Previous 1 2 Next 16 Replies Latest reply: Apr 10, 2013 12:11 PM by guitar guy
sirozha Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

I am experiencing horrible sound distortion when connecting Apple TV 2 to my 50" professional plasma Panasonic TH-50PH9 HD TV set. This is a four-year old 720p Panasonic plasma that has a built-in amplifier. The amplifier is rather weak - 2x8 Watts, but I found Polk Audio floor speakers that are rated for amplifiers as low as 8 Watts, and have been having absolutely beautiful sound from several different sources (Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD, Oppo DV-981HD, MacBook Pro). I have never had any sound distortion until I connected the new Apple TV. The sound distortion seems to occur only when playing iTunes content - whether streaming from a Mac's iTunes library or streaming directly from the Apple TV (theater trailers, for instance). I have not yet tried to rent anything on the new Apple TV. When watching Netflix on Apple TV 2, I am not experiencing any sound distortion.

All of my sources are plugged into an HDMI switch (XtremeMac XM02020721). When the HDMI switch is switched to the Apple TV 2, the sound volume through the TV speakers is a lot higher than from other HDMI sources. I wonder if Apple TV 2 is pushing too much sound signal voltage out of its HDMI port and is overpowering my weak amplifier.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Apple TV 2, iOS 4, Macbook (Aluminum late 2008), MacBook Pro 15" (mid-2009)
  • user591 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    (Umm.. You've hijacked my thread... But hey that's cool, whatever.)

    Others are complaining that the volume from the ATV2 is higher than other sources.

    There is a known "Sound Distortion" issue for Panasonic TV's of this age, but reports indicate that it was during DVB broadcasts. There may be a newer firmware available for your TV, and it might just fix your particular sound distortion issue. Call Panasonic and ask if a newer firmware is available for your TV and if so ask if they can send it to you.

  • Greg Pinelo1 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I have the same problem. The new Apple TV volume is set very high and overdrives the second zone of my Sony amp (the second zone is analog, so I am down-converting using an optical-analog adapter).

    On the old Apple TV, you just had to turn its volume down to make sure you weren't pumping too much into the second zone. The new Apple TV doesn't have its own audio control. Trying to figure out work-arounds to see if I can crank down the volume of the second zone.

    But bottom line is that the new Apple TV volume is simply too high. I have to turn down the main (HDMI-fed) zone of the amp when using Apple TV as well. Apple needs to either crank it down or give us back volume control.
  • bradleyturton Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    my sound is distorted beats of static and maybe the sound of the movie or mp3 or whatever. It does sound like the volume is too high on the atv. It all worked well until I changed my firewall. I have gone to troubleshooting and changed changed the settings. This allowed my library to be seen but the sound is horrible. I now do not use the TV sound and instead use the optical. However I would like this fixed.
  • sirozha Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    I reported this problem (distorted sound) to Apple as soon as I got my AppleTV2 (back in early October, 2010). The trouble ticket was open for about 2 months. AppleTV support personnel contacted me on several occasions to obtain more information about my setup (the models of my HDTV and the speakers) and asked me to reinstall the firmware on the device, reset the device, etc. AppleTV2 support reported all the findings to the iOS developers who worked with AppleTV2. I was hopeful that the problem would be resolved in iOS 4.2, but when iOS 4.2 finally came out and I upgraded my AppleTV2 to iOS 4.2, the issue was not resolved. When I contacted AppleTV support again, and they tried to ask the iOS developers on my behalf about the progress of this issue, the response was that this behavior was by design, and that I was the only person who ever reported the problem to them, so they were not going to change the output sound volume levels just to accommodate one person's setup. At this point, my support ticket has been closed. I was forced to purchase an external AV receiver and put it between my Panasonic HDTV and the AppleTV2. The sound and video is now fed from the AppleTV2 to the AV receiver, which has a four-port HDMI switch functionality built in. The AV receiver is connected to the Panasonic HDTV with an HDMI cable. The two front Polk Audio T90e speakers are now connected directly to the receiver and not to the Panasonic HDTV's built-in amplifier. The sound from the AppleTV2 is no longer distorted, but the sound volume is significantly higher when the input of the AV receiver is switched to the AppleTV2. So, the original problem was, in fact, caused by the AppleTV2 pushing too much audio signal out of its HDMI port. The AV receiver that I bought allows me to compensate for the input sound levels that are too low or too high. I had to decrease the sound level by about 10 dB to make it the same or similar to other input sources (DVR, DVD player, and my Mac).

    If anyone is interested in an inexpensive 5.1 AV receiver produces great sound, consider Denon AVR-391. It can be had for under $200. It is a little bulky and does not project its information on the TV screen, so you have to navigate through its menus on its small LED screen, but for the money, it's the best quality receiver you can get. It has one optical and one coax digital audio inputs that can be assigned to any source of video, or it can take the audio via the input HDMI ports, which is what I am doing. It has no component inputs or outputs, so you have to rely exclusively on the built-in four-input-port HDMI switch for HD video. It has one HDMI output port to connect to your HDTV. HDMI that it features is 1.4a, which supports 3D video. The Denon AVR-391 also has composite inputs and one composite output for non-HD sources. It also has FM and AM radio built in, and you can purchase an optional Denon dock for iPod, which allows you to control your iPod from the Denon and output the menus to your TV. You can listen to your music or watch your photos on the TV from the iPod if you were to get this optional dock, which I don't think I would ever do.

