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Diagnose No Sound Output from a Stereo System

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Troubleshooting a stereo system that is not producing sound begins with isolating the problem. Is it the receiver, the speakers, the source component or speaker wires causing the problem? Starting with the most common/most likely problems, eliminate the possible causes until the problem has been isolated, then proceed to correct or repair it. Note: Always turn off the power to the system when connecting or disconnecting cables and wires. Turn on the system to after each step to check for correct operation.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Check Speaker Wires: Inspect the speaker wires from the receiver to the speakers and look for damage or loose connections. Pets can chew through speaker wires. Ensure that the speaker wires are firmly connected on both ends. Make sure that the insulation is adequately stripped on both ends of the wires and they are inserted far enough to make good contact with the speaker connectors. If the problem persists, move to the next step.
  2. Check Speakers: If possible, connect another speaker to the receiver and test the system. If it does, the speakers may be damaged or defective. If the problem persists, move to the next step.
  3. Check the Source Component(s): If you are using a CD or DVD player, try using the AM/FM tuner built into the receiver, or a tape player or any other source connected to the receiver. If the receiver works on some sources but not others, the problem could be the analog or digital cables between the source component(s) and the receiver. Replace the suspect cables and try the source component again.
  4. Check the Receiver: Make sure the receiver is plugged into the wall and the wall outlet is working. Make sure that the speakers are turned on via the Speaker A/B switch (found on the front panel of most receivers). If the lights on the front panel illuminate when turned on, the problem could be the amplifiers in the receiver. Try using a pair of headphones connected to the receiver to verify that the receiver is operating. If you hear sound from the headphones it means that part of the receiver is working. Make sure the correct source is selected on the receiver.
  5. Try Another Receiver: If all of the steps above do not work, it is likely that the problem is isolated to the receiver. If possible, connect another receiver or amplifier to the system and try again. If the system works, the problem is the receiver. Contact the manufacturer or service center for further advice or repairs.

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