Problem with sound for a Pioneer VSX-321-K-P receiver

T

Tav

Audiophyte
Hello! I am not much of an audiophile; but I got a really good deal on a Pioneer VXS-321 receiver and thought it was time to try something different from my usual 'All-In-One' home theater boxsets.

The receiver does seems to work perfectly. I get video from HDMI to the TV from multiple sources without problem, but sound is random. It might come on almost as soon as the receiver is turned on, or it might take a minute, or five minutes or ten. It does always eventually play audio, but it is very sporadic as to when.

From the control panel it does show that the receiver is finding the audio signal. I have tried today using a RCA digital coaxial cable for the audio rather then HDMI, but the result is exactly the same. The receiver sees the digital hookup and says it is using it, but there is still a delay in sound being produced. I have also tried swapping to a more expensive audio store bought 'High Speed HDMI' cable, but again I see no noticeable change.

I do not believe it is a problem with the receiver itself. The person I bought it from has told me he has had no similar problem with the unit, and has has been quite helpful the last few days in trying to get the unit set up and working. He has even offered to buy the unit back, so I do not think this is a issue where he has sold me a defective receiver. Plus, if something had failed I suspect there just would be no sound at all, rather then it being a random delay.

I have checked and even changed the speaker wiring in case it was a short, but that did not seem to improve anything either.

I have been doing a lot of snooping online, trying to diagnose the problem and I now have a question that I have been unable to find an answer too. In the owners manual for the receiver it states '8 Ohm' speakers. I am using it with my old home theater system speakers (Which were already set up and placed where I wanted them) but see they are 4 Ohm.

As I have tried everything else I can think of, is there any chance it is the speakers themselves that are the problem? When the sound kicks in, they do seem to work just fine but I do wonder if the difference between what the receiver is likely expecting and the speakers themselves is perhaps an issue? I have read that the difference can lead to different problems like the receiver overheating at high volume, but nothing about if it could cause a problem with the audio itself. I can replace the speakers if need be, but would really hate to buy and install a complete new set of speakers as part of the troubleshooting process. Especially if it was not the problem.

So I would like to ask if anyone has any suggestions on this odd issue, and hopefully I can get the sound working a little more dependably.

Thanks!
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Warlord
Hello! I am not much of an audiophile; but I got a really good deal on a Pioneer VXS-321 receiver and thought it was time to try something different from my usual 'All-In-One' home theater boxsets.

The receiver does seems to work perfectly. I get video from HDMI to the TV from multiple sources without problem, but sound is random. It might come on almost as soon as the receiver is turned on, or it might take a minute, or five minutes or ten. It does always eventually play audio, but it is very sporadic as to when.

From the control panel it does show that the receiver is finding the audio signal. I have tried today using a RCA digital coaxial cable for the audio rather then HDMI, but the result is exactly the same. The receiver sees the digital hookup and says it is using it, but there is still a delay in sound being produced. I have also tried swapping to a more expensive audio store bought 'High Speed HDMI' cable, but again I see no noticeable change.

I do not believe it is a problem with the receiver itself. The person I bought it from has told me he has had no similar problem with the unit, and has has been quite helpful the last few days in trying to get the unit set up and working. He has even offered to buy the unit back, so I do not think this is a issue where he has sold me a defective receiver. Plus, if something had failed I suspect there just would be no sound at all, rather then it being a random delay.

I have checked and even changed the speaker wiring in case it was a short, but that did not seem to improve anything either.

I have been doing a lot of snooping online, trying to diagnose the problem and I now have a question that I have been unable to find an answer too. In the owners manual for the receiver it states '8 Ohm' speakers. I am using it with my old home theater system speakers (Which were already set up and placed where I wanted them) but see they are 4 Ohm.

As I have tried everything else I can think of, is there any chance it is the speakers themselves that are the problem? When the sound kicks in, they do seem to work just fine but I do wonder if the difference between what the receiver is likely expecting and the speakers themselves is perhaps an issue? I have read that the difference can lead to different problems like the receiver overheating at high volume, but nothing about if it could cause a problem with the audio itself. I can replace the speakers if need be, but would really hate to buy and install a complete new set of speakers as part of the troubleshooting process. Especially if it was not the problem.

