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Solved: How do I troubleshoot and resolve common soundbar problems?

Learn How to Troubleshoot Common Soundbar Issues. Restore your soundbar’s optimal functioning with these straightforward guidelines.

With the advent of ultra-thin televisions, audio quality has taken a hit as built-in speakers are often subpar. Soundbars have emerged as a popular remedy for this audio inadequacy due to their ease of use and effectiveness. Nonetheless, issues can arise with soundbars, causing inconvenience and frustration.

The good news is that identifying soundbar problems is relatively straightforward. In case of persistent issues, resetting to factory settings may be required as a last resort. Here are some common soundbar problems, along with the solutions you need to rectify them.

Solved: How do I troubleshoot and resolve common soundbar problems?


Prior to performing any troubleshooting steps, it is advisable to attempt some quick fixes for soundbar-related issues. Typically, smart TVs automatically select the appropriate audio settings for soundbars. Therefore, problems with soundbars can often be attributed to software glitches, faulty cables, or incorrect settings on external video sources, such as DVD players, streaming sticks, cable boxes, or game consoles.

Solved: How do I troubleshoot and resolve common soundbar problems?

To start, we recommend trying the following solutions before referring to our comprehensive troubleshooting guide for your specific problem:

  • Perform a power cycle by disconnecting your TV and soundbar from the power source for a minimum of 10 seconds. This process prompts the TV and soundbar to reestablish their connection, thereby resolving any glitches or other issues that may have arisen. Please note that the power button does not fully turn off these devices, necessitating the need to unplug them.
  • To ensure optimal audio performance of your soundbar, please check that the audio source is correctly selected. It is possible that your soundbar may be attempting to play audio from an incorrect source. To resolve this, simply select your desired input, typically HDMI or optical, using the button on the soundbar or its remote.
  • Firmware Update: In the event of malfunction or failure of your soundbar, or if a new soundbar fails to operate correctly, a firmware update for your smart TV may resolve the issue. We recommend power cycling both your TV and soundbar after the installation of the update. If you prefer to maintain your smart TV offline, you can disconnect the device from the internet following the update.
  • Ensure Proper Connections: Prioritize checking for any loose connections between your television and soundbar. If your devices are linked through HDMI cable, it is crucial to confirm that you are utilizing the HDMI ARC or eARC port on both. If using Bluetooth, consider using a wired connection for optimal results.
  • Consider Using a Different Cable: It is not uncommon for HDMI cables to malfunction, even those of high quality. We recommend testing your devices with a new HDMI cable to determine if the issue persists. It is advisable to purchase an HDMI 2.1 cable that is compatible with both HDMI ARC and eARC standards for optimal performance.
  • It is recommended to verify the video source settings to identify the root of your audio-related concerns. The streaming stick, cable box, DVD player, or game console could potentially be the source of the issue. Take a moment to review the audio settings of the device in question. If there is an option to enable “comfort noise,” we suggest doing so. Additionally, consider setting the audio output mode to “auto” and calibrating any audio sync settings if available.

It is important to note that certain issues can be resolved by performing a factory reset. To do this, refer to the instruction manuals provided by the manufacturer for your smart TV and soundbar as the process may differ depending on the brand. A simple Google search for your equipment’s manuals can also provide helpful guidance.

Problem Symptom: Unable to establish connection between soundbar and TV

Soundbars are a convenient audio solution that can be easily installed with minimal effort. Typically, following the manufacturer’s instructions should suffice without encountering any issues. However, if you are experiencing difficulty connecting your soundbar to your TV, the following steps can be taken to troubleshoot the problem.

