Low audio from surround speakers when watching TV

This article provides some information on why your Sonos surround speakers may be outputting audio at a low volume when you’re watching TV.

What to expect

The audio from your Sonos surround speakers may vary based on what you’re watching. You can expect the following surround activity from these program types:

  • News: Dialogue driven. There won’t be much surround audio.
  • Sports: Expect to hear crowds cheering as well as stadium or arena music.
  • Sitcom: Depending on the recording, some ambient surround sound can be expected.
  • Action or Drama: Ambient effects; such as birds chirping, off screen action, explosions and accompanying music.

If your surround speakers’ volume is consistently quiet across everything you watch, continue to the next section to make sure your surround speakers are receiving a proper audio format.

Adjust the audio format

The audio from your surround speakers may differ based on the audio format received from the TV.

Check and see if your listed format is stereo/PCM, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, or Dolby TrueHD. See our article on checking your Sonos home theater audio format to see what format Sonos is receiving from your TV.

If the format is Stereo/PCM, Sonos is receiving two-channel audio and interpreting which audio should go to the rear surrounds This means you may not hear a lot of surround audio. Make sure your TV is set to output Dolby Digital instead. Check your TV's product manual for specific instructions on how to switch formats.

If you have a Sonos Arc, Arc SL, or Beam (Gen 2), check our article on listening to Dolby Atmos on Sonos to make sure your Sonos product is configured correctly to output Dolby Digital audio.

Increase the volume of the surrounds

Regardless of format, you can always increase the volume of the surround audio to your desired level.

  1. Open the Sonos app for iOS or Android.
  2. From the Settings tab, tap System.
  3. Tap the Sonos home theater product that uses surround speakers. It appears with "(+LS+RS)" in the Products section.
  4. Under Sound, tap Surround Audio.
  5. Use the TV Level slider to increase the volume of the surround speakers.

Still need help?

Our technicians can help over the phone or with a live chat. You can also ask questions and find answers with other Sonos owners in our Sonos Community.