ATV4/Soundbar

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Ramrod82, May 25, 2017.

  1. Ramrod82 macrumors regular

    Ramrod82

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #1
    I just moved....little larger area, but a few nights ago when I was watching John Wick 2, the sound was horrid when they were speaking. Never had this issue before. It's a LG 4.1 soundbar, at the time I had it hooked up optical. As of last night I went to ARC. Some improvement, but wondering if anyone else is having similar issues when there are conversations in movies and if so ways to improve the overall sound? HBO Go and other apps are fine. Unsure what gives?
     
  2. HobeSoundDarryl, May 26, 2017
    Last edited: May 26, 2017

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #2
    Since other movies "are fine", it sounds like that one movie has poor audio mixing. It happens. Assuming it's an iTunes download, you can't readily switch to other surround sound tracks to see if they are any better (as you likely have just 5.1 or 7.1 DD vs. Stereo tracks (for iDevices) only). However, if it happened to be a Blu Ray, there would be some other audio tracks to choose. Here's the ones listed for that movie:
    • English: Dolby Atmos
    • English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
    • English: Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 kbps)
    I'm guessing the iTunes version is 7.1 Dolby Digital which, if true, means sound meant to come out of 7 separate speakers (up to 4 positioned behind you) + 1 subwoofer is getting mixed down to come out of perhaps a relatively short horizontal row of little speakers inside a single case all out in front of you.

    If the soundbar has any options to change what are usually called "listening modes" you might try that with this movie and see if you can get any better sound (then switch it back after you are done with this movie so that everything else sounds as good as usual). Perhaps it might have some kind of "voice enhance" mode or settings to turn up the faux center channel relative to the other speakers (which would probably make the vocal parts more discernible).

    FYI: Optical and HDMI (ARC) are both working with a digital audio stream. Neither should sound better than the other with a Soundbar. Both should be sending the exact same audio stream to the bar which then converts it into the exact same analog audio that comes out of the speaker. Somebody will probably chime in arguing that HDMI readily handles 7.1 audio better than optical but that would matter in a 7.1 speaker setup, not a soundbar setup... and with higher bitrates than what iTunes rentals probably use.

    Longer run, consider setting up a home theater system with a good receiver and dedicated speakers instead of using compact speakers in a Soundbar. A good 5.1 or 7.1 setup with 5 or 7 dedicated speakers plus subwoofer is generally going to sound better-to-much-better than any soundbar. You don't say what soundbar you have but if pretty much ALL of the sound is coming from just a bar, that's theatrical surround sound being mixed down to trying to fake surround with the bar. Dedicated 5.1 or 7.1 would send the sounds that are supposed to be behind you to actually play behind you. It would give you a dedicated center channel which is primarily for voices. Left & Right front channels would probably have some added distance from the center speaker so that non-voice audio might not overwhelm the vocal parts. And if the audio track is mixed with the voices too low relative to music, sound effects, and rear channel sounds, you can always independently turn up the center channel and/or turn down the rest of them so that voices dominate.

    Sorry that's not much help for this one movie. If you really love this film, consider buying the Blu Ray and ripping it into a format compatible with :apple:TV. You could experiment with your own audio mix down options for this movie to try to find one that sounds the best with your current set up. Again though, go for a full surround sound system as soon as you can. Real surround is far superior to faux surround. Dedicated speakers are usually much better than all sound coming from a single area, often less than 5 feet across. Etc.
     

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