Quiet sound, or no sound from surround speakers

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Not hearing much audio out of your new surround speakers can be a frustrating experience, but the solution is often quite easy. This article will explain why this might happen and some simple things you can do to boost the volume of the surround speakers.

Please note that this article is addressing quiet sound or no audio from the surround speakers when bonded to the Playbar, Playbase, or Beam. If you have not yet bonded your surround speakers to the Playbar, Playbase, or Beam, learn how to do so here: Setting up surround sound with Sonos home theater speakers

Determine if the issue occurs when watching TV or listening to music, and select the relevant option below. Make sure to go through the steps in order, and don’t forget you can always reach out to us at any point if you want some additional help.

Troubleshooting quiet surround audio when watching TV

Try another channel

Not all TV content will provide an immersive proper surround sound experience. When watching programming with heavy dialogue such as news or talk shows, most of the sound will come from the Sonos home theater speaker, with audio coming out of the surround speakers only when there is background or ambient noise. The following surround activity can be expected from these program types:

News: Dialogue driven. There will not be much surround activity.

Sports: Expect to hear crowds cheering, and stadium/arena music.

Sitcom: Depending on the recording, some ambient surround sound can be expected.

Action/Drama: Ambient effects; such as birds chirping, off screen action, explosions and accompanying music.

If you find your surround speakers’ volume is quiet with multiple sources of content, such as action movies and pro sports, read on to the next step to make sure your surround speakers are receiving a proper audio format.

Check the audio format

Sonos home theater speakers support both Dolby Digital and stereo/PCM audio formats. Stereo/PCM only provides two channel audio; left and right. It does not provide the surround speakers with an audio track to use. The Sonos home theater speaker will do its best to interpret what audio should be directed to the surround speakers to play. This will produce a more subdued effect as compared to Dolby Digital.

Dolby Digital will provide a more immersive surround experience as it has a discreet audio channel for each of your speakers. If possible, make sure your TV is set to output Dolby Digital. This option is typically found in the Audio settings for the TV, but specific instructions can be found in your TV’s product manual.

Go to the “About My Sonos System” screen from any Sonos controller to see what audio format the Sonos home theater speaker is receiving. It will be listed after “Audio In” for the Playbar, Playbase, or Beam. If you make any changes, make sure to close and re-open the “About My Sonos System” screen to see the changes reflected.

– On iOS or Android: From the Sonos music menu, select “Settings” and “About My Sonos System”

– On Mac: Sonos > About My Sonos System

– On PC: Help > About My Sonos System

If your TV is already outputting Dolby Digital, or it is not able to, continue to the next step to increase the volume of the surrounds through the Sonos app.

Increase the volume of the surround speakers

Sometimes you just need a little bit more volume. The instructions below will walk you through increasing the overall volume of your surround speakers.

On iOS or Android

– From the Sonos music menu, tap Settings > Room Settings.

– Select the room the Sonos home theater speaker and surround speakers are located in. It appears as Room (+LS+RS) on the Room Settings menu.

– Select Advanced Audio > Surround Settings.

– Drag your finger across the slider to increase the volume of the surround speakers for TV or Music playback.

On Mac or PC

– Choose one of the following:

               – On a Mac, select Sonos > Preferences > Room Settings.

               – On a PC, select Manage > Settings > Room Settings

– Select “Room Settings” if it is not already highlighted on the left.

– Choose the room the Sonos home theater speaker and surround speakers are located in. It appears as Room (+LS+RS) on the Room Settings menu.

– Select the “Surrounds” tab.

– Click and drag the slider to increase the volume of the surround speakers for TV or Music playback.

Troubleshooting quiet surround audio when listening to music

Enable Full Stereo

By default, the surround speakers will produce subtle ambient sound when playing from music sources such as Spotify or Apple Music. You can enable “Full Stereo” playback through the surround speakers for music playback by following the instructions listed below the following section.

Increase the volume of the surrounds

Along with enabling “Full Stereo” for music playback, you can also increase the overall volume the surrounds speakers are able to produce.

On iOS or Android:

– From the Sonos music menu, tap Settings > Room Settings.

– Select the room the Sonos home theater speaker and surround speakers are located in. It appears as Room (+LS+RS) on the Room Settings menu.

– Tap Advanced Audio > Surround Settings.

On Mac or PC:

– Choose one of the following:

              – On a Mac, select Sonos > Preferences > Room Settings.

              – On a PC, select Manage > Settings > Room Settings

– Select “Room Settings” if it is not already highlighted on the left.

– Choose the room the Sonos home theater speaker and surround speakers are located in from the Room Settings drop-down. It appears as Room (+LS+RS) on the Room Settings menu.

– Select the “Surrounds” tab.

Music Playback allows you to enable “Full Stereo” sound for the surround speakers.

Surround Level Adjustment allows you to increase the overall volume of the surround speakers.

If you’re still not satisfied with the volume of your surround speakers after making these changes, please contact us so that we can help.