Newbie can't hear talking

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Broadman, Aug 27, 2001.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Here's a conundrum I'm having with my home theater set-up. I figure there must be a few tech-heads out there that can lend some informed suggestions.
    My set-up:
    NAD 750 Dolby.DTS receiver
    B&W Stereo, Center, and subwoofer
    Cheapo back speakers
    DVD player; optical audio connection
    Here's the problem: dialogue is very quiet. When I'm watching TV, I have to crank the volume all the way up. This can't be right. The same happens when I watch DVDs.
    When I listen to music on the DVD player, though, the sound is nice and loud, the way it should be.
    The problem can't be the DVD player, since dialogue is also quite when watching TV.
    I thought it might be the center speaker, since dialogue is primarily sent to the center speaker, but it doesn't sound any better when I set it to use only the stereo speakers.
    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 1997
    Messages:
    799
    Likes Received:
    0
    First off, welcome to the Home Theater Forum!
    A couple of ideas, keeping in mind I know nothing about your receiver:
    1. What's the level on the center speaker? Most receivers allow for setting different levels to ensure channel SPL equalization.
    2. I don't know the receiver, or the speakers, but does the channel have enough amplification?
    3. Is the polarity reversed?
    4. Is the speaker of a different resistance (8 Ohms type deal) than the others?
    Just some thoughts.
    Mike
     
  3. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    1. What's the level on the center speaker? Most receivers allow for setting different levels to ensure channel SPL equalization.
    Yes, my receiver does allow for setting levels. I don't have an SPL meter, but I tried pumping the center up to max while leaving the L/R alone. It made it a bit louder, but not that much.
    2. I don't know the receiver, or the speakers, but does the channel have enough amplification?
    I don't see why it wouldn't.
    3. Is the polarity reverse?
    I would think this would make the speaker silent, not quiet, but I don't know. Where is the polarity set? Is that a receiver setting?
    4. Is the speaker of a different resistance (8 Ohms type deal) than the others?
    They're all 8 Ohms
    Thanks for any help.
    I think it would be great fun if everyone in this forum pitched in and helped me with my problem. It could be like a game. [​IMG]
     
  4. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 1998
    Messages:
    2,041
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well I wanna play toooo! [​IMG]
    Does your receiver have test tones? Try those, or some on Video Essentials or Avia's test disc and see how loud the center is compared to the others, if you want to be real accurate you can use an SPL meter also.
    Also, check to see if you have a dynamic range setting or something similar on your receiver. The purpose of that is to tame soundtracks that go from real quiet to real loud quite often. This is useful when you want to watch late at night and not disturb others. Lots of receivers have minimum, standard, and maximum settings for this, set it to maximum.
    If none of that helps, swap your center with one of the others and see if the problem stays with the speaker, or the channel its connected to, the next obvious step after that is swapping wires to see if its damaged.
    I'll add more if anything else comes to me.
     
  5. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,203
    Likes Received:
    0
    After you crank the level of the center, you might want to decrease the volume on the L/R's. It worked for me!
    Glenn
     
  6. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 1997
    Messages:
    799
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mike,
    First off, I suggest you do the following; this'll probably help more than anything else. Buy or rent a copy of the Video Essentials DVD or the AVIA DVD. While it sounds like a video-only adjustment tool, it isn't - fully half of either of these discs is dedicated to setting up speaker systems. This includes polarity checks, walkabouts, sweeps, etc., etc.
    I think you might be able to find it pretty quick with that. This is not to try and cheapen out on giving advice, it merely is a try at speeding up the process so you can enjoy your system.
    Now, on to other things:
    Odd that the speaker settings didn't help. What are the power ratings on the receiver and on the speakers, i.e. are they highly disparate?
    Polarity can affect things differently. Essentially it is a reversal of the two speaker leads at one end, e.g. if you connected the + side of the receiver to the - side of the speaker. This could account for the relative silence.
    Is the speaker cable ok? A break in the line can cause this, though you would probably also have heard some crackling.
    Are the speaker connectors (bananas, spades, bare wire, whatever) tight?
    Are you sure you did not set the center to Phantom?
    Is the speaker blown? Easy to check - hook it up as a Left or Right speaker and see if it plays different. If still silent, it's the speaker; if normal, it's between the receiver and the cable - or the audio signal.
    Can you give us the speaker model numbers?
    Can you give us the full NAD receiver number? I checked their website ( NAD Electronics ) - the T750 is a ProLogic unit, the T751 is a DD/DTS unit.
    Just a few questions - and we are trying to help here. It's no fun to have a nice system and have it sit there, quiescent, for some totally bizarre and unknown reason...
    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  7. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    I just did some more experimenting.
    Yes, my receiver does have test tones. With the L/R speakers set at 0db ("normal") and the center cranked up to MAX, the tone of the center is much louder, as is expected. I don't have an SPL meter yet (I went to Radio Shack. When I asked them for one, they looked at me as if I were from outer space. Just my luck.)
    I do have a dynamic range setting. It only applies when there is a digital source connected to it, so it has no bearing on TV.
    I just put on Goodfellas. With the center speaker cranked, it sounded much better.
    So, it seems like the problem is not with the speakers.
    The biggy is the TV/cable. That sounds too quiet whether I use Pro Logic or just stereo to hear it (further evidence that the center speaker is fine). I'm using Monster A/V cables to connect the cable box to the receiver, which I think should be the best sound. Perhaps I shall experiment with this a bit.
    Basically, what I thought was the problem seems like it's not the problem. It seems to be something between the cable box, TV, and receiver. Your posts are helping me out. Thanks.
     
  8. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Mike Voigt, I just saw your post after having posted my last one, but it's a good one, so I'll address it.
    Receiver model: NAD T 751
    Speakers: B&W 600 Series 2 (center, left, and right)
    Polarity should be fine. When I was hooking the stuff up after I got it, I made the mistake of switching polarities and I got no sound.
    Setting the center to Phantom? I'm sorry, I don't know what that is.
    In my experience so far, when the speakers aren't connected correctly, there is absolutely no sound coming out of the speaker. This is not the case now.
    I will get one of the DVDs and the SPL meter when I get a chance.
     
  9. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 1998
    Messages:
    2,041
    Likes Received:
    0
    Check your settings for Dolby Pro Logic. Phantom mode simulates a center channel for those without one. You may have set that incorrectly.
     
  10. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Update:
    I decided to mess around with the TV connections.
    Result: It was the damn cable box! When I tried using my roommate's box, it sounded fine.
    Of course I jumped on the phone and made the cable company send a guy out tomorrow to replace it.
    Raising the center channel did help with the DVD sound. I'm still gonna get that DVD and SPL meter to get the surround sound right.
    And to think, I've been watching Babylon 5 with poor sound for no good reason at all! Ugh.
    I was quick to assume it was something wrong with my beautiful home theater equipment. It's mad at me, but I'm sure it'll get over it.
    So, it looks as if everthing here is fine.
    Thanks for all the help, folks. It's all good stuff to keep in mind.
     

Share This Page