5 Common Audio System Problems and Their Solutions
Most audio system problems are a result of improper, defective, or wrongly connected cables. Some problems also arise due to wrong equipment use or improper maintenance. The world of audio can seem simple, but it can get quite complicated and hard to understand, especially to those who are not AV enthusiasts. Audio systems can have a lot of components, wires, settings, and standards, adding to the confusion. No wonder, people are moving to simpler systems like soundbars for added convenience, but at the expense of audio quality. However, the next time you face any issue with your audio system, you need not worry. We have listed some of the most common audio system issues in this article along with their probable reason and steps to fix them.
Most Common Audio System Problems & How To Fix Them
As we mentioned earlier, most audio system related issues arise due to incorrect or low-quality cabling and connections. Problems can also arise due to incorrect settings in your TV, AV receiver, and speakers. Believe it or not, some audio-related issues may also arise due to incorrect speaker placement. Let us look at some of the most common audio system issues and their solutions.
1. No Sound Or Distorted Sound From Speakers
If you can’t hear any sound from your home theatre audio system, or if all you can hear is distorted audio with pops and crackles, here’s what you should do:
The first step is to check your source audio. If you are playing music over a cable connected to your phone, see if that works when connected to another speaker. Once you are sure that the original audio sounds fine on another speaker or audio system, you need to check if you’ve selected the right ‘Source’.
Audio systems featuring multiple inputs have a Source option, depending on the features, it could include 3.5mm audio, optical audio, RCA, and even Bluetooth. Ensure that you’ve selected the correct audio source and not one which is not in use. If you’ve selected the correct audio source for your speakers, but the audio is still not audible or has distortions or frequent drop-outs and disturbance, it is possible that your cables are faulty.
Check the cable (if you’re using one) between your playback source and your audio system. Next, turn your attention to the cabling between your amplifier (or an all-in-one system like an AV receiver) and speakers. Over time, even the best cabling can get damaged or wear out. In some cases, audio systems use a wire that latches into a small port behind the speaker. If that’s the case with your audio system as well, try cleaning the wire with sandpaper to remove any carbon deposits.
But even cables and wires that rely on plugs and jacks can get damaged over time. Try removing and re-attaching the cables, and then try jostling them slightly to see if that makes a difference. If the disturbance or lack of audio persists, you may need to try out new speaker-amplifier interconnect cables. It doesn’t hurt to have additional cables handy so that you can try and test them.
2. Surround Sound Directions Seem Wrong Or Audio Does Not Work
Do you have a multi-speaker surround sound system that is giving trouble? You may be facing issues such as no audio, or lack of surround sound effect, or perhaps surround sound audio coming from the wrong direction. In case of wrong surround sound direction, you may have just placed the satellite speakers incorrectly.
Check the speakers and the user manual to see which speaker goes where. It’s also possible, in the case of wired surround sound systems, that the wrong wire is connected to the wrong channel on the amplifier output ports (or to the wrong speaker). Carefully trace the wires back to see which port leads to which speaker, and then check in the user manual if that’s the correct one.
Other frequent complaints with surround sound involve poor sound quality (with a lack of surround effect), or even no audio. In this case, the most likely possibility is that one of the components – either the audio system, the cables, or the source audio, does not support the right surround sound format (Dolby Audio, DTS, DTS HD, or Dolby Atmos).
First, check what surround sound format your TV or streaming device is using. Ensure that your audio system also supports this format. If it doesn’t, don’t worry: Many streaming devices (such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick) and TVs let you choose what format you want to output. Try changing the surround formats to match the ones you know for sure your audio system will work with. If the format is supported on both ends, then it’s possible you’re either using the wrong cable or have a damaged cable.
Some formats require HDMI cables as the audio signals are digital and are DRM protected, while others will work via optical (Toslink) or RCA cables. Ensure you’re using the correct cable as well. Remember that 3.5mm cables and Bluetooth do not support surround sound so if you’re playing back wirelessly (or over a headphone cable) from your TV, you’ll have to settle for stereo (2-channel) audio.
A humming sound through the speakers is a common issue with older audio systems. If that’s the problem you’re facing, here’s what you can do:
- First, try putting your home audio and source (CD player, gaming console, or TV) on the same power point via a surge protector. You have to be absolutely sure that the wall socket (and surge protector) can handle the current draw. Do not overload any electrical outlets as that can be very dangerous. Also, ensure that your audio system is plugged into a socket that is not connected via an inverter.
- Next, try isolating the components one by one to see where the problem lies. Try changing the source audio to see if the noise disappears.
- You may also need to try out new cables with better shielding.
- Also, check whether any grounding wires provided in your audio equipment are properly connecting to the amplifier. These usually connect to a small screw on the back panel.
- Finally, if nothing seems to help, it’s possible that your amplifier is faulty and you may need help from an expert in the case.
4. Music Lacks Treble Or Bass
If your complaint is that your audio system doesn’t sound good (low or scratchy treble and muffled bass) the issue may be related to one of several problems:
- The first possibility is that you’re playing the audio systems at a really high volume. Not only does this increases distortion, but it also magnifies any other sound quality issues in your audio system.
- Another possibility is that your equalizer settings aren’t correct. Check any equalizer controls, not just in the audio system, but also the playback source.
- You may also need to check the placement of your audio systems. Subwoofers are less finicky about placement, but tweeters and other (satellite) speakers should be placed as recommended by your audio system’s brand in the user manual.
- Finally, we’re back to cables, and it is possible that a damaged wire is responsible and you should check out the troubleshooting steps we mentioned right at the beginning of this article.
- If none of that helps, check if your speakers have any damages to their tweeters and woofers. If that’s the case, you need to get them repaired through an experienced AV service engineer.
5. Audio Volume Gets Too Loud
If you’re watching a movie and you find some scenes getting very loud, that’s probably due to the way the audio has been mixed. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep changing the volume settings every time. A lot of home audio systems offer a Dynamic Range Control (sometimes referred to as a Loudness Control). Turn this on to see if it helps. This will reduce the volume of the loudest parts. At the same time, it should also raise the volume of the quietest scenes, helping you enjoy a movie without constantly adjusting the volume.
These are the most common issues that people face with their audio systems. If the issue is related to the cables, connections, or placement of the speakers, you can solve it easily. However, if the issue is related to the speaker’s driver or internal components such as the amplifier or DAC’s (Digital To Analogue Converter) internal circuits, you would definitely need to consult a service professional to get the issue fixed.
It is usually a good idea to get your audio system, home theatre, or soundbar’s warranty extended so that if something goes wrong, you can get it fixed without spending additional money. Onsitego’s Extended Warranty plans for audio systems and soundbars extend the manufacturer’s warranty period and cover everything that is covered in the standard brand warranty. They cover breakdowns and malfunctions, offer free at-home service, and follow a ‘No Questions Asked’ policy, which means that you don’t have to explain yourself.