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Why is there almost no voice heard in films (SOLVED)

Why is the voice in the film very muffled or almost inaudible?

You may have encountered a situation where various special sound effects in a movie are played very loudly, and the voices of the actors are almost inaudible.

Moreover, this may not happen in all films or in all media players.

The simplest reason for this could be that the movie has multi-channel audio, such as 5.1 or 7.1.

Multichannel audio is audio that is designed to be reproduced by multiple speakers. For example, 5.1 sound means playback on 5 speakers (one in the center in the front, two on the sides in the front and two more on the sides in the back) and 1 subwoofer. Accordingly, 7.1 sound is designed to be reproduced on 7 speakers and 1 subwoofer.

Of course, the content of each channel can be individual. For example, the front speakers can playback the conversation of the main characters, and the rear speakers can playback the sound of a ricocheting bullet flying somewhere behind. Thanks to this, greater immersion in what is happening in the film is achieved.

Almost all modern films (and even many very old films) have a multi-channel audio track. If you are trying to watch such a movie with stereo sound (you only have two speakers), then a situation may arise where only two of the 6 or 8 sound channels are supplied to the speakers). These two channels could be, for example, channels intended for rear speakers, as a result of which you will hear loud special effects through your speakers and almost not hear the voices of the actors.

Besides the obvious way to deal with this problem – buy 5.1 acoustics – you can simply change the settings in the media player.

To play stereo sound in the media player, you can make one of the following settings:

  1. Force stereo mode
  2. Select a track with stereo sound (if present)

Let's consider both of these options.

How to switch to stereo sound in VLC

Let's look at how to play multi-channel audio as stereo in VLC.

Launch the movie, right-click on the area with the video.

In the context menu that opens, select Audio → Stereo Mode.

Switch the "Original" option to "Stereo".

Note: If the default option is “Original”, it means that the audio being played back is multi-channel.

That's it, problem solved!

How to switch to stereo sound in SMPlayer

Let's look at how to play multi-channel audio as stereo in SMPlayer.

Launch the movie, right-click on the area with the video.

In the context menu that opens, select Audio → Channels → Stereo

That's it, problem solved!

Try selecting a stereo audio track

Modern films usually come with a single multi-channel track. However, a movie file may have multiple audio tracks, including one with multi-channel audio and another with stereo audio – this is especially common in older films.

How to switch to stereo audio track in VLC

To select a stereo audio track in VLC, start the movie, then right-click on the video area.

In the context menu that opens, select Audio → Audio Track. Switch to another audio track.

To make sure that the stereo audio track is selected, go to Audio → Stereo Mode. Now the “Stereo” option will be selected by default, and the “Original” option will not be available at all.

How to switch to stereo audio track in SMPlayer

Launch the movie, right-click on the area with the video, then in the context menu that opens, select Sound → Track. Switch to another audio track.

Conclusion

If you are playing multi-channel audio in stereo, all available channels are combined to produce stereo audio. That is, “extra” audio tracks are not discarded, but combined.

5.1 and 7.1 speaker systems (if they are of good quality) really greatly improve the viewing experience of the film. Even regular stereo music on 5.1 sounds noticeably better – due to the reproduction of low frequencies on the subwoofer and due to the fact that the sound comes from all directions. If the size of your room and financial capabilities allow you to purchase a 5.1 speaker system, then this is a good idea.

Please note that your computer must have a sound card with multiple audio outputs. For example, on most laptops there is only a stereo output and it will not be possible to fully connect a 5.1 speaker system to the laptop.

If the audio from your computer is sent via HDMI or DisplayPort to a monitor or TV, then you can connect a 5.1 speaker system to this device, but again, provided that there are enough audio outputs. For example, a 5.1 speaker system uses 3 audio connectors, and a 7.1 speaker system uses 4 audio connectors.


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