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This is why your TV might sound rubbish

It might be unbelievable for you but the truth is most of the TVs sound rubbish. You might have a brand new TV and still, you might ask, does it sound right? It doesn’t matter when the TVs are purchased, most of the slim TVs sound okay and nothing spectacular even with Dolby certifications.

photo of living room
Photo by Jean van der Meulen on

 You see, now TVs are made as elegant as possible. To achieve this small bezel design, speakers have to be moved from the front of the TV. The ideal positioning of TV speakers is ear level. Speakers should deliver sound right at your ears. Practically, this is quite impossible every time. The least expected from a TV to sound right is to have the speakers on the front panel.

With the latest designs, this position is shifted as well. Now, speakers are put either on the back of the TV or at the bottom of the TV facing downwards. That means, either the sound has to bounce off from the rear wall or it should bounce off from the floor. In both cases, details of the sound are lost.

There are TVs with soundbars attached and there are TVs with front glass vibrates to make a sound. Those are exceptions. They indeed sound great. For the rest of the TVs, it is not.

Why speakers have to be ear level?

Speakers have to be kept ear level because of the properties of sound.

The sound we can hear is from 20Hz to 20,000 Hz. The rest of the sound below 20 Hz can be felt where are the sounds above 20,000 Hz cannot be heard at all. As age creeps in, older people will likely not hear 20,000 Hz. It would still be great if you could hear 13 Hz at your old age. As the frequencies go higher and higher the sound becomes direct. Below 80 Hz, the sound is omnidirectional. That means, we cannot identify the direction of the sound that is under 80Hz.

Hence, the subwoofers can be hidden around and still we feel the bass. Sounds above 80 Hz starts slowly to become directional. Once the sound becomes directional, the dispersion angle of the sound becomes narrow. 5,000 Hz is narrower than 500 Hz. As the frequencies go up, it is easier to hide it. The energy of the sound at 80Hz is very much compared to at 5000 Hz. You cannot hide a subwoofer with hands to stop them from making the sound. But you can certainly hide a tweeter with your hands from producing sound. This is the thing that works against TVs.

The speakers that are rear-firing or down-firing on a TV is essentially akin to hiding the speakers. Whatever we get to listen to on the TV is not really a direct sound but a reflected sound. In the case of a backfiring speaker, the treble sound emitted from your TV hits the wall. There, most of the energy is neutralized and the rest is reflected. This reflected sound hits our ear. In the case of a down-firing speaker on a TV, the sound we hear is the one bounced off from the wall.

In addition to this, there will be no stereo separation, no details, no sound stage, and simply, it is not the sound you deserve to hear anyways.


You must be wondering, what is the solution to this.

There are solutions from a simple soundbar to a home theatre system. The best in my opinion is to get stereo speakers or even Better multi-channel surround speakers that can be positioned to function at the ear level. If these aren’t viable, even the simplest of the soundbars can do wonders. For your convenience, I have listed down the speakers I prefer to be paired with the TV.


It is best to avoid soundbars: Check this link to know why. But, if there’s no other go, you can try Polk Audio Signa S2

It is best to go with a stereo pair of speakers. The edifier is a great one, to begin with. 

If you are like me who is crazy about multichannel sound, go ahead with the one below or you can build a system all by yourselves.


It is good to have a good sounding unit for your TV. Because you can watch a standard quality video with a high fidelity sound and not a high-quality video with a rubbish sound. Sound plays an important role in the immersion created by the video. Therefore, a soundbar is a good start to compliment whatever your TV can produce pictorially. Thanks for reading.

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