Q: In your review of the new ZVOX soundbars, you used the term "matched perfectly to the source." Does this mean that while watching TV, the sound and the lips match? Does this improve the problem with the background music drowning out the speaking, which seems to be so prevalent when we watch programs/movies?
A: I was not referring to the lips and the voices matching; that should happen with any system. What I meant by that statement is that when used as a home theater sound system, the soundbar did a good job reproducing the experience of a movie. When watching television, it did a good job reproducing TV shows and making them easy to understand. When used to play music, it reproduced the music accurately.
Although it might seem that this should be a given for any decent speaker or soundbar, in reality it is not. With home audio, some speakers are said to be "good rock music speakers" or "good classical music speakers." The very best speakers, such as the Ohm Acoustics and GoldenEar Technology speakers I favor, sound fantastic with any kind of music and reproduce it accurately, often creating the illusion of the performers being in the room with you.
Many home theater speaker systems that use tiny speakers do a decent job of reproducing a movie soundtrack, but when you play music, the music sounds off because the speakers can't move much air and there is a gap between the sounds made by the small speakers and the sounds made by the subwoofer. That the ZVOX soundbar worked well with everything I used it with is a testament to its good design and excellent quality.
Whether you have a soundbar or not, you can raise the volume of the voices in relation to the soundtrack. Go into your TV, cable box or disc player audio menu and look for the dynamic range control. It is sometimes also called, "Night Mode" or "DRC." Turning on this feature will even out the sound. It might not completely solve the problem, but it definitely will help. I explain the poor TV sound problem in more detail on my website (tinyurl.com/poortvsound).
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.