Author Topic: How to enhance smart TV audio without investing mega in surround sound etc?  (Read 885 times)

slope

  • Ride Fettle Ride
    • Current pedalable joys
67 year old with shot ears from being a sound engineer in the early 70's and then a furniture maker in the late 80s with seriously noisy machines, pre ear defender days. So certain frequencies require tweaking, up and down, to accommodate the irreversible damage.

I have a subscription to Mubi cos I like the kind of films they curate. I have an LG 43UM7400PLB tele (which is visually all I fancy - it's the audio I would like to enhance/have some control over)

Straight away, I added a cheapo £90 JBL soundbar. It sure don't cut no mustard - there's zero control over output dynamics, it's barely an improvement on the LG's internal speakers :(

Have experienced an expensive surround sound with a tele several years ago - BUT that's not what I want to invest in, nor what I want.

Just want a way to add two separate stereo speakers tight along side the tele AND be able to dial in via a graphic equaliser, something that suits my ears - that can deliver spoken words/dialogue in preference to any of that other sound effect stuff.

For me iMac I have a Topping MX3 Dac amp, some cheapo JBL Control One speakers and a Boom3D software graphic equaliser. This just about provides the audio clarity I'm after there.

So the question is - would it be possible to optical out from the LG TV into an amp, that then fed speakers? BUT how could one get some sort of essential graphic equaliser into that?

Any tips or advice would be most welcome :thumbsup:





No idea re the technical stuff, but my ears are "silly" - pre-covid if we went to a restaurant all I could hear was the cutlery many tables away and it drowned out Mrs Nutty's talking to me.  I liked restaurants.

At home I've noticed I have the telly on louder and louder, but can't hear it.  A child eating a bag of crisps drowns out the documentary I'm trying to listen to on full volume.  I am not Mr Popular due to my constant "be quiet" statements as other household members prefer to "watch" TV whilst chatting as opposed to "listening to what is being said".

The reason I reply is that today I went into the TV menu and changed the audio to "amplify" (which is stated as being for the hard of hearing).  It's only a small telly in the kitchen that keeps me company with the news when I'm cooking, but suddenly I could hear the TV at normal volume over the noise of the oven and extractor fan.

Is there some setting in your TV that you can change the audio as I just did?

Kim

  • Timelord
I'd suggest that surround processing may be a win here, even if you don't feel like filling your room with speakers.  Being able to alter the balance between the centre channel (where the speech is), left/right channels (important effects and music) and the surround channels (mostly-pointless noise) is likely to be a bigger win than careful equalisation.

I'd also suggest that you and any household members get over any hangups you might have about subtitles.  They're brilliant [when they're not shit - Ed], and I hate watching video without them.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Mrs Pingu

  • Who ate all the pies? Me
    • Twitter
Why don't you try optical out to the amp without an equaliser first and see if you can get what you want via tweaking the audio settings in the telly first?
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
if you can DIY what about this, I just watched this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKIye4RZ-5k few bits and an amp you got the worlds best speakers
Current mood: AARRRGGGGHHHHH !!! #bollockstobrexit

Presumably the TV has an analog or optical or ARC HDMI audio output, and the soundbar has an analog input, so an equaliser between the two ought to be possible.

I'd also suggest that you and any household members get over any hangups you might have about subtitles.  They're brilliant [when they're not shit - Ed], and I hate watching video without them.

Or *gasp* headphones.

Kim

  • Timelord
I'd also suggest that you and any household members get over any hangups you might have about subtitles.  They're brilliant [when they're not shit - Ed], and I hate watching video without them.

Or *gasp* headphones.

Those too.  I gave up on speakers years ago, mainly because unless we're both sitting watching the telly we haven't got[1] it's just something for barakta to what at, but also a half-decent pair of headphones outperforms a seriously good set of speakers and amp, while cutting out some of the background noise as a welcome side-effect.


[1] It broke, we didn't replace it in order to make room for more bikes.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
I thought about getting an AV receiver, sub and rear speakers, but plumped for plugging a long digital glass pipe into the back of the telly into my hifi, it may still only be 2 channel but an awful lot better than any sound bar I've encountered.

Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk


My dad's hearing has gone, he has to wear hearing aids, however for radio and TV he wears a pair of Aftershokz bone conduction ear phones, and he can hear really clearly with them. They connect via bluetooth to most things, and speech especiallly he finds it comes through very clearly. If your TV doesn't have bluetooth, low latency bluetooth transmitters with a vast array of inputs are readily available through Amazon.

In Japan they're sold as hearing aids for the old, here they're sold as headphones for athletes

https://www.amazon.co.jp/AfterShokz-Bluetooth-%E3%83%98%E3%83%83%E3%83%89%E3%83%9B%E3%83%B3-%E3%83%88%E3%83%A9%E3%83%B3%E3%82%B9%E3%83%9F%E3%83%83%E3%82%BF%E3%83%BC-AS801-ABT01/dp/B085VZMLJF#immersive-view_1620356876941

https://www.amazon.co.uk/AfterShokz-Open-Ear-Waterproof-Conduction-Headphones-Cosmic-Black/dp/B07RRQ59JR/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=aeropex&qid=1621897366&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFKU09EOTlIN1g2TUkmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA3NTk2NDkzMDBZUkY0UUw2NTAmZW5jcnlwdGVkQWRJZD1BMDQ4MDkwMjJGNFdORFVYSEgzM0Emd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

Kim

  • Timelord
Note that the sensorineural hearing loss described by the OP, and most age-related hearing loss, isn't the type that bone conduction helps with.  Unless the middle ear is damaged or the ear canal obstructed, bone conduction will be no more effective than normal air-conduction headphones.  (Though may of course have other advantages, such as comfort).  Which isn't to say that headphones won't help with watching the telly by improving the signal to noise ratio in a noisy room.

If you use hearing aids, by far the optimum solution is to get the audio signal into them directly, rather than acoustically.  Eg. using DAI cables, induction loop systems or Bluetooth.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Blodwyn Pig

  • what a nice chap
@Slope, I don’t think it’s you so much, as the way films are made now. I too have trouble watching films. News, QI,spring watch  etc all clear as a bell. But films and modern dramas........my word.....mumble,mumble,mumble, up to 27+ ,then the adverts come on, and quickly hit the mute, too loud. and dramas are now going through a phase where by the dialogue is secondary to the background mulch. A few years ago there was a phase where by the camera was never steady, as if it was strapped to someone’s head, and they couldn’t stop sneezing, terrible. Thankfully this trend has subsided. BBC recently produced whithering heights, and it had record complaints, as people just couldnt hear what was being said.  Mrs Pig has excellent hearing, opposite frequency range to me, and she can’t hear stuff either.

I tested a pair of bone conducting earphones some years ago as somebody was recommending them as a way to have full hearing whilst cycling1 but also music.  The only way I could hear the music was to have them on full volume and over my ear-holes instead of on the bone where they should be.  Owner of said earphones rolled their eyes and pointed out that they could now hear the music2.



1  Although I can clearly hear traffic and be aware of my surroundings, I can't hear fellow cyclists talking to me due to the wind noise across my ears, does anybody else have this?
2  My hearing isn't that bad, when in the office after hours I once walked many desks away to ask the only other occupant of the floor to turn their headphones down as the music was annoying.

Some TVs have a virtual surround sound option.  If you set it to normal stereo, you can suddenly hear dialogue clearly.
  The fancy processing is just no good.  You've probably tried that already.

Incidentally, the purpose of the external human ear is to emphasise speech frequencies.  They even get 1% bigger every year as you get more deaf.  Clever, eh?
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

Tim Hall

  • Victoria is my queen
Goig back to the original question, looking at the spec for the TV, yes it has Optical out (as well as many others) so taking that to an equaliser and amp should be possible.

Poking around I see that unsuprisingly you can do software type equalisers using a Raspberry Pi and a smallaubergine, for example, Manjaro. https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=256868#p1567780
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"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

slope

  • Ride Fettle Ride
    • Current pedalable joys
Thank you all 🙏 As always your replies provide welcome scope for wider and further consideration :thumbsup:

The simple elegance of bluetooth headphones appeals :) Will see if I can cadge a pair to try, before throwing more money and gubbins at the issue.

