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Looks like you have inadvertently enabled some sound effect, usually these effects can be enabled/ disabled form sounds menu. They will have names like surround, movie hall, concert etc. Go to the sound settings and disable any activated audio effects.
I had this problem with my previous TV (Syntax by Olevia, an off brand). It only happened to me on certain channels, and for certain shows. What is happening is the TV station is broadcasting the audio in Dolby 5.1 format. For some stupid reason, the TV is playing the background speakers (effects) instead of the speaking parts. You get a little bleed-over of the voices into the back speakers, so voices are there but really quiet. Unfortunately my TV didn't have any surround sound options to fix this.
See if your TV has a surround sound option. Otherwise, you will need to connect the TV sound output to a surround sound system that can properly decode the audio channels.
on some dvd players and surround sound systems have a thing called DRC (dynamic range compression) you can us that and it will help it a little. i have come across the same problem but im after a digital on to run with plex or vlc on a mac. im having to route it through protools to use a compressor on there, but thats eating my resources.
Thank you, everyone! I thought maybe I was losing my mind. I can hardly watch a lot of the TV shows anymore due to the inappropriate use of music -- either it's too loud or there's just too darned much of it. Come on, TV producers! You are supposed to get better with time, not worse! Thank goodness I'm not alone.
If you will allow me to make an assumption, you do not have a 5.1 surround system connected to your DVD player. This is a common experience with users of a standard TV or stereo receiver if a movie is being presented in 5.1.
In a surround sound system the center channel speaker provides almost all the vocal tracks while the side channels will provide music and some background noises. You'll still be able to hear the voices in your side speakers, but it will be muted and over powered by music or sound effects.
Some DVD players allow you to "Downmix" the surround signal to stereo. You might want to look around your sound setup on the DVD player or check your owners manual.
How's the sound from your TV speakers by itself and from DVD? The same? Problem's in the TV.
If it's just the receiver doing it from both sources that's where we start.
Check the settings for dynamic range (ratio of loud sounds to soft sounds) in both your receiver and your cable TV tuner. Many devices have a setting sometimes called "MidNight Mode" to be used in the event you're listening while someone else might be sleeping or otherwise would be disturbed by the TV volume.
The assumption is that you will turn the TV down but that normally means you would lose the quiet programming in the background nosie of your home. Through the magic of dynamic compression the quiter sounds are raised to audibility while loud things like explosions and fanfares will be limited in volume. Depending on the design and whatever the broadcaster is doing to the sound themselves this could be anywhere from pleasingly effective to aggravatingly inconsistent with odd variations in the levels.