Audio problems - sound cuts in and out, Television Sources

  • 19 March 2017
  • 8 replies

Here's my setup:

Sonos Playbar
Sonos Play 1s as surrounds
Vizio P50c1 TV
DirecTV mini genie receiver
Roku Premier

I've read multiple topics on this, but wanted to post my own to see if anyone had a similar setup and to more easily track possible solutions. I regularly have .5 to 1 second audio drop-outs watching programming live on DirecTV, recorded from DirecTV, and through Amazon and Netflix on our Roku. The source doesn't seem to make much difference, but I have noticed programming on ABC seems to cut out more than anything else for some reason.

I've read posts and replies saying to use a 3x1 or 4x1 digital optical switch to run all your devices directly through the switch and then out through the Playbar. This seems to be successful for some and not others. I've also read to switch to PCM, but that defeats the purpose of having the Play1s. I do not want to go that route. I've also read it could be a wifi issue. These devices are pretty far from my router, but the I have no problems streaming HD video, and the audio signal shouldn't really have much to do with the wifi, right?

I know my Vizio has 2 different versions of HDMI inputs, but I wouldn't think that would matter here, since I experience problems with both sources, and the HDMI is only carrying audio out to the TV. At this point I think the issue is with my TV's ability to process audio, but it could be the Playbar not being able to handle anything but stereo and Dolby Digital.

Any suggestions? I'm extremely frustrated and feel like I've just about wasted $1,100. Sorry for the long post, but any suggestions or replies would be appreciated.

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8 replies

Semi similar set up here, without the Roku. Vizio TV, DirecTV, Playbar with Play:1 surrounds. But definitely not any issues with sound cutting out for me, on either TV set (both Vizios). There's a couple of things I'd recommend you check, since the source doesn't seem to make a difference. First, make sure that you've got a solid connection of the optical cable on both ends, in the TV and in the Playbar. I ran into a situation a while back where I hadn't seated the TV end properly (it hadn't "clicked" in), and was getting occasional dropouts.

Second, check the audio settings on your TV, and all devices connected to it. Make sure that nothing is sending anything other than Dolby Digital. This is just a precaution, but I've actually had a case when a sporting event was in Dolby Digital when showing normal play, but when they put one of those score bars on the screen, it changed to something else. That's when I locked down everything to Dolby Digital. I note that DirecTV only says Dolby Digital on or off these days (watching the Giants lose to Milwaukee right now, thanks to the DVR function), but it's still worth checking.

If your Vizio setup matches mine, go to settings/Audio, and make sure that 1) speakers are off, Surround Sound is off, Volume control s External, digital audio out is Bitstream, and Analog Audio Out is Fixed.

If you still run into difficulties, the next time the sound drops, run a system diagnostic in the app (within 10 minutes) and post the number here, so the folks at Sonos can see what might be happening in the log files that get attached.

Good luck!
I will double-check the connection, and that I have the digital audio out on the Vizio set to Bitsteam. I know all of my other settings match your setup. I'll check on that and definitely submit a diagnostic. I know I've sent those previously, but haven't tracked the numbers. I'll do it again and post here.

Thanks for the reply. I was hoping to avoid having to buy a switch, even though they are pretty cheap. It's just one more remote!
Heh. Good luck!

I got around that whole "too many remotes" issue by getting a Harmony Remote, which controls a whole bunch of random things (except my cat, still working on that).
I've had a Harmony One in the past, and recently got a 650, but I have been pretty disappointed with it.
I wound up changing the optical cable because I didn't feel like the Sonos cable connected as securely as this older Monster cable I had. That seems to have helped. I was watching an old show I had recorded on the DirecTV DVR last night though, and it had audio skips all over the place. I don't know why? The live programming I have watched has been fine, and anything recorded recently has been good too. Any ideas on that? The sound would literally cut out every 5-10 seconds over the course of several minutes. It would only cut out for a second or so, but still frustrating to watch.

Of course I didn't remember to submit diagnostics at the time...probably because it was a kid's show I was watching with my daughter. Next time!
Also, the options on my Vizio for the digital audio out are Auto, PCM, Dolby D, and Bitstream. I had it set at Dolby D, but changed it to Bitstream.
I am still getting some very quick audio cut-outs when watching Amazon through the Roku. Netflix seems to be ok for whatever reason. I also completely lose audio from time to time through the DirecTV mini genie. Usually just changing the channel works, even if I change it back to the channel where I lost audio. And again, this seems to happen more with ABC and Comedy Central than any other channel I watch regularly. Can't make any sense of that. Any ideas?
None in particular, since I've never seen that kind of issue on my DirecTV genie, other than when I turn on the TV. Sometimes the TV doesn't initialize the audio stream properly, and I have to change channels (usually to a non-HD channel) to get it to start up sending data to the Playbar. But not seeing any drops on Comedy Central (although not watching that much these days, since Stewart and Colbert left) or ABC.

I'd highly recommend that the next time you have one of those cutouts, you submit a system diagnostic and post the number here, so the folks at Sonos can take a look at the log files, and see if there's anything in them to explain why you're experiencing this.

Just as a side comment, I sometimes seem to have trouble switching between ABC and Science Channel. I think they encode their HD in a different manner, which seems to occasionally confuse my Visio. But it's clearly a Visio issue, and not a Sonos problem. As soon as I restart the TV, it works without issue. But I do occasionally get a "unsupported video format" showing up on my screen, which is a clue to me to shut down the TV, and restart it 🙂