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Changing TV Times

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 6, 2005

(I know, I've been posting a bunch today. Shows what a long weekend hiatus can lead to.)

Since I hear a lot from readers unhappy with modern audio mixes on TV shows -- especially mixes that seem designed for fancy home-theaters more than ordinary sets -- I thought the following was a pithy reminder of how bad TV sound really used to be. It comes from Ray Charles during an appearance that aired on Dick Cavett's talk show in 1973.

''It says 'television,' and not 'tele-audio,' you see. ... I wouldn't want go as far as to say that they don't care about the sound, but I would say the sound is very minute, basically, to the people (making television). At least I feel that way, musically speaking. So, therefore, their thing is, how pretty is it? How good does it look? And that's what counts, because people are watching that. But you see, for an artist who has to sing, it can be really terrible. ... Television is death on me, it really is.''

You can find the whole interview, and lots of other good stuff, on ''The Dick Cavett Show: The Ray Charles Collection,'' a two-disc set coming to DVD on Sept. 13.

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