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Sound Quality On Sharp LC42XD1E

by Vincent Teoh
17 February 2007

Audio

The Sharp LC42XD1E comes with two 15 watt speakers housed within a thin strip of silver cabinet below the panel, giving a total power output of 30 watts. As expected, the sound cannot match that of larger external speakers: while mid-range (dialogue) was perfectly acceptable for day-to-day viewing, stereo imaging were muddled, and bass was non-existant.

The Clear Voice mode was meant to enhance the quality and clarity of on-screen dialogue; instead we found that it obliterated the midrange and stressed the highs resulting in harshness, so we chose to disable it.

For the critical viewing of DVD and high definition materials, we recommend that you bypass the LC42XD1E internal speakers by using external amplifier/ receiver and speakers. There is also a 3.5mm stereo jack headphone output should you wish to be more discrete in your viewing, though its bizarre placement at the back of the TV makes you want to strangle whoever designed it.

Noise

During the 1-week trial with the Sharp LC42XD1E, we could clearly identify 2 distinct unwanted sounds.

Electrical Buzz

The first was an electrical buzz (hardly surprising given the complexities of internal electronics on modern TVs) which was heard loudest on the top of the LC42XD1E. We didn't find this particularly disturbing from 8 feet away as the buzz was drowned by accompanying normal audio, but if you're sitting less than 4 feet away the buzz could prove to be intrusive especially during silent scenes.

Unfortunately the buzz persisted even after we put the LC42XD1E into standby mode, AND even after we turned the TV off using the power on/off button on the top right corner of the set. Meaning? If you've got sensitive ears, the only way to silence the electrical buzz on LC42XD1E is by pulling the power plug.

Low-Pitched Hum

The second sound was a low-pitched hum (akin to a French horn) originating from the base/ speaker area. We thought that this was highly unlikely to be speaker hum as it persisted despite muting the volume using the remote control.

Movie scenes with high contrast, a blank screen with no input signal present, and certain backlight adjustments seemed to bring on the hum. On our set, we were able to eliminate the hum by setting the backlight to between -2 and -4, but beyond this range the hum would ominously reappear.

Again, we couldn't really hear this hum from 8 feet away when watching a movie, but we have to admit that its presence did influence our decision to adopt certain backlight settings during calibration.


Back To: LC42XD1E Review

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