What's with my TV's speakers?
November 12, 2006 7:10 PM   Subscribe

What's wrong with my TV's speakers?

I have a Sansui of some sort (I got it used, so I don't know the model number offhand), and for some strange reason the audio seems... backward. This isn't to say that the stereo is reversed.

Instead, I have a rather more unusual problem: loud sounds are quiet, and quiet sounds are loud. I have no idea what's causing this, and naturally this has rather detrimental effects on a whole lot of the stuff that's on TV, because the background music has a nasty habit of overpowering the muted voices.

Any idea what's causing this, and, more importantly, how to fix this?
posted by DoctorFedora to Technology (13 answers total)
Has it been like this the entire time you've owned it or did it start recently? About how old is the TV?
posted by winston at 7:26 PM on November 12, 2006

It's always been the case. I don't know how old the TV is -- I got it used about three months ago, but it seems reasonably new. It's a 27" (or so) model with SVHS input, so it can't be THAT old.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:28 PM on November 12, 2006

If it's always been like this, I wonder if the speakers are wired out of phase? That would be consistent with the speech / music level problem. Long story.

If it is indeed a phase reversal, you'd need to take the cover off the set and get to the speaker wires to fix it. And taking apart TV sets can be lethal, no joke.
posted by intermod at 7:30 PM on November 12, 2006

I had a TV that did the same thing. I was told to change the audio to mono. Mine was on stereo or surround, I don't remember. But changing it to mono did help.
posted by JujuB at 7:47 PM on November 12, 2006

The problem in my case is that my TV's only audio settings are to "Stereo" or "Surround," both of which have this problem. It does actually have audio output RCA jacks, which may fix the problem, though I haven't had a chance to try it out yet.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:00 PM on November 12, 2006

I've had cheap speakers that seemed to have that kind of effect. But for me it was just the speakers' inability to express deeper sounds, so people with lower voices would easily get drowned out by middle/high sounds when the volume was up. Are the kinds of sounds you are hearing all confined to one part of the--err, spectrum?
posted by Phyltre at 8:12 PM on November 12, 2006

Check to see if there's a setting in the TV's setup menu that compresses the dynamic range of the sound. It might be labeled as Loudness, Movie Mode, Compression, Dynamic Something, etc.

Basically, such a setting would crank up the quiet stuff so it's more audible, while turning down the loud stuff, such that the end result is that you can hear everything, and nothing, clearly.
posted by herrdoktor at 8:42 PM on November 12, 2006

Ah, on Sansui TVs, it might be labeled as "Turbo Sound." So says the search engine.
posted by herrdoktor at 8:43 PM on November 12, 2006

Don't have "Turbo Sound." Closest it gets is "Stable Sound." I've tried turning that off, but it doesn't help too much (though it does help).
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:17 AM on November 13, 2006

I agree with herrdoktor, and I would also check anything else your signal runs through (e.g., cable box, tivo, etc.) for similar settings.
posted by SampleSize at 7:24 AM on November 13, 2006

Signal runs through the wall, and then a cable. Nothing there to affect the sound. : \ Additionally, like I said, no "Turbo Sound" setting on there, and "Stable Sound" makes only a small difference.

Maybe I just need to track down some external speakers.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:47 AM on November 13, 2006

Stable Sound is probably the same feature herrdoktor is talking about.

Maybe the TV just never gets out of surround sound mode, even though the onscreen display thinks it does.. Can you perceive any difference when you switch from one to the other?

Does it have L/R balance control? You could see what happens when you set it all the way to one side or the other. If you don't have balance, try feeding audio from a VCR; stereo, and one channel at a time.
posted by Chuckles at 10:51 PM on November 13, 2006

I am a bit late to the party here, but I have to jump in here to say that I just found this thread on a search because my computer speakers sounded weird (bass and background music louder than the vocals). I tried turning the "surround" all the way down. Problem fixed! Thanks metafilter.
posted by mai at 8:04 PM on August 27, 2007

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