Speaker advice for the hard of hearing
I’ve decided to add some decent speakers to my TV and would like your help in figuring out which direction I should go. I’m 65 years old with not the best hearing in the world, but I made it worse when I got some nerve damage in my right ear (ear protection not adjusted properly when target shooting).
My wife and I mostly just watch news, simple movies, and/or binge watch series like Breaking Bad. We don’t watch too many blockbuster films with their big sound tracks.The problem is that I have trouble understanding the dialog of any show that I’m watching. If I turn it up loud enough for me to hear the words, my wife complains that it’s too loud. What I’m looking for is sound clarity, I guess.
We currently have a 40” TV with a ROKU media player and a ZVox 670 Sound Base for sound. I also bought a Serene Innovations Wireless Listening Speaker. That helps because it brings the sound right next to me, but the sound quality is pretty bad.
The room is about 13’ X 13’ with 8’ ceilings. I was thinking of buying an AV receiver with some really good bookshelf speakers. There really isn’t room for tower speakers, so I’d like to get the best bookshelf speakers that I can afford. I don’t know that I would need a subwoofer or a center channel speaker because of the types of programs that we watch, though I’m open to the idea. (I know that a center channel speaker carries the dialog in most movies nowadays, but does it follow that dialog in old movies and TV shows would also be enhanced?). We are not interested in surround sound speakers.
So I’m looking for specific recommendations for a receiver and speakers, and if I need a center channel speaker and a subwoofer too. Talk to me as if I were 5 years old. Budget is $500-1500.
I’ve included a floor layout plan so you can see what our TV room is like.
Thanks for all your help!
If you aren't a regular listener to music on this system, I doubt you would get the value out of bookshelf speakers, an a/v receiver, etc., and the absence of a center speaker won't help you with dialogue projection. If you do occasionally enjoy music, the Klipsch sounds great for that, too.
Wireless headphones for you! Having the sound so loud will eventually damage your spouse's hearing, as well. So, get yourself some better quality headphones (just had a story on the front page re this) and let your wife relax while you hear the dialog clearly.
Thank you Rxdiesel and Rayguy.
I thought of headphones, but then I wouldn't be able to hear my wife's pithy comments during our shows :)
As far as getting a sound bar, we already have one—well, it's a sound base. I don't know if the Klipsch sound bar would be a significant upgrade to my Zvox soundbase.
Back in the 80s, I had my TV running through my stereo with the original Advent Loudspeakers. That gave amazing sound and is what I'm looking for now. Everything was incredibly clear with that setup.
A couple of thoughts...
First, are you a candidate for hearing aids? Perhaps a complete exam by a medical professional should be the first step before putting money into other gear.
How echo-y is the environment where you watch TV? Clap your hands in that room. Does the sound hang in the air after the clap? If so, that can interfere with dialog clarity. Thoughtful acoustic treatment could be a very a good investment. GIK Acoustics can analyze your room (for free last time I checked) and make a recommendation. I did this and it definitely helped in my house where there are lots of hard surfaces (ceramic tile, adjacent kitchen with quartz countertops, etc.).
After that, yeah, gear might be a good idea. Others might want to chime in here. My thought is 3 speakers (left, center, right) and an AVR might work for you. A sub might or might not be a good idea -- I don't know how it would work out if you're fighting hearing loss. You could start without it and always add one later.
As for specific gear recommendations, that's really difficult to get right and you might want to look for help on specific products. Some things to look for:
- A good center channel. Something like 80 to 90% of dialog comes out of this speaker. Get it wrong and you'll hate it every time you use it. This is one to audition yourself, either in a store or in your home with a reasonable return policy if it doesn't work out.
- Look for speakers with a wide sweet spot, i.e. good HF dispersion characteristics. If you can only hear the TV from one specific seat, well, that may or may not work for you.
- Some AVRs let you adjust speaker levels individually. Raising volume on the center slightly can make all the difference.
- You may find tweaking treble on specific content can improve dialog clarity without needing to raise volume.
- If you listen at low levels, look for Dolby Volume as a feature of the AVR (or its equivalent -- ask the seller).
This can be a challenge to nail down, and I fear your budget may need to expand a bit to satisfy your needs.
Best of luck.
I have to agree with the prior poster who recommended a visit to the audiologist. Find out the details of your hearing loss and then you can address them with foreknowledge. Otherwise, you're just guessing and flailing around in the dark.
