needs to be calibrated.

Speaker placement is very important. If the speaker is on a shelf or on top of the TV, you can get a lot of diffraction which can cause the voices to sound muddy. If the speaker is on a shelf, pull it forward until it hangs in front of the shelf slightly. Another culprit can sometimes be the coffee table directly in front of the center channel.

If all these things are addressed and there's still a problem, you may need to treat first reflection points of the L/C/R speakers with sound absorption. By reducing the reflections, your ears and brain have fewer sound waves arriving at different times and it makes it a lot easier to understand dialog.

If all else fails, get a hearing test.

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