Most Smart TVs today have a Dialog Clarity feature. Dialog Clarity allows you to listen to clear speech when watching a video program on your TV.
The feature helps emphasize voices while keeping the background volume steady. But Smart TVs are getting thinner and thinner with no room for bigger speakers, making their sound drivers weak.
As a result, many viewers find themselves enabling subtitles or rewinding a TV show or movie to hear something someone said. If this has been your case, you need a voice-clarifying soundbar.
A soundbar will improve audio quality, including dialog, compared to your TV’s in-built speakers. That is because it has several speakers that produce surround sound when positioned strategically in your room.
Soundbars achieve surround sound because they have several channels for each speaker that bounces the audio off of the walls, so the sound is equal throughout the room.
Because of the many channels in a soundbar, some movie or TV show scenes become muffled, and dialog becomes easy to hear.
However, you need the best soundbar for dialogue clarity for this to happen.
The best soundbars for dialogue clarity
- Best overall – Bose TV Speaker- Small Soundbar.
- Best value for money – ZVOX SB380 Aluminum Sound Bar TV Speaker.
- Best quality – Klipsch Cinema 600 Sound Bar 3.1 Home Theater System.
- Best premium soundbar with voice clarity – Polk Audio MagniFi Max Home Theater Sound Bar.
Factors to consider when choosing the best soundbar for dialogue clarity
While soundbars for dialogue clarity are worth buying, the market has many of these devices. That means it is challenging to determine the best.
However, here are some factors you should consider when choosing one.
The number of channels
Good soundbars for dialogue clarity should have at least three channels.
Although a soundbar with 2.1 channels could be enough, it does not provide true surround sound. Preferably, go for 4.1 and above.
You have to determine where you will place the soundbar before purchasing it. Some soundbars are so thin that you can position them in front of your TV.
Others act like stands, meaning you can place your TV on top of them. But you also have the option of mounting the device on your wall to provide better sound and dialog clarity.
A soundbar should have multiple connectivity options to connect audio and video sources. These should include HDMI Inputs, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Audio Inputs (optical, coaxial digital audio inputs, or analog stereo RCA).
Also, ensure that the inputs on the device match the outputs on the source components or TV.
A soundbar should allow you to stream content wirelessly, especially if your TV does not have this capability built-in and you do not own a media player.
Consider buying a soundbar with rear speakers to create a better surround sound experience.
Another factor to consider is a subwoofer. Ideally, soundbars have many internal speakers that can produce quality sound without a subwoofer.
However, adding a subwoofer helps enhance clarity and can make low frequencies that the device cannot.
Note that a soundbar will have a subwoofer built inside or come as an external add-on. The choice will depend on how much space you have.
The best soundbars for dialogue clarity reviewed
If you are looking for the best standalone soundbar for dialogue clarity, here are four devices you should consider today.
1. Bose TV Speaker Soundbar
If you are looking for the best soundbar for voice clarity, the Bose TV Speaker Soundbar is the best you can find.
This small but powerful speaker clarifies speech and has two angled full-range drivers that deliver a more realistic, spatial audio experience for overall better TV sound.
Furthermore, it can elevate vocals and pronunciation while delivering spacious and natural audio performance.
The Bose TV Speaker Soundbar comes with many intuitive features.
For example, it has a dialog mode that will analyze what you are watching and further enhance speech when enabled on the remote. As a result, you will hear and understand each word spoken more clearly.
Although the soundbar’s bass is flat, it counteracts the limitation with a center tweeter that elevates vocals.
Furthermore, the device offers Bluetooth, optical audio cable, and HDMI-Arc connectivity. With Bluetooth, you can wirelessly stream your favorite music and podcasts.
Why buy it?
- Slim and sleek design.
- Remote control.
- Easy to set up.
- It offers a theater-quality experience.
2. ZVOX SB380 Aluminum Sound Bar TV Speaker
ZVOX SB380 Aluminum is the runner’s up among the best soundbars for speech clarity. The device comes loaded with high-performance speakers, a digital amplifier, a virtual surround system, and a built-in powered subwoofer.
These components work together to create stronger dialogue emphasis while minimizing the non-vocal parts of a soundtrack. Furthermore, the soundbar ensures that voices are clear and easy to understand, even when the video is at a low volume.
ZVOX SB380 Aluminum Sound Bar TV Speaker gives you many choices when it comes to placement. You can wall-mount it below your TV, place it in front of your TV, or put it on a shelf.
Apart from placement, it has an Output Leveling feature that makes soft sounds louder and loud sounds softer. The feature comes in handy during loud commercials.
The ZVOX SB380 soundbar does not have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or other wireless connections. However, it has multiple inputs that make it simple to add a multi-zone streaming audio receiver.
Why buy it?
- It has a built-in powered subwoofer that produces excellent bass without an external subwoofer.
- Works with TV remote controllers.
- It offers room-filling 3D sound.
