Q I recently bought a flat-panel LCD TV. I was having trouble hearing talking at normal volume levels, especially on HBO. I bought a soundbar to get better sound. It does sound much better now, but I get a distinct echo, like the TV sound and soundbar are out of sync. I get this effect both when I drive the soundbar from the DVR box or the TV. Could it be because the TV speakers are in the back side of the TV? Do you have any suggestions on how to get rid of the echo?
-- P.S., Wisconsin
A Your TV speakers should be turned all the way down or off when you use a separate sound system such as a soundbar. Using them with the soundbar may cause echoes and the TV speakers do nothing to improve the sound.
Look at your TV's audio menu. If you can, turn the TV speakers off completely at the menu. Also see if you can set the analog audio output to "variable." This will allow you to control the soundbar's volume with the TV remote.
Speaking of soundbars, as I write this I am at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Since I have been here I have seen a lot of soundbars at many different price points. It is the fastest growing category in home audio and soon I will be writing about some great products I experienced here.
Q I have recently been seeing commercials for a GoPro camera. I have yet to see anything in your column about it. Do you have any
-- R.L., Fremont
A Your question popped up on my iPhone here at the electronics show when I was standing about 25 feet from the GoPro booth, with the huge GoPro sign staring me in the face. Given the size of the show, those are pretty long odds for such a coincidence so I decided your question will be investigated and answered in print immediately.
The GoPro is an action camera for sports use. It records video and stills, but does not have features typically found in a compact camera such as an LCD screen or viewfinder.
I have not tested the GoPro, but the footage from the camera was very impressive, even when viewed at large magnifications. There were a lot of show attendees who were also enthusiastic GoPro users discussing the product as I walked around, which is another good sign, as is the wide variety of accessories available for mounting the unit on different surfaces and vehicles, taking it underwater, etc. If you are looking for an action camera it looks to be a good choice. See it at http://gopro.com
For something tiny and so cheap you will not mind if you destroy it, check out the keychain cameras I wrote about two summers ago. They are under $10, include a rechargeable battery that charges via USB, and record on microSD cards. They record video with audio and the quality is surprisingly good for the size and price. I sent one up on a model rocket and posted the footage on my website. Go to http://www.soundadviceblog.com/amazing-keychain-video-camera-for-800-delivered/ to see the video and learn about the camera.
Contact Don Lindich at www.soundadviceblog.com and use the "submit question" link on that site.