  • It is highly recommended to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a soundbar. While it may sound repetitive, it is important to follow these guidelines to ensure proper installation and optimal performance of the device.
  • Please ensure that your cables are securely connected. It is important to check for any loose connections between your TV and soundbar. If you are using an HDMI ARC or eARC connection, kindly verify that you are using the appropriate ports on both your TV and soundbar. These ports should be labeled as “ARC” or “eARC” for proper identification.
  • Consider a Different Cable: HDMI cables have the potential to wear out and older models may not be compatible with the ARC or eARC standards. It is thus recommended to explore alternative options. Opting for a new cable is a viable solution. In case you continue to experience technical difficulties with HDMI, alternative options such as optical or AUX cables may be worth trying.
  • Configure Your TV’s Audio Output: To ensure optimal audio performance, navigate to your smart TV’s settings and verify that the appropriate audio output is chosen. Experiment with different settings such as “AMP,” “audio system,” or “digital” if you are currently using the “auto” option. If none of these alternatives improve the sound quality, you may re-enable the “auto” setting.
  • In certain cases, it is possible that some soundbars and HDMI cables may not support eARC technology. In such instances, we recommend attempting to disable the eARC setting on your smart TV as a potential solution. However, please be advised that eARC technology offers superior audio quality in comparison to basic HDMI ARC, so if disabling eARC does not remedy the issue, please re-enable it.
  • To establish seamless communication between your TV and soundbar, we highly recommend enabling the HDMI-CEC feature. Navigate to your TV’s settings menu and locate the HDMI-CEC option to activate it. This will enable the devices to function seamlessly and efficiently.
  • Firmware Update: We recommend attempting to update your TV’s firmware as a potential solution. Although it may seem trivial, this step has been known to effectively resolve technical issues.

In the event that troubleshooting attempts are unsuccessful, we recommend referring to the instruction manual of your soundbar for guidance on performing a factory reset. Typically, this involves a specific combination of buttons. Additionally, if the issue persists, it may be advisable to contact the manufacturer for further assistance in determining whether a faulty soundbar is the cause of the problem.

Problem Symptom: The audio quality of the soundbar seems to be inconsistent or abnormal

Is your soundbar producing an abnormal sound? If this is a persistent issue, it is possible that a damaged or loose cable may be the cause (or it could be a matter of incorrect volume settings).

  • For optimal connectivity between your TV and soundbar, we recommend replacing the HDMI cable with an HDMI 2.1 cable. This type of cable supports both HDMI ARC and eARC, ensuring a seamless audio experience. Additionally, it may be helpful to set up an optical or AUX connection to further troubleshoot any connectivity issues.
  • When connecting your soundbar to your TV, it is recommended that you adjust the volume levels accordingly. If the audio signal being transmitted to your soundbar is too low, it could lead to issues or noise disturbances. Therefore, it is advisable to either use an optical or AUX connection and ensure that the volume levels are appropriately set to achieve optimal sound quality.
  • It is advised to check the settings of your TV to ensure optimal audio quality. There might be instances where the audio mode of your TV sounds displeasing. Consider cycling through the various audio modes, such as sport, cinema, night mode, etc, to determine if any of these modes can effectively resolve the issue.

It is important to consider that the issues you are experiencing with your soundbar may be the result of manufacturer defects. We suggest conducting a Google search to determine if others have reported similar problems with the same model of soundbar. Additionally, contacting the manufacturer directly may be helpful in resolving any issues you are facing.

Problem Symptom: The audio output of the soundbar may exhibit unusual behavior after prolonged use

If you are experiencing abnormal sound quality from your soundbar after a few hours of use, it is likely a software issue that needs to be addressed.

Solved: How do I troubleshoot and resolve common soundbar problems?

  • To remedy sound issues experienced during prolonged video playback on your soundbar, consider updating your smart TV software. This measure may resolve the glitchy sound you are encountering. After updating, remember to power cycle both your soundbar and TV to ensure optimal performance.
  • We recommend updating your streaming apps to troubleshoot the issue at hand. This action may resolve the problem as outdated apps can cause such issues.
  • Consider Replacing Your Cables: If you are experiencing issues with your cables, it might be time to replace them. We recommend trying new cables to ensure optimal performance and prevent any potential problems.

It is important to acknowledge that these issues may potentially stem from manufacturer defects. We recommend conducting a thorough search on Google to determine if others have encountered similar problems with the same soundbar model. Alternatively, contacting the manufacturer directly may provide you with further insight and assistance regarding the issue.

