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iPad movie sound ok except no dialog tracks through headphones

I’m on the last day of an iTunes movie rental and quickly discovered it doesn’t have closed captions. The sound through the built in speaker just isn’t enough for me to make any sense of what is being said, though the audio is as it should be in terms of volume and mixture of music to vocal tracks.
I plugged in a set of headphones I used on my Mac G5 and while the music, sound effects, and surround seems ok, the voices are nearly completely muted. If it were my home theater I would have said the center channel speaker was turned off.
I’ve messed around with every sound setting I can find to no avail. I turned off the EQ in the Ipod system settings, but no matter what it’s set to, I can’t get audible voices.
I tried hulu+, and netflix as well and had the same issue. I looked through settings on sound oriented apps but saw nothing that would make a difference.
I noticed there is a faint warbling, tunnel kind of distortion on the quieter segments that I would have written off as compression artifacts but now I’m not so sure. Unfortunately I do not have any other headsets to try. I have plugged the IPad into my tv for movies in the past without any issues. Barring a simple solution that is next on my test list.
Again, music and all other sound is as clear as it can be, it’s only the vocal tracks that are missing.
What am I missing here?
Rand Reeves

Comments: 8 Responses to “iPad movie sound ok except no dialog tracks through headphones”

    10 years ago

    So you have only tried one set of headphones? Seems that is the common denominator. Go try another set — borrow a friend’s earbuds or something. My guess would be that your headphones are broken.
    Can you plug the iPad into the home theater system you mention and try that?

      Rand Reeves
      10 years ago

      plugging into the home theater via the dock keyboard is fine.
      I bought a set of earbuds today to test out the headphone theory. The sound comes through perfectly on the earbuds so the issue is with the headset.
      I don’t understand how the headset could eleminate just one audio track though. is that a problem with the plug itself? The headphones are simple. There are no chips or circuit boards in them. I’ve taken them apart in the past to clean and repair a broken wire. They work perfectly on every device I have except the Ipad. This is why I suspected the Ipad to start with.
      Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. Earbudgs are uncomfortable and generally suck but at least I can hear the dialog now.
      Thanks for offering a terrific service to our community. I don’t know where you find the time.

        10 years ago

        It isn’t an audio track that is missing, it is a range of frequencies that has been cut out. It would make sense that a failing set of headphones would behave that way, I guess.
        But that’s a question better suited for an audio forum where some people might actually know.

          Rand Reeves
          10 years ago

          Now that makes sense to me.
          Once again, I just want to thank you for all the help you have been to me over the last year or so. I never seem to find an issue that you can’t resolve. After seeing Watson on Jeopardy I’m beginning to question if you are real or not. No human can have the depth of knowledge you have. Well, no human I know… but thats not saying much either. AI or not, I can’t deny that I would have been horribly mired in technical problems had you not come to my rescue. Thank you for your willingness to share with the rest of us.

            10 years ago

            It isn’t headphones. I watched all of the files on my laptop with the same headphones and the vocal audio tracks worked fine. Also, the audio tracks work for a time but they eventually drop after a couple minutes. I am guessing this is some sort of anti-piracy thing or something like that.

            Anyone have an answer?

    10 years ago

    I had the same issue and after trying to listen to vocal tracks with 3 different headphones, I finally realized that its not the headphones nor the ipad fault ! the problem came from the converter app that I use to convert AVI to MP4 files. So if by any chance you use a converter to put video files on your ipad, I recommend first testing on your laptop to check whether the sound quality of your converted MP4 files is the same as the AVI ones.
    I use Videora btw, would really appreciate if anyone could recommend me a better free converter.
    cheers guys

    10 years ago

    I have the same problem with an Ipod touch. The main dialogue cuts out when the headphones are plugged in but with a clear background track. With them out and the dialogue is included. I do not understand why the tracks would be separate and the phones cut one out. I suppose rip to something simple first – avi etc

    8 years ago

    This is also happening to me. I have eliminated all other variables, the dialogue track is not playing in several apps.

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