Why does my TV sound more real?

Rensselaer

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Mar 23, 2021
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Recently, after listening to some Youtube videos of top equipment playing at shows, as well as Youtube videos of SET's (45, 2A3, 300B, 845, 211 and 4212), on my computer, then listening to my own system playing Original Source Deutsche Grammophon records, I shut everything down and went downstairs to watch some TV.

I flipped through the channels and found a channel playing a live concert somewhere and started listening. Damned if those instruments playing on the TV didn't sound more real in tone than everything that I had listened to upstairs (with the one exception being 4212 amplifiers that Uesugi Ken of Otomon Laboratory put on Youtube, but where can you find NOS 4212 valves?). Why is that? What format does Television cameras record sound to? What processors and layout, filters, power supply? What microphones? How is it that music on the TV can sound better?
 
Where to start? Upstairs or down?

Is the TV incredibly great? Doubtful.

Perhaps the place to start looking is upstairs.

I feed my TV with Cat 6 hardwired Ethernet and eARC HDMI, via a modest AVR. It is set up for 5.1 with SF, Revel, and PSB speakers left over from other systems.

It sounds pretty doggone good with the right program material… the surround sound is definitely a different experience compared to two or three channel.

But it’s not in the same league as my dedicated two channel reference. If your’s is, then you’ve got to decide where to look. If it were me, I’d be looking upstairs.
 
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Recently, after listening to some Youtube videos of top equipment playing at shows, as well as Youtube videos of SET's (45, 2A3, 300B, 845, 211 and 4212), on my computer, then listening to my own system playing Original Source Deutsche Grammophon records, I shut everything down and went downstairs to watch some TV.

I flipped through the channels and found a channel playing a live concert somewhere and started listening. Damned if those instruments playing on the TV didn't sound more real in tone than everything that I had listened to upstairs (with the one exception being 4212 amplifiers that Uesugi Ken of Otomon Laboratory put on Youtube, but where can you find NOS 4212 valves?). Why is that? What format does Television cameras record sound to? What processors and layout, filters, power supply? What microphones? How is it that music on the TV can sound better?

It's mostly a psychological effect from seeing the players with their instruments while listening, which allows the mind to much more readily "fill in" how it is really supposed to sound.

Do the experiment: Close your eyes and listen again, which leaves you just with the actual sound from the TV, nothing more.

You will notice that the sound is much worse and more congested than with eyes open, focused on the players.
 
Where to start? Upstairs or down?

Is the TV incredibly great? Doubtful.

Perhaps the place to start looking is upstairs.

I feed my TV with Cat 6 hardwired Ethernet and eARC HDMI, via a modest AVR. It is set up for 5.1 with SF, Revel, and PSB speakers left over from other systems.

It sounds pretty doggone good with the right program material… the surround sound is definitely a different experience compared to two or three channel.

But it’s not in the same league as my dedicated two channel reference. If your’s is, then you’ve got to decide where to look. If it were me, I’d be looking upstairs.
This was the response I expected I would get first. No, my TV is good (Sony Bravia Smart 4K Ultra HD OLED) but not incredibly great (no surround sound, speaker is the screen of the TV).

I am talking about which comes closest to the actual tone of acoustic instruments, the phone recordings of mega-buck systems on show reports shared on this forum, or my humble TV? Same the many systems I have heard, and the humble TV?

My experience has been that the humble TV can often reproduce acoustic instrument tones closer to real life (often with systems I have listened to, nearly always with iPhone YouTube postings), and I wonder why that is and if anyone else has noticed this as well.
 
To my ears, you are wrong. I have a couple of big and best Bravia’s here and listen regularly.

I won’t argue that it sounds better to you. But if I were you, I would be seriously disappointed with my reference.
 
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It's mostly a psychological effect from seeing the players with their instruments while listening, which allows the mind to much more readily "fill in" how it is really supposed to sound.

Do the experiment: Close your eyes and listen again, which leaves you just with the actual sound from the TV, nothing more.

You will notice that the sound is much worse and more congested than with eyes open, focused on the players.
Interesting point, and I will try the experiment as you suggest.

But in regards to seeing the instruments playing somehow allowing me to "fill in" how it is supposed to sound, why not seeing the megabuck "best sound of the show" system playing in front of audiophiles on chairs convincing my mind to "fill in" how I expect it to sound (what should be the best sounding hi fi I have ever heard), I ponder.

I am not saying however that TV's today sound better than the best hi fi systems out there (despite the arrogance of Another Johnson). I am just asking how is it that live orchestral music recorded onto television cameras then converted, and then digitally transmitted over the WWW or from a satellite into a necessarily inexpensive decoder and speakers of a TV, sound as good as it does?
 
Interesting point, and I will try the experiment as you suggest.

But in regards to seeing the instruments playing somehow allowing me to "fill in" how it is supposed to sound, why not seeing the megabuck "best sound of the show" system playing in front of audiophiles on chairs convincing my mind to "fill in" how I expect it to sound (what should be the best sounding hi fi I have ever heard), I ponder.

I am not saying however that TV's today sound better than the best hi fi systems out there (despite the arrogance of Another Johnson). I am just asking how is it that live orchestral music recorded onto television cameras then converted, and then digitally transmitted over the WWW or from a satellite into a necessarily inexpensive decoder and speakers of a TV, sound as good as it does?
You did say that it sounds better than your system, including vinyl.

I accept your ears, your system. I marvel at your assertion that the TV is better than your other sources. I am astonished, not arrogant.
 
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Interesting point, and I will try the experiment as you suggest.

But in regards to seeing the instruments playing somehow allowing me to "fill in" how it is supposed to sound, why not seeing the megabuck "best sound of the show" system playing in front of audiophiles on chairs convincing my mind to "fill in" how I expect it to sound (what should be the best sounding hi fi I have ever heard), I ponder.

