Troubleshooting FAQs

Troubleshooting FAQs

having trouble getting everything set up properly?

I can't get my optical cable to plug in fully

On all new optical cables there are plastic caps on the end of each cable. They protect the laser tip end of the optical cable. They typically need to be pried off with your thumb and forefinger. Contact us if you have any other questions.

I'm not getting any sound from my speakers

First check the volume level on the receiver. Often times on newer model receivers, the volume level must be up seemingly quite high to hear anything. If you have an Onkyo receiver, turn up the volume to at least 40, or even up to 80. If there's still no sound at all, go through the receiver's test tones (check your receiver's owner's manual for information on this).

If you're getting test tones, then you must check the source (DVD, CD, etc) connections. Make sure the receiver is set to receive the proper digital or analog connection for that respective source (most of the time the DVD is problematic). For example, on most Onkyo receivers, when you select "DVD", the receiver tries to pick the digital audio signal from Coax 1 input (the default factory setting). If you're using Opt 1, then you must tell the receiver that. Go into the set-up menu, select input set-up, and select the proper input for DVD.

Double check the digital cable and ensure that it is connected properly and securely. (With optical cables there is a small protective cap that many don't realize comes off)

If you're not getting test tones, then you may have a faulty receiver or the speakers may not be connected properly. Check the speaker wire connections and make sure that there is no bare speaker wire touching things it shouldn't (positive wire touching negative wire). If you still have trouble, please contact us so that we may assist you, or contact the re-seller for your receiver.

My room isn't optimal for surround sound - how do I make it work?

The ideal placement of your left and right surrounds in a 5.1 configuration is:

1. Along the side walls
2. About 1 - 3 foot behind the listening position
3. About 3.5 - 6 feet above the floor (somewhere between ear level and 3 feet above ear level)
4. Symmetrically placed (equidistant), in relation to the listener(s)


If this isn’t a possibility, you want to try and re-create that scenario as best you can. Ideally you want the tweeter of each surround speaker to be hitting just behind and above the listening position. There are a few ways to accomplish this -

1. Placement - Purchase wall mounts that allow you to tilt and aim the surround speakers toward the ideal position. If you don’t have sidewalls, you can place the speakers behind you, via the back wall or ceiling. Wall or ceiling mounts can help you position them so that they "feel" like the sound is coming from the ideal location. Most importantly, you’re looking for symmetry in your placement. If you can’t wall or ceiling mount, then try a pair of speaker stands.

2. Level - Generally you’ll want the volume of each surround speaker to be the same as the rest of your speakers. Use an SPL meter (or just your own ear) and your receiver settings to adjust the level of each speaker to make sure they’re all at the same volume.

3. Distance - Make sure to go through your receiver’s speaker distance settings. If you don’t enter the correct distance of each speaker (in relation to the listener) into your receiver, you’ll get an unbalanced sound.

4. Speaker type - If you’re forced to be very close to the surround speaker, i.e. if the speaker is mounted to the back wall and your couch is up against the same back wall), you''ll probably be better off with an in-wall or in-ceiling speaker. Or for a more dispersed, natural sound, try a dipole-bipole speaker.

In some cases you may need to try a different type of surround speaker. Every ear is different so we encourage you to experiment until it sounds right to you.

how can I optimize the sound of my speakers?

There are a number of things that can affect the sound. We’ll go down the short list here, and if this doesn't work, then please contact us so we can help

Break-In - Usually the speakers sound great right out of the box, but once they’ve been played for 50 - 100 hours (doesn’t matter what kind of music you use) they will start to sound more natural and balanced.This is known as “break-in” and is completely normal.

Your Room – It’s best if your room is no smaller than 200 square feet. For smaller rooms place your viewing area (that’s where your TV goes) along a short wall. For larger rooms either a short or a long wall work equally well. Too many naked surfaces in your room will reflect and distort the sound. Carpeting, drapery, upholstered furniture and that favorite lounge chair all work together to enhance acoustics. Oddly enough, a bookcase located behind the seating area works exceptionally well as a bass trap, to reduce room reflections and to help smooth out the high and mid range signals. A bass trap is something that reduces room resonances that can cause your bass to be too boomy.

