Poor speech intelligibility

  • 26 August 2021
  • 7 replies
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Why is the intelligibility of speech so poor on Sonos? 


I use Spnos Play 1 and Sonos One and listen to BBC Radio 4.  intelligibility is noticeably  poorer than on Amazon Echo speakers. In fact, at times it is so poor that I cannot understand what is being spoken.

 

Why is this and is there a way (apart from adjusting bass, treble or compression) which can improve this?


7 replies

As individuals, I guess we may all hear things differently and what suits one person, may not suit another.

Personally speaking, I don’t have an issue with my TruePlay-tuned Sonos products and to me they sound far clearer/superior (to my ears, at least) than any of the Amazon echo devices that I have listened to.

Maybe you should go onto try the Sonos speakers with TruePlay tuning enabled/disabled, to see if either setup may sound any better to you, that’s aswell as adjusting their available EQ settings.

The speaker I can’t get along with, is the Apple HomePod, as those I have listened to, seem to lack clarity, but I’m sure others may disagree with me on that topic aswell - I guess we each like different things and my advice would be to just go with what you prefer.

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Sadly I do not have an Apple device to run Truplay on. The speech sound I get with no setup other than the bass/treble controls in the Sonos app is woolly and mushy.

 

I find intelligibility is remarkably poor and often have to switch to other devices (even my Android smartphone’s speaker!) to hear speech broadcasts which I can understand. I don’t have this problem with other devices such as my flat screen TV, portable radio, old style stereo, Alexa Echo speakers, etc.  Just with Sonos.  It happens on all six of my Sonos speakers bought at different times, so it’s not a manufacturing fault.

Sadly I do not have an Apple device to run Truplay on. The speech sound I get with no setup other than the bass/treble controls in the Sonos app is woolly and mushy.

 

I find intelligibility is remarkably poor and often have to switch to other devices (even my Android smartphone’s speaker!) to hear speech broadcasts which I can understand. I don’t have this problem with other devices such as my flat screen TV, portable radio, old style stereo, Alexa Echo speakers, etc.  Just with Sonos.  It happens on all six of my Sonos speakers bought at different times, so it’s not a manufacturing fault.

What I actually don’t understand, is you mention you don’t like the way your Sonos devices sound, yet you have purchased six of them ‘all at different times’ - why did you keep buying them if you were not happy with how they sounded to you?

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I use Sonos speakers for music and are just fine for that. I originally bought Sonos for my mother who had dementia because we wanted to play soothing music for her whichever room she would wander into.

When I use those same speakers for talk radio, they are remarkably poor.

I have ended up installing an Amazon Alexa Echo beside each of my six Sonos speakers in order to hear more intelligible speech.  I even have an Echo beside my Sonos One speaker despite it’s own in-built Alexa!

Will Truplay continue to function if I borrow an iPhone, tune the system with Truplay and then return the iPhone?

 

Yes, if you can find a friend with an iPhone, you can just install the Sonos App on that and connect to the ‘existing’ sonos system to TruePlay tune your devices. It will keep the settings, after device updates, restarts etc; the tuning is normally only lost if you ever decide to ‘factory reset’ the device.

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Thank you very muich for that information. I will try TruePlay on a borrowed iPhone.

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Well it took a couple of months to get around to it and I have to say TruePlay has made a huge difference to my Sonos audio.  I am surprised it isn’t strongly recommended for all new installations.

I have mostly Sonos Play-1s in several rooms and every one has been underperforming until I used TruePlay.

Thank you for the recommendation.

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