Don Lindich’s Sound Advice: Sound from flat-panel TVs is lousy

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Ques­tion: It seems that the sound I get from my TVs is not very good, at least to my ears. We have two TVs, both flat pan­els. One is a smart TV while the other is not. I have been told that the speak­ers on flat-screen TVs are of­ten di­rected to­ward the rear of the TV. Is this cor­rect? Should I in­vest in ad­di­tional speak­ers that are front ori­ented?

ANTHONY D.

Pittsburgh

Answer: The speak­ers are ei­ther di­rected rear­ward be­hind the TV, or down­ward, from the bot­tom of the bezel. No mat­ter how they point them, the sound from pretty much ev­ery flat-panel TV in ex­is­tence is lousy. Some of the Sony 4K TVs have lar­gish speak­ers mounted to ei­ther side of the screen and they sound bet­ter than most, but most peo­ple with an ex­pen­sive 4K TV are prob­a­bly go­ing to have it hooked up to a sep­a­rate sound sys­tem any­way.

I think bet­ter TV sound is al­ways a good in­vest­ment, es­pe­cially if you like sports, mov­ies or TV tal­ent shows with a lot of sing­ing. Even talk shows will ben­e­fit. Though they may not be heavy on ac­tion, mu­sic or spe­cial ef­fects, hard-to-un­der­stand di­a­logue from flat-panel TVs is prob­a­bly the big­gest, most com­mon com­plaint I have com­ing in.

There are lots of op­tions, from sound­bars to com­plete the­ater sys­tems to adapt­ing a pair of pow­ered com­puter speak­ers to your TV.

I re­cently re­ceived a ZVOX Sound­base 320 for test­ing and am anx­ious to put it through its paces. It’s $199 and your flat-panel TV (29-42 inches in size) sits di­rectly on top of it, so place­ment is rarely go­ing to be an is­sue. It works with your TV’s re­mote con­trol, no sub­woofer is re­quired and it has cir­cuitry to en­hance vo­cals. You can see it at www.zvox­au­dio.com.

Me­dia­s­onic DVR up­date: I have re­ceived emails ex­press­ing a lot of reader in­ter­est in the Me­dia­s­onic DVR. My re­view and rec­om­men­da­tion is tak­ing me a bit lon­ger than I an­tic­i­pated, but soon I will have more in­for­ma­tion about the prod­uct and my first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence with it. Stay tuned (no pun in­tended!).

Wharfed­ale speaker give­away: Two years ago, I gave away a home the­ater for my col­umn’s 10th an­ni­ver­sary. Know­ing this, the PR ex­ec­u­tive for Wharfed­ale speak­ers con­tacted me about fa­cil­i­tat­ing an­other give­away. Wharfed­ale wants to give away a pair of their ex­cel­lent Wharfed­ale Di­a­mond 10.2 book­shelf speak­ers ($450/​pair) as a grad­u­a­tion/​Father’s Day sea­son pro­mo­tion.

I love pro­vid­ing Sound Ad­vice read­ers with news about great deals, and what could be bet­ter than free? Of course, I agreed and in­for­ma­tion about the give­away will ap­pear in the col­umn next week as well as on my web­site, soundad­vice­blog.com.

I ex­plained that due to the tim­ing of when col­umns are writ­ten and they ac­tu­ally ap­pear in print, the give­away would not take place be­fore Father’s Day, es­pe­cially since we would want to give peo­ple time to get their name in the hat. So, if you are read­ing this af­ter Father’s Day, rest as­sured that you still have a chance to get the speak­ers.

You can see the Wharfed­ale Di­a­mond 10.2 at www.wharfed­ale­usa.com. I will be re­view­ing a pair soon. Based on my ex­pe­ri­ence with the smaller Di­a­mond speak­ers, I am con­fi­dent they will sound ex­cel­lent.


Read product reviews by Don Lindich at soundadviceblog.com.

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