(mind you, prior to anything appearing on the tv, there's the effin' remote control + tele menu crap interface to battle with + really must get some varifocal eyeware, soonest ???)

@nuttycyclist the description of your "silly" ears is very much experienced here too

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
With regards to many tv programs/shows. BBC, I have seen on twitter have had many complains with shows like Doc Who. Where the background sounds and music, to set the scene/mode and level of excitement, is to loud so you can't hear what is said. Unless you have used subtitles.

Side note I have that issue and moan about many popcast, title/mood/background music along with recordings on location are way to loud. And if that background track contains spoken words you are f'ed cause there ain't a beep chance in hell that you will hear and understand the host/speaker of the podcast over that.
Current mood: AARRRGGGGHHHHH !!! #bollockstobrexit

Blodwyn Pig

  • what a nice chap
With regards to many tv programs/shows. BBC, I have seen on twitter have had many complains with shows like Doc Who. Where the background sounds and music, to set the scene/mode and level of excitement, is to loud so you can't hear what is said. Unless you have used subtitles.

Side note I have that issue and moan about many popcast, title/mood/background music along with recordings on location are way to loud. And if that background track contains spoken words you are f'ed cause there ain't a beep chance in hell that you will hear and understand the host/speaker of the podcast over that.
Typical of this was 'His Dark Materials' couldn't hardly hear a word, what with the background mulch, Ruth Wilson mumbling, and the lead character mumbling through her nose! VERY irritating

Kim

  • Timelord
Although I can clearly hear traffic and be aware of my surroundings, I can't hear fellow cyclists talking to me due to the wind noise across my ears, does anybody else have this?

Yes, chronically.  Particularly irksome when cycling with barakta, who uses a radio mic under my jersey to feed her hearing aid, so she hears me clearly over the traffic and without wind noise, but I can't hear her[1].

There was an amusing incident on a ride some years ago where she was complaining about massive amounts of FM radio interference.  We eventually worked out that she was hearing the leaves of the nearby trees rustling in the wind; a sound she'd never heard before because any wind strong enough to rustle leaves would swamp her hearing aid's internal microphone.


[1] We have similar problems in the kitchen, where her hearing aid filters out sounds like the microwave, running water or kettle boiling, so she doesn't speak loudly enough.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Kim

  • Timelord
Some TVs have a virtual surround sound option.  If you set it to normal stereo, you can suddenly hear dialogue clearly.
  The fancy processing is just no good.  You've probably tried that already.

Is 'virtual surround' a posh term for "put one speaker out of phase"?  If so, I'm not surprised...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Note that the sensorineural hearing loss described by the OP, and most age-related hearing loss, isn't the type that bone conduction helps with.  Unless the middle ear is damaged or the ear canal obstructed, bone conduction will be no more effective than normal air-conduction headphones.  (Though may of course have other advantages, such as comfort).  Which isn't to say that headphones won't help with watching the telly by improving the signal to noise ratio in a noisy room.

If you use hearing aids, by far the optimum solution is to get the audio signal into them directly, rather than acoustically.  Eg. using DAI cables, induction loop systems or Bluetooth.

Kim, I assume this requires a particular sort of hearing aid?  I have worn standard issue NHS hearing aids for about a year now, and my hearing seems to be getting worse, originally I only ever wore them when watching telly, but now whenever I need to hear a group conversation I need them.  I seem to have lost mostly the top end, which suggests it may have been the racing two stroke motorcycles in the 70's, rather than the Led Zeppelin addiction which is still going on, that damaged it.  Folk wearing Covid masks don't help, as they seem to knock off the higher frequencies more than lower ones. 

I've used Aftershokz bone conduction headphones for Zoom meetings, so I can hear myself speak (which I can't when wearing enclosed headphones) and they've definitely helped, as I can wear my hearing aids whilst using them, which is not possible with enclosed headphones.  I must explore the idea of bluetooth on the telly, does this not cut out the speakers?  Obviously Mrs W wants to hear the telly the normal way, and sadly, can hear a gnat farting from several hundred metres, so doesn't like the sound up high.
Wombat