Sound advice: Using a soundbar? Turn off TV speakers

  • Article by: DON LINDICH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 21, 2013 - 8:58 AM

Also: A first look at the "GoPro" camera.

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A soundbar adds better audio to TVs.

Q I recently bought a flat-panel LCD TV. I was having trouble hearing talking at normal volume levels, especially on HBO. I bought a soundbar to get better sound. It does sound much better now, but I get a distinct echo. I get this effect both when I drive the soundbar from the DVR box or the TV. Could it be because the TV speakers are in the back side of the TV? Do you have any suggestions on how to get rid of the echo?

A Your TV speakers should be turned all the way down or off when you use a separate sound system such as a soundbar. Using them with the soundbar may cause echoes and the TV speakers do nothing to improve the sound.

Look at your TV's audio menu. If you can, turn the TV speakers off completely at the menu. Also see if you can set the analog audio output to "variable." This will allow you to control the soundbar's volume with the TV remote.

Speaking of soundbars, I saw a lot of soundbars at many different price points at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It is the fastest growing category in home audio and soon I will be writing about some great products I experienced here.

GoPro is action-packed

Q I recently have been seeing commercials for a "GoPro" Camera. I have yet to see anything in your column about it. Do you have any recommendations for or against this camera?

A Your question popped up on my iPhone here at the electronics show when I was standing about 25 feet from the GoPro booth. Given the size of the show, those are pretty long odds for such a coincidence so I decided your question will be investigated and answered in print immediately.

The GoPro is an action camera for sports use. It records video and stills but does not have features typically found in a compact camera such as an LCD screen or viewfinder.

I have not tested the GoPro but the footage from the camera was very impressive, even when viewed at large magnifications. There were a lot of show attendees who were also enthusiastic GoPro users discussing the product, which is another good sign, as is the wide variety of accessories available for mounting the unit on different surfaces and vehicles, taking it underwater, etc. If you are looking for an action camera, it looks to be a good choice. See it at www.gopro.com.

For something tiny and so cheap you won't mind if you destroy it, check out the kecyhain cameras I wrote about two summers ago. They are less than $10, include a rechargeable battery that charges via USB, and record on MicroSD cards. They record video with audio and the quality is surprisingly good for the size and price. Go to www.soundadviceblog.com to see the video and learn about the camera.

Send questions to donlindich@gmail.com. Get more recommendations and read past columns at www.soundadviceblog.com.

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