Most audio system problems are a result of improper, defective, or wrongly connected cables. Audio systems can sometimes be complicated to understand because of those many wires and settings. But the next time you face an issue with your audio system, you need not worry!
Here’s our list of the 5 most common issues people face with audio systems and what you can do to avoid them…
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 or Bluetooth. Ensure that you’ve selected the correct source, and not one which is not in use. If all that is fine, or if the audio is not clear, with distortions, and frequent drop-outs and disturbance, it’s 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 and speakers. Over time, even the best cabling can get damaged. In some cases, audio systems use a wire that latches into a small port on 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 re-fixing 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.
Surround Sound Directions Seem Wrong Or Audio Does Not Work
Do you have a multi-speaker surround sound system which is giving trouble? You may be facing issues such as no audio, or lack of surround, or perhaps surround sound coming from the wrong direction. If the issue is that the surround sound is coming from the wrong speakers, you may have just placed the satellite speakers incorrectly.
Check on the speakers and in 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 amplifier output (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.
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, 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 2-channel audio.
Humming Sound In The Speakers
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 (TV, CD Player, game console…) on the same power point via a surge protector. Caution: 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 which 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.
Music Lacks Treble Or Bass
If your complaint is that your audio system doesn’t sound good – with 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 will this increase distortion, but it will magnify any other sound quality issues in your audio system. Another possibility is that your equaliser settings aren’t correct. Check any equaliser 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 try placing them in front of you, or in a corner. Avoid tucking them under tables or inside a shelf, as that could make the sound too ‘boomy’. Other (higher-frequency) speakers, especially tweeters, are far more reliant on good placement. Your audio system user manual will recommend placement options, including the distance between satellite units.
Finally, we’re back to cables, and it’s possible a damaged wire is responsible and you should check out the troubleshooting steps we mentioned right at the beginning of this article.
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.