Why Does My Soundbar Sound Hollow?

To experience the enthralling effect of a perfectly installed home theater, one needs to pay as much attention to auditory ...

By Dewayne

To experience the enthralling effect of a perfectly installed home theater, one needs to pay as much attention to auditory aspects as visual ones. One of the main components responsible for this auditory wonder is the Soundbar. This versatile piece of technology has alchemized the common home theater experience. However, sometimes, the soundbar, contrary to offering a sound experience of clarity and depth, may sound hollow, thus pulling back the rapturous effect of your home theater.

Understanding the particular reasons behind your soundbar sounding hollow can take you a step closer in rectifying it. The reasons might be associated with the product itself, its handling, or both. An understanding and awareness of these issues can enable you to bring about the desired changes. It can be helpful to dive deep into the technicalities. To help you understand, this article aims to elaborate on the causes and solutions for a hollow-sounding soundbar.

Maintaining your home theater, especially your soundbar, not only enhances your multimedia experience but also affords longevity to your valuable electronic possessions. With the end goal of improving your home theater, let’s delve into the reasons why your soundbar might sound hollow, learn how to fix these issues, and finally look at some essential tips for optimum soundbar performance.

Understanding Why Your Soundbar Sounds Hollow

Why does your soundbar sound hollow? The hollowness of sound can point to the loss of certain sound frequencies. It could be due to technical issues involving your home theater set-up, including your soundbar. Often, the problem can also be a result of inadequate sound settings and incorrect placement of the soundbar in your home theater.

Transducing sound through multiple tiny speakers aligned in a horizontal line – this is the primary function of the soundbar. However, the resultant sound may appear ‘hollow’ due to the lack of fullness. Besides, a soundbar operating to the extreme limits of its capacity can also produce a hollow sound. If the soundbar fails to properly process the audio input, you may experience an unnatural distortion in sound quality. Lastly, believe it or not, the room acoustics play a significant role in sound quality.

Causes of Hollow-Sounding Soundbars

When discussing the causes of hollow-sounding soundbars, the primary concern is the flawed Audio Processing by the soundbar. The core functionality of a soundbar is to decode sound signals smoothly. When this function becomes erratic, the resultant sound may appear hollow.

Poor audio source quality is another primary cause that affects soundbar performance. A low-quality audio source will inevitably produce poor sound, irrespective of the soundbar’s quality. This is an essential consideration for your home theater – a sound system is only as good as its weakest link.

Incorrect placement of the soundbar might lead to the hollow sound dilemma. A soundbar’s placement affects its overall performance and, therefore, needs to be optimal for improved sound delivery. Inappropriately placed soundbars may create distortions leading to the hollowness of sound.

Often, bad room acoustics can be a crucial reason behind a hollow sounding soundbar. Hard surfaces as floors, ceilings and walls can cause a sound reflection, which inevitably produces a hollow sound. Furthermore, sound output can be strongly influenced by the room’s size and shape, furniture layout, and even the presence of windows and doors.

Soundbar Audio Processing Issues

Faulty audio processing in your soundbar might be the primary reason behind the hollow sound. Your home theater’s soundbar can decode digital audio signals and amplify them to create an immersive sonic atmosphere. But an issue in the processing of these signals might cause a lack of fullness and depth in the sound.

The soundbar, as mentioned, divides the process of creating sound into multiple streams. These streams are then delivered individually to multiple small speakers. If this process encounters any issue, it will inevitably affect the sound quality. Sometimes, the root cause lies in the incompatibility between audio formats supported by the source device and the soundbar. This misalignment can lead to defects in the sound effect, causing it to sound hollow.

Sometimes, high demand on the soundbar’s processing capabilities, such as the need to deliver multi-layered sounds in a cinematic experience, can place stress on the system. An overwhelmed system often stumbles in delivering a rich, full range sound, thus leading to a hollow effect.

Fine-tuning your soundbar’s settings is essential, too. Overlooking this could lead to sound distortion levels, incorrect bass and treble levels, or incorrect signal to noise ratio, culminating in a hollow sound effect. Good maintenance of your home theater setup, specifically soundbar settings, can remedy such issues.

Poor Audio Source Quality

An underlooked aspect of a home theater experience is the quality of the audio source. One must never underestimate the role this plays in the overall sensory experience. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that even in a well-set home theater, poor quality audio input can lead to a deeply unsatisfying experience.

The quality of audio input can directly impact the quality of sound produced by the soundbar. Poor sound quality at the inception would inevitably translate into poor sound quality at the output, irrespective of the soundbar’s capabilities. After all, what you put in is largely what you get out.

Sometimes, the processing capability of the source device might not be up-to-the-mark. While streaming content, the inability of the playback device to deliver high-quality sound data can lead to a lack of depth and fullness in the audio. Hence, to avoid the soundbar sounding hollow, it is crucial to ensure the source device’s quality.

In the world of audio tech, it’s key to remember: quality matters over quantity. It’s far better to have fewer but high-quality audio sources than a plethora of sources delivering poor-quality sound. The quality of your audio source is relevant throughout your home theater experience – from selection to replay.

Incorrect Soundbar Placement

The placement of the soundbar in your home theater plays an essential role in delivering high-quality sound. Even the best of soundbars might fail to perform up to their potential if not placed correctly. Incorrect placement of the soundbar might lead to distortion of sound which might be perceived as hollowness.

