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post #1 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Help me make my wife’s life better

I’ve been trying to figure out what to do here and I’m hoping someone can point me in a decent direction.

My wife has a hard time hearing some speaking parts on shows we watch. Things get quiet or loud or she catches parts of words. We’ve turned on subtitles to compensate however this doesn’t seem to be doing the job.

We use an echo cube primarily. HDMI to the tv, then digital audio to a switcher then to an old Sony receiver. I’ll detail all components below.

We have 4 speakers ceiling mounted, a center channel speaker on our tv stand and a subwoofer. It’s a menagerie of items here.

Any tips or help is appreciated. Hopefully I posted this in the right forum.

Tv: LG 49uj6300-ua

Settings: Sound out set to optical.

Optical switcher: A 1mii. I bought this for when the baby is sleeping. The hearing problems existed before this and adding this didn’t change anything as far as I can tell. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D1JJBJR..._jGv3Eb4H5GQXT

Mounted ceiling speakers

4x Boston Accoustics. These came with the home. They have mcs 95 on them and also baj016438

Receiver. *sigh* I know this is old. Maybe this is the problem I just don’t want to go spending money if it’s not (note the baby comment)

Sony str-k790

The center speaker and sub came with the receiver.

Fire cube. Most recent model

We do have an amazon recast as well and some content comes from there rather than streaming. I finally decided to ditch my old Apple TV with Perian on it a few years back and went with amazon for our streaming device. The cube was chosen since it has an ir blaster.

Oh and there’s an xbox one we use for optical media as well. Not that we use it that much anymore.

I hope this is enough to provide an idea of what we have. However I’m more than happy to go looking at anything else.

We watch content from a number of sources. Mostly streaming now.
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post #2 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 04:58 PM
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@db-2552 Looking at your TV manual online I suggest a couple things in your TV settings. First try changing Sound Mode to Clear Voice III. If that doesn't work try changing Sound Mode Settings to Dolby Surround. Looking at the receiver make sure you are in Dolby Digital over 2 channel. In movie surround effect it looks like you have three different options. Try those as well. If you used the auto calibration, maybe go in and adjust center channel speaker levels up. One question, I am not understanding, why the digital switcher? Not enough TV inputs? Another question, how far back you sit? It may be a case of not enough power for the distance and speaker. Looking at manual specs, that is one pathetic center channel. Try the free setting changes and if that doesn't work we will be happy to spend your money.

7.3.4 Setup---TV: LG OLED 65B7A, Receiver: Marantz SR-6012, External 2-channel amplifier: Marantz MM7025 (Front Towers), Blu-Ray Player: LG UBK90, Fronts: JBL S312, Center: JBL S-Center, Surrounds: JBL S38, Surround Backs: JBL S36 ,Top: JBL S36 (4), Subwoofer: 2 PSA S3000i and one PSA XS-30se
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post #3 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 05:41 PM
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You might consider purchasing a receiver with Audyssey XT32 and a better center channel speaker to go along with it. I have the Denon x4400 and a Polk Ls704c and they both work great to give you that very clear dialog. In my room, 9 feet back is the sweet spot in terms of room modes and Audyssey does a great job at room correction.
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post #4 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 06:20 PM
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You might consider purchasing a receiver with Audyssey XT32 and a better center channel speaker to go along with it. I have the Denon x4400 and a Polk Ls704c and they both work great to give you that very clear dialog. In my room, 9 feet back is the sweet spot in terms of room modes and Audyssey does a great job at room correction.
That combination would be about what? $2000 new? If setting changes don't work try changing out center first. Maybe something from JBL as they offer free returns and often have the 520C on sale at $150. SVS also offers free returns and has the Prime Center which is a nice 3 way design for $350. Unless he plans on upgrading to more speakers all he needs is a Denon AVR-S650H for $400 to get Audyssey. Heck if he went onto ebay and found an older but nice JBL S-Center for less than $100 he would be better off.