Speaker placement – Incorrectly placed speakers can make your system sound unbalanced, thin, and just plain bad. Let’s start with your three front speakers. Your left, right, and center. How they’re positioned in relation to each other can dramatically affect sound. All three should be positioned at approximately ear level and at equal distance from the seating area. If you have a home theater speaker system, for every 10 feet of distance your seating area is from the TV, add seven feet of spacing between your left and right speakers. For example, if your viewing area is 20 feet from your TV, your left and right speakers should be spaced 14 feet apart. For music only systems, an approximate spacing of ten feet between your left and right speakers is ideal. Center channel speakers work best if they are on top of the TV. If your center speaker is the common style that has two woofers on either side of a tweeter, it’s important to aim the speaker directly at the seating area. Nearby walls can dramatically affect a speaker’s performance. You should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as to speaker positioning. If this information isn’t available, a good rule-of-thumb is to keep the speakers at least three feet from the sidewalls, one foot from the back wall and flush or in front of the entertainment center furniture. Next are your surround sound speakers. Positioning is crucial in order to enjoy the ambient, non-localized sound that home theater is known for. Keep in mind there are two kinds of designs and several surround formats all with varying numbers of speakers. Finally, all side and rear surround speakers work best for home theater if they’re somewhere between ear level and two to three feet above your head.

my subwoofer hums. Is there something I can do to fix it?

A humming subwoofer typically has to do with a ground loop problem within your system. In order to stop the ground loop try these three tips:

Solution #1: Reverse the polarity of the sub with a three-to-two prong adapter. You can pick up a 3-2 prong adapter at any hardware/electrical store for about .50 cents. To reverse the polarity of your sub, plug the sub's AC cord (the 3 prong end) into the 3-2 adapter. Then plug the two-pronged end of the adapter into the wall (possibly upside down), thereby reversing the polarity.

Solution #2: Make sure your RF system (cable or antenna) is grounded properly. Unplug the cable television or RF antenna from anywhere in your audio system. Check to see if the hum goes away. If it does, contact your cable company and have them investigate and properly ground the system, preferably before it enters the house.

Solution #3. Check the sub cable. Try replacing the cable. Often, a defective cable will cause a hum. Or shorten the sub cable length. The receiver may need to be 6ft or closer to the subwoofer to reduce radio interference.

If you have any questions please contact us.

my bass doesn't sound right. What's wrong?

Powered subwoofers have some controls you'll want to set properly. Take a seat in the viewing area and employ a helper to do the grunt work.

1. Start with the "crossover frequency." Set it to 80 Hz or less. Settings above 100 Hz and your ear will be able to locate the subwoofer (and you don't want that).

2. If there is a "phase reversing switch," listen for the setting that creates the best bass for your seating area. Sometimes there is no noticeable difference. If the subwoofers are in the same plane as the front speakers, the "normal" or "0 degrees" position is usually right.

3. Adjust the volume until the bass level "sounds just right" -- not too boomy, not too loud. Once you've hit your ideal settings, live with them for a week or so. After that, if you're still happy, you'll probably never have to touch the settings again.

the finish on my wood speakers doesn't match

In using natural, real wood veneers, there may be some inconsistencies between wood panels. This is part of the natural beauty of real wood. All of our cabinets are finished in batches to ensure that left, center, right, surround, and sub are made from the same wood veneer panels. If you're not satisfied with the finish, we will gladly exchange so that you are satisfied. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

why do I have to turn my receiver up so high?

Most receivers these days go from negative infinity (that little sideways eight) all the way up to 100. It's very common for receivers to be above 50 for normal listening level. So just crank it up until it sounds right to you - but do be careful about getting it too loud. We don't want you to damage those ears.
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