Problem Symptom: Soundbar isn’t outputting surround sound audio

Many soundbars are designed to offer a surround sound experience, using various techniques such as additional speakers or virtual surround sound technology like DTS X or DTS Virtual:X. In the event that your soundbar is not producing surround sound, the issue can often be resolved with simple troubleshooting steps.

It is important to note that if your soundbar comes with supplementary speakers, it is likely providing Dolby Atmos audio. Soundbars equipped with DTS X enable genuine surround sound output by utilizing multiple channels of audio from your video source, while DTS Virtual:X is capable of converting basic stereo audio into a multi-channel format.

  • It is recommended to verify the compatibility of your content with DTS Virtual:X technology. It should be noted that certain shows, movies, and streaming applications are optimized for stereo audio only. However, the use of DTS Virtual:X technology negates any such limitations.
  • Adjusting Soundbar Settings: To optimize your audio experience, it is recommended to review your soundbar’s settings using the remote control provided or through your TV interface (if available). You may need to manually enable the surround sound feature to fully immerse yourself in the audio quality. Please be aware that activating the “music” mode on your soundbar will disable any rear or surround speakers you have, while selecting “all channel stereo” will play 2.0-channel stereo audio across all your speakers.
  • It is recommended to verify your TV and video source settings as they could be set to “stereo”. This issue has been reported with gaming consoles and streaming sticks.
  • When selecting a cable for your audio-visual setup, it is recommended to opt for an HDMI 2.1 cable to ensure optimal compatibility with HDMI ARC and eARC. If you place a high priority on surround sound, it is advisable to avoid using an optical cable, as it may not have the necessary bandwidth to support your audio needs.

The following steps are recommended to address common surround sound issues. However, it’s important to note that surround sound can be a complex topic with various components involved. For further assistance, we suggest referring to your soundbar’s manual or reaching out to the manufacturer for support.

Problem Symptom: Synchronization issue between the video playback and soundbar audio

The software integrated into your television and soundbar is designed to prevent any potential audiovisual syncing discrepancies. In the event that your audio and video are not synchronized properly, there are several steps that can be taken to address and resolve the issue in a timely and effective manner.

  • To check the performance of your TV’s internal speakers, we suggest disabling any external sound devices such as soundbars. If you notice any audio synchronization issues, we recommend updating your smart TV’s firmware or performing a factory reset according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • It is recommended to test a diverse range of video input sources with your television in order to identify any potential audiovisual issues. It is possible that your DVD player, streaming device, cable box, or gaming console may be the root cause of any problems you are experiencing. If you do determine that an issue is stemming from your video source, it is suggested that you investigate whether it offers an “Audio/Video Sync” or “Lip Sync” setting. For instance, I have come across this type of issue with some Android streaming sticks.
  • For optimal audiovisual performance, it is recommended to connect your video sources directly to your soundbar using HDMI ports instead of connecting them to your TV. By doing so, you can avoid commonly encountered issues such as audiovisual synchronization and video decoding problems. It is important to note that this configuration requires the usage of HDMI ARC or eARC technology.
  • Troubleshooting Streaming Applications: In the event you experience audiovisual issues on one particular streaming application, it is likely that the application in question is responsible. To resolve the issue, you may try updating or reinstalling the application. However, it is possible that you may have to wait for the developer of the application to release a fix. It is important to note that this issue may also indicate a problem with the Dolby Atmos processing on your soundbar.
  • Disable Audio Processing: Many soundbars come equipped with audio processing technologies that simulate the effect of surround sound. For optimal audio clarity, consider disabling audio processing or virtualized Dolby Atmos on your soundbar. Alternatively, you can set your TV’s output to PCM. However, please note that these adjustments may potentially compromise the sound quality.
  • You may want to consider adjusting the settings on your television. Look for an option labeled “Audio/Video Sync” or “Lip Sync” that can help improve the synchronization between the audio and video on your TV. This adjustment can enhance your viewing experience significantly.
  • Consider Wired Audio: In order to minimize latency issues, it is advisable to use a wired connection, rather than relying solely on wireless audio options like Bluetooth. Therefore, it is recommended to switch to wired audio whenever possible.

