One of the most common complaints I hear about televisions is that the sound quality sucks. There are many reasons for this: small built-in TV speakers, compatibility issues in an external system, or just a bad mix. Many shows on Netflix prioritize mixing background music over dialogue, much to my irritation. But now that we’re heading to the Olympics, followed by the finals of it all, this is a great time to make sure your TV sound is in the best shape possible.
The first thing to do in your search for better sound is to determine your budget. TV sound enhancement ranges from free to $ 7,500, with the easiest way around $ 1,000.
The second thing to do is find out how you would like it to be better. Do you want clearer commentary / dialogue, or do you want more of the roar of the crowd and the atmospheric din? These are opposite goals, so choose wisely.
The free way is to search all of your settings, which should definitely be your first port of call. Depending on the fantasy and novelty of your television, it may have different sound profiles that you can play with. Sometimes there is even one labeled “sport”, which takes a lot of work out of it. Play around with those different presets and see if any of them do what you want
If you don’t have presets or you don’t like them, make a note of your current equalizer settings by taking a photo of each menu screen before you start fiddling (in case you make it worse) and then see what works. Generally speaking, if you want to hear dialogue better, turn up the high and mid frequencies and turn the bass down a bit. If you want more atmosphere, put the bass.
Speakers need room to move around, and modern flat-screen TVs just don’t have enough room to house good speakers. They are great for displaying images, but most televisions (even the most expensive ones) only have small speakers that shoot directly into the wall from behind the television. This is why I always recommend getting a soundbar when you get your TV.
It’s best to get one the same width and brand as your TV when you buy it, because that ensures the best experience (without breaking the bank for a full surround sound system). But, lacking that, the current three models I’ve had the best experiences with are the Samsung HW-Q950A (full package in a box for $ 2049), Bose Smart Soundbar 300 ($ 600), and Sonos Arc ($ 1399). , and part of an expandable system that you can build at your own pace). However, even then, you’ll want a separate subwoofer and possibly fiddle with the settings to make it work for your ears.
Get news and reviews on technology, devices and games in our technology newsletter every Friday. Sign up here.