Has Sonos Solved The Dialog Volume Problem?

I have seen many in the Sonos Community complain that the Dialog Volume is too low/soft when watching an action movie in surround sound Dolby 5.1. I am aware of the speech enhancement and night time watching functions as well. Does anyone know whether Sonos has (or is planning on) fixing the issue of barely being able to hear voices/dialog while watching a movie in DD 5.1 surround sound. We watched IP Man 1 last night on BluRay and while the bass and rear surround sound speakers sounded great, we had to keep turning the volume up to hear the dialog/voices during non action scenes and then turn the volume down during the fighting/kungfu/action scenes. Pretty annoying! Anyone know of a solution? I've been looking for a way to manually adjust just the PlayBase volume up without simultaneously turning up all other speakers (2 Play 1s and the Sub), but I am not finding a way to do that (yet). Help!

12 replies

I suspect that only a full featured 5 speaker - or at least a 3 speaker with one centre channel - home theatre set up will allow you to independently control the volume of each channel which is the only good solution to this. The centre channel volume can then be left higher than that from the front speaker pair to the extent needed to address this; that channel is dedicated to dialogues.

The only other solution, that I often use at night, is subtitles.
Thanks Kumar... the Sonos system I have is the Playbase, 2 Play 1s and a Sub, so that's 4 speakers ... still not entirely sure if I can independently adjust only the Playbase (which outputs the primary dialog). Any other suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.
Userlevel 5
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Use Trueplay to hone the sound. The centre channel seemed to get considerably better after that.
Thanks!! I'll try that.
l not entirely sure if I can independently adjust only the Playbase (which outputs the primary dialog).
Unfortunately, you cannot do this as directly to affect dialogue as you can with the dedicated center channel speaker in the usual HT set up that outputs dialog almost entirely. The Playbase has to do a lot more than dialogue, in the absence of the front speaker pair and this compromise has a consequence.

If all the suggestions you get here are not as effective as you would like them to be, subtitles may be the only workaround.
Userlevel 6
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I turned the Sub and Surrounds down, so the Playbar has a relatively higher volume.

I think it's how the 5.1 is mastered thats the problem.

Maybe an option to turn turn up the Speech Enhancement (5 levels?) would be an improvement?.
This issue hasn't gone away. I have the Sonos Playbar, Sub and Sonos Play1's for a 5.1 setup. It is almost impossible to hear clear dialogue from the Sonos Playbar when watching movies or streamed tv series. When we adjust volume in order to hear dialogue we are treated with a blast of much too loud sound when the scene changes. I have tried all the tweaks and adjustments and nothing really works. I have been a professional musician and have owned numerous high end speaker systems. Sonos build quality and wi-fi based connectivity is excellent and is quite good for music but entirely awful for tv dialogue. Should not need to use close captioning or subtitles to solve the problem !
Unless Sonos comes up with a solution I am unfortunately going to explore other options and sell the Sonos system.

Does anyone know if Sonos is even seriously addressing this ?
Hi All,

I was experiencing this issue with my TCL 6 Series. I eventually realized the problem was I had the TV audio format set to auto-detect. When I set an explicit audio-format (dolby digital) it cleared the problem right up (Note, I only had a chance to test with Netflix so far). Hopefully this helps others experiencing the same issue.
Hi Everyone,

I think I found an easy way to correct this issue. Had the same: low dialogue volume on DD 5.1 source and very powerful action sounds - sonos beam + 2x sonos one as surround. What I have observed is that when I control the volume in sonos app (using iPhone volume buttons) the volume bar obviously appears but it’s kind of desynchronized with volume buttons on TV remote. Long story short - I incrrased the volume using TV remote and decreased it using the app. Now I have decent dialogue and action scenes are ok too. Give it a try!
This worked for me:
Userlevel 6
Badge +13
Centre channel boost would be a welcome addition for our Playbar. Even with Night Sound and Speech Enhancement on it's still hard to hear on some films and programs.
Problem is still there!! Sonos didn’t come with a real solution. You should be able to increase the speech enhancement a lot more. I don’t recommend people to buy the playbase for watching movies.