Audiowissen

Consistent volume and clear speech on all TV and streaming channels

Gleichmäßige Lautstärke und klare Sprache auf allen TV- und Streamingkanälen

Since June 2022, the speech-optimized soundtrack "Clear Speech" has been used in some ARD programs. It was developed by the Fraunhofer Institute in cooperation with ARD institutions and highlights the speech soundtrack while making music and noises quieter. This is intended to help people with age-related or generally impaired hearing to better understand the language in films, documentaries or other TV productions.

How exactly you set it up on your own television can vary from model to model and is not always easy to find. Once you have activated "Clear Speech", the speech track is statically louder, which does not always contribute to optimal playback of more reserved scenes. It is also a matter of taste whether music and noise should be turned down when speech occurs, because this significantly changes the mood and atmosphere intended by the director.

However, this activity by public broadcasters shows how glaring the problem of partially incomprehensible dialogues in TV programs is. Especially, but not only, in the Sunday Tatort series, the nation wonders what exactly was said when there was another loud bang or the scene was accompanied by loud background music. Actors such as Til Schweiger and Wotan Wilke Möhring are considered to be the measure of all things when it comes to unclear language. Anyone who wants to improve TV sound must be judged by them.

Even if viewers like the louder "Clear Language" voice track, it is only available on some ARD stations. All other programs remain partially incomprehensible, and the streaming and internet portals as well. So is it a drop in the ocean when it comes to improving TV sound in general? What use is a more intelligible ARD to me if I still can't understand the Marvel heroes on Pro Sieben.

The HDSX TV Sound Optimizer offers a cross-program solution to the problem of partially incomprehensible dialogue. It gets around the problem that only some channels benefit from its sound improvement by generally plugging it between a television and a TV sound system, thus optimizing all audio that comes from the television in real time for clear speech. There is therefore no longer any content that is not optimized.

And no one has to search for a long time in the TV menu before finding an extra voice track. Once the optimizer is activated, it does its job reliably and fully automatically. It highlights the voice track according to the context it is being heard and does not create the impression that the ARD "Clear Speech" track can give that sound impression that the music and noise are actually constantly mixed too quietly.

Quite the opposite: if the speech track is overlaid with music and noises, it is lifted out of the scenery in such a way that the music and noise are still perceived in a dramaturgically correct manner and no one feels that anything is missing in the dramaturgy. If the next scene is quiet and intimate, the optimizer's sound control preserves the atmosphere and does not artificially cut out sound information that is important for understanding the film. The result is relaxation for the ear because it can follow the speech coming from the sound system on the TV in a way that feels natural.

The optimizer can do even more:

In addition to clear speech, it also regulates the volume in such a way that extreme volume fluctuations are a thing of the past. Everyone knows the adverts that are too loud in an otherwise quieter program context. Or the louder TV program that you switch to and first have to turn down with the remote control. The volume differences become even more extreme when you switch from a TV to a streaming or internet provider, as there are no standards for the general basic volume.

The unique combination of sound control in the optimizer - called HDSX.TV - ensures both consistent volume and clear speech. On all channels and without long searching. The palm-sized device is installed in the signal path between the TV and the external speakers for the TV, such as a soundbar, a sound base or a hi-fi system. Once connected, you can safely leave the remote control on the table for constant volume adjustment, because the ideal listening volume once set remains reliably maintained.

Another special feature of the volume control in the optimizer is the permanent adjustment between volume and speech intelligibility. This guarantees clear speech on the one hand, but also takes into account the dramatic sequence of what has just been heard. If you want to increase the sound even further, the optimizer's additional function HDSX.360 is what you need.

HDSX.360 is a virtual 3D sound in which, unlike most virtual surround and 3D sound algorithms on the market, the speech remains clear at all times, while the sound stage of the music expands to the left and right and above and the sounds appear virtually in the room where they were produced. This gives a great cinema feeling without having to build a large number of individual speakers in your own four walls. The constant focus on clear speech here also relaxes the ear while at the same time providing a great sound experience.

Why can't the optimized sound from the optimizer be fed back into the TV and thus improve the TV sound? The reason is that the manufacturers don't allow this. Therefore, you need external TV speakers in any case, but they don't have to be expensive. Additional speakers in the form of a small soundbar are completely sufficient.

Since the TV speakers themselves are usually of a rather low quality, using the optimizer with a speaker for television is the safest way to get a sound upgrade.

There are also other speakers for TV, hearing amplifiers and other hearing aids that are aimed specifically at hearing-impaired people and promise them improvement. In contrast to these devices, which you either have to hang around your neck or place next to you, the Optimizer works in secret and, thanks to its perfect sound control, brings different generations and therefore different hearing abilities together again. While the ARD's "Clear Language" may seem too sharp for younger TV viewers, the Optimizer creates a harmonious overall sound with clear speech for everyone on all channels, not just the ARD stations.

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