Taking from suggestions above from other posters, if you believe your hearing is degraded enough to the point where tv speakers aren’t doing it, then you could proceed down the routes suggested regarding a soundbar.
However, and I don’t want to presume of course.
But a visit to the audiologist might not be a bad idea. If you require an audio aid, then a T-Loop might be a both cheaper and effective option for your usage scenario.
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
If the ZVOX 670 doesn't help you then a soundbar isn't going to be any better. I bought my mother inlaw the ZVOX 330 and it made a world of difference for her. She's 87 and can't hear very well out of both ears. My wife and i stop over to her apartment one day and the TV volume was max out! Installed the ZVOX with accuvoice and it was a amazing difference. She Loves it! Volume is less then 1/2 way up and she can hear every word now.
My Dad is also 87 and has less then 15% hearing in one ear and not much more in his other and uses a Vizio 2.0 channel model SB2920-D6 soundbar with great results.
What doesn't the ZVOX 670 do for you that your looking to improve on?
My ZVox 670 did improve things considerably, but I still miss some dialog when people are talking fast or if they mumble. I can forget about understanding Benedict Cumberbatch! Maybe I have become too reliant on subtitles and don't concentrate enough on just listening. My thought was to move the zvox into my basement setup and get something a little better where I watch shows that are more dialog dependent.
My recommendation for bookshelf speakers is the NHT C-3. Great sound. $293 each at Amazon.
Here is a review of the C-3
For a receiver, take a look at Accessories for Less. I especially like the Denon refurbished receivers for a great receiver at a discount price.
You can always wait on adding a center speaker until you hear your bookshelf pair. If you are not satisfied with the dialog clarity, then it might be time for a center.
You will probably want a speaker stand for the bookshelf speakers. I recommend these solid stands from Monoprice. For the price they would be very hard to beat.
It would seem to me that a 3.1 setup might be what you’re looking for. Then you could boost the center channel for louder dialogue and with a sub you could lower the amount of bass, to keep it from possibly being too loud at a volume where you can hear the dialogue well.
Your current Wireless Transmitter accepts L/R Stereo Inputs (1/8-in Jack or Red/White RCA Jacks) and the WL Receiver has a tiny (bletch!!) speaker as well as the (preferred) 1/8-in (3-mm) Audio Jack OUTPUT to Headphones:
When an Audiologist tests a person's ears for a Hearing Aid, they measure how many dBs of Loss there is in various Frequency Bands....and then the Active Equalization Filter in the Hearing Aid is programmed to ENHANCE Gain in those Frequency Bands for which you have experienced Hearing Loss. Additional features provided in modern Hearing Aids include Transposing some Frequencies to other Bands that CAN be heard, nulling out those Freqs that are disrupting understanding (certain hair cells are damaged), Automatic Gain Control, Overload Protection, etc:
The SAME sort of thing can be added to your HEADPHONE system with a Multi-Band Equalizer [although without the more advanced features]. IF your ears have already been tested and you have a copy of the Frequency Loss Report, you can start by boosting those Frequency Bands that need more Gain, bearing in mind that the recommended 1/3-Band Equalizer has more granularity with smaller Bandwidth in each Filter which can be Tweaked as you see fit. Note that your Wife is NOT going to want to HEAR the Equalized Result....so limiting it to Headphones would be better than Equalizing the front Speakers. And perhaps you could configure your system so Equalizer works on BOTH WL Headphones and Front Speakers....but to Bypass Equalizer when your Wife is in the room will require someone getting up and pressing a Front Panel Button [there MAY be an alternative 1/3 Octave Band Equalizer that has R/C for this and other features]. OR buy TWO Equalizers....one always working for WL System and the second, which can be Enabled or Bypassed for the Speaker System, depending on whether your Wife is in the room.
The Biggest Bang for the Buck would be to insert fol. Monoprice 1/3-Octave Band Equalizer [$116.31] in-between your AUDIO SOURCE (you didn't provided details) and the Input of your Wireless Transmitter. You MAY also need an adapter cable to connect to Equalizer L/R (Channel 1/2) RCA Input Jacks:
You would still be able to converse with your wife if you used OPEN-BACK Type Headphones (which are frequently preferred by highly critical listeners)....I currently use HIFIMAN 400i, Very High Tech Planar Magnetic [PM-Type] Open-Back Headphones which are very low distortion, FLAT Freq. Response with very rapid attack time (like Electrostatics)....but you might not like the current $188 price [plus $65-100 for replacement Ear Pads and Cable, cuz originals were very flimsy]:
https://www.amazon.com/Hifiman-HE400.../dp/B00Y2EOI94 [$185, a bit Lighter]
Other OPEN-BACK, Wired Headphones:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=16051 [$199 PM-Type, Changeable OPEN or CLOSED]
https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD.../dp/B01L1IIEKM [$100, OPEN BACK, NOT PM-Type]
PS: I'm going to presume that the "Partial Open Back" Headphones will make it more difficult to hear your Wife.
