Why is Television so Hard to Hear?

This question came up during a recent tour at C. Crane with the Fortuna Senior Center. “My brand new television has terrible audio and I have to turn the volume way up and then next thing I know it’s blasting out my eardrums – do you have a fix for this?” There was a Wall Street Journal article on exactly this issue and we were able to share some ideas on possible solutions and some basic info on why this happens. While we’re usually known for radio, we do know a bit about audio as well.

Often it’s assumed that the sound issues are all related to hearing loss, but it turns out while that may be part of the problem, it’s not the whole story. With TVs getting thinner and thinner, speaker size, positioning and sound are often an after thought if even considered at all. This could be a big reason why personal sound systems are making a come back. We offer the AEGO Soundbar system to help combat poor audio. Not ready to make that kind of an investment? Here are a couple things you can try:

  1. Locate the speakers on your TV – depending on where they are (often pointing down on the bottom of the television), move your TV. Setting your TV on a wooden surface could do the trick because the sound needs something to bounce off of. Try out different combinations since even a table runner could muffle the sound by absorbing it.
  2. Play with the settings on your TV’s sound. Depending on the issue you are experiencing – illegible voice, too loud, too soft, etc. – you may be able to find a better audio setting on your television.

If none of those things, work you might want to consider our FM Transmitter that can bring the audio from your TV to your radio. Our CCRadio 2E has amazing sound quality and then the audio is right next to you. This is a pretty inexpensive way to improve the sound. Or if you don’t mind wearing earphones, there are many wireless and Bluetooth® options that might work with your new television.

Have you found this to be an issue for you? Share your solutions in the comments below!

 

What is Shortwave?

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Shortwave radio
is a radio transmission using shortwave frequencies, generally 1.6–30 MHz (187.4–10.0 m), just above the medium wave AM broadcast band. Many of SW’s properties are similar to AM like the ability for the signal to travel long distances.

Since the early 1900’s, there have been significant advances in radio. One of the biggest advances that has had the most impact on shortwave, is streaming on the internet and through internet enabled devices like smartphones and Internet radios. Many of the most popular shortwave broadcasts in the late 90’s and early 2000’s have almost disappeared from shortwave and switched to streaming. If stations are still broadcasting, they often no longer broadcast to the Americas or much of Europe.

At any one moment, there are literally hundreds of millions of signals now transmitted from a wide range of devices. Cell phones, garage door openers, AM and FM broadcast stations, police, fire, airlines, TV stations and even the AC power to your home all occupy a part of the frequency spectrum. Time, propagation and the ionosphere all have an impact on what you are able to receive. Because all signals are affected by these things, it is important to understand the basics of radio transmission.

If you really want to learn about shortwave, the best way to learn, is to listen to it. ShortwaveSchedule.com provides a list of all the signals currently broadcasting at the time of your search and is a great starting place for your shortwave listening quest.

Why Would I Listen to Shortwave?

  1. Governments often use shortwave “utility” bands. Utility bands are where the action is on shortwave and are used for reliable long range communication. Coast Guard Search and Rescue, coordination of US military aviation and spy networks all use this band. One reason it continues to be used, is it is very difficult to block these transmissions. Utility stations generally operate in upper sideband mode. Virtually none of these type of transmissions is on the Internet.
  2. During a big crisis, whether it be an earthquake or hurricane, your best source of real news can be shortwave. Ham operators do an excellent job of contacting emergency services and handling messages between people. You may have experienced “all circuits busy” situations or failed text messages in a large scale emergency situation due to cellular towers being down or overloaded. Amateur radio is the only communication that works well under all circumstances and for that reason, it will continue to be used for the foreseeable future.
  3. News from other countries will give you a new perspective on the world. Following shortwave closely over a few months will give you information that approximates the political information the President and staff have at their disposal to make global decisions. When you listen to shortwave you find out how difficult it is to make decisions with global consequences. The political bent of a country slips out providing you with an alternative point of view. There is a whole world of listening and very little of it may be found on the Internet.
  4. You might stumble across a Pirate Radio station

If you have the urge, you can even take to the air waves yourself by becoming a Ham operator through the American  Radio Relay League (ARRL). You don’t even have to learn Morse code anymore unless you go for an advanced classification.

SWLING.com is probably one of the most comprehensive sites in regard to shortwave and advocating for it. This article on Does Shortwave Radio Have a Future really outlines what’s available and what’s not and why.

