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An Open Letter To The Guys & Gals Doing Audio For TV

About 80 to 90 years ago, a nifty little thing called a third-order rumble filter was invented, and the folks doing TV sound just might want to check into the concept.

After 15 years, the analog television in my living room gave up its will to keep on living and required replacement.

Via some careful shopping on the Internet, I settled on one of the new-fangled “Hi Def” plasma screen creations, which arrived just in time for the Super Bowl earlier this year. (Great game, lousy ending… can you tell my office is in Foxboro, MA? But I digress…)

This new TV is a great space saver, and allowed me to move a huge piece of ugly furniture out of the living room, replaced by the thin plasma screen and a nice little stand. Shortly after the Super Bowl, I learned that I needed an HD-capable interface to actually receive HD channels – d’oh! So, down to the office of the cable company I went, to acquire a new-fangled cable box.

There I was, all proud of my new “state of the minute” TV, when another friend told me I was missing out on its full capability to entertain unless I also added a surround sound system. (All this just to watch TV? Shoot me!)

Now I haven’t had a stereo in my house for 15 – or maybe even 20 – years. I listen to music on a wind-up Victrola that spins 78 rpm shellac disks (and my kids have “iPod docks”).

But at their insistence, I wasted a perfectly good Sunday afternoon hunting down the ultimate über-cheap “5.1 system” that came complete with speakers. (In other words, the total suburban “I know nothing about audio” package.)

The next several weeks were devoted to tearing out what’s left of my hair, trying to hook up the “Blue Ray” player, the cable box, the kids X-Box, and blah, blah, blah to this thing.

Warming to the insanity of my quest, I also purchased disgustingly high-priced HDMI cables, poured oodles of time into reading a poor excuse for a manual, and twiddled way too long in trying to position the speakers at places that made some form of sense.

And then I obsessed on getting proper time delay, the right balance for front to rear, and the balance for left to right channels versus center channel versus subwoofer channel.

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