7.3.4 Setup---TV: LG OLED 65B7A, Receiver: Marantz SR-6012, External 2-channel amplifier: Marantz MM7025 (Front Towers), Blu-Ray Player: LG UBK90, Fronts: JBL S312, Center: JBL S-Center, Surrounds: JBL S38, Surround Backs: JBL S36 ,Top: JBL S36 (4), Subwoofer: 2 PSA S3000i and one PSA XS-30se
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post #5 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 06:28 PM
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try positioning your center speaker in different spots...maybey closer/higher/angled up/etc

Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300 LG oled c9 77
Speakers: Focal aria 948, Focal cc900, Klipsch synergy KSF 10.5, Magnepan LRS, Audioengine A2+
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post #6 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 06:33 PM
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I'd just try a new center. Does she have a hearing deficit or is she just having trouble hearing in this specific instance? Do you experience the same thing?
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post #7 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 06:34 PM
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It sounds like it could be a reflection issue, that could be treated with acoustic panels. When you get first and second reflections coming in a slightly different times (milliseconds) it an cause dialog to sound muddy.

7.4.4 Theater Room: JVC-RS500, Silver Ticket AT 2.35:1 142”, Onkyo RZ830, Anthem PVA-7, Panasonic UB420, Apple TV 4K, JBL Studio 530’s, Dual Driver VBSS

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post #8 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 06:52 PM
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A lower end Denon and a cheap center is definitely an option. I have a Denon 740 and a discontinued DCM center in the living room and they work fine for standard TV watching.
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post #9 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 06:52 PM
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Just so everyone knows here is a link to the manual

https://www.docs.sony.com/release/HTDDW795.pdf

Center looks to be a single 2 3/4 cone.

7.3.4 Setup---TV: LG OLED 65B7A, Receiver: Marantz SR-6012, External 2-channel amplifier: Marantz MM7025 (Front Towers), Blu-Ray Player: LG UBK90, Fronts: JBL S312, Center: JBL S-Center, Surrounds: JBL S38, Surround Backs: JBL S36 ,Top: JBL S36 (4), Subwoofer: 2 PSA S3000i and one PSA XS-30se
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post #10 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gary Mertz View Post
I'd just try a new center. Does she have a hearing deficit or is she just having trouble hearing in this specific instance? Do you experience the same thing?
I swear she does sometimes. However we tried some hearing tests and she didn’t at that point. Suggesting it again would be a non starter. 🙂

I’ll take a look at the settings suggested earlier, if not then I think a new center is a good recommendation, thanks.

It’ll take me a few days of trial and error on each setting with her, but I will report back.
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post #11 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by torii View Post
try positioning your center speaker in different spots...maybey closer/higher/angled up/etc
Thanks. We switched tv stands recently and this was done with the switch. I also tried a few other spots. Unfortunately didn’t do the job but good idea.
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post #12 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 09:59 PM - Thread Starter
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@db-2552 Looking at your TV manual online I suggest a couple things in your TV settings. First try changing Sound Mode to Clear Voice III. If that doesn't work try changing Sound Mode Settings to Dolby Surround. Looking at the receiver make sure you are in Dolby Digital over 2 channel. In movie surround effect it looks like you have three different options. Try those as well. If you used the auto calibration, maybe go in and adjust center channel speaker levels up. One question, I am not understanding, why the digital switcher? Not enough TV inputs? Another question, how far back you sit? It may be a case of not enough power for the distance and speaker. Looking at manual specs, that is one pathetic center channel. Try the free setting changes and if that doesn't work we will be happy to spend your money.
The digital switcher is to send audio to a Bluetooth head set for when I’m awake but the baby and my wife are asleep. Or when the baby has fallen asleep on me and moving him would only wake him up.

Hah I bet you all would be happy to spend the money too. I bought that receiver + speakers 15 years ago to test a plug-in I worked with on the Mac and even then it was pretty cheap. I’m not expecting miracles by any stretch of the imagination. I just appreciate the guidance, helps to have a second opinion before I call it on this guy. The only other item from that set still attached is the sub at this point.

We sit between 11 and 12 feet from the center. I can get exact measurements and draw diagrams if that would help.
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post #13 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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@db-2552 Looking at your TV manual online I suggest a couple things in your TV settings. First try changing Sound Mode to Clear Voice III. If that doesn't work try changing Sound Mode Settings to Dolby Surround. Looking at the receiver make sure you are in Dolby Digital over 2 channel. In movie surround effect it looks like you have three different options. Try those as well. If you used the auto calibration, maybe go in and adjust center channel speaker levels up. One question, I am not understanding, why the digital switcher? Not enough TV inputs? Another question, how far back you sit? It may be a case of not enough power for the distance and speaker. Looking at manual specs, that is one pathetic center channel. Try the free setting changes and if that doesn't work we will be happy to spend your money.
Regarding the tv settings it looks like they disable most of them at least from a cursory review once you choose optical out. Makes sense really, I’ll double check the manual and see if I missed something though.