ALTERNATIVELY, if you decide that fidelity of current Wireless System is lacking, you might want to upgrade to one of the fol. High Tech Wireless Headphone Systems:
https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-RS.../dp/B0001FTVEK [Older Model]
Thanks for the great reply!
My first thought was to put an equalizer in there somewhere too. I just have the audio going from my TV directly into the Zvox Soundbase. If I did use an equalizer, I'd have to be careful because my hearing problem is only in one ear. And to be honest, I could be exaggerating the depth of the hearing problem. I can still carry on a conversation without too much trouble, but audio on a TV isn't like talking to someone in person.
Perhaps an open back headphone would be the best solution. I just hate wearing headphones and would probably not go to the trouble for 80% of my TV viewing. My thought of going to a 2.0, 2.1, or 3.0 system was based on the feeling that the sound would fill the room better, which would make intelligibility better.
A few thoughts,
I've assisted with two people that have hearing issues, one guy in his late 60's that played guitar back in the day and a lady in her early 70's that had hearing damage from the flu as a kid. The guitarist had severe high frequency loss--over 50dB or so at 8K :eek: He has hearing aids but does not like to use them when watching TV so--could I help. His mains were 10" two ways fully horn loaded which I rebuilt, designed a new crossover and installed an adjustable L-pad. The L-pad adjusted output over 800Hz. When at minimum, it was about +3dB hot and he could turn it up another +6dB if needed.
For him, the ability to manipulate both the level of the center, the voice processing, EQ and manual adjustment of the mid/high horn was critical. He picked up a Yamaha AVR with "clear voice" or whatever it's called--it boosts just the voices of the soundtrack and leaves everything else alone. The settings ended up +3dB hot for center level, clear voice on and boosted and the horn maxed out with the L-pad. He loves it and can hear it all so is very happy. Granted, it don't sound good to me but it was made specifically for him and he can go to concert mode with 103dB 1w/1m horn speakers and a 18" sub. Having a sub is great because he can adjust whatever bass he likes and it don't effect the deep male voices--season to taste.
The older lady did not want rock concert mode, likes bass but could not hear the TV speakers because of clarity. For her, the Yamaha sound projector sound bar and a Yamaha 10" sub seemed to be ideal. The sound bar has active 3.25" woofers and 8 little drivers as projectors. She adjusted the bass on the soundbar to what she likes (mid-bass and critical for deep male voices) then adjusted the 80Hz and below 10" sub that does the high 20's to 80Hz--to HER taste. The clear voice processing on and she went through all the EQ settings and selects different setting for movies and music.
Let her use it for a week to get use to it--left instructions how to change the adjustements and popped in to check. She had changed a few settings and told me it was the finest stereo she has ever had. Strangly enough, she throws in Bob Marley and kicks it up a bit so I can hear the changes. The mids were a bit hot but she must like bass because it was not weak.
First of all, I don't know what your hearing loss is, won't know your preference with hearing deep male voices, no idea what sub bass you require and no idea how you like your highs. Won't even try! I do have a bit of advice though, get an AVR (or soundbar) with vocal processing to raise the level of just the voices--that helps a lot. You might punch the center channel up a few dB so it becomes dominant--does not take a lot. If you want more highs, you and your wife should both agree on this--don't want it to be too piercing for her but not good enough for you. Make that adjustment together and you should find a happy medium.
A few bits on speakers--since you will be re-EQ'ing speakers--you might want to use some that have very stout tweeters and mids since those will be boosted. The other thing is to use speakers that use waveguides to limit the floor/ceiling bounce but allow wide dispersion across the couch. You can toe the left/right speakers in a bit and the waveguides will keep more sound from bouncing off the walls. The idea is to put the sound where you are and not bouncing off areas that you are not.
