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Is it just me? It seems that increasingly, more and more television programs play continuous background music that actually drowns out the dialog and makes it difficult to hear what the characters are saying. My wife and I first noticed it a few years ago when FOX had a program that we used to watch. (Sleepy Hollow - it was a fun show.) We stopped watching it specifically because we could no longer hear the dialog.

Doesn't happen all the time, but more shows seem to be ramping up the back gound music (especially during action sequences) to the point that it is downright distracting. I understand I am getting older. But I don't think advancing age is the cause. I've heard the same from younger viewers as well. And without the background music I have no problem whatsoever hearing the dialog. None. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the same thing?
 
Posts: 562 | Location: New Jersey  | Registered: May 03, 2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm going to guess that you're using basic stereo (left/right) speakers, and probably the ones built into your TV.

There have been several similar threads recently, such as this one: http://sigforum.com/eve/forums...0601935/m/3990090084. Check out my response there.

Basically, most TV and movie soundtracks these days aren't mixed for basic stereo speakers, and the tiny cheap stereo speakers built into almost every TV these days are worthless anyway.

You may need to adjust the sound settings on your TV, to see if there's an option for Stereo, and/or an option for a Dialogue/Speech Boost. And you'll likely want to invest in a speaker system or soundbar with a dedicated center (dialogue) speaker, for best results.
 
Posts: 27248 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
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No, RogueJSK, the OP's right: They've made the music soundtracks so dominant in more recent movies and TV shows that, coupled with poor enunciation, the dialogue is exceedingly difficult to make out.

It doesn't help, in my case, that my hearing is crap, but my wife has the same problem and her hearing is terrific.

No, in our case it's not the sound system. We have a 5.1 Dolby/DTS system and I've got the center channel speaker boosted by at least 3dB. Possibly more.

We hardly ever watch anything w/o subtitles turned on, these days.

Btw: We can watch older movies and TV shows w/o subtitles easily.




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Posts: 19806 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Try lowering the levels on the l/ r speakers. The receiver won’t work as hard. Also some receivers have a limiter or night mode. This will reduce the dynamic range of what you are listening to.
The center speaker is usually dialog and the rest are music and effects. If you level them, dialog may be easier to hear. Ymmv

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Bob at the Beach,





 
Posts: 1454 | Location: Boardwalk, Va Beach | Registered: March 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've noticed this as well and it irritates me even if I can still make out the dialog. It seems to me this is a crutch to cover poor acting, writing and directing. I wish they would record movies and shows with the option to completely turn off this annoying background mood music, or do a better job of editing so it makes sense for the scene and doesn't go on none stop throughout the program.

See the Fargo series for excellent use of music.
https://www.menshealth.com/ent...-4-soundtrack-songs/



Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.

-D.H. Lawrence
 
Posts: 10173 | Location: Fort Worth, Texas | Registered: February 07, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It's gotten so bad for me that I run closed captioning on shows. Glad to know it's not just me.
 
Posts: 1308 | Registered: April 24, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am glad my wife and I are not thr only one to notice. Its a pain in the ass.


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Posts: 560 | Registered: July 12, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This drives me BSC to.Worse is filming in the dark, vague things moving on the screen. Old movies where one candle lit up a room while not realistic at least you could see what was going on.
 
Posts: 60 | Location: Ma. | Registered: November 18, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We've noticed similar. Often can't make out what the characters are saying, and the music and effects are way too loud.
 
Posts: 3514 | Location: North Carolina | Registered: August 16, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Thank you
Very little
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Yep, way too much background sound/music the characters are run over constantly, and it's not the settings. Some shows it's darn impossible to make out the conversation.



 
Posts: 16802 | Location: FL | Registered: November 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had this issue with a new sound bar that went away as soon as I turned off the "virtual surround sound" on it.

If you have a sound bar, check for this setting or even on your TV with built-in speakers. It's crap.


 
Posts: 27368 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: November 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by PASig:
I had this issue with a new sound bar that went away as soon as I turned off the "virtual surround sound" on it.

If you have a sound bar, check for this setting or even on your TV with built-in speakers. It's crap.


Thanks for the tip. If your gear has that setting I'm sure it will help. But fact of the matter is.... just stop it film makers. It's annoying your audience unless like most Hollywood types annoying the people who pay your bills is sport.



Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.

-D.H. Lawrence
 
Posts: 10173 | Location: Fort Worth, Texas | Registered: February 07, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are some good tips here which I am grateful for. Maybe some of these will at least ameliorate the problem. I'll check them out. Regardless, this excessively loud background music is a lousy feature of too much of the entertainment industry.
 
Posts: 562 | Location: New Jersey  | Registered: May 03, 2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the tips on the settings. Both my wife (who has perfect hearing) and I noticed we couldn’t hear voices unless we cranked the volume way up. I went into the settings on our tv, and low & behold, there is a “Clear Voice” setting for the sound. We went from a volume in the 30s or higher down to a volume setting in the teens (on a scale of 0-100).
 
Posts: 1112 | Location: Arid Zone A | Registered: February 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Seems the TV makers and home theater systems makers understand this issue (thus the 'Clear Voice/Dialogue/Speech Boost' settings mentioned above.)

If they gave Academy Awards for the "clearest dialogue in a soundtrack"...then maybe the audio engineers at the studios might care as much.

As it is, yes, you have to fiddle with sound settings on your TV/receiver, and often tweak the relative loudness of your system's various home theater speakers on your own to get the clearest dialogue out of the content, given your setup and room enviroment.

A better center channel speaker would help, for sure. If you can't tweak what you have to get adequate clarity, that might be worth trying. If so, I'd suggest getting it from a place with friendly return policies, and being careful to save the box/accessories while setting it up, in case it doesn't do what you want and you need to return it.
 
Posts: 13687 | Location: North Carolina | Registered: October 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are also a lot of movies where the action scene music and effects are deafening then in the next dialogue scene the voices are practically turned down to a slight whisper. I’ve noticed this most at the theater.


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Posts: 2942 | Location: TX | Registered: October 08, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In addition to the all ready stated problems with newer films is the whispering voices of the actors.
 
Posts: 3731 | Location: Chicago, IL, USA: | Registered: November 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you watch any movies from the 30’s 40’and 50’s you’ll notice when an actor is speaking, no background music so the dialog could be heard.Today’s movies are action flash, back then the story line was the important element of the movie.
 
Posts: 4304 | Registered: November 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We have a Sonos sound bar that makes a huge difference, however some movies still are difficult to follow with the music is so loud. When that happens we turn on sub titles. It's amazing how quickly you get accustomed to them being there and not distracting at all.


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is a shame, two is a law firm,
and three or more is a congress.
-- John Adams
 
Posts: 3592 | Location: 1,960' up in Murphy, NC | Registered: January 29, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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