So I would like to ask if anyone has any suggestions on this odd issue, and hopefully I can get the sound working a little more dependably.

Thanks!
There are a couple of possibilities here. Do you know what year this AVR was produced? Vintage of the AVR may be useful to know.

1) Audio output is delayed upon startup by design. This is to avoid annoying pops, thumps, etc. Typically, you turn on the AVR, then there is several seconds of delay as the caps charge and the AVR gets the initial in-rush current, and internal checks are performed. If all the internal tests pass, then you hear the relays click and you get audio to the speakers. I believe there is some time delay before the tests are performed. If that time delay is based on a charging capacitor, then a cap going bad could be the problem (I don't know if the timer is based on this or not, but it is one way to do this).

2) HDMI requires a handshake between all the gear to satisfy the security screening to be sure you are not trying to bootleg media. Depending on your particular gear, some may take longer than others to perform the handshake.

Do you have the audio problem if you change to a different input, then back to the HDMI input? If you do, then item #2 is likely, but I would expect it to take the same time every time you change. If the problem is only at power up, then I lean more towards item #1.

@TLS Guy what you think?
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
There are a couple of possibilities here. Do you know what year this AVR was produced? Vintage of the AVR may be useful to know.

1) Audio output is delayed upon startup by design. This is to avoid annoying pops, thumps, etc. Typically, you turn on the AVR, then there is several seconds of delay as the caps charge and the AVR gets the initial in-rush current, and internal checks are performed. If all the internal tests pass, then you hear the relays click and you get audio to the speakers. I believe there is some time delay before the tests are performed. If that time delay is based on a charging capacitor, then a cap going bad could be the problem (I don't know if the timer is based on this or not, but it is one way to do this).

2) HDMI requires a handshake between all the gear to satisfy the security screening to be sure you are not trying to bootleg media. Depending on your particular gear, some may take longer than others to perform the handshake.

Do you have the audio problem if you change to a different input, then back to the HDMI input? If you do, then item #2 is likely, but I would expect it to take the same time every time you change. If the problem is only at power up, then I lean more towards item #1.

@TLS Guy what you think?
I think that the timer circuit to the relays is going bad. I agree this is most likely a bad cap. The unit needs service.
 
T

Tav

Audiophyte
There are a couple of possibilities here. Do you know what year this AVR was produced? Vintage of the AVR may be useful to know.

1) Audio output is delayed upon startup by design. This is to avoid annoying pops, thumps, etc. Typically, you turn on the AVR, then there is several seconds of delay as the caps charge and the AVR gets the initial in-rush current, and internal checks are performed. If all the internal tests pass, then you hear the relays click and you get audio to the speakers. I believe there is some time delay before the tests are performed. If that time delay is based on a charging capacitor, then a cap going bad could be the problem (I don't know if the timer is based on this or not, but it is one way to do this).

2) HDMI requires a handshake between all the gear to satisfy the security screening to be sure you are not trying to bootleg media. Depending on your particular gear, some may take longer than others to perform the handshake.

Do you have the audio problem if you change to a different input, then back to the HDMI input? If you do, then item #2 is likely, but I would expect it to take the same time every time you change. If the problem is only at power up, then I lean more towards item #1.

@TLS Guy what you think?
It is a 2013 model. So getting a few years old, but still it has multiple HDMI inputs which certainly makes it better then my old one.

The audio does seem to re-develop its time delay problem if you change audio inputs, or switch devices (say between the Roku and Blu ray player).

Thanks to both of you for the help, I actually have found previously online a copy of the Pioneer service manual for this receiver so using it I will attempt to figue out which cap(s) are giving problems so they can be replaced.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
It is a 2013 model. So getting a few years old, but still it has multiple HDMI inputs which certainly makes it better then my old one.

The audio does seem to re-develop its time delay problem if you change audio inputs, or switch devices (say between the Roku and Blu ray player).