Typically, soundbars are placed below the television set. But if the TV set is too high or if there are objects blocking the path of sound waves, it can result in poor sound clarity and depth. These obstructions can cause the sound waves to disperse, resulting in a hollow sound.

The angle at which the soundbar is placed also influences sound delivery. An optimally angled soundbar ensures direct delivery of sound waves to the listener. Incorrect angling causes the sound to bounce off walls or other objects, leading to distortions and a hollow sound experience.

In some cases, soundbars are attached to the TV sets. If the TV set is not sturdy, the vibrations caused by the sound might affect the television’s components, leading to an overall degradation in sound quality. Thus, a perfect balance must be achieved in installing the soundbar at the right height, angle and away from unnecessary obstructions to prevent a hollow sound experience.

Inadequate Soundbar Settings

While it’s important to pay attention to the technical and mechanical aspects of a soundbar, attention should also be given to the safest bet – the device’s settings. Inappropriate settings might be a significant reason for your soundbar sounding hollow.

Suppose the soundbar settings are set to high frequencies, or the bass, treble, or equalizer settings are not well-balanced. In that case, the sound bar will fail to cover the entire spectrum of sound, leading to a hollow effect. It’s necessary to find the perfect balance in settings to ensure a wholesome audio experience.

Adjusting the audio format to the suited environment can also prevent the hollow sound effect. For instance, choosing a surround sound setting in a small or medium room won’t deliver the desired sound effect. Instead, it might lead to distortions making the sound feel hollow.

The soundbar’s calibration plays a significant role in its performance. An uncalibrated soundbar or one calibrated to unsuitable audio settings will not produce the expected sound quality. Therefore, it is essential to calibrate your soundbar to your room specifics.

Lastly, an update of the soundbar’s firmware may sometimes lead to changes in default settings. Such instances require an immediate check on your soundbar settings to ensure it delivers a high-quality sound experience.

Room Acoustics And Soundbar Performance

The room’s acoustics play a significant role in enriching your home theater experience. The size and shape of the room, the materials used, and the configuration of furniture can dramatically impact the soundbar’s performance. These factors also influence sound reflections, which can result in a hollow effect if not controlled properly.

Hard surfaces can cause sound reflections, reducing the quality of the sound your soundbar produces. These reflections can cause audio delay issues, thus creating a hollow sound. So, if the part of your house where the home theater is installed has a lot of hard surfaces, the soundbar might end up sounding hollow.

Sound absorption materials can be used to solve this problem. Using materials that absorb sound will reduce the reflections and provide a rich, fuller sound. This holds good for other furniture too. Plush furniture or carpets are an excellent way to reduce sound reflection.

Lastly, the size and shape of the room matter a lot. If the room is small, the sound will bounce back quicker, creating a claustrophobic effect. Too long or narrow rooms may have issues with sound vibrations and resonance. Therefore, the room’s acoustics should be an important consideration while setting up a home theater.

How To Fix A Hollow-Sounding Soundbar

If you have understood the causes of a hollow-sounding soundbar, it’s now time to tackle the issue at hand. It might be an issue with audio processing, the quality of the audio source, incorrect placement, inadequate settings, or room acoustics. You need to identify the exact issue and then follow specific steps to rectify it.

In case of audio processing issues, you need to check the compatibility of audio formats of the source device and the soundbar. If the requirement of audio processing goes beyond the soundbar’s capacity, reduce the demand by lowering the sound frequency, or use a soundbar with better capacity.

To fix the problem of poor audio source quality, ensure the source device’s quality is guaranteed. If the device is outdated or of low quality, upgrade it. Keep the audio files and format in mind too. Opt for high-quality audio files if the current ones are low in quality.

If the soundbar placement is the issue, correct it immediately. Put it in such a way that there are minimum obstructions. Keep it at a lower height, ideally below the television set, and ensure it is angled properly to deliver the sound directly to the listener.

To rectify issues of inadequate soundbar settings, balance the equalizer settings. Ensure that the calibrations are done according to your room specifications. Regularly update your soundbar’s firmware and keep a check on the settings changes upon an update.

Computing the room acoustics and improving them will solve the problem of a hollow sound. Consider adding sound absorption materials in the room, maintaining an optimal distance between the soundbar and the ceiling, and avoiding a square-shaped room.

Tips For Optimum Soundbar Performance

A well-functioning soundbar can enrich your home theater experience. To achieve optimum soundbar performance, a few tips can help. Firstly, correct placement of the soundbar is necessary. Position it at an optimal height, typically under the television set, and provide an ideal angle.

Regularly checking the soundbar settings is important. Balance the bass, treble, and equalizer. Configure the settings according to your room size, and calibrate the soundbar regularly. These steps can ensure a rich audio experience.

Invest in quality audio sources for better sound quality. Always prefer quality over quantity and ensure that the source device is of high quality. If you are streaming content, a robust and stable internet connection is beneficial.

Finally, take note of the room acoustics. Balance the room dimensions and maintain an optimal distance between the ceiling and the soundbar. Place sound absorptive materials in the room and avoid having too many hard surfaces.


A well-functioning soundbar is quintessential to a delightful home theater experience. Consequently, having a soundbar that sounds hollow can dampen the whole atmosphere. However, the situation is not hopeless. Identifying the reasons behind your soundbar sounding hollow and rectifying them can go a long way in solving the issue.

Once the root cause is addressed, further monitoring and maintenance become easy. Buckle up and follow the discussed techniques reliably to enjoy an enthralling and satisfying home theater experience!

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