Achieving audio synchronization can be a challenging task, particularly when dealing with multiple video sources. In the event that you require an immediate solution, one option is to switch to either an optical or AUX connection. If, upon disconnecting your soundbar and using your TV’s speakers, everything works correctly, then it is likely that an optical or AUX connection will suffice.

However, it is important to note that HDMI provides superior audio quality. Therefore, it is advised that you address any audio synchronization issues, even if there are no apparent problems with the optical or AUX connection.

Problem Symptom: The audio output is still routed through the TV’s built-in speakers

As a default setting, smart TVs are programmed to disable their built-in speakers when a soundbar is connected. If you are experiencing simultaneous audio output from your soundbar and TV, you can easily resolve this issue by adjusting the settings on your TV. However, if you are encountering an issue where the soundbar fails to connect to your TV, please refer to our section on “Soundbar Won’t Connect to TV.”

Solved: How do I troubleshoot and resolve common soundbar problems?

  • Disable TV Speakers: To disable your TV’s built-in speakers, locate the “speaker” or “Dual Sound” option on your TV settings. Choose the “external speakers” or “auto” option to ensure that the audio output will come through your external speakers instead. This will enable you to enjoy a superior audio experience with your external speakers.
  • To address the issue, we recommend enabling the HDMI-CEC feature. To do this, navigate to your television’s settings and enable the HDMI-CEC option. This will facilitate communication between your TV and soundbar, potentially resolving the issue at hand in a seamless manner.
  • Regarding the encountered issue, it has been observed on multiple occasions that updating the firmware has proven to be the sole solution. There was an instance where a TV firmware update was found to be the only resolution for the problem.

In the event that the aforementioned troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issue, it is recommended to execute a factory reset of both your TV and soundbar. Please note that this procedure may vary depending on the manufacturer, therefore it is advisable to refer to your user manual or conduct a search on the Internet for specific instructions.

Problem Symptom: Difficulty controlling my soundbar with the TV remote

When connecting your soundbar to your TV through an HDMI or optical cable, the TV remote should establish control over the soundbar’s power and volume settings. If, however, you encounter a situation where pressing the volume button on your TV remote fails to affect the soundbar, it is recommended that you explore the settings to identify and resolve the issue.

  • To optimize your viewing experience, it is recommended to enable HDMI-CEC in your TV settings if you are using an HDMI connection. This advanced feature enables seamless communication between your TV and soundbar, which can effectively address any possible issues with your remote control.
  • To ensure optimal performance when using an optical connection, please ensure that your TV’s audio output settings are properly configured to “optical” or “optical digital.” This will allow for the best possible audio quality and avoid any potential issues with the connection.

In the event that the aforementioned steps do not resolve the issue, kindly attempt the following troubleshooting measures. Firstly, disconnect your television and soundbar from the power source for a duration of 10 seconds. Additionally, consider updating your smart TV’s firmware, which I personally employed to overcome a similar occurrence. Alternatively, perform a factory reset in accordance with your manufacturer’s specific guidelines.

Regrettably, it is not possible for your smart TV and soundbar to share a remote if you are using an RCA or AUX connection. We recommend upgrading to an optical or HDMI connection for optimal sound quality. It is worth noting that HDMI eARC is the most ideal option, but it may not be supported by your soundbar or TV.

Problem Symptom: The soundbar appears to be experiencing intermittent disconnection from the TV

If your soundbar experiences disconnection issues from your TV, it is likely due to an energy-saving function that is commonly present in amplifiers and powered speakers. The auto-off function is simple in nature, wherein if no audio signal is received for a certain period, these devices turn off.

This problem usually occurs when an optical, RCA, or AUX connection is used. In such cases, we recommend trying the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Optimize Audio Output: Adjust the sound levels of your TV and soundbar for optimal audio performance. Lower the volume of your soundbar and raise the volume of your TV to provide a robust audio signal to the soundbar. This will help prevent the energy-saving mode from activating and ensure an enhanced listening experience.
  • Comfort noise is a feature that can be offered by your smart TV or streaming stick. It provides a continuous audio signal to your soundbar that is outside the range of human hearing to create a more comfortable listening experience. If this feature is available, it is recommended to ensure that it is enabled.
  • Please ensure to verify the status of your cables. It is possible that a defective cable is causing the issue. Consider exchanging it for a new cable or switch to an HDMI ARC or eARC connection if available.