I generally don't recommend speakers and AVRs, but at a 600 dollar budget for AVR/sub and three speakers--off to Accessories for Less I go! :eek:
They start at $150 to $200 for the 5.1 channel versions so pick the one you like as long as it has voice or "vocal lift" processing.
Speakers next--three of them! Looking at ones with waveguides, the Yamaha's are sold out so...JBL Arena 120. A 5.5" woofer and a 1" dome tweeter in a waveguide should have enough durability to handle some spirited EQ. Here are a pair for $110.
Not sure if they have two pairs for that price so you can use three of them and go. If there is anyway possible, use three of them standing vertical to give you the best sound clarity for all three speakers. If you absolutely have to...they have a horizontal for center but it won't sound as clear.
Looking at subwoofers--because you need one mainly so you can adjust the bass to what YOU determine you like. It will also prevent deep bass from hammering the small bookshelf speakers so they won't distort to keep the sound clear. The Boston is on sale at $199 and should have plenty of punch to get your wife mad. ;) It goes down to 28Hz which is very good for a 10 inch sub and not too large I'd say.
Since I have no idea what speakers you will need be they 3 of the Arena 120 bookshelfs or a pair of the Arenas and the center...I'll throw the numbers out there.
Least expensive $150 AVR $220 used Arena 120 (two pairs used) Boston 10" sub $570
Center channel version $200 AVR used Arena 120 (one pair) Arena 125C center, Boston sub ... $690
The least expensive option is two pairs of the Arenas used and use three of them with a basic $150 AVR at $570. If you have to use a horizontal center, add $70 because it runs $180 by itself.
Generally, I don't recommend speakers but would specify a design to look at and offer at least three different companies that make that design. However, with a budget like that--the best is get a refurb AVR, get those Arena speakers used ($110 for a pair is almost theft) and it allows some flexibility with your setup. For clarity, I don't own any JBLs but they were chosen because of the stout 1" dome tweeter at that price point and the waveguide to assist with preventing floor/ceiling bounce. JBL does know how to make waveguides--no debate on that point!
My system does allow me to manipulate it when my inlaws drop in. They are 71 and have hearing damage from aircraft and a mild stroke. I turn on the "vocal lift" on my Yamaha AVR, bump it up a few pegs, boost the center channel by +3dB over the rest, turn down the surrounds, turn down the sub and will bump up the 1KHz point +2dB, the 2KHz +3dB and 4 and 8 KHz +4dB which they appreciate. My speakers use compression drivers and very large horns which can go louder than a THX theater from a simple AVR. No worries about any speaker damage when my father in law gets the remote. They love the clarity which is a good thing...I'm not getting any younger either! In another 20 years, I might need all those tricks myself and these speakers are keepers.
Good luck with whatever you decide, whatever you purchase--let us know and we can assist you in getting the best, cleanest and clear sound you can out of your system. Enjoy! :)
If near a Best Buy, the OP could just run up there and listen to some Klipsch ... which I'd normally say avoid due to them being too bright, but that may be a good thing in the OP's situation. The higher frequencies wouldn't bother him since he can't hear them anyway. Klipsch RP if he feels like splurging.
I think if I were in your shoes--and I essentially was several months ago (although our symptoms are similar, the underlying causes and physiology are likely very different)--I would sit tight with my A/V set up until your next appts with your ENT & audiologist. If they still say you "aren't quite ready" for hearing aids at that time, I would seriously consider getting a 2nd opinion and then proceed accordingly.
Good luck to finding a solution. I know how frustrating it can be.
The higher priced Klipsch soundbar/sub setups, the uber-reference something or another (Klipsch nomenclature escapes me) sound very nice. Impressively so for a system that can be had on sale for just a few hundred bucks. I set my mom up with one a year or two ago and she loves it.
Also, I wouldn't call it bright as much as I would clean. A lot of Klipsch's competitors tune their units to be so midbass heavy that the dialogue gets lost. Klipsch is certainly a bit leaner, but IME that leads to increased dialogue intelligibility more so than outright brightness.
Even the top model Klipsch soundbar/sub setups are very affordable, so I would agree with the above posters that recommended that, and would suggest he buys that top model....whatever Klipsch with their confusing nomenclature has decided to name it. Sort by price.;)
Finally, and this isn't directed at anyone in particular, it's important for us to keep in mind what the OP's goals are. He isn't one of us crazies who has tens of thousands of dollars in gear nor does he want to be. He just wants to hear his friggin' TV, man, and probably wants to accomplish that as inexpensively as possible..:cool:
The easy way to go in my opinion is for him to just run up to BB and listen to what they have out. They usually have a little Klipsch kiosk, so he can try that in-store (if it works). BB also has an advantage w/ free local returns.
