Sonos Playbar sound issue? Dialogues in movies/shows are not easy to understand fully.

  • 25 October 2015
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92 replies

Sonos Team,

I am a new customer to Sonos. I love the way the music sounds, but as everyone else on this thread has already said, including my wife who complains to me every night about this issue, the TV/Netflix/Movie dialogue is terrible. This issue needs to be resolved. I am surprised that it's been 5 months since the first post and there still isn't a solution in place?

This particular issue is making one of our favorite past times a pain. One of the main reasons we purchased Sonos was to enhance our movie/TV audio experience, not make it worse. I expected more out of a $700 speaker to say the least.

Regards,
Andrew - TX
Userlevel 5
Badge +11
Submit a diagnostic to Sonos and report it here.
Hello Sonos team,

I take the opprtunity to emphasize previous posts.
So, two months ago, I replaced my JVC amp (very good job for more than 15 years:P) + 2 classic speakers + chromecast by Sonos playbar.
Unfortunately, I'm facing two important problems :

1.
Exact same sound issue as previous people with TV / movies
Even though sound is quite good for music, it's very painful to get good balance between voices and other sounds for HD TV or movies read from Blueray or PC or PS4...
It seems that no equalizer exists that would workaround the problem.
I tried "night mode" or clear voice options but, as already said in previous posts, it does not solve anything.:(


2.
I cannot disable TV speakers (Panasonic TXP50VT20), it leads to overlapping sounds from TV and playbar with a tiny delay between them
I found a workaround that consists in muting (or decreasing sound until 0) TV sound , BUT when I use TV remote controller to increase playbar sound, TV sound is increased as well, it leads to previous overlapping sound issue :@
So , I still need to have my phone/tablet close to me to adjust playbar sound, very painful again.


Finally,
Q1 : Do you plan to update Sonos app to fix that ? equalizer, presets ....
Q2 : Is there any other 3rd-party app that would allow more configuration ?
Q3 : Any tricks to disable/workaround the 2nd issue ?

Waiting for your feedbacks soon.

Regards,
Alex (missing his amp...)
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Hello Sonos team,

I take the opprtunity to emphasize previous posts.
So, two months ago, I replaced my JVC amp (very good job for more than 15 years:P) + 2 classic speakers + chromecast by Sonos playbar.
Unfortunately, I'm facing two important problems :

1.
Exact same sound issue as previous people with TV / movies
Even though sound is quite good for music, it's very painful to get good balance between voices and other sounds for HD TV or movies read from Blueray or PC or PS4...
It seems that no equalizer exists that would workaround the problem.
I tried "night mode" or clear voice options but, as already said in previous posts, it does not solve anything.:(


2.
I cannot disable TV speakers (Panasonic TXP50VT20), it leads to overlapping sounds from TV and playbar with a tiny delay between them
I found a workaround that consists in muting (or decreasing sound until 0) TV sound , BUT when I use TV remote controller to increase playbar sound, TV sound is increased as well, it leads to previous overlapping sound issue :@
So , I still need to have my phone/tablet close to me to adjust playbar sound, very painful again.


Finally,
Q1 : Do you plan to update Sonos app to fix that ? equalizer, presets ....
Q2 : Is there any other 3rd-party app that would allow more configuration ?
Q3 : Any tricks to disable/workaround the 2nd issue ?

Waiting for your feedbacks soon.

Regards,
Alex (missing his amp...)


I highly suggest you give support a call and talk through your specific issues with them
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
I highly suggest you give support a call and talk through your specific issues with them

Good suggestion Stuart.




Q1 : Do you plan to update Sonos app to fix that ? equalizer, presets ....
Q2 : Is there any other 3rd-party app that would allow more configuration ?
Q3 : Any tricks to disable/workaround the 2nd issue ?


We're constantly trying to improve audio, so yes, you can expect to see changes in the future. We don't share timelines or a roadmap so unfortunately that's about the best information I can offer right now.

On your third question, you could try plugging a headphone jack into the TV and see if that mutes the TV speakers.
I highly suggest you give support a call and talk through your specific issues with them

Good suggestion Stuart.




Q1 : Do you plan to update Sonos app to fix that ? equalizer, presets ....
Q2 : Is there any other 3rd-party app that would allow more configuration ?
Q3 : Any tricks to disable/workaround the 2nd issue ?


We're constantly trying to improve audio, so yes, you can expect to see changes in the future. We don't share timelines or a roadmap so unfortunately that's about the best information I can offer right now.

On your third question, you could try plugging a headphone jack into the TV and see if that mutes the TV speakers.