Thanks to both of you for the help, I actually have found previously online a copy of the Pioneer service manual for this receiver so using it I will attempt to figue out which cap(s) are giving problems so they can be replaced.
The problem you will likely run into, is that the components are likely to be surface mounted by robot. The curse of those bards, is that no human can replace them. So you end up having to replace the whole board. At 2013 vintage I doubt there are any boards, and anyway I expect it to be cost prohibitive for a unit of that vintage. This is the curse of modern electronics.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Warlord
The problem you will likely run into, is that the components are likely to be surface mounted by robot. The curse of those bards, is that no human can replace them. So you end up having to replace the whole board. At 2013 vintage I doubt there are any boards, and anyway I expect it to be cost prohibitive for a unit of that vintage. This is the curse of modern electronics.
SMDs are difficult to do by hand, but NOT impossible!

It takes a steady hand, a very fine pointed soldering iron tip, and likely some magnification.

I have personally replaced SMDs on Xbox gaming controllers. It is not trivial, and there is a better than average chance that you are going to fry something. But, I have done it successfully on more than one attempt.

Definitely watch some youtube videos for tips and tricks before you try it.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
It is a 2013 model. So getting a few years old, but still it has multiple HDMI inputs which certainly makes it better then my old one.

The audio does seem to re-develop its time delay problem if you change audio inputs, or switch devices (say between the Roku and Blu ray player).

Thanks to both of you for the help, I actually have found previously online a copy of the Pioneer service manual for this receiver so using it I will attempt to figue out which cap(s) are giving problems so they can be replaced.
Actually on thinking about it, with the information that switching inputs also causes the problem, this can not be the speaker relay timer circuit. This has to be the contact less switching chip on the mother board. These are usually long narrow chips that contain the destabilizing flip flop circuits. Replacing this chip would be very difficult assuming it is available.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
SMDs are difficult to do by hand, but NOT impossible!

It takes a steady hand, a very fine pointed soldering iron tip, and likely some magnification.

I have personally replaced SMDs on Xbox gaming controllers. It is not trivial, and there is a better than average chance that you are going to fry something. But, I have done it successfully on more than one attempt.

Definitely watch some youtube videos for tips and tricks before you try it.
Hats off to you then my friend. Sounds as if you missed your vocation as a vascular micro surgeon!
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Warlord
Actually on thinking about it, with the information that switching inputs also causes the problem, this can not be the speaker relay timer circuit. This has to be the contact less switching chip on the mother board. These are usually long narrow chips that contain the destabilizing flip flop circuits. Replacing this chip would be very difficult assuming it is available.
I am not familiar with this chip, but obviously destabilizing the flip flops is the modern way to perform such switching.

Yeah, replacing a single SMD is much different than replacing a chip. It can be done, but not easy and certainly not a task for the timid. Honestly, I would likely only even consider that "just to see if I can do it or not".

But, the next possible problems--Can you even get the chip? If you do get the chip, does it need some custom firmware flashed to it?
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Warlord
Hats off to you then my friend. Sounds as if you missed your vocation as a vascular micro surgeon!
I doubt that....but I am a chemist the quality labs for semiconductor manufacturing.

We work with the worst of the worst chemicals ever day, so yeah, rock solid hands are a must to work safely!

I also used to think that SMDs were not worth messing with. But, I had seen many gaming controller mods and started trying to see how they did it. A little watching of youtube convinced me that I should give it a try. I think I only fried 1 controller along the way, maybe a $50 lesson on what not to do.
 
T

Tav

Audiophyte
I have a cousin who's profession the last decade or so is the building of circuit boards; so he is the perfect one to ask to do fine fiddly electronics work like this. Having both the skills and tools already.

I was hoping if I could narrow the problem area down I might be able to slip him a few dollars for parts and labour and have him do the hard part for me.

I will use the receiver a bit more and see if I can narrow down what actually interrupts the audio signal. I am certain that switching between HDMI devices (like between the streaming box and the blu ray player) will; but now I think on it I recently binge watched a Game of Thrones season on DVD and recall no issues with the audio despite changing discs multiple times. Yet when streaming a TV series, I know it will often interrupt the audio when the previous episode ends and it loads/buffers a new episode.