If you happen to encounter any issues while using an HDMI ARC or eARC connection, we recommend taking the following steps to resolve the problem in a timely manner. First and foremost, ensure that your smart TV’s firmware is up to date. Additionally, try unplugging all devices from the wall for at least 10 seconds and swapping out cables. You can also explore the energy-saver modes in your smart TV or soundbar settings and enable CEC in your TV’s settings. Through CEC, your TV and soundbar can communicate and share a remote control, providing greater convenience and ease of use.

Problem Symptom: Difficulty in connecting soundbar and wireless subwoofer

The typical soundbar may not deliver an optimal amount of bass, which is why wireless subwoofers are commonly added as either a bundled accessory or as a separate purchase option. While these wireless subwoofers are designed to pair seamlessly with your soundbar, if you encounter any difficulties, the following steps can assist you in resolving the issue and achieving an enhanced bass experience.

Solved: How do I troubleshoot and resolve common soundbar problems?

  • Activate Your Subwoofer: When using a wireless subwoofer, it is important to activate the power switch to ensure it is turned on. The power status of the subwoofer can be verified through its LED display. If the subwoofer does not turn on, attempt to connect it to a different outlet.
  • To effectively troubleshoot any connectivity issues between your soundbar, smart TV, and subwoofer, it is recommended to power cycle each device. This process involves unplugging each device from the wall for at least 10 seconds. By doing so, it is possible to resolve any connectivity issues that may be present and restore normal functionality.
  • To ensure proper connectivity, please check if your wireless subwoofer has a pairing button. If such a button is present, kindly press and hold it for approximately 30 seconds, making sure that your soundbar and TV are both powered on. This should allow for seamless pairing and optimal audio performance.
  • Consider Relocating Your Subwoofer: We recommend exploring the possibility of relocating your subwoofer nearer to the TV, as it is possible that an obstruction could be interfering with its wireless signal.
  • It is recommended to check your settings in order to ensure that your wireless subwoofer is not disabled due to any settings on your smart TV or soundbar. We suggest toggling settings like “quiet mode” or “night mode” to troubleshoot the issue. Do keep in mind that your soundbar may have dedicated settings that can only be accessed with its original remote control.
  • Performing a factory reset on your soundbar can be a helpful troubleshooting step. This process typically involves pressing a specific button combination, which can be found in the user manual or through a quick online search. By following these instructions, you can restore your soundbar to its original settings and resolve any issues you may be experiencing.

In the event that you are continuing to experience issues with your wireless subwoofer, we recommend reaching out to the manufacturer for support. It is possible that you are encountering an uncommon bug, which the manufacturer would be better equipped to address. Alternatively, it is possible that you have received a defective product.

If you have purchased your subwoofer separately from your soundbar, we suggest verifying the compatibility of the two devices. While rare, it is not unheard of for such an issue to arise, and we want to ensure that all possible solutions are considered.


In conclusion, soundbars are an excellent solution for enhancing audio quality from ultra-thin televisions. However, like any electronic device, soundbars can encounter problems that can hamper their performance. Fortunately, identifying these issues and resolving them is often a straightforward process. By following the guidelines outlined in this blog post, you should be able to troubleshoot your soundbar’s issues and restore it to optimal functioning. Remember to always consult your user manual for specific instructions and seek professional help if needed.

Alex Lim is a certified IT Technical Support Architect with over 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, and troubleshooting complex IT systems and networks. He has worked for leading IT companies, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, providing technical support and solutions to clients across various industries and sectors. Alex has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore and a master’s degree in information security from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of several best-selling books on IT technical support, such as The IT Technical Support Handbook and Troubleshooting IT Systems and Networks. Alex lives in Bandar, Johore, Malaysia with his wife and two chilrdren. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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