Centre Speaker or Soundbar

We’re not avid watchers of the TV aside from the news and the occasional film so it isn’t the goal to get a great setup. However my wife’s hearing isn’t all it was and finds it hard to understand voices sometimes, usually on films or TV drama programs. Now I wouldn’t think for a minute that they are badly recorded to the extent that they become un understandable so I figure it must be something in the coding as the news which is predominantly speech is fine. We used to have a AV2 until it broke, that was good and no problems at all with that. Currently we have a cheapish soundbar and an output into the Tuner input on the 52 which helps to an extent.

We don’t really want to add to the box count as we won’t have the room when we eventually move house but think maybe another soundbar type thing might do the trick but I haven’t found many that promise good speech sound quality other than the Sennheiser AMBEO which given the amount of TV we watch seems a little pricey and probably over complicated but if we need to pay that much so be it but less would be better, any ideas?

You may be off looking at the Sony Wireless Handy TV Speaker SRS-LSR200. This connects to the TV sound output and is placed next to the person to enhance the sound.

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Thanks, never heard of that before, interesting, certainly an option, it would need a TV upgrade too as our TV isn’t wireless

No TV upgrade needed. The supplied charging base [1] connects to the TV sound output [A] and transmits to the speaker unit [2].

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Awesome, thank you :+1:

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Most modern TVs have poor sound quality, sacrificed in the interests of a slim case and minimal frame around or beneath the screen. I keep thinking I should get a soundbar to improve sound clarity and voice intelligibility of our TV (Panasonic 50” plasma), so this thread has interest for me, too. I wouldn’t want to spend more than a couple of £hundred, preferably less: these caught my eye in a recent search of reviews, but I hadn’t finished looking into them or alternatives:
Denon DHT-S216
Bose Solo 5

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I have no advice here. Just want to voice my dismay how SQ has gotten so much worst over time with TVs. I get it, the screen is slim. Provided the bezel is small, does it make that much difference between screen an inch thick as opposed to paper thin? Some thin models make it horrible to plug in power, hdmi, optical, etc. Some have a thicker section in the middle for this reason. To create the impression of being thin, like macbook air or dell xps, just thin out the last inch or two around the edge. I have mine on wall mount so it sticks out a couple of inches. But I love it because I can so easily move the whole unit out to fiddle around with connections. I find it amazing that manufacturers have found a way to make a new line of products and people just sucked it up.

@Innocent_Bystander, why not Yamaha such as yas-109? While I will never get it, the ysp-5600 has 32 drivers, even the ysp-2700 has 16 drivers.

On an unrelated note, I don’t get frameless car rear vision mirror either.

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We have a Klipsch soundbar that we purchased for the same reason of clarity of voices, but we also wanted the music and movie experience to be as good as possible. In the shop I listened to 3 or 4 different bars, and the Klipsch with it’s horn tweeters and 100 watt amp, sounded the best by far; especially for the price. It was $600 cad about three years back, so maybe 7 or 800 now.

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Cambridge Audio make a couple of sound bases that sit under the TV. They give much better sound quality over a sound bar.

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If space allows, how about some active speakers like KEF LS50 wireless or Genelec monitors? Just a thought, might be totally impractical!

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I use a Mu-So mk1 as a sound bar and it’s very good.

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We have a Canton Soundbase which is excellent.

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I think there are some suggestions here that are missing the point! Given that you already have the signal routed through your Naim system, you’re hardly going to want an extra amp and pair of speakers in the room.
A Muso or soundbase type speaker is generally a full range thing, so I can’t see that helping to make voices stand out more clearly. I can see that a dedicated centre speaker could help, but only if it’s fed from an AV amp with a proper centre channel, with any low frequencies and background sounds sent elsewhere. If that requires a separate AV amp which I suspect might be a step too far. Which I guess brings us back to the little Sony speaker which I can see might work well here.

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These noted, thanks, though the 2700 is rather pricey given that the 7.1 projection is beyond what we need for TV use. The problem is how to choose between the myriad available, other than picking a price point (I picked £200 max) and seeking out comparative reviews… Home demo might be an unrealistic expectation, though I would buy from somewhere that offers return and refund in case my choice proves unsuitable.

I had thought of that, but the cheapest I’ve seen is about £700, which I think is rather expensive.

Not suggesting to get the ysp-2700 (16 drivers) or ysp-5600 (32 drivers) (and sorry for my typo). They are rather expensive although I don’t doubt they might sound good and loud with a fair amount of power behind them. Yamaha yas-109 has a “clear voice” mode, bose doesn’t have any according to rtings, denon has 3 dialogue enhancement modes.

I have never looked at soundbars (yet) but noticed some community user complaining the bose solo 5 is no louder than the tv (not that loudness = clarity). Like all things, definitely suggest have a listen before dropping cash on it.

Apparently, Yamaha yas-108 is the same as yas-109 without Alexa support. Review below from rtings for both so hopefully there is some consistency. :slight_smile:

Bose Solo 5 reviews:

Yamaha YAS-108 review:

Denon DHT-S216:

Thanks!

TV loudness capability is more tgan adequate - it is clarity that it lacks more than anything. A bit more bass would also be an advantage (and I note some soundbars have wireless subs), but not essential as any serious movie watching is in another room with projectir and surround system.

Sorry I am no expert in this so reading as I go. What I learnt about Yamaha is this:

  • YAS-108 = 2 channel soundbar
  • YAS-109 = YAS-108 + Alexa support
  • YAS-209 = YAS-109 + subwoofer

A good soundbar makes a world of difference, but it has to be good. The voice is definitely far better, natural and distinct. I did all this nearly a couple of years ago and been very happy. The key to get the best out of mine was to go analogue from to tv to soundbar and add a subwoofer to the soundbar. Don’t ignore good cables between, which does add up.

The Sennheiser AMBEO does look very good. It appears to have analogue input and subwoofer out (well done Sennheiser). It wasn’t available when I chose mine, but would be top of the list now.

There is something to be said about the simplicity of an isolated tv audio set-up away from the Naim gear.

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I don’t know about the OP, but the Sennheiser AMBEO Is way OTT for my purpose, by a factor of 10 in price! (And probably at least £1000 more one expensive than a new TV if the existing one were to die now…)

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Tell me about it! Yes if it’s the best solution to enable my wife to enjoy the TV then I’ll happily pay but I’d much rather pay £200 if I could, we don’t really need a full AV setup. The Sony HT-ST5000 is another that might fit the bill, still expensive but it does have a specific facility on it to enhance the voices but I have only just found it so not had a chance to look into it yet