It does seem very annoyingly random to myself!
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I have a cousin who's profession the last decade or so is the building of circuit boards; so he is the perfect one to ask to do fine fiddly electronics work like this. Having both the skills and tools already.

I was hoping if I could narrow the problem area down I might be able to slip him a few dollars for parts and labour and have him do the hard part for me.

I will use the receiver a bit more and see if I can narrow down what actually interrupts the audio signal. I am certain that switching between HDMI devices (like between the streaming box and the blu ray player) will; but now I think on it I recently binge watched a Game of Thrones season on DVD and recall no issues with the audio despite changing discs multiple times. Yet when streaming a TV series, I know it will often interrupt the audio when the previous episode ends and it loads/buffers a new episode.

It does seem very annoyingly random to myself!
Now it is starting to sound like a processor problem. Have you tried a hard reset back to factory defaults? I would do at least three of those before you give up.
Whatever this is, is complex. You can not do a "shot gun" repair for an issue like that. One thing I am certain of, if a reset does not fix it after three tries, that receiver in on the way out, and probably sooner rather then later.
 
T

Tav

Audiophyte
I did do a hard reset right when I got the receiver, as it seemed the easiest way to know where I was starting at as to the various settings. But I did just do it the once.

I will run it though a few hard resets tonight and see if it changes anything.

I suppose in the worst case scenario, it will still suffice as a HDMI switch box (a good part of why I purchased it in the first place) until I find a suitable replacement. The HDMI video does seem to work flawlessly; and in passthough mode at least the TV speakers will work; though completely defeating the point of a home theatre system.

Thanks again!
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I get audio issues (audio mute/drop out, loss of sync) streaming with a few devices, particularly when pausing or using back/forward controls, sometimes when changing program within a streaming service. I'll sometimes get a Fire Stick or specific streaming service warning that internet is not available, while I'm using it on another device so starting to suspect the router mostly. Hard to know as there's really little in the way of signal diagnostics in the gear....
 
T

Tav

Audiophyte
I get audio issues (audio mute/drop out, loss of sync) streaming with a few devices, particularly when pausing or using back/forward controls, sometimes when changing program within a streaming service. I'll sometimes get a Fire Stick or specific streaming service warning that internet is not available, while I'm using it on another device so starting to suspect the router mostly. Hard to know as there's really little in the way of signal diagnostics in the gear....
Hrm. That might actually explain part of why my streaming device has such problems with audio, and often loses the signal when buffering a new episode or say if I change from Netflix to Amazon. I am in a rural area, and internet speeds here are nowhere near what the larger centers get.

The core problem still remains though of a randomly timed initial audio signal. Even if playing blu rays/DVD's there is a sometimes a long delay between when I start the disc and when the audio actually starts playing.

Ah, this is decidedly a pain :D
 
J

jishimoari

Audiophyte
Hello, I have the same problem, did you discovered the solution? It is driving me crazy.
 
T

Tav

Audiophyte
Hello, I have the same problem, did you discovered the solution? It is driving me crazy.
Sorry, I still have no idea what the problem was.

I got tired of waiting on the random sound and found a Onkyo off the local Kijiji that I replaced it with. The defective unit I donated to my cousin (the one who builds circuit boards), which I am not sure what he did with it. I will inquire next time I talk with him though!
 
V

vini_079

Audiophyte
Sorry, I still have no idea what the problem was.

I got tired of waiting on the random sound and found a Onkyo off the local Kijiji that I replaced it with. The defective unit I donated to my cousin (the one who builds circuit boards), which I am not sure what he did with it. I will inquire next time I talk with him though!
I have the exact same problem. Did you get any update from your cousin?
 
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S

Sir-fix-Alot

Audiophyte
I'm having a similar problem, I'm buying a used one but the lady only used RCA for input then the speakers one by one started going out over a 6 month period of time. Has anyone heard if this is know what it might be? Here's the link to my thread for more info. Any help is greatly appreciated

 
C

cattol

Audiophyte
bonsoir j'ai le meme probleme de son avec mon vsx321 le son va et viens j'ai tout essayer hdmi, rca, coaxial, et optique qu'est ce que j'en fait? pioneer c'est fini pour moi
 

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