3. Klipsch Cinema 600 Sound Bar 3.1 Home Theater System
Klipsch Cinema 600 Sound Bar is a 3.1 home theater system that easily fits on the list of the best TV soundbars for voice clarity.
It boasts a high-fidelity sound system with both left and right speakers that create a cinematic soundstage. It also has a dedicated center channel with three dialog enhancement modes that ensure you hear every word, whisper, or detail.
The soundbar comes with a separate subwoofer that is bigger and wireless. This means it will produce cleaner and more powerful bass whenever you watch a movie or play a video game.
Although the Klipsch Cinema 600 Sound Bar is pricey, the amount is justifiable because of its crisp dialog, expansive sound field, and thundering bass.
Why buy it?
- Easy to set up.
- It comes in premium materials.
- Easy to control using a remote.
4. Polk Audio MagniFi Max Home Theater Sound Bar
The Polk Audio MagniFi Max is one of the most premium soundbars on the market today.
It has seven powerful drivers and tweeters that produce clear sound and minimize voice delays and muzzled sounds. The soundbar also has 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS decoding that creates an expansive soundstage.
To create a multi-room system, you can wirelessly use the Polk Audio MagniFi Max soundbar to stream music from your smartphone, tablet, or any compatible Android device.
Also, the device offers endless connection options, including three HDMI inputs, one HDMI-ARC output, optical port, Bluetooth, USB, and auxiliary analog. That means you can connect your Smart TV, Blu-Ray player, set-top box, and other non-digital devices.
Although the soundbar has firmware issues, you only have to update it immediately to fix them and continue enjoying its quality sound.
Why buy it?
- Easy to set up.
- It works with 4K & HD TVs.
- It offers excellent sound with better dialog clarity.
How to improve dialogue clarity on your TV
You can improve dialog clarity on your TV by doing several things. These include:
- Adjust your TV settings by switching off surround sound to provide a better balance between voices and other sounds.
- Switch OFF Dolby Digital or any other Dolby setting that is ON.
- If your TV has a dialog enhancement or dynamic range control (DRC) setting, consider turning the option ON.
- Try managing your TV’s dialogue clarity by connecting it to an external amplified speaker, soundbars, home theater, or any speaker setup.
- Depending on your TV, you can try out several modes, such as Dialog, News, or Speech Boost. Also, some TVs have a Movie or Standard audio mode that enhances dialog clarity.
- Try cycling through audio enhancements like Bass Boost, which often harms dialog or Night Mode.
Ideally, look out for three areas on your TV when trying to get dialog clarity. These are Sound Modes, Compression, and Equalization.
In most cases, these three features could be the reason you are experiencing muffled conversations whenever you are watching a movie, news, or TV show.
Do soundbars make dialogue clearer?
Soundbars can make dialogue clearer, especially if you buy one that is specifically designed to make speech more intelligible.
Also, some of these devices have a dedicated center channel speaker since dialog often comes mainly from the center channel. In other words, a soundbar with a center channel or speaker will give more separation to the sound that you hear in the room.
Some soundbars also have features like Speech Enhancement and Night Sound. Speech enhancement will emphasize audio frequencies associated with the ongoing dialog.
Night Sounds, on the other hand, ensures that dialog is clear and helps reduce the intensity of loud sound when watching a movie or TV at a low volume.
How do you make a soundbar clearer?
Making your soundbar clearer will mostly depend on the type of device you bought. It is best to buy a soundbar that is large enough to fill your room with better sound.
For example, consider a device that has several speaker channels. Other steps you can take to make your soundbar sound clearer include:
- Adjust the audio settings of your TV. You can do this by selecting the soundbar as your default speaker instead of the TV speakers.
- Use HDMI cables to connect to your soundbar. HDMI is useful because it can pass higher resolution audio.
- Try cycling through the audio enhancement modes. These modes emphasize high-pitched sounds like speech. Although they are excellent to have, sometimes they make things sound bad.
You can also place your soundbar with a subwoofer or add more wireless speakers for better clarity. Make sure to select good speaker stands to position additional speakers just right for the best sound clarity.
Do you need a subwoofer for a soundbar?
A subwoofer for a soundbar is necessary to get better sound when watching a movie or listening to music. The advantage is you can choose a soundbar that has an in-built subwoofer or buy one separately.
However, since soundbars do not reproduce lower-frequency sound that is often produced by instruments like drums, bass guitar, some wind instruments, and bass keyboards, you need a subwoofer to achieve this.
Another thing to note is that a subwoofer adds thrilling immersive bass impact you can hear and feel and allows a soundbar to focus on the mid and high frequencies.
As a result, the combination brings a noticeable improvement to the sound in your room and overall audio experience.
If you find yourself rewinding a video on your TV to hear what someone said, you need one of these soundbars for clear dialogue. These devices will enhance dialog, explicitly focusing on clarifying and elevating vocals and pronunciation in a video.
Furthermore, they will minimize the non-vocal parts of a soundtrack, improve your television viewing to a home theater experience, and give you more dynamic sound than that of your TV.