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Xfinity sound quality

Discussion in 'BYTE ME: Technology discussion' started by Koufax, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Koufax

    Koufax Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    4,150
    I have Xfinity and find the sound quality so mushy that dialogue, particularly if in a foreign accent, is indecipherable. I thought that it was the speaker in the TV, so I connected the sound out of the TV to an amplifier that feeds perfectly adequate bookshelf speakers. Still the voices are mushy. While I am old enough to need a hearing aid, I don't think it's my hearing. I have no problem with voices in real life, or on CDs or over the radio in my car.

    Do others have a problem with the sound quality over cable? Is Verizon better than Xfinity in that regard? Is a special speaker the answer? It is possibly the circuitry in the TV that is at fault? I have a Samsung plasma, the picture quality of which is fabulous. I'd hate to give it up.

    Thoughts? Recommendations?
     
  2. 88 MVP

    88 MVP Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    246
    How are you feeding the audio signal from your cable box to the TV or receiver? I assume HDMI, but if it’s over analog maybe it’s just a poor DAC in your cable box and using an alternative connection would fix the issue
     
  3. Koufax

    Koufax Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    4,150
    Thanks for the suggestion. I think it's HDMI but I'll check when I get home tonight.
     
  4. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    12,695
    "Mushy" is very vague. If it's not your ears the other major possibility is related to Dolby Digital sound: In a lot of recent content dialog is mixed to be primarily in the Center Channel. When allocated to anything 2 speaker (the ridiculous excuses for speakers in any modern flat screen TV, or any old separate receiver setup) it gets diffuse and could probably be described as mushy. The solution is any modern receiver that has Dolby Digital and then set for at least a 3 speaker setup with a dedicated center channel speaker, which does not have to be anything large...many quality center channel speakers are just 1 or 2 3 or 4" speakers + a tweeter. Dialog clarity gets dramatically better.
     
    #4 Couperin47, Mar 23, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
  5. timlinin8th

    timlinin8th Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Is it possible to use whatever method you used to do this, but instead of coming off the tv come directly from the cable box? Will eliminate the TV from the equation. Also, have you checked the cable box for any audio settings?

    Honestly though, a lot of TV broadcasts have less-than-wonderful audio, especially when they convert movies that have Dolby 7.1 and squash it into two audio channels, a lot of times the “center” channel (which carries the bulk of dialogue) ends up getting crushed by everything else. Uncertain if that is part of what you are describing as ‘mushy’.

    *edit, or what Couperin said in the post directly above mine*
     
  6. Koufax

    Koufax Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    4,150
    That's a very interesting suggestion. There are some serious wiring challenges going on with this suggestion, but I could try an ugly temporary wiring solution to try it out first and, if that works, deal with the aesthetic problem. (Oddly, the TV and speakers are on one side of a chimney and the amplifiers are on the other side, with hidden wires running inside the walls behind. It's a long story.)
     
  7. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    12,695
    Sounds like you have a Dolby Sound receiver, hook up a temp center channel, make sure your receiver is at least in 3 speaker if not 5 speaker mode, the default balance usually provides a reasonable boost for the center channel but make sure it's at least slightly 'forward' of the L & R. If you were not careful to staple the speaker wires to the studs during installation (not really necessary as they carry no real current...) you can try using one existing wire to pull an extra new one...also remember, ideally you want the center channel speaker directly below or above the Screen...

    I have a 6 speaker Mirage setup (high quality company but sold to Klipsch who then were absorbed by Audiovox which killed half their brands). Something like this would be above average, we're talking about a 10.5" x 4.2" x 5" deep box that weights under 5 lb.
     
  8. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

    Messages:
    25,299
    You should be able to account for this by making sure your decoder is set to 2.0 output correctly (rather than to 5.1 with just 2 speakers plugged in). A competent decoder in 2.0 mode (or 4.0 mode) should allocate the center mix with the l/r mixes between your speakers.
     
  9. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    12,695
    Well yes and no. Older receivers, in my experience, included Dolby Digital decoders that were 'less than optimally competent' by your definition. Using any setup that is selected for anything but 2 speaker or 2 speaker + sub is clearly going to bury dialog if there is no actual center speaker. What complicates the matter is while movies are always encoded and balanced correctly, the majority of TV sound is also now Dolby Digital and the mixing emanating from many sources is often very strangely balanced, especially on anything broadcasting live in Dolby Digital.
     
  10. jk333

    jk333 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,249
    Samsung Plasma TVs have a sound enhancement for conversation in the main menu. I don’t know if this performed through compression or equalization but it is worth a shot as well. It’s within the TVs main menu.

    Best not to need it but it could be a simple solution.
     

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