Ryan,

His this sound issue with playbar been resolved?
My wife is complaining to me every day about the sound issues and we have to watch tv constantly putting volume up and down.
Badge
Dear Sonos,


Please work on the improvement of the Playbar Voice quality.

Thanks,
Marco
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
HI Marco and Miggs, there isn't a specific "issue" that's identified here. From what we've seen and experienced TV and movie audio usually sounds awesome through the various Sonos configurations possible. We're constantly trying to tweak things to get them even better, but no known issue exists right now that's being looked into with the need for a solution.

As first recommended, if you have trouble separating the audio with the vocals for programs the "Speech Enhancement" mode works wonders usually. If you have a specific problem which comes up a lot we'd love to take a closer look. There may be an issue with a specific type of device or broadcast that hasn't been identified yet, and if that's the case we'd love to find and resolve it.

If you do have trouble that keeps coming up can you please give us a call on our support line and work with a technician to get a closer look into things?
Having the exact same issue with dialogue being very difficult to understand. I have tried the aforementioned modes of voice and night mode. No luck. I am thinking I made a bad choice in this system. I have had it about two weeks, may just have to return to Bestbuy. I am running through my Xbox One with the included optical. I was using the optical through my 65 inch Samsung but due to voice delay and at numerous times no voice track and... the Sonos not being able to fix it through the voice setting, I hooked up directly to Xboxone. Now there is voice with sometimes a slight delay, but mostly the poor clarity in the dialogue. It just sounds too low with the background tracks too high. Please update and fix Sonos.
Like the firat comment said. Speech enhancement worked for me. Had this thing for 6 months before i finally got fed up and googled it haha
Hello, I found a setting in the sonos app today that has solved all of my problems with the ambient sound being too loud.

I went into settings, then room settings then picked my room, then advanced audio, then surround settings. The tv level adjustment was set to max. I reduced that to around the middle and the sound levels are so much better.

This has made a huge difference to me, I hope it helps you guys out m
Plenty of folks are reporting the same problem with voices being unclear. For Sonos to respond with saying there is no reported issue is a little derogatory to the people reporting these issues. Dialog/Voice Enhancements work a little bit to improve the situation, but this setting makes the voices sound thin and artificial, unworthy of a $700 playbar in combination with a $700 sub and $400 worth of Play 1 speakers as surrounds. For the $1800 people spend, adding a simple software setting to raise the volume of the speaker dedicated voices, shouldn't be too much to ask,

I was also unpleasantly surprised that when I hooked up the optical audio from the TV to the playbar, and then the Xbox One to the HDMI input on the TV, this didn't work and after some Googling found that my Sharp Aquos TV is not supported by Sonos. As a workaround, I plugged in the optical audio from the Xbox and changed the Xbox sound output setting to bitstream.

Perhaps this is a reason why the voices are unclear and the volume during 5.1 surround movies seems to get louder, softer, then to muffled...?
Ok, friends, I have an answer!!! I own an RCA 55" Digital Television. I went in to my TV menu and adjusted the sound settings. I turned Surround Sound to OFF. I turned the Equalizer settings to USER. I adjusted EQ Settings so that the lowest bass is lower, midrange higher and high treble slightly lower. (Basically making a sound wave that I like) Then I set the Digital Audio Output to RAW. The result is CRYSTAL CLEAR SOUND in movies and music from my Sonos system. Use this idea and check the settings in everything that feeds the SONOS so that nothing else but the SONOS is processing the audio signal. THAT, my friends will improve your movie watching experience. Happy viewing!
Wait!? Does TonyDancer's solution (to change the EQ settings on the TV) work? I'm just about to buy a PlayBar, mostly to improve dialogue clarity for streaming (Netflix, HBO Now, etc.). My Samsung TV offers a "Clear Voice" EQ preset, which I just tried and it does, indeed, clear up the mid-ranges while sacrificing some bass. However, I do not see an option to set the Digital Audio output to RAW, so I am uncertain if the Samsung TV is going to output "Clear Voice." Here's a question: in a TV+PlayBar setup, what is processing the sound — the TV? The PlayBar? Both?
Hey BradleyK.... (and others)

Samsung TVs should have a PCM setting which outputs 24mbps that will send a clear signal to the SONOS Playbar. Look to see also if the Samsung has a Dolby Digital output. The transmission rate is lower, but should still be nice. If you have the TV outputting "Clear Voice" then the Playbar is processing an oversampled signal which it will then distort and create a problem in your final product. If you are outputting from the TV to the Sonos, you want the TV to be doing zero processing. Another alternative is to hook your source directly to the Sonos. This is ideal if you only have one source (Like an AppleTV or such.) If you have multiple sources, then try to make sure that the TV is sending a pure unprocessed digital signal for the Sonos to equalize. Best of luck. Let me know if you need any further help!
Hey BradleyK.... (and others)

