Is TV Dialogue Clearer with Soundbar?

My son likes to turn up the Volume when watching TV (YouTube and Disney+). As a result the music in the show is particularly loud.

Maybe he have a mild hearing problem, maybe he does not understand what the character is saying as he is still young, maybe the background noise in the house is loud (mum cooking). Or maybe the TV speaker is crap.

I am leaning to TV speaker being crap because my experiences with mobile phone VS computer headphones in a conference. I struggle to hear things when I am connected to conference with mobile.

So my question, will a soundbar help make dialogues clearer? Like a Bose Soundbar 700 or equivalent?


  • It depends how bad the speakers are. Some TV speakers are complete junk, especially since the trend towards being thin for the sake of being thin. Cost is also a factor.

    That said, music and sound effects are louder than dialogue in movies.

    • Peppa Pig in YouTube gets loud when song starts playing. Can get annoying.

  • +2

    Sound bar definitely makes a difference

    You’ll experience rich sound and clarity in every way.

    The basic explanation would be TV has to output all forms of sound through its tiny drivers while sound bars have seperate set of drives for all major categories of sound.

    Hope this helps

    • I certainly hope buying one will have noticeable difference. Don’t want to pay hundreds of dollar to get same result as TV

      • If you buy a Bose soundbar from Bose you get free delivery & a 90 day satisfaction guarantee with free returns, so no risk.

  • +4

    I'm partially deaf due to working in high noise level areas for most of my life and have found that by adjusting soundbar settings it's possible to greatly improve the clarity of the audio output without turning up the volume.

    YMMV, depending on the soundbar. Consider getting your son's hearing checked by an audiologist just in case.

    • Thanks, I will monitor his hearing and once the pandemic situation have improved then I will look into seeing a specialist.

  • +1

    Sound bars can make a difference. You can usually choose between sound modes that emphasize different sounds.
    Eg. Movies, Music, News.

    • +1

      Good point on the different sound options. I always find them a gimmick but played around a bit in the TV setting tonight and found some improvement in the TV sound.

  • Not a soundbar, but you could also use either a "home theatre in a box", or a traditional receiver, with left and right, as well as a centre channel. Dialogue comes through clearer on the centre channel.

  • +1

    Most definitely.

    My Yamaha YAS-108B has a "Clear Voice" option which claims to emphasizes the vocal frequency ranges and harmonics for greater intelligibility. It does make vocals much more clear.

  • Is it possible the sound settings are not optimum? Maybe turn on volume equalisation so the music isnt too over powering and tone down the bass and bring out the mid/high so vocal sounds are clearer?

    • A post above mentioned sound mode. I made some changes in the TV and found some improvement. Wil see how the next day goes.

  • Yes they do!

  • maybe the background noise in the house is loud (mum cooking)

    What the hell is she cooking explosives?

    • +1

      Is just the humming from vents. Is not loud but I guess can be a distraction for little kids.

  • What about turning subtitles on?

    • +2

      He is only 5. I am not sure will he be able to keep up.

  • Even if you have a stereo system or bluetooth speaker, you should be able to connect to your TV and try it out. You might have to buy the right audio cable, but it should just be a few dollars. Most likely it will sound a lot better for you, even if it doesn't improve much for your son.

  • A few years ago I bought a new tv and a sound bar to go with it.. I hooked up the sound bar straight away.. Anyway fast forward a year I moved house and was feeling lazy and I didn't hook up the sound bar.. Man the TV speakers sucked.. I'm like "whats that awful tinny sounds"

    So yes, sound bar defs helps.

  • Audio mixes are usually designed for surround sound with a wide volume range to allow contrast from quiet dialogue to loud effects like explosions. There are often settings to narrow the range and normalise all sounds when you only have stereo.

  • +1

    Get wireless headphones for him. I find it much easier to understand the TV with them (partially deaf here)

  • get some second hand book shelf speakers with center channel and a receiver/amp. All can be picked up under $3-400 from gumtree/marketplace.

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