An entry level AVR probably would run him $200-$250 (I'd pick denon or yamaha) ... regular Klipsch reference speakers tend to be pretty cheap... include the matching center, and see how that does. If bass is lacking, add an inexpensive sub (BasX8 would run $200). And Klipsch RP would be even better, but more expensive.
And if near a Fry's, they seemingly always run sales on Klipsch.
As for brightness, that's all relative and subjective. To my ears, they are ear-bleed level bright ... and if hard of hearing that may be a good thing.
hello guys, my name is vipul jain. i live in india(new delhi)
i wanted to buy a pair of good speakers, i have a ****ty 2.1 and bored to death with it! i first decided sony d20, then i saw something else entirely which changes my mind totally! and i am confused a lott in deciding what to do. My budget is around 13,000 Inr (170 USD) give or take. I had to stretch my budget. I finally came to this Edifier 1700BT bookshelf speakers. reviews are good, speakers looks cool. Should i go for it? or you guys have some other recommendation for me. Open to all your suggestions. i need good quality, clean music, Bluetooth is necessary! i listen to lot of music, and watch movies. I have a desktop pc and separate SB0570 AUDIGY AUDIO CARD in it. Also i need to ask, is there a way i can hook up an extra subwoofer to it? without using any amplifier? i will purchase sub after few months when i get my salary. But speakers are very much needed.
oh! i am new to the forums, so didn't know about that. Will sure do that.
Denon receivers (730 and up) have dynamic volume and dialogue adjustment features. Paired a center that has dual 6.5" drivers such as Chane A2.4, Ascend 340SE or Emotiva C2, could be a big improvement.
You should consider a sub. Since you don't watch big budget action movies, you wouldn't need a $500-600 sub that can play below 20hz. An Emotiva Bas-X 8/10 placed nearfield would be plenty for you.
ALso 2 things i wanna clear.
1. Limited Budget( 180 USD) 13,000 INR
2. Lives in India, So have to buy something which is available in my country and have a warranty, service centre etc..
Your ZVox 670 Sound Base specs leave a lot UNSAID, but claim to improve the CLARITY of VOICE Reproduction:
"ZVOX's proprietary AccuVoice technology literally lifts voices out of the sound track - and then modifies the voices using hearing aid technology. We have never heard dialogue this clear and sharp. You'll hear every word, even on poorly mixed programs or British programs. CNET says “Great for folks who have trouble hearing the TV.”
Unfortunately, I don't know how sophisticated ZVOX's Proprietary processes may or may NOT be in addition to the usual mid-band Frequency BOOST [which can be tailored in much more detail in the recommended Monoprice Equalizer.] I have NOT heard ZVOX in action....although I frequently appreciate the ENHANCED DIALOG button on my old pre-HDMI Pioneer AVR....which is doing something quite different with NO Frequency Response change....I suspect that it is enhancing those (instantaneous???) Frequencies carrying signals for which the L and R channels are the same, i.e. "Correlated", thereby Enhancing the Mono Vocal Track....I can also readily increase the Center Channel Level when needed.
In order to employ ZVOX's Vocal Enhancement technique while listening to your WL Headphone system, you would need to TRY connecting ZVOX's STEREO SIGNAL OUTPUT Jack to WL Transmitter. However, note that this is NOT a constant signal level, ALSO varying as your Wife adjusts the Speaker Level...so You then have to Re-Adjust the WL Headset Volume to compensate....stupid design choice.....
FYI: A CR article re BETTER TV SOUND FOR THOSE WITH HEARING LOSS:
One other External Signal Processor that I have heard about that uses TIME DELAY in addition to other Proprietary techniques are the SONIC MAXIMIZERS from BBE, which I summarized at the bottom of my fol. post [incl. many testimonials]....and can be readily used for either SoundBar and/or WL Headphone System: [Probably want signal to go through BBE before going through Equalizer.]
If I took more time to do a proper search, I likely would find more articles on the subject of Near vs Delay Sound Field affect on Sound Clarity, but for now take a look at the following Power Point Presentation:
This has to be the best forum on the internet. You guys are great!
|All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:23 AM.|
Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.