What happened to great sound?

I have an ancient telephone in the kitchen. It’s on the wall. It has a long wire that goes from the kitchen to somewhere. It gets kinked and coiled and very messed up … but the sound on that old telephone is 100% better than the sound on my electronic Panasonic OR my expensive “smart phone.”

Movies have pathetic sound. Loud, except half the time you can’t tell what anyone is saying. The music is too loud, the voices too soft. And the quality is, well, pathetic. It’s the same on television. They don’t seem to care about it. I don’t understand. Surely they know how to make good sound? They do it for music, so why can’t they do it for voices?


Is it just me?

Half the time, my telephone breaks up. No one can hear me. It’s 2017 and I’m yelling into the phone “Can you hear me? Hello? Hello?” This is the “good phone.” The expensive one. On the cell, sometimes, someone can hear it. The rest of the time? Good luck with that.

Let’s hear it for good sound. On television. Movies. Telephones. The British and Canadian television shows have much better sound than we do in this country. It’s something we might want to think about.

And now, back to the rest of the news.


Categories: Hearing, Television

Tags: , , ,

41 replies

  1. I couldn’t agree more. If you’ve heard really bad sound, you know for eternity just how important it is for engagement, immersion and enjoyment.


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  3. Maybe it’s a plot to get us to buy those dumb sound bars. We got one and it malfunctioned in less than a year.


  4. We are moving towards a soundless society, where all communication will be done via texting, Tweeting and memes! Sound was so 20th Century and has become obsolete in this era of advanced technology. Marcel Marceau was so ahead of his time…


  5. Maybe Neil Young should look into this. I just finished his biography and he sure is adamant about the sound available (and not available) for music these days. He is on a mission to improve the quality of sound!!


  6. Part of the problem is everything is done in surround sound. All of the dialog only comes out of the center speaker. If you don’t have a surround system hooked up or your tv doesn’t decode it properly the dialogue gets lost.


    • Yes, but that’s only part of the problem. The rest is really BAD audio. Ask Ben. Worse, I don’t think they even care when they roll it all up for a DVD, whether or not you can actually hear the sound.

      FYI, it isn’t the battery. That particular PC doesn’t HAVE a battery. It’s pretty weird that it went from fine to nothing overnight. He thinks it might be the motherboard, in which case it’s probably not worth fixing. It wasn’t much of a laptop to begin with. Good news? Garry gets MY old computer, which — for him — will be great.


  7. and here I thought it was just me?


  8. Well in my experience here in the desert even when I hooked up my mom’s old princess phone there was hash on the line. The only thing I can attribute it to is the internet? Most phone delivery these days only shares the lines or airwaves because what’s important is the digital data being transmitted simultaneously. You may have noticed that the phone company, upon installation, will include a little plug in filter supposedly to suppress the digital hash.., but they work poorly, or not at all. It’s amazing that any sound gets through at all under these very dirty conditions. And you’re right it doesn’t matter what phone you use as they all share the same lines at some point. Bottom line; the sound is horrendous and they charge you for this? OY!

    As for TV I cancelled my cable/satellite delivery and now get a bunch of it off an ANTENNA.., What? that’s right an antenna, and the rest from streaming sources where the sound seems to be fine. Go figure?


    • Wow. An antenna! That’s so cool. If we didn’t have 1000 trees hovering over the house, we could do that too. What a thought! But I figure in less than a year, now, we won’t really need cable anymore. As for the telephone, it totally sucks. There’s so much crap on the line. If they didn’t charge close to $100 for “a real phone,” I’d get one of them. But it’s a lot of money. I guess we’ll keep hearing crap.


      • Well the Government, (What ever that is these days) and the FCC, requires all local TV stations to transmit a digital signal through the air and free. Believe it or not, that signal is far cleaner than the one the cable companies reluctantly include in their packages.., sometimes incomplete at that (no sub channels). Get an antenna, you’d be surprised.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. So true! I find I hear movies better if I put in my noise canceller headset…finally, then I can hear the voices. Before using the headset, I thought it was my hearing for a while and would put subtitles to read what the voices were saying. And phones…don’t get me started. I have been working on a crisis helpline for 17 years and want to cry when a youth is walking around their bedroom with a cordless or cell phone.


  10. I have a couple of films on Blu-ray where I have to keep altering the volume depending on whether its speech or “effects” 😦
    Also, TV manufacturers don’t put high quality speakers in their sets any more as they want people to buy their sound bars and what have you.


    • We bought the sound bar and the sound is STILL bad. Yes, you have to “ride” the sound as if you were in a radio studio, just so you can actually hear voices. So with all this high tech stuff, we still have sound that’s not all that much better than the 1930s.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I turned off the TV 17 years ago (hel-LO internet) and have never looked back. My hearing is still better than it should be, so I never really had a problem sorting out voice from noise, but I will agree about music videos–as much as I love some of the performers, they just don’t e-nun-ci-ate. Ever.

    I find the sound on the newer wall/table phones is less than good, but if you turn it up enough to make it clearer it becomes shouting. My husband’s hearing is dreadful so he shouts into the phone (of course) and then hangs up if he can’t hear anyone. lol.

    I miss Ma Bell. Dreadfully. Come back, we love you. all is forgiven.


    • I know. Garry is deaf and he has a caption phone in his office. He only uses it when he has NO other choice. Otherwise, it’s my job. I spent last night on the phone with Audible trying to get my books back on my computer. I finally got them back, but half the time they couldn’t hear me. It is infuriating, especially because they actually CHARGE US MONEY for this.

      Come back Ma Bell! We’ll be nice to you, I promise!


  12. I haven’t watched TV for years – do those things still work. I have found an amazing alternative made from pulped cellulose with sequences of alphabetical letters imprinted upon it.


  13. Maybe that’s why I turned off the television? I never understood it myself, but maybe I just got fed up with the sound. I don’t really watch movies anymore either. That could explain it. Food for thought (for me).

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Where is the Best Sound Found? – Equitable Stewardship For Artists – ESA Talent Agency

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