Apple TV 3 Audio Pops

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by FredT2, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. FredT2 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2009
    I've been using two Apple TV 2's for quite a while and just purchased an Apple TV 3. I immediately noticed some audio pops that I never heard before on the Apple TV 2. These occur when starting to play video files (but not music): there is an initial pop as the movie is spooling followed by a second louder one just prior to the video starting. Additionally, there is another pop when I leave the movie and go back to the menu. It will go through the same set of pops if I resume from the middle of a movie. I called Apple tech support, and they said it should be replaced, so I did that. The replacement unit behaves identically, so it appears that this is something inherent in the Apple TV 3 that is not in the Apple TV 2. I haven't found any other references to anything like this, so it also appears to be

    1. Switched from HDMI audio in to optical in on my receiver (Denon AVR-890), no difference, it still pops.
    2. Updated to latest software, no difference.
    3. Swap out the Apple TV 3 with an Apple TV 2 using the same cables, there are no pops.
    4. Route HDMI directly to TV, optical audio to receiver, there are no pops.

    So there appears to be some kind of issue with the HDMI in the Apple TV 3, maybe in combination with my receiver. Number 4 is not a solution I can use because I need to route video through the receiver to get volume info. This is not a great problem, but it is enough of an irritant that I'd like to eliminate it. The questions that I have are a) is there anything else I could try, and b) is this a problem unique to me. Thanks.
  2. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    I have an aTV3 hooked to a Denon avr-1912 via HDMI, I've never noticed any pops.

    have you tried a different HDMI port?

    it sounds like it may be popping when you switch between the different audio types, stereo for normal menus, then dolby surround for the video. with possibly a period of nothing between, so the 2 pops.
    stereo <pop> nothing <pop> dolby
    which would also make the music not popping make sense, since it's stereo.

    try turning dolby digital off in the aTV menu.
    try playing a video that doesn't have a DD track.

    does it just do this on local media (streaming from itunes)? or on netflix too?
  3. FredT2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2009
    Wow, you nailed it! Turning off Dolby Digital eliminates the pops. That's what I love about these forums, smart people who are willing to take the time to help people with problems.

    So I went back to my Apple TV 2's to see what the settings were, and both had Dolby Digital set to off. That must have been the default, since that's a setting I've never looked at. And the default on Apple TV 3 must be on. So now the question I have is what does is mean to have it Dolby Digital off? It has seemed to me that I've had good 5.1 surround from my Apple TV 2 with it off.
  4. FredT2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2009
    OK, now that I've compared some material using Dolby Pro logic II and Dolby Digital I see what I've been missing. So I do want to leave Dolby Digital turned on, but I have these pops. You said you've never noticed any with your Denon receiver. Do you have any idea why I might be getting them also with a Denon receiver?
  5. Stolz25 macrumors member

    May 14, 2012
    I'll bet you just had the reciever set to play from all speakers. This isn't really surround sound, I use it when listening to music.
  6. ssgrif macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    I've got an apple tv2 connected to a Phillips amp via the optical out for DD surround sound. I get the same issue where it pops when it begins to play the audio track.

    Would love to get rid of it but until now I've just lived with it.
  7. FredT2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2009
    Well I don't really understand what the Apple TV outputs when Dolby Digital is set to off, but my receiver shows "Pro Logic II". Without making any changes to the receiver, setting Dolby Digital to "on" on the ATV, the receiver shows "Dolby Digital". I guess Pro Logic is some sort of synthesized surround sound.
  8. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    you got it, pro logic is dolby's way to put surround into 2 channels.

    it basically takes sounds that are on both the left and right channels, and if they're in phase puts them to the center channel.and if they're out of phase it puts them to the rear channels.
  9. FredT2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2009
    Thanks. For some reason I had it in my head that Pro Logic and Dolby Digital were equivalent.

    Back to my earlier question, I now have to live with the pops, but do you have any idea of why I get them and you don't?

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