How Do I Boost the Dialogue Level on My TV?

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Q I want to amplify just the dialogue on my TV. Is it possible to do that? —Glenn Goudeau

A It depends on your TV. Many sets provide a range of enhancement modes in their audio setup menu to help shape the sound for different types of programs. You can usually find some type of proprietary dialogue enhancement mode—Sony’s calls its version ClearAudio+, for example, while LG has Clear Voice II. A number of newer Samsung TVs offer DTS Studio Sound processing, which incorporates a feature called TruDialog that, in DTS’s words “...allows for the application of enhancement algorithms designed to permit the speech to be clearly heard and understood in the presence of high levels of ambient information.” Hmmm...could that be the ticket?

I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high: The speakers on most flat-panel TVs are insufficient for anything beyond casual TV viewing. When watching a movie with a dynamic, multilayered soundtrack, it will often be the case that dialogue, music and sound effects blend together into an incoherent mess when the volume is pushed anywhere past a moderate level. A much better solution would be to invest in an AV receiver and 5.1 speaker system or a good soundbar. You can get a decent soundbar/wireless subwoofer package for as little as $250 that will embarrass your TV’s built-in speakers. At minimum, you’ll be able to hear dialogue better.

gunhed's picture

As a general rule, the thinner the tv the worse the sound. It has always amazed me the way supposed videophiles are in awe at how thin the latest set is. It may not compromise the image, or enhance it for that matter, but does compromise sound. Unless you watch your tv at a 90 degree angle, who cares how thin it is ! I am assuming Glenn has a recent model lcd with terrible speakers and is asking purely about tv/cable/streaming video. If so the most cost effective solution would be a soundbar with a dialog enhancer built in. There are a few brands that have this feature. If he means Blu ray as well then check the settings on the player.

boulderskies's picture

Why make it so complicated? Dialog is mostly concentrated in the center channel. With any decent AVR, the center channel can be boosted (increased).