Because it has got nothing to do with seeing players/instruments like on your TV. Those mega-buck systems are still just sound, no visuals of musicians playing.

And no, the visuals of mega-buck system don't impress me. I'm just listening to the sound.
 
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2 channel has turned into this Mega Mega Megs $$$$ product. But home cinema is where the real money was, and probably still is. I had a crappy Bose surround on my TV for a while and I was floored how good it sounded. Concerts, movies etc. I miss not having it.
 
Two friends in the entertainment industry both recently told me that, although SONY is not their favorite corporate actor, SONY is the only company that participates from artists all the way to the screen.

Really, if you get the violins right, a lot of other stuff follows.

Think about TV speakers as you assert that the TV sound is really great. A guy once told me that the best audio is car audio. His argument was that the system is designed for the room (cabin).

To each his own.
 
Two friends in the entertainment industry both recently told me that, although SONY is not their favorite corporate actor, SONY is the only company that participates from artists all the way to the screen.

Really, if you get the violins right, a lot of other stuff follows.

Think about TV speakers as you assert that the TV sound is really great. A guy once told me that the best audio is car audio. His argument was that the system is designed for the room (cabin).

To each his own.
Car radio runs off pure DC too.
 
You did say that it sounds better than your system, including vinyl.

I accept your ears, your system. I marvel at your assertion that the TV is better than your other sources. I am astonished, not arrogant.
I specifically stated Original Source Deutsche Grammophon records, quad recordings somehow processed into stereo, not all vinyl, astonished.
 
TV is made by engineering standards. Your stereo may have a host of weird audiophile stuff that is impressive in some way but really just sounds funny, unnatural.

I cannot speak for the vinyl setup you have, no idea. In fact the only thing particularly familiar is hearing Altec style speakers. Can I ask what power cables or power items you use? Also is your TV two prong or three prong?
 
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Three prong UK plugs, power to hi fi is through dedicated circuit off mains, shielded cable and Furutech sockets and plugs. Although I have “audiophile” power cords, I personally detected no difference (other than size and cost) from stock cords.
 
Interesting topic indeed. My answer is frame of mind and mental state. Not mutually exclusive but can be. I know I enjoy the hell out of my car audio system (emotional music connection) on occasion. Maybe it is the scenery, the feeling of freedom while driving, etc. Suffice to say, emotional connectivity is a very complex topic.

This could be be a very compelling thread.
 
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My experience has been that the humble TV can often reproduce acoustic instrument tones closer to real life (often with systems I have listened to, nearly always with iPhone YouTube postings), and I wonder why that is and if anyone else has noticed this as well.


TV sound is typically tailored similar to a old phone line. There is no deep bass or highs it's all midrange. So of course certain aspects are going to be highlighted. Music lives in the midrange so sure it can sound good but sure as hell they are not accurate.

I don't use my TV speakers at all. One is in an HT set-up the other incorporated in a stereo system.

Rob :)
 
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Swapping in some really generic items to see where in your chain is the culprit of sounding odd instead of what you want could work. Just choose basic no frill, engineered items that are likely NOT to be your cup of tea, but will be like the TV in nature.
 
You know, in truth what probably makes a lot of TV systems sound really good is DSP. DSP fixes a lot of problems. DSP allows you to shape a sound that pleases you. Most people fight for years with their 2 channel system and never overcome fundimental flaws from room modes, phase and timing issues. Now I get the OP is only using TV speakers. And for some reson feels they sound better than the stereo in his signature. If I had to point at anything, I would say his Altec A7-500 speakers are not working in his room. Maybe the speakers are extremely colorful and don't sound very natural and real. The rest of the gear should be up to beating a TV.
 
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McIntosh have an input for eARC on their digital capable preamps and integrated amps. If you hook up your TV via an eARC port on the TV and use an eARC HDMI cable, you can run your two channel TV sound directly into your two channel system.

The Sony Bravias do make a sound check during their set up to customize the TV sound to the room. This could be the key issue. The TV goes into a pinging mode, listens to what it hears, and applies corrections. You might not even remember this if it’s been a while since you set it up.

AVRs usually go through an even more detailed room adjustment involving the surround speakers and half dozen or more microphone positions.

I have owned several Bravias. Right now they’re my first choice. I am running one through a McIntosh MA9500 in two channel mode, and another in a small HT with an AVR. Neither is part of my reference two channel system though. YMMV.
 
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You know, in truth what probably makes a lot of TV systems sound really good is DSP. DSP fixes a lot of problems. DSP allows you to shape a sound that pleases you. Most people fight for years with their 2 channel system and never overcome fundimental flaws from room modes, phase and timing issues. Now I get the OP is only using TV speakers. And for some reson feels they sound better than the stereo in his signature. If I had to point at anything, I would say his Altec A7-500 speakers are not working in his room. Maybe the speakers are extremely colorful and don't sound very natural and real. The rest of the gear should be up to beating a TV.
My two channel system does beat TV, Another Johnson misunderstood my original post.
All I wanted to do is point out how well my unadulterated TV can realistically reproduce the sound/tone of violins, piano and some other analogue instruments. Better, IMHO, than iPhone videos of world class systems playing music from shows certainly, but also, to a lesser degree, than my system playing an Original Source record (which doesn’t sound as real as other records I own when played on my system, the reason why I assumed to be due to their processing the quadraphonic channels down to stereo before cutting to vinyl). I wasn’t asking for advice on my system, just wanted to know if anyone else has ever been surprised by the accuracy of tone that their ( in my case FAR less expensive) TV is sometimes capable of emitting. Nothing more.

And if I had to point to anything in my system that could benefit from change/upgrade, it would be the amp. I have heard my system sound much better with a different amp.
 

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