If you are watching tv for a long period, you would have known the fact that tv sound sucks. Except for some TVs which has a soundbar attached or the one with vibrating front panels, the rest of the TVs leave a lot to be desired in terms of sound quality. So, what exactly is the problem with TV sound? There are many. Let’s dig deeper.
Yes, TVs have smaller speakers. A smaller speaker isn’t the main issue. Here the speaker is smaller for a large volume of the sound. The small speaker of a TV cannot do justice to fill a room full of sound. There is no replacement for displacement. Therefore a separate speaker setup with bigger drivers easily outperforms any tv speakers.
Position of speakers
It’s not just the size of TV speakers that creates bad sound. It is the position as well. To make the TV appear slimmer and sleek, manufacturers made the bezels thinner and thinner. Now we have TVs with a bezel-less design. Since the bezel spaces are excluded, the regular place for TV speakers is gone for good. The manufacturers started to put down-firing speakers and rear-firing speakers or both. Both cannot replace the front-firing speakers in terms of sound quality. The rear-firing makes the sound hit the rear wall and reflect it towards the user’s ears. Similarly, the down-firing speaker emits a sound that hits the floor and then reaches the user’s ears. In both cases, audio fidelity is lost. Only front-firing speakers can deliver good sound to the user’s ears.
Less stereo separation
Stereo separation is very important for any music. It gives a spacious sound. It makes the sound stereo. Sounds pan from left to right. Instruments are given a place between the speakers to existing. The vocals come from the center of the soundstage. All these create a beautiful sound experience. This is completely lost because of hidden speakers behind the TVs.
Less dynamic range
Dynamic range is the difference between the softest to the loudest of the sounds in music. Music and movies have dynamic range. Vocals are in levels of sound. There are softer sounds, whispers, leaf rustles. And then there are explosions, loud music, etc. these should be reproduced with a strong dynamic range. Unfortunately, small speakers that too, with rear and down-firing speakers cannot do justice for the dynamics of the sound.
Less volume and High distortion
Since the speakers are hidden away from human sight, it has to work hard to fill the sound. This brings in the distortion of sound when the driver is pumping a lot of sounds. Even with the fullest potential before distortion, sometimes, TV speakers cannot fill a decently sized room full of music. Speaker size and placement are the real issues with less volume and High distortion.
So, what is the alternative?
Anything which has front-firing speakers would do. And, the bigger the driver better the output. Hence, a soundbar, stereo speaker system, or a home theatre system will do wonders for your TV. I am mentioning the best of soundbars, stereo speakers, and home theatre systems without breaking the bank.
Samsung HW-T450 is one of the best soundbars available in the market. You will get a soundbar as well as a subwoofer. It produces a room-filling sound with punchy bass. It has Bluetooth, allows you to play songs over Bluetooth from your phone. It has SMART SOUND technology which detects the contents being played and adjusts the sound accordingly. This means you get to listen to both sports and drama dialogues crystal clear.
If you listen to plenty of music, this Edifier R1280T suits you better. This system is essentially a bookshelf speaker with an inbuilt amp. It is also called an active speaker setup. It has 4-inch midrange to bass woofers and a 13 mm silk dome tweeter. The result is fantastic. You get to keep the speakers further apart for a wider sound stage. It also comes with a tiny remote. It is made of wood like MDF boards with a wood styling. It looks cool with or without speaker grilles. Additionally, it comes with a 2-year warranty. For music, it is the best system
Multichannel home theatre system
Logitech Z906 is one of the best systems that money can buy. It is for the sheer sound quality, it received the THX certification. It comes with 5 speakers and a subwoofer. The 5 speakers are full-range speakers and can reproduce frequencies from bass to treble frequencies. It comes with a subwoofer to take care of the low sub-bass frequencies. The system houses a decoder for both Dolby Digital and DTS sound formats. All you need is to connect the optical or coaxial out of your TV to the input in the Z906. The power rating is 500 Watts RMS. It is more than enough to shake your room
Onkyo HT-S3910 is a home theatre system with a receiver that is capable of doing a lot of things. It comes with 5 satellite speakers and a passive subwoofer system. The sound quality is superior and it can go very loud too. It has several inputs including HDMI, Optical, coaxial and analog inputs. This means you can connect all your devices to it. The best thing is you can upgrade the speakers down the lane. The system has inbuilt DTS and Dolby digital decoder. Another better feature of this system is that it has built-in bass management. You can set the frequency for the subwoofer and other speakers. It becomes very useful when integrating all the components of the system in a room.
We have seen that TV sound sucks and why. If your TV comes with front-firing speakers, you don’t have to buy a separate system unless you want a better sound quality. For the TVs that do not have a front-firing speaker, it is really beneficial to go with even the cheapest soundbar. Of all the mentioned sound systems above, my choice will be Logitech Z906. Thanks for reading.
Aju Vignesh Sathiaraj Padma is a mechanical and audio engineer. He is a person who loves technology and things. He is also an audiophile and loves to listen to audio gears. He is an avid writer and loves to blog.