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

  • 25 October 2015
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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?

The sound bar should be the only one processing sound. Sonos setup fails to instruct the user to turn off your TVs surround sound. Then change output to raw (mine says bitstream but I believe is same thing). Use Tonydancers post as the best way as it helped my sound bar tremendously.
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.

What do you mean turn off surround sound on the TV?
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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.

What do you mean turn off surround sound on the TV?


Using your TV remote go in to the Audio and find "surround Sound" (If it has it, check your user manual) and turn it to OFF. What happens is the TV Processes the sound before the Playbar has a chance to process the sound and it mucks it up. The Playbar should have a RAW Bitstream coming into it. I thought I had a pice of shit Playbar. Then I saw this thread and it is awesome sounding now.

Hope that helps.

--Brian S
I have the same sound issue as previous people with TV / movies
Sound is quite good for music, but it's awful to get a good balance between voices and other sounds
I tried "night mode" or clear voice options but, as already said in previous posts, it does not solve anything
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I have the same sound issue as previous people with TV / movies
Sound is quite good for music, but it's awful to get a good balance between voices and other sounds
I tried "night mode" or clear voice options but, as already said in previous posts, it does not solve anything


Paulcrame, did you turn off your TV surround and then select audio output from the TV to be "bit stream" or "Raw". Do those if you have not yet. My Sonos Playbar sounds amazing after I did that.

Let me know.

--Brian Smith
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!

Great advice from TonyDancer! That should be included in the Sonos system set-up guide. In my LG 4K TV I turned off all the audio enhancement options as "smart audio", "ultra surround" etc. + set the TV EQ to flat level on all frequencies. Dialogue improvement is remarkable. Thanks much
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Hello all, just ordered a Sonos Playbar so was a bit disappointed when reading the opening post!. Some great info in this thread, I'll be turning all the audio options off om my TV when it turns up and hope for the best..
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Be a good time to become acquainted with your TV full manual and the settings menus.
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I've got an EDID emulator on the way as well to see if I can coax 5.1 out of my TV optical out but not holding my breath..
I have the same issue with voice sound. My optical is running directly from cable box and my tv speakers are set to OFF. The only option on the cable box I have is to run audio in PCM or 5.1. Dialog improves greatly when PCP (stereo) is selected but my Audio input in Sonos app shows Stereo now. Obviously. So either 5.1 or good dialogue volume.
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


Exactly same issue, i am considering selling and buying a different soundbar
Hello there, Dson. Thanks for posting and welcome to the Community. What exactly are you experiencing? The post you quoted, explains the frustrations of another user about audio quality from their TV. If you'd like I would be happy to take a preliminary look at a diagnostic report. Be sure to submit the report when experiencing the problem, this makes the errors much easier to find in the logs.

Additionally, please reply with the confirmation number it gives at the end. Much appreciated.
Hi Sonos, I have had the same issue with voice sound. When we are watching TV, we have constant difficulty understanding audio re what people are saying…. We too sit there with the remote in hand constantly having to turn up to hear voice and then turn down re background sounds so as not to wake the kids. Definitely not what we signed up for. We have read all the previous posts and I must say for a premium product to only offer telephone support during business hours is not very helpful…

My wife spent 2 hours on the phone with support last Thursday only to be told that Sonos is only as good as the device sending the sound – not very helpful, thanks. Both devices were purchased at the same time and the TV is a Samsung 48” Smarf Full HD 3D LED. Can you please assist with a resolution to this problem as we’re at the point of throwing out the Playbar and buying something else – just os we can hear what people are saying on TV…. Crazy after spending $1,000 on a supposedly top notch speaker.

Background is:
Sonos Playbar purchased Dec-14 (issues has been the same since day 1)
Samsung TV UA48H6400 specs https://www.comx.co.za/SAMSUNG-UA48H6400-specifications-92695.htm
Sonos Diagnostic Info submitted today: 8475017

Your assistance would be much appreciated.
Hi there, AdrianSyd. Thanks for posting and for the diagnostic report. It seems the PLAYBAR is not getting a signal at all from the TV. When you submitted this report were you experiencing the problem? If so, I would check your TV Audio settings to determine what the PLAYBAR should be receiving. Thanks!
Keith, does the diagnostic need to be done whilst the Playbar is in use?
I'll answer. Basically yes. Or at least within 10 or 15 minutes of the problem. There's only so much data that can be included in the diagnostic, I think that 15 minutes of data is included. He'd be looking through that file to see what information the PLAYBAR is receiving (or not), or if there's a error code popping up from somewhere else. But if it's not while the PLAYBAR is in use, then there won't be any data from the PLAYBAR for him to look at 🙂
Thanks Bruce.
You're most welcome. My guess is that Keith's already working on some other issue, and rather than have you wait, since I knew the answer....:)
Keith the new diagnostic confirmation number is: 8495431. The sound on this show is ok but there’s a lag between the pictures and the sound. Thanks.
Thanks, AdrianSyd. When it comes to lag, the thing to focus on is signal processing and signal flow. Let's first gather some details on where the signal is "coming from". Are you watching a Blu-Ray Movie or is this normal TV audio?

If the signal is coming from a cable box (or any external source, for that matter) to the TV, the TV has to read/process the signal and then send that audio to the PLAYBAR for playback. This is usually where the "lag" or "delay" is introduced. We have to wait for the signal to be relayed through the TV to the PLAYBAR pushing the audio signal milliseconds from the video signal being displayed on your TV. This can be tested by plugging the PLAYBAR directly into the cable box. This puts the PLAYBAR as "close" to the source of the signal as possible and may fix the lag. Additionally, there may be some settings on the TV that can be changed to address this, however, I haven't seen too many TV's that can delay video to match the audio output.
Keith - two points. a) it''s via Netflix, and b) how do I change the email address associated with my log-in profile here ie AdrianSyd (I have tried but can't seem to see how....)? Thanks.
Understood. Is Netflix an app on your TV or is this from an AppleTV/Roku? Is the PLAYBAR connected to the TV directly or does it go through another device like an optical switcher?

I can handle the email log in situation. send me a PM with the email address you want it changed to and I'll get you sorted.
It's from AppleTV and the PLAYBAR connected to the TV directly. Thanks.
That is certainly odd. Is it possible that the TV is processing the audio before sending the audio to the PLAYBAR? Are there any audio settings on the TV that could delay the signal? At this point, it may be easier and a better use of your time to give our support technicians a call to troubleshoot this in real time.
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Hi, I just want to add my issues to this thread. I am having the same problems and to be specific. I have to watch every movie with my remote in my hand. During normal scenes with actors talking I need to turn the volume up to hear them. As soon as there is an action scene I am blown off the coach. There is no way to regulate this. I have tried all the tips in this thread such as night mode and speech enhancement nothing works. No real difference at all. Watching a movie used to be one of my most relaxing moments of the day or week but it has become a sheer frustration for the last 8 months. I cannot enjoy my setup anymore because of the sonos playbar.

My setup is as follows : TV is lg65sj8500. The media whether Netflix Amazon or plex is streamed from a roku ultra 2017. I believe the latest model. The TV is connected to the playbar via optical cable all the audio settings on the TV are turned off. I am currently only using the playbar. I have 2 extra play 1s that I intend to hook up behind the couch to create a more surround sound but have not done so yet as I also saw a lot of folks on this thread that already have that but still have that issue

Please help resolve this as I am really ready to sell my 2 playbars and 5 other sonos speakers in the house. I am so frustrated with this. I ran a diagnostics report just now while watching transformers. Same frustration but here is the number. 2087474887