Tinny audio from a flat screen TV

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by peter, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. peter

    peter Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So, I have 2 flat screens in my house, 1 in the kitchen and 1 in the bedroom. The speakers on both, if you can call them that, are tinny and harsh sounding, not at all like the speakers in older CRT TV's. I will add I don't really care that much about great sound from a TV, as none of my TV's are hooked up to any of my stereos. My guess is I will need to add a receiver of some sort if I want to add better speakers for the audio on my 2 flat screens.

    If anyone can offer any guidance, I would appreciate it.
  2. Obtuse1

    Obtuse1 Forum Resident

    For perfectly adequate sound. you can always add a soundbar. Something like this model from Vizio:


    You can also find ones without a subwoofer, if you don't feel you need one.

    I use a cheapo Samsung 2.1 soundbar in my listening room to improve the sound on my 50" 4K set. Good enough for casual viewing when I don't need the audio system.

    Sadly today's thin displays have nearly universally horrible built in sound.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  3. mikeyt

    mikeyt Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA
    Audioengine makes great powered speakers that work really with TVs.
    Agitater and Shawn like this.
  4. hesson11

    hesson11 Forum Resident

    I found a cheap-0 pair of desktop computer speakers at a thrift shop that are far better than my TV's sound. They're powered, of course, which means no receiver/amp is needed.
    JohnO, krisbee, Scope J and 2 others like this.
  5. Obtuse1

    Obtuse1 Forum Resident

    That's what I use for my bedroom TV (old powered PC speakers).
  6. dbsea

    dbsea Forum Resident

    Seattle, WA
    I use a sound bar in the bedroom and a basic 5.1 setup in the den where I have more space. My stereos are in the living room and office. As a result I keep my tv watching and music listening segregated, though I have a few multi channel sacds and DVD-a discs that I play in the den.
  7. Mike-48

    Mike-48 Forum Resident

    Portland, Oregon
    Like @mikeyt , I've found that Audioengine powered speakers work well in this application.
  8. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    I'm not so enamored of sound bars, but this thing
    Amazon.com: Buying Choices: Cambridge TVB2 Bluetooth TV Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer with NFC Pairing
    sounds really really sweet. Spent a lot of time in their room at the LA audio show listening to a variety of stuff they played for customers, and I told my buddy "ya know, if someone told me I could only have this to listen to music for the rest of my life, it would kind be OK." The housing is solid metal to boot! Click through the sellers, Computerist is offering at about $248 including shipping. Please buy it before I can find myself and excuse to do so! :D
    bluemooze likes this.
  9. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    The problem with flat panel screens is that they make and every year the reduce the bezel size. So the speaker always face away from the listener, either downward or rearward and they are much smaller than those on CRTs. You have to have external speaker on modern TVs. I use a sound bar as I don't really want to use my tube amp for television.
  10. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH Forums.

    Flat screen TVs are designed to have appalling audio so you will also buy the matching soundbar from the same company, so they get profits from two purchases rather than one.

    This corporate manipuation (and others like providing limited software updates to force updating devices) really get me mad! At least I got my main flatscreen when they had reasonable sound, and I put it through the hifi for movies. I can hardly listen to the 2ndary screen, even for news.
    2trackmind, beat_truck and sotosound like this.
  11. Tartifless

    Tartifless Forum Resident

    Soundbars or powered speakers...
    Just ensure you setup the tv accordingly in the sound options, be careful about passthrough, most soundbars will handle 5.1 but speakers won't.
  12. GuildX700

    GuildX700 Forum Resident

    I do miss the sound of my old Sony XBR 32" CRT, but these days I run my flat screens into an audio system so I get then full use of the stereo system in each room with a TV also.

    That XBR also had nice wireless headphones, PIP with dual tuners, digital zoom/freeze, really was one of the best of the last CRT's made. Heavy too.
  13. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    London, UK
    inb4 CRTs are analogue!
  14. SquishySounds

    SquishySounds Yo mama so fat Thanos had to snap twice.

    New York
    [​IMG] Why wouldn't you hook-up your TV to a stereo? Movies, video games, sports, and Netflix weren't lost to the loudness war like music was. Full range towers or a 2.1 system is practically required for American Idol/The Voice/ Americas Got Talent.
    andrewskyDE, BDC, audiomixer and 2 others like this.
  15. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    East Coast, USA
    Another option is the "soundbase" format available from Zvox and others:

  16. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Southern US
    My buddy has this one, surprisingly decent for what it is.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  17. Tartifless

    Tartifless Forum Resident

    I had a onkyo ls-t30 soundbar and the sound was really good.
    I sold it and connected the tv via spdif to my stereo amp and it does sound hell of a lot better than the tv speakers...
    Everytime i switch back to those speakers i really feel sorry for thise knowing only this quality of sound !
    chacha likes this.
  18. peter

    peter Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thank you ALL very much for the responses. You have given me quite a lot to think about.

    I must say, I like the computer speakers solution for the kitchen, as I really don't know how I would have ever convinced the wife that we "needed" a receiver.

    For the other room, I like the Zvox option.
  19. The reason the speakers in the flat-screen TV's sound so k-rappy, is that you can't put big speakers inside a flat-screen like many CRT's had. Many soundbars sound unbelievably great and are in all price ranges. Though hooking into an AV multi-channel surround sound system, like I do, is probably the best sound option, a soundbar is a better space-saving option. An add-on computer amplified sound system is another option.
    Shak Cohen, Manimal and SandAndGlass like this.
  20. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Polk Audio has a nice selection of quality, reasonably priced sound bars. They often run sales on them.

    They usually offer their biggest sales right after Thanksgiving, until the end of the month.
    Tullman and Manimal like this.
  21. Chazro

    Chazro Forum Resident

    West Palm Bch, Fl.
    Another very big thumbs up for Zvox. I've owned a big stereo rig for decades. The one box, one cable, solution is appealing after so many years of dealing with system spaghetti. Extremely easy set up, 10 minutes and you should be good to go. And they sound great with full range and solid volume!
    Bubbamike and SandAndGlass like this.
  22. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    A bit off topic, but did you guys get your power restored yet?
  23. Sevoflurane

    Sevoflurane Forum Resident

    West Yorkshire
    Another vote for a soundbase here. I use one on on my main TV and got my parents one.
  24. Chazro

    Chazro Forum Resident

    West Palm Bch, Fl.
    I lucked out as I never lost it!
    BDC and SandAndGlass like this.
  25. Halloween Jack

    Halloween Jack Forum Resident

    AV receiver and 2.0 speaker system for the main room. A soundbar for the smaller room (soundbars from Yamaha or JBL seem good). A soundbar is better for TVs than computer speakers because they have a digital optical audio output (computer speakers do not).
    dbsea likes this.

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