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How to Fix No Sound on a Home Theater System

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path® by rating it at the end.

Introduction

After installing a new home theater, you sit down to watch a new movie only to find there's no sound.
You may experience a situation where you can see picture on your screen, but may not have any audio coming from any of your system's speakers. We'll walk you through testing your settings, mute, inputs, and finally double checking your cabling. Though the issue is certainly annoying, it could be caused by a loose or faulty cable and easily fixed.
The back of AVR showing the cables

1 Check Home Theater Volume

Checking your home theater receiver settings can make a huge difference when experiencing issues with your home theater system. It can be relatively easy to set it and forget it, meaning that you could set your system on mute only to return to it later and not remember you had it on mute.

Depending on the manufacturer and model receiver your have within your setup, your receiver may not have the features or options that are gone over here.

  1. Many A/V Receivers have volume knobs that do not have a defined minimum or maximum volume, meaning they can be turned in either direction infinitely. This makes it difficult to tell what your volume level might be by simply looking at the knob. Make sure your volume level is actually high enough for you to be able to hear things across all your speakers.
    Master volume knob being turned
  2. Some A/V Receivers come equipped with a Muting or Mute button that does not have an indicator lamp to let you know that it may be engaged. Ensure your receiver is not muted by pressing this button to toggle on or off.
    Mute button
  3. If your A/V Receiver has a speaker selector knob, you may not be hearing audio at all, or you may be hearing distorted or weak audio. Depending on where your speakers are connected in the rear of the receiver, you may need this knob to be adjusted differently.
    AV receiver speaker selection
  4. If you have headphones connected to your home theater no sound will come through your speakers. Double-check and make sure your headphones are not connected.
    A home theater headset

2 Check the Home Theater is on the Right Input

Your TV and A/V Receiver components may need to be using different "input" or "source" settings in order to be able to find sound and picture properly. This will be different in every home theater setup depending on the cables that are being used, and the different components that you have installed. These steps will touch upon how you can check and adjust the input settings of your components to make sure they're correct.

If you've got no sound or video, or even video with no sound, there could be an issue with your system's inputs. Your speakers could be set to receive the wrong input.

In order to check and change sources on your TV:

  1. Locate the Input or Source button on your TV remote.
    Television remote highlighting the input button.
  2. Aim the remote at the TV and press the Input or Source button to begin cycling through the available inputs on the screen.
    Available inputs with HDMI selected
  3. When you've reached the input option you'd like to test, just stop pressing the input button. The TV will switch to the input option you've landed on automatically after a few seconds.
  4. Your system is most likely connected on an HDMI cable, enabling both sound and video to travel to the television with one cable.

To check and change sources on your A/V Receiver:

  1. Some A/V Receivers will have knobs dedicated to changing the input or source it is using.
    Input selection knob
  2. Others will have physical buttons for specific inputs rather than a knob.
    Buttons for input
  3. Alternatively, most A/V Receivers will have Input or Source buttons on their remote controls.
    AV receiver remote highlighting button style input selection options.
  4. Simply turn the knob or press the button of the Input or Source you would like to select.

3 Use Test Tones to Check Speakers

If you're still having trouble getting any sound to come from the speakers connected to your receiver, it's time to test the receiver's ability to produce sound through those speakers.

Most receivers offer a "speaker setup" menu that will allow you to not only boost the audio levels to certain speakers, but can also send test tones to one speaker at a time, or the whole system in general. This will allow you to determine whether or not the receiver is capable of sending audio to the speakers connected to it. 

Selecting the test tone

4 Check Home Theater Cabling

Before moving your equipment or checking any cabling, make absolutely sure that your A/V Receiver and any other components that are currently on are fully powered off.

If you were unable to hear test tones from one or more of your speakers, the next step is to make absolutely sure that all of the speaker cabling connected to the rear of the receiver is connected properly and is in good physical condition.

  1. Speaker wires can be inserted into receivers in a few different ways. Make sure that the bare wires of each speaker cable are making good contact with the binding posts, poles or ports and have not come loose.
    • If your A/V receiver uses binding posts or poles, ensure that the speaker wires did not slide out or come loose while tightening things down or moving the receiver in place.
      AV Speaker wires being tightened
    • If your A/V receiver uses spring-loaded clips, ensure that the bare wire is inserted fully and making good contact with each port. This type of connection can be prone to coming loose if wires are pulled on.
      Spring loaded clips for speaker wires
  2. Some speaker wiring lacks the easily understood color-coding for positive and negative, and may have text labels or only a line to indicate positive from negative. Ensure that positive and negative ends are connected properly at both the receiver and each speaker.
    Connected wires
  3. Aside from speakers, ensure that all other connections in the rear of the receiver are firmly and fully connected where they should be.
    Seating cables firmly

5 If the Home Theater Sound Still Don't Work

If after checking everything and adjusting settings you still have no sound on your home entertainment system

Please contact the product manufacturer for further assistance.