Samsung TVs should have a PCM setting which outputs 24mbps that will send a clear signal to the SONOS Playbar. Look to see also if the Samsung has a Dolby Digital output. The transmission rate is lower, but should still be nice. If you have the TV outputting "Clear Voice" then the Playbar is processing an oversampled signal which it will then distort and create a problem in your final product. If you are outputting from the TV to the Sonos, you want the TV to be doing zero processing. Another alternative is to hook your source directly to the Sonos. This is ideal if you only have one source (Like an AppleTV or such.) If you have multiple sources, then try to make sure that the TV is sending a pure unprocessed digital signal for the Sonos to equalize. Best of luck. Let me know if you need any further help!


Thanks for the detailed info, TonyDancer! This Samsung TV doesn't have a Dolby Digital output. But your second thought might be just the ticket: I think I could connect my AppleTV directly to the PlayBar (HDMI) — that's 95% of our viewing. And for the occasional DVD I could go from the DVD player straight to the TV and not use the PlayBar.
Sonos staff, adding to complaints by many others - the speech sound quality on Playbar is dreadful and I'm surprised that Sonos is basically ignoring it. While I have tried to enhance sound following all the SONOS recommendations I haven't yet tried Tony Dancer's suggestion as it sounds like a lot of fiddling to fix a problem that Sonos should be resolving for all users.

I hope someone at Sonos is doing something about it as because it is such black mark against an otherwise excellent product range.

Joe
Userlevel 3
Badge +2
Definitely think the playbar needs a setting to adjust the volume of the centre channel. On my previous surround sound you could adjust the level of every one of the speakers depending on the distance it was from the seating area. This problem with the dialogue seems to be exaggerated when the seating area is quite far from the playbar.
I'm the previous poster who had pre-sales questions about setting up a Playbar and AppleTV — and concerns about dialogue clarity. I've now purchased a Playbar and must say that I've very impressed with the product and dialog clarity is very good, and enhanced significantly when both Speech Enhancement and Night Sound are turned on in the Sonos app. The Sonos Speech Enhancement approach might be technically more sophisticated than having volume control over the center channel?
I'm the previous poster who had pre-sales questions about setting up a Playbar and AppleTV — and concerns about dialogue clarity. I've now purchased a Playbar and must say that I've very impressed with the product and dialog clarity is very good, and enhanced significantly when both Speech Enhancement and Night Sound are turned on in the Sonos app. The Sonos Speech Enhancement approach might be technically more sophisticated than having volume control over the center channel?

Plus as of today, you get Trueplay for Playbar.
Hi all - I've got mediocre dialog sound on the Playbar as well - I'm running it from a projector to a bridge... but the voices are muffled.
As I'm direct out of a TV I seem to have different set-up. Can anyone direct me to the app based access to speech enhancement and night sound please?

Thanks -

I agree with everything said - I've been on the Sonos system a long time and I'm pretty galled by the lack of upgrades for the problems mentioned above. Hard to get the thousands of dollars out and feeling rather stuck to this system for my home theater setup as a result. I'd like to see Sonos oak-up and sort this stuff out.
Userlevel 5
Badge +11
The latest software update improved the centre channel considerably.if you think it is still bad then your hopes are truly dashed. You have updated the software?

If you are unable to locate a basic feature why not take a look around the screen or use Google where you will learn a considerable amount to enable you to get the best out of your speakers amd how to use them. You may find one, or more, of your settings are causing your problems.
Hey Boredo - Yeah, I'm up on the latest everything... in my questions above I requested help finding those settings. I am aware of google and I know how to "look around the screen." I was asking the community for help. Thanks.
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Glad I found this thread. I thought I bought a POS sound bar. Sonos, you MUST put the instructions in the setup to turn off surround sound on the TV. Now my sound bar sounds awesome. I've had it for about 3-4 months and had to turn on close caption to watch movies, sports, pretty much everything. Now speech is crystal clear.
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Hey Boredo - Yeah, I'm up on the latest everything... in my questions above I requested help finding those settings. I am aware of google and I know how to "look around the screen." I was asking the community for help. Thanks.

If you need any help let me know. I'd be glad to send you screen shots of how I fixed my sound bar. Email me at bsmithw6@gmail.com