    I have never owned an AV receiver before, so I was a little overwhelmed when I was first setting it up, but I was able to replace my XtremeMac HDMI switch with the Denon AVR-391 and reprogram the activities on my Logitech Harmony remote to work with the Denon instead of the XtremeMac in about 2.5 hours. Now, a week later, I am happy with the Denon AVR-391 receiver. The number of options that it offers is more than enough for someone like me - the person who wants great sound but does not want to pay thousands of dollars for the receiver. Eventually, I will probably buy the surround speakers, the central speaker, and the subwoofer to upgrade my sound to full 5.1. If I got a higher-end receiver, I would have gotten a lot more inputs and outputs, and probably hundreds of options that I would never used, but that would completely overwhelm me. Instead I got a great sound system with just enough options for a very reasonable price.

    If you are in the same boat as I am, faced with the AppleTV2 outputting distorted sound through your current speakers, I would strongly suggest reading reviews on the Denon AVR-391 receiver and considering it. I bought mine from Amazon in early December 2010, and I am having absolutely no issues with it. Some people reported Denon AVR-391 locking up on them, but that has not happened to me yet. Perhaps Denon has already fixed that problem with a firmware upgrade.
  • Thomas Folds Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I have the same problem on SAMSUNG 32" display using the ATV2. When playing music locally on the ATV2, the volume level is too high causing saturation and hence audible distortion.

    When streaming music from my Mac/iTunes to the ATV2, i can control the volume in iTunes and avoid the distortion, in my case with the volume set to 1/4 approx. However, unfortunately there is no volume control when playing music locally on the ATV2, hence distortion is unavoidable in this scenario. The fact that audio sent/streamed from the Mac at a sensible level does not cause distortion, shows that there is no problem with my HDMI cables etc. Further, my TV works correctly with all other HDMI sources that i use. It is evident that this a problem with the way ATV2 handles audio levels (especially noting the other makes and models of TV suffering the same problem) and this defect requires fixing. I'd wonder how far the set dB level is from spec.

    Message was edited by: Thomas Folds

    Message was edited by: Thomas Folds
  • Old Analog Dude Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    In iTunes, go to Window / Equalizer and make sure your settings are FLAT. Turn off the preamp to minimize distortion.
  • roanoke Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    yes the whole thing is very frustrating. it's hard to believe tech support has never heard of the problem all any one has to do is check the Internet it is full of this complaint.


    apple turn it down or better yet give us volume control

  • druif123 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I thought I had it al figured out. Connecting the ATV2  through optic to my PS Audio, streaming my iTunes library and listen to radio stations. When I first installed it ( in June) it did work, although the output volume was way to high, my Amplifier was able to handle it and it sounded great. After the last update, the sound level is even higher and now the sound is distored. I tried to change some settings in ATV2 like 16 bit, Sound Effects, Check Audio and Dolby. Nothing had any effect.


    So way did I upgrade firmware ? because ATV2 did not recognize my iTunes library more. That is another thread, but i tried everything firewall etc..including the upgrade, Nothing . Why can apple not solve these problems ?


    Having set that, if these problems are solved then the ATV2 is really an amazing little box.

  • druif123 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I wanted to added my message but that did not work. So I reply to my own message. The described distortion problem is solved. The problem was that I had 2 signals coming into my Amplifier. One through the Optic out of the ATV2 and the other from the out of my television (which is connected through HDMI to my ATV2). That signal from my television was Distorted not the one from the Optic out , I had the wrong line in selected on my Amplifier.


    Still in general I think the Audio Out Signal of the ATV2 is to high and what we need is a way to control it.

  • jeffmonuszko Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    TURN ON SOUND CHECK!!!!!!!!!


    Settings>audio&video>SOUND CHECK: on


    I had the same issue on a 42" LG brand new, 2011 make. Apple tv 2 will work perfectly. Good song to test your distortion with is deuces by Chris brown. If that sounds fuzzy on the low bass hits... Turn on sound check


    Sound check equalizes the sound volume across all your songs.


    Apple took away your volume cause they had a better, simpler way of doing things. Sorry to be that person, but it's much easier. Turn it on and restart it and reconnect to your computer and you'll be set!

  • macguyinnc Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I've got sound check on, and I STILL get distortion.


    My ATV2 is plugged into a decent home theater system.  I've tried HDMI from the ATV2 to the TV, which is connected to my receiver via optical audio.  That didn't work.  I've gone straight from the ATV2 to the receiver via optical audio.  That didn't work, either.


    If I can crank Apollo 13 and rattle my walls without distortion, how is it that this little box seems to cause problems on my system?


    Apple's typical response is to deny the problem, which infuriates me further.  This could easily be solved with software, but they're too lazy to do it (or want you to buy the upgrade).


    Fix it, Apple!  I didn't pay thousands for this device, but I do expect you to give me a product that actually works.

  • ckck94 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Too high??  Volume on mine is too low!  Have to crank the stereo volume up to otherwise dangerous levels just to make it audible at all.

  • baafonso Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I had the same problem on an 3 year old samsung lcd tv. I think I solved it by going to the TV menu, selecting sound and changing the TV amp to Standard. It was set to Movies. Your mileage may vary but my tv has a sound setting for each input.


    Good luck..

  • Meccanomind Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Brand new LG tv, connected with a descent sound system and it sounds amazing. Music from Appletv is destorted though! Come on apple this is not right!!!

Previous 1 2 Next