The receiver options I’ve cycled through and that might be something. I’ll give that a try.

However it’s probably time to replace at least the center. I think I can swing that no problem.

The receiver itself seems to continue to just work albeit I know it’s not fancy. I’ve been tempted to upgrade that component at different t points but a part of me can’t get rid of a thing which does work if that makes any sense. I really want this 4-5k reel mower but my 200 dollar one does the job kind of ok at the moment kind of mentality towards things.

However to me if she can’t hear things it’s not working. So what suggestions do people have besides what’s already on this thread for centers and do you think it’s time to replace the receiver? Or can I get by with a decent center and spend the money on just that and not worry about a receiver replacement?

You’ve all been pleasant and I haven’t been paying attention to a/v stuff since my work on Perian ended, thanks for the help. Sorry it I’m long winded.
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post #14 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
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It sounds like it could be a reflection issue, that could be treated with acoustic panels. When you get first and second reflections coming in a slightly different times (milliseconds) it an cause dialog to sound muddy.
That’s interesting. Gives me something to research thanks. 🙂
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post #15 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 11:19 PM
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I swear she does sometimes. However we tried some hearing tests and she didn’t at that point. Suggesting it again would be a non starter. 🙂

I’ll take a look at the settings suggested earlier, if not then I think a new center is a good recommendation, thanks.

It’ll take me a few days of trial and error on each setting with her, but I will report back.
You never said how clarity is for you. Are you hearing everything fine and it's just your wife having issues?
I'm no expert, but the simplest way to start seems to get a new center or two to try out and see if it makes a difference. I'm sure you can get great recommendations here and on speakers forum for proven performance centers at low cost + free/near free return.
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post #16 of 34 Old 06-07-2020, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
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I swear she does sometimes. However we tried some hearing tests and she didn’️t at that point. Suggesting it again would be a non starter. 🙂

I’️ll take a look at the settings suggested earlier, if not then I think a new center is a good recommendation, thanks.

It’️ll take me a few days of trial and error on each setting with her, but I will report back.
You never said how clarity is for you. Are you hearing everything fine and it's just your wife having issues?
I'm no expert, but the simplest way to start seems to get a new center or two to try out and see if it makes a difference. I'm sure you can get great recommendations here and on speakers forum for proven performance centers at low cost + free/near free return.
Ah sorry I must have missed that. I don’t really have problems hearing anything. I mean I want things to be louder all of the time but that’s about it.
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post #17 of 34 Old 06-08-2020, 12:18 AM
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Ah sorry I must have missed that. I don’t really have problems hearing anything. I mean I want things to be louder all of the time but that’s about it.
Unless I missed you saying that The center is a Sony one that came with the Sony receiver?

I'd try posting on speakers. You'll get lots of ideas there for centers to try. There are members who follow all the sales and know all the return policies and what is said to be a good clarity center to try. Just more chances they'll notice it there than here.
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post #18 of 34 Old 06-08-2020, 01:04 AM
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I think the advice here about upgrading your center channel is probably your go to. I noticed you mentioned the BA MCS-95 series speakers. These are the same speakers I have. I got a great deal on a well cared for full set for my Atmos setup, and they sound fantastic. I would recommend looking for a matching center channel from EBay or another selling site. I can vouch for the clear dialog from them, and they can be relatively inexpensive. (added bonus of having a full set of timbre matched speakers!)
Others here have mentioned increasing the volume of the center channel through the receiver, which I also second. If your receiver doesn't have the capability of doing that.. it's definitely time for a receiver upgrade. Don't think I've really added anything to what others said, but I hope that these suggestions help. I have some hearing loss and difficulty hearing dialog myself sometimes, and my center channel level is always bumped up a few dB above the other channels so I don't have to crank the volume of the entire system to hear dialog clearly.
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post #19 of 34 Old 06-08-2020, 03:19 AM
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Ah sorry I must have missed that. I don’t really have problems hearing anything. I mean I want things to be louder all of the time but that’s about it.
Where do you sit in relation to the CC? Where does your wife sit? Try changing places with her and see if she can hear better in your seating position.

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Lombardi said it:
"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
My System (Edited Feb. 2020 to add 4K and Atmos updates)
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post #20 of 34 Old 06-08-2020, 06:41 AM
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Regarding the tv settings it looks like they disable most of them at least from a cursory review once you choose optical out. Makes sense really, I’ll double check the manual and see if I missed something though.

