Can curved speakers make TV dialogue easier to hear?

SoundFun Mirai Speaker.

You’re not imagining it: The quality of dialogue for movies and TV shows is getting worse because of the way our favorite streaming services handle compression. And while there’s no universal solution on the horizon, there is a new tool that can help restore some of the lost details. Japan’s SoundFun has released its latest Mirai speaker, a $300 soundbar that takes advantage of a unique curved speaker diaphragm. SoundFun claims that the Mirai can deliver clear audio and dialogue without raising volume levels through the roof.

You’ll be able to order the soundbar at the end of November via SoundFun’s website or Amazon.

Although the Mirai Speaker is SoundFun’s first stereo soundbar, it’s not its first conversation-enhancing, curved-speaker product. It debuted its technology through an Indiegogo campaign in 2022, which used a very small, mono-only speaker that only worked with TVs that had an analog output like a headphone jack. We could only find one published review, which was decidedly mixed in its assessment of the first Mirai effort.

SoundFun Mirai speaker exploded view.

The new Mirai speaker changes the basic formula by placing the curved speaker sideways instead of vertically. Along with analog input, it also has a much-needed optical input.

However, the principle of the game remains unchanged. The purpose of the curved diaphragm is to make spoken material clearer for those who are hard of hearing, as well as to spread sound more efficiently across a wide and deep space so everyone in the room can hear clearly.

SoundFun Mirai Speaker Remote Control.

The included remote gives a strong clue as to who the Mirai’s main objective is. With only three buttons – volume up/down, and mute – the simplistic layout will appeal to the older demographic that just wants to hear their TV shows and movies clearly.

The Mirai speaker isn’t the first soundbar designed specifically to enhance dialogue. ZVOX also makes a range of soundbars, including the AV157, which promise similar benefits, but instead of using specialized drivers, ZVOX takes advantage of its own EQ profiles to boost certain frequencies.

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