Do you find difficulty in hearing dialogue in TV dramas? Can you remember when you had no problems whatsoever in hearing actors on the TV?

Well you’re far from alone, it’s not an uncommon discussion for me to be involved with when I am installing a new TV system. But why is this and more importantly, what can be done about it?

One problem is the naturalistic speech actors currently use. It’s supposed to sound more like someone speaking rather than the old style enunciation school of acting which, though very clear, wasn’t the way people actually spoke.

Another issue is that dramas tend to have dramatic music and often it is at similar frequencies to the human voice, making the dialogue harder to hear. The sound technician can make allowances for this, but it depends on the director as to how it eventually turns out.

Further, our TV’s are getting increasingly thinner which leaves much less room for speakers able to reproduce the sound without colouring it, boosting particular frequencies as a result of how they are manufactured.

It seems that TV manufacturers are now starting to make sure that how the TV sounds is more of a priority, but what about those of us who have already make significant investments in a new TV, what can we do? If you just turn up the volume, it may not make much difference other than annoying everyone else!

Most more modern TV’s have an onscreen menu which allows you to fiddle with all sorts of things most people don’t look at once the channels have been tuned. In amongst all sorts of other settings, you will normally find a number of different sound settings. Commonly they will be referred to as ‘sports’ or ‘film’ or something like that and will change the sound that comes out of your TV speakers when selected. It’s worth trying them to see what difference it makes, you can always return to the normal or default settings.

If changing your TV settings doesn’t have the effect you are hoping, then it may be worth considering a soundbar. They are available from below £100 to £ridiculous depending on extra facilities and will deliver the sort of sound your TV will never be able to. It is best to ask for expert advice before purchase as they are definitely not all created equal!