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After installing a new home theater, you sit down to watch a new movie only to find there's no sound.
You may experience a situation where you can see picture on your screen, but may not have any audio coming from any of your system's speakers. We'll walk you through testing your settings, mute, inputs, and finally double checking your cabling. Though the issue is certainly annoying, it could be caused by a loose or faulty cable and easily fixed.
The back of AVR showing the cables

Checking your home theater receiver settings can make a huge difference when experiencing issues with your home theater system. It can be relatively easy to set it and forget it, meaning that you could set your system on mute only to return to it later and not remember you had it on mute.

Depending on the manufacturer and model receiver your have within your setup, your receiver may not have the features or options that are gone over here.

  1. Many A/V Receivers have volume knobs that do not have a defined minimum or maximum volume, meaning they can be turned in either direction infinitely. This makes it difficult to tell what your volume level might be by simply looking at the knob. Make sure your volume level is actually high enough for you to be able to hear things across all your speakers.
    Master volume knob being turned
  2. Some A/V Receivers come equipped with a Muting or Mute button that does not have an indicator lamp to let you know that it may be engaged. Ensure your receiver is not muted by pressing this button to toggle on or off.
    Mute button
  3. If your A/V Receiver has a speaker selector knob, you may not be hearing audio at all, or you may be hearing distorted or weak audio. Depending on where your speakers are connected in the rear of the receiver, you may need this knob to be adjusted differently.
    AV receiver speaker selection
  4. If you have headphones connected to your home theater no sound will come through your speakers. Double-check and make sure your headphones are not connected.
    A home theater headset
Your TV and A/V Receiver components may need to be using different "input" or "source" settings in order to be able to find sound and picture properly. This will be different in every home theater setup depending on the cables that are being used, and the different components that you have installed. These steps will touch upon how you can check and adjust the input settings of your components to make sure they're correct.

If you've got no sound or video, or even video with no sound, there could be an issue with your system's inputs. Your speakers could be set to receive the wrong input.

In order to check and change sources on your TV:

  1. Locate the Input or Source button on your TV remote.
    Television remote highlighting the input button.
  2. Aim the remote at the TV and press the Input or Source button to begin cycling through the available inputs on the screen.
    Available inputs with HDMI selected
  3. When you've reached the input option you'd like to test, just stop pressing the input button. The TV will switch to the input option you've landed on automatically after a few seconds.
  4. Your system is most likely connected on an HDMI cable, enabling both sound and video to travel to the television with one cable.

To check and change sources on your A/V Receiver:

  1. Some A/V Receivers will have knobs dedicated to changing the input or source it is using.
    Input selection knob
  2. Others will have physical buttons for specific inputs rather than a knob.
    Buttons for input
  3. Alternatively, most A/V Receivers will have Input or Source buttons on their remote controls.
    AV receiver remote highlighting button style input selection options.
  4. Simply turn the knob or press the button of the Input or Source you would like to select.

If you're still having trouble getting any sound to come from the speakers connected to your receiver, it's time to test the receiver's ability to produce sound through those speakers.

Most receivers offer a "speaker setup" menu that will allow you to not only boost the audio levels to certain speakers, but can also send test tones to one speaker at a time, or the whole system in general. This will allow you to determine whether or not the receiver is capable of sending audio to the speakers connected to it. 

Selecting the test tone

Before moving your equipment or checking any cabling, make absolutely sure that your A/V Receiver and any other components that are currently on are fully powered off.

If you were unable to hear test tones from one or more of your speakers, the next step is to make absolutely sure that all of the speaker cabling connected to the rear of the receiver is connected properly and is in good physical condition.

  1. Speaker wires can be inserted into receivers in a few different ways. Make sure that the bare wires of each speaker cable are making good contact with the binding posts, poles or ports and have not come loose.
    • If your A/V receiver uses binding posts or poles, ensure that the speaker wires did not slide out or come loose while tightening things down or moving the receiver in place.
      AV Speaker wires being tightened
    • If your A/V receiver uses spring-loaded clips, ensure that the bare wire is inserted fully and making good contact with each port. This type of connection can be prone to coming loose if wires are pulled on.
      Spring loaded clips for speaker wires
  2. Some speaker wiring lacks the easily understood color-coding for positive and negative, and may have text labels or only a line to indicate positive from negative. Ensure that positive and negative ends are connected properly at both the receiver and each speaker.
    Connected wires
  3. Aside from speakers, ensure that all other connections in the rear of the receiver are firmly and fully connected where they should be.
    Seating cables firmly

If after checking everything and adjusting settings you still have no sound on your home entertainment system