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Apple TV 4: Fix Distorted Audio

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Turn off Reduce Loud Sounds by holding down the Siri button on your Siri Remote and saying “turn off Reduce Loud Sounds”. Siri doesn’t confirm that Reduce Loud Sounds has been turned off. If Siri doesn’t display a message and the screen returns to its original brightness, Reduce Loud Sounds was turned off successfully. You can also turn off Reduce Loud Sounds by going to Settings > Reduce Loud Sounds.

Turning off Reduce Loud Sounds will only ameliorate this problem. You may still hear some distortion. If distorted sound effects are still a problem, you may want to turn them off.

Turn off Navigation Clicks and Sound Effects

When I first bought my Apple TV, I liked the sounds it made when I navigated the user interface. After I turned on my stereo, I noticed that they sounded distorted. I put up with this for several months. I eventually grew tired of both the sound effects and the distortion.

There are two types of Apple TV sound effects — navigation clicks and sound effects. The term “navigation clicks” is misleading, because they don’t sound like clicks. They are the tones played when you select icons or menu items. You can turn these off by going to Settings > Audio and Video > Navigation Clicks. The other sounds are labelled as Sound Effects and Music. These sounds are played when you open and close apps. Turn these off by going to Settings > Audio and Video > Sound Effects and Music. The Music aspect is a bit misleading. It does not mute the Music app. It won’t mute generated video game music. I don’t know which music they are referring to. It seems more like a labelling error.

Adjust Video Game Sound Effect Volume

Turning off sound effects will only affect the main tvOS user interface — the Home screen, Settings and a few other first-party Apple apps. Video games that generate their sound using tvOS application programming interfaces (APIs) may still sound distorted. You can often remedy this by turning down sound effects within the video game. These settings differ, depending on the game. They are usually located in the game’s setting menus.

Not all games feature adjustable volume. One of my favorite games, Nightgate, suffers from distorted audio. It doesn’t offer any settings. There’s no way to quiet the sound effects and generated music. The distorted sound can be a bit distracting. The only solution to this problem, for now, is to play the audio through my TV speakers.

Play Audio Through TV Speakers

Most modern, flat screen televisions are actually computers. Look through the first few pages of the owner’s manual, and you will see all sorts of open source licenses. That’s because your television is a computer and it probably runs on an open source operating system. TV manufacturers start with an open source operating system, and then customize it with their own software. Modern flat-screen TVs are smart and adjust volume levels so that their internal speakers won’t produce distorted sounds. My Apple TV 4 does not produce distorted sounds when I use my TV speakers. I have resigned myself to using TV speakers with certain apps. (continue…)

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