The receiver options I’ve cycled through and that might be something. I’ll give that a try.

However it’s probably time to replace at least the center. I think I can swing that no problem.

The receiver itself seems to continue to just work albeit I know it’s not fancy. I’ve been tempted to upgrade that component at different t points but a part of me can’t get rid of a thing which does work if that makes any sense. I really want this 4-5k reel mower but my 200 dollar one does the job kind of ok at the moment kind of mentality towards things.

However to me if she can’t hear things it’s not working. So what suggestions do people have besides what’s already on this thread for centers and do you think it’s time to replace the receiver? Or can I get by with a decent center and spend the money on just that and not worry about a receiver replacement?

You’ve all been pleasant and I haven’t been paying attention to a/v stuff since my work on Perian ended, thanks for the help. Sorry it I’m long winded.
I would buy the center first and see what happens. Replacing the receiver will give you new options, but options you most likely will not use. For instance using the HDMI ARC for TV audio. With that digital box for wireless headphones, your audio setup will be the same. Using your TV as the device switcher and optical out you will not be able to take advantage of the new audio codecs. The sub $500 5.1 receivers are have about the same wattage as yours. The more expensive receivers will give you more wattage, but not double for that extra 3db. So for your case the only real advantage a new receiver will give you for your goals is better room correction when it does it's auto calibration.

For best center channel recommendations take a picture of your TV and stand. Provide measurements of the space you would like to place the center. What flexibility do you have for adjustments. One Center I would recommend is just over 11" tall as an example. Would the Center go into a shelf slot in a stand so you would need a sealed or front ported center as another example.

As for your existing center or any new one you may try, make sure it is pulled forward to the very edge of the stand/shelf. The first reflection that could muddle sound is that stand/shelf.

7.3.4 Setup---TV: LG OLED 65B7A, Receiver: Marantz SR-6012, External 2-channel amplifier: Marantz MM7025 (Front Towers), Blu-Ray Player: LG UBK90, Fronts: JBL S312, Center: JBL S-Center, Surrounds: JBL S38, Surround Backs: JBL S36 ,Top: JBL S36 (4), Subwoofer: 2 PSA S3000i and one PSA XS-30se
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post #21 of 34 Old 06-08-2020, 07:55 AM
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One thing to consider is that receiver was originally part of a home theater in a box setup that was not sold on its own. Those systems usually have a fixed crossover set pretty high to protect the lower quality speakers they come with. This usually results in a pretty thin sound in any speakers it wasn’t designed to be used with. I would really look at getting a more modern receiver along with a new center channel as I am not sure how well the new center will perform with that receiver.


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I went ahead and purchased a new center, thanks for the recommendations to go that route. I’m actually going to try two, the center which matches the ones in the ceiling I found on eBay if I win the bid in a few days, and Polk csi a4. If neither of those fit the bill then it’s time to get a new receiver. Thanks folks.
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Regarding the tv settings it looks like they disable most of them at least from a cursory review once you choose optical out. Makes sense really, I’️ll double check the manual and see if I missed something though.

The receiver options I’️ve cycled through and that might be something. I’️ll give that a try.

However it’️s probably time to replace at least the center. I think I can swing that no problem.

The receiver itself seems to continue to just work albeit I know it’️s not fancy. I’️ve been tempted to upgrade that component at different t points but a part of me can’️t get rid of a thing which does work if that makes any sense. I really want this 4-5k reel mower but my 200 dollar one does the job kind of ok at the moment kind of mentality towards things.

However to me if she can’️t hear things it’️s not working. So what suggestions do people have besides what’️s already on this thread for centers and do you think it’️s time to replace the receiver? Or can I get by with a decent center and spend the money on just that and not worry about a receiver replacement?

You’️ve all been pleasant and I haven’️t been paying attention to a/v stuff since my work on Perian ended, thanks for the help. Sorry it I’️m long winded.
I would buy the center first and see what happens. Replacing the receiver will give you new options, but options you most likely will not use. For instance using the HDMI ARC for TV audio. With that digital box for wireless headphones, your audio setup will be the same. Using your TV as the device switcher and optical out you will not be able to take advantage of the new audio codecs. The sub $500 5.1 receivers are have about the same wattage as yours. The more expensive receivers will give you more wattage, but not double for that extra 3db. So for your case the only real advantage a new receiver will give you for your goals is better room correction when it does it's auto calibration.

