Originally Posted by Mdawg12
Is the buzz normal?
Sadly, perfectly normal. The two 50ST60s (Jan and Mar 2013 mfg dates) and one 50S60 (Feb 2013) I've had in my home all buzzed about the same, easily audible in a quiet room from 10' in high APL scenes like the typical Family Guy living room scene with Contrast in the low 60s. It can be heard over (and naturally between) dialogue at normal volume and sometimes even soft background music. It's pretty much inaudible in Standard mode, with Contrast at 50 and CATS enabled, but that's not usable for anything. Chad B mentioned buzzing in his review, saying it was audible at 6', and the Samsung F8500 at 8-9', and I believe this was in a "quiet room" in a store, and in the F8500 review, he said a Bluray player was masking the noise at that distance. (No idea what Bluray player - The Samsung and Sony ones I've tried recently are hideously loud, though.) The FlatpanelsHD review said, "it was noticeable in a silent room when sitting 1-2 meters in front of the TV. No real improvements in this area, saddly." These are the only reviews I'm aware of that mention buzz at all, and all their samples buzzed. I would not recommend taking omission of buzzing evaluation in other reviews as a suggestion that the set didn't buzz.
Is the buzzing a huge problem? No, and I'm keeping the second 50ST60. I can watch hours of most shows and never hear it. It's mainly brightly lit animation whose audio is frequently just dialogue that it is noticeable. Other places I've noticed it include the space station interior and bedroom scenes in 2001. Most of the time, there is background music or noise that masks the buzzing, and periods of relative silence really have to coincide with a high APL scene to bring out the buzzing. The buzzing tracks the APL incredibly closely and quickly, and lowering Contrast helps. If I wanted to use a higher Contrast in the 80s vs the 60s, it would be more of a problem.
I took the backs off two of the sets looking for documented problems like the washerless screws, poorly tightened screws, cracked component housings, etc, and I found nothing. I couldn't feel any vibration through a plastic probe. The buzzing seems to be coming from boards on both sides of the ST60s and also the middle power board. With Screen Wipe on and my ear on either side, I can hear the buzzing from the side boards go up and down as the white part advances and retreats from their side of the screen.
The extreme graininess and posterization? The panel seems fine otherwise and the black levels are impressive. Video looks good from 15 feet and both the buzz and grain are hard to notice from that distance, but I can't help but feel very disappointed in these aspects of the tv's performance. The 2009 model had orders of magnitude less dithering noise and posterization, but I suppose it's borderline acceptable from a distance.
Looking at low luminance solid color patterns where it's worst, I don't see it on my 50ST60 beyond 4-5 feet or so, and I sit 7-8'. Some program material is naturally noisy, and that's true when viewing on an LCD as well.