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How Do I Fix a Soundbar Delay?

So you bought an amazing soundbar with all the bells and whistles, but that doesn’t matter if there is a significant lag time between the content and the audio. Let’s take a look at why this happens and how to fix it.

man sitting on sofa and covering face

Why is There a Sound Delay on My Soundbar?

Not only could there be a delay, the whole audio and mouth movements of the characters onscreen may be out of sync as well. There are a few reasons why there could be such a delay.

If you are watching something on TV, it may not be your problem at all. The broadcast itself from the station could be the culprit or just simply a bad connection between your cable and TV.

If you are watching a movie or show on Blu-Ray or other such players, a poor connection could be the cause as well. Our favored soundbars for dialogue and voice clarity may perform better, but it is still important to identify to the issue.

Now if you are hooked up to a home theater system, the digital optical cable could be the problem. This could cause an audio delay, and it would need to be adjusted via your system. 

There could also be processing delays, which can happen with soundbars. This is more commonly seen with HDMI and/or optical connections. 

How to Fix the Lag

Before you can fix the issue, you need to identify the problem. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Check if there are any issues with other factors and not just your soundbar. Take a look at the TV and other media sources. Look for settings you may have inputted by mistake or check if your software needs to be updated.
  • You can always restart the soundbar. This is suggested with almost any electronic device. Look for audio reset or restart options on your device.
  • Take a look at the cables. Are they connected securely? Are they inserted all the way?
  • Check the settings on all connected devices to make sure they are all correct and compatible.
  • Make sure everything is linked through the soundbar then connected to the TV to reduce lag.
man eating chips while looking at TV

The TV

The issue could be with your TV and not the soundbar. This is why checking the TV settings first is important. Once the settings are put right, the lag may be fixed right away.

Check the TV with other media sources to see if the lag occurs with all of them. If they do if there are issues, then you know it’s your TV that is the problem. In this case, you should reset the TV. A lot of smart TVs require consistent firmware updates so make sure everything is up to date on this end as well.

The Soundbar

As we said, every expert’s advice is to turn off and restart a device before you think it’s broken. So before you make a phone call into customer service and have them tell you this, try doing it yourself first.

Disconnect it completely from the TV and turn it off. Give it 30 seconds to 1 min before turning it back on and reconnecting to your TV.

It also helps to follow the suggested placement of soundbars, which we have talked about in our list of top soundbars for TCL Roku TV and others as any obstructions can also affect sound quality.

The Cables

Next up is checking the actual connections. This means taking a look at the cables. Sometimes they aren’t fully inserted and could result in one-sided sound, a lag, or just quieter audio. 

Try to make sure the cables are uncoiled and there are no damages along with them. If they happen to be damaged, it could cause a problem in the information relay. 

The Settings

Another big issue that could cause lag in your devices is the settings. The wrong sound mode can cause lags and the incorrect soundbar settings can also have audio delays.

The source of the media, such as the Blu-Ray player can also have issues if the settings aren’t compatible with all three devices. In order to circumvent this, you need to take a look at your component setup and the settings themselves.

TV connections and cables

Internet

Some people wonder if their slow internet or weak connection could be the issue [1]. It depends on how you play the content on your soundbar. For example, if you only notice the lag while streaming via Wi-Fi and other sources, then it’s more than likely that your slow internet is the cause.

Slow connections can cause a variety of problems with out of sync audio and lag times being just a few of them. Unfortunately, if slow internet is the problem, there is little to nothing you can do except contact your provider.

It’s important to figure out if a slow connection is a problem early on before you start tampering with the settings and perhaps creating even more issues than before.

How to Sync a Soundbar with Your TV

When something is out of sync, you need to get it right back in sync. There are a few common ways to do this but it also depends on the type of soundbar you have.

Common soundbars share the below three methods to sync:

  • There is an audio sync button right on the remote or soundbar. You press the + or – buttons until you pair up the audio with the content.
  • Another option that doesn’t involve the + or – will have the forward or back buttons under the audio sync function on the remote. You do the same thing by pressing either arrow until the audio is synced up.
  • The next one is sound control. If you don’t see an audio sync function, there are chances that you will see a sound control button. When you locate this, just use the left and right buttons to sync up the audio again.

We also have a guide specific to setting up Vizio soundbars.

couple sitting in front of TV

Conclusion

It can be very discouraging to suffer from an audio delay that takes away from your media enjoyment. Ideally, this wouldn’t be a problem but it’s an issue that is more common than most of us would like.

To find the issue, there are a lot of what-ifs but with our guide, we can help you narrow down the possible reasons and fix the issue.

Need help deciding which soundbar is the best? We have rounded up the top performing soundbars to make it easier for you.

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.
Willie Greer

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