Share with us the most interesting shortwave broadcast you’ve heard.

There are Elephants in the Audio Room

There have always been diverse opinions about what comprises “good” audio. In the last 15 years I have witnessed many people, younger than me, that seem to discount full bass with their music. How did this happen? I remember the first time I saw a girl dancing with her friends to cell phone audio. I winced. Then came Rap music with the characteristic monotone electro bass thump. . . I was confused by the dichotomy! Why Isn’t it a good thing if music sounds realistic? Like it or not it turns out audio profoundly affects everyone at a traditional point in their lives about or when we are in junior high or high school. It seems like it then becomes our “idea” of what good audio sounds like by timing and/or peer influence for the rest of our life.  This may be a generalization but we all get attached to our favorite music at some point.  From what I know about science each of us hear the same music differently because each of us has a unique set of ears and probably a brain supplied equalizer. There is probably more diversity now as to what makes good audio that ever before in history!

At C. Crane we strive for realistic full voice and legibility but we understand how to make great audio for music too. This means reproducing music so well that you can’t tell the difference between what you’re listening to and a live concert. I have found that “Voice of the Theater” type speakers do this well because this is generally the type of speaker used in live rock concerts in the late 20th century. Similar speakers are still used today but you will also find banks of 18” woofers along with other speakers running  50,000 watts or more! It should be noted that most of this power is used for bass notes since bass requires perhaps 10 times the power of higher audio frequencies to sound equal in intensity. This is also why an inexpensive radio or speaker system will likely have poor bass because audio with good bass response is more expensive to design and build. These speakers are way too big and expensive for most situations and so are typical Home Theater receivers and speakers. There is very little superb audio gear available for a typical room.

The point of this article is to let you know we have a new piece of audio gear for those who love music with generous bass and live by the spoken word.

AEGO Amplified Speakers, has Bluetooth and a remote for all functions including bass level!

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Normally I would not recommend you purchase a serious home audio system without hearing it at a store first. The notable exception is our new AEGO stereo speaker system for two simple reasons: 1) To my knowledge, through countless tests, it is perhaps the only system with full well rounded bass that you never tire of at a modest price. 2) You can reduce the bass with the remote until voice clarity is beautiful. You can have your music and your voice clarity cake too!

Technical Benefits:
-Simple to setup and use
-Bluetooth or patch cord to phone
-Remote with bass control

Aego Remote Control v1

 

 

 

 

Uses:
Audio from your TV, phone, pad, Internet radio for office, kitchen, party, for any medium size room (about 20 x 14),

Installation tips:
The central control bass speaker (7.75”W x 14”H x 12”D) can be tucked under a  desk, unused corner or in a kitchen base cabinet. It should have eye shot to the remote.

The two satellites are 3”W x 4.5”H x 5”D can be mounted six feet or more apart for good stereo separation.

Wires and connectors do not protrude from these sizes.

The Evolving Role of Radio in Elections

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Can you separate radio from other media in the role it has played in elections?

Before radio or television were available, the only way for voters to see or hear a political candidate was if a special train tour happened to stop in their hometown.  The candidates would give short speeches from the back of the train, but only those within the sound of their voice were reached.  The invention of radio broadcasting enabled political candidates to be heard by millions.

Prior to the advent of internet and television, radio was crucial in the outcome of elections.  The Monitoring Times published an article in July of 1992 called “The 1924 Radio Election” by Don Moore which asserts that radio changed politics permanently.

Broadcaster and historian Gleason Archer wrote “The effect of the election on radio was more important than the effect of radio on the election results!” Radio was, however, credited with focusing people on the election and bringing out a huge number of voters.

Some people think that the days of radio are over, and consider it old fashioned compared to TV, the internet, and social media. However, research indicates that radio is still a highly trusted medium for political information that reaches the diverse landscape of American voters.  So regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, radio can play an important role for everyone.

Questions for you:  Do you believe radio is a more trusted source for information when compared to TV, the internet, newspaper and magazine and if so why? Does any form of media actually change the outcome of an election?

Post your answers in the comments and enter to win CC Pocket Radio  – Drawing will take place Tuesday June 28th. Limit one entry per person.

For full radio coverage on the 2016 elections – visit the links below

http://elections.npr.org/

http://www.uspresidentialelectionnews.com/2016-presidential-primary-schedule-calendar/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2016/presidential-elections-events-calendar

http://www.uspresidentialelectionnews.com/2016-party-conventions/