For best center channel recommendations take a picture of your TV and stand. Provide measurements of the space you would like to place the center. What flexibility do you have for adjustments. One Center I would recommend is just over 11" tall as an example. Would the Center go into a shelf slot in a stand so you would need a sealed or front ported center as another example.

As for your existing center or any new one you may try, make sure it is pulled forward to the very edge of the stand/shelf. The first reflection that could muddle sound is that stand/shelf.

Here’s what I have to work with really. The shell thing can go albeit it’s kind of cool there on its own haha.


Distance from the top of the tv stand to the tv is 18 inches. Funny enough that’s how deep the tv stand is as well. I’m not 100% on my wife loving an 11 inch center but who knows right. I have contemplated the in wall options at some points but I haven’t brought those up yet with her as an option and I kind of just wanted to fix it without telling her as a surprise if that makes any sense.


I’ll take recommendations even though I have an eBay one maybe and the Polk on the way.
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post #24 of 34 Old 06-08-2020, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Ah sorry I must have missed that. I don’️t really have problems hearing anything. I mean I want things to be louder all of the time but that’️s about it.
Where do you sit in relation to the CC? Where does your wife sit? Try changing places with her and see if she can hear better in your seating position.

Craig
Solid idea. Unfortunately we tried that and it didn’t change much.

I sit more directly in front of it and she typically sits to my right. I’ve tried aiming the center more at her than me and it didn’t do much to help. I even tried putting it in that shell thing once just for fun hah (look at the photo in my other post, behind the center).
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post #25 of 34 Old 06-08-2020, 08:01 PM
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Here’s what I have to work with really. The shell thing can go albeit it’s kind of cool there on its own haha.


Distance from the top of the tv stand to the tv is 18 inches. Funny enough that’s how deep the tv stand is as well. I’m not 100% on my wife loving an 11 inch center but who knows right. I have contemplated the in wall options at some points but I haven’t brought those up yet with her as an option and I kind of just wanted to fix it without telling her as a surprise if that makes any sense.


I’ll take recommendations even though I have an eBay one maybe and the Polk on the way.
Lets see how those work out and time for testing settings. If that doesn't work out we will re-visit and with a budget you would like to stay under.

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post #26 of 34 Old 06-09-2020, 09:24 AM
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Have you and the wife tried temporarily swapping your seated positions as an experiment? This would tell us if the issue is related to differences in your hearing or differences in the sound hitting these two locations.
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My parents reported that my mom had trouble hearing the TV so we got her headphones which worked simultaneously to the main speakers and had their own independent volume control: she said the improvement was profound and the problem was solved.
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post #27 of 34 Old 06-09-2020, 10:02 PM
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Try raising the center channel speaker to just below the TV. Currently, it is sitting at the back of the wood furniture, virtually assuring that the sound will be muddied by the initial reflections. If you get the speaker up off the furniture, you may find the sound to be much clearer. The other alternative is to put the center channel at the front of the furniture, with the front minimally hanging off the edge. Try both options and see if you don't get better sound.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 06-09-2020 at 10:07 PM.
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post #28 of 34 Old 06-10-2020, 06:14 AM
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Where do you sit in relation to the CC? Where does your wife sit? Try changing places with her and see if she can hear better in your seating position.

Craig
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Solid idea. Unfortunately we tried that and it didn’t change much.

I sit more directly in front of it and she typically sits to my right. I’ve tried aiming the center more at her than me and it didn’t do much to help. I even tried putting it in that shell thing once just for fun hah (look at the photo in my other post, behind the center).
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Have you and the wife tried temporarily swapping your seated positions as an experiment? This would tell us if the issue is related to differences in your hearing or differences in the sound hitting these two locations.
Asked and answered.

--

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My parents reported that my mom had trouble hearing the TV so we got her headphones which worked simultaneously to the main speakers and had their own independent volume control: she said the improvement was profound and the problem was solved.
Now that's a great idea!


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post #29 of 34 Old 06-10-2020, 09:58 AM
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My wife has a similar problem, which was solved for her radio listening with headphones, but for movies which are streamed through my computer, plugging in the headphones disabled the HDMI connection to the TV. Any suggestions for that?
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post #30 of 34 Old 06-10-2020, 10:05 AM
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Bluetooth headphones?

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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