I have used my 2.1 stereo speaker set through several Roku devices without any issue. Lately, it seems Roku has changed the way it encodes the audio signal, as if it's outputting for 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setups (i.e. surround sound) and no longer properly convertible to simple stereo. I have set all the audio options to stereo on my Roku device. Still during a movie the dialog and the ambient sounds alternate from loud to soft from one scene to the next, as if the speakers they're being assigned from front to back and vice versa, and these are speakers I don't have. Is anybody else experiencing this? It makes a lot of movies all but unwatchable for me at night, when I need to keep the volume at a minimum.
Have you tried to enable volume leveling? Press the * button while watching something. Certain people devices won’t have that option unfortunately
Thanks for the suggestion. It doesn't seem to be an option on my Roku. Anyway, in concept it sounds like a solution I'd only want to use in a pinch, supposing it would flatten the dynamics the movie makers intended people to hear.
1) You mentioned your model #, but you didnt mention the firmware version - What is your firmware version+build? Settings/System/About
2) The 3930 does not support Dolby decoding, so it is either passing through the Dolby or outputting PCM (generally decoded from AAC) - if you force stereo output (either via Settings/Audio/Digital output format = Stereo or enabling a Volume Mode) then it is only receiving/outputting AAC/PCM.
3) Your 3930 supports Volume Modes: https://support.roku.com/article/226802507
What devices support volume modes?
To help determine if your Roku device supports volume modes, you need to know the device model. To find this information, go to the home screen on your Roku device and select Settings > System > About.Device Model
When streaming a movie, TV show, music, or Bluetooth® audio; or when watching content from an external device connected to your Roku TV and wireless speakers (e.g., Blu-ray™ player, cable set-top box, game console), you can enable Automatic Volume Leveling or Night Mode from the Options menu as described below.
4) The purpose of using a Volume Mode in your case is to FORCE stereo output (Volume Modes disable multichannel output) such that your device would only receive/output AAC/PCM (and thus any multichannel output somehow being the source of the issue would not apply).
5) Its possible you enabled/changed a surround/virtual surround/audio processing setting in your TV/AVR/Speakers (you didnt mention your specific HT setup - how the Roku connects elsewhere) that is causing the audio behavior you are experiencing - verify no surround/spatial/etc settings have changed in your TV/AVR/Speakers.
6) There are known instances where upgrading from one RokuOS version to another with certain audio settings configured (especially when the audio options have changed/are removed, such as from OS10.5 to OS11) causes strange audio behavior which the audio settings can no longer correct/adjust - the only recourse in such situations is to Factory Reset (Settings/System/Advanced system settings/Factory reset) the device to get proper audio control back.
As I mentioned in my last reply, maybe not as clearly as I could have, leveling does not appear to be an option with my unit. Those instructions to access it do not work for me. Maybe this limitation has to do with the unit having been sold to me as "refurbished" and with the model code "3930R." The About page within the menu of the Roku GUI indicates it's a "3930X - Roku Express," and the Software Version as "10.5.0 build 4208-AE." I'm using a set of computer speakers that has built-in amplification and takes its input directly from the headphone jack on the TV, which I have made sure was and continues not to be set to output surround sound within its own menu of options, but rather to output stereo. The only change has been the Roku. I bought and received this unit in late December from the factory with what appears to be the latest OS available for it (when I check for updates), so if an update caused the problem, it's the factory that caused it.
Correction: Actually I see now I bought and started using it in October, and its OS version is one I updated to in December. So the problem may well have arisen then
The letter after the model # just indicates the retail channel sold through and is otherwise irrelevant.
Otherwise, you should have the Volume Mode settings. Are you located in the US?
Try manually checking for updates to see if OS11 is available: Settings/System/System update/Check now
You should contact support directly about this (you may have to indicate a different model to get to chat support) - make sure you provide them with the previous support article link to indicate your model is supposed to have the support.
If they wont/cant help you, reach out to @RokuDanny-R
Regardless, you should still consider a Factory Reset (this is known to address all sorts of audio-related issues).
Thanks, @UserOfStreamers, for that info and encouragement to pursue the factory restore, which did indeed make the "leveling" and "night" volume options available for me, after being invisible before.
I used leveling last night, and it evened out the sound out enough to prevent me from missing dialog using a volume level quiet enough to prevent waking anybody. So that's a great improvement, and yet I am concerned that Roku seems to have eliminated true stereo as an option and without warning to customers who don't want to have to go out and buy a new and more elaborate sound system. As a term "leveling" suggests to me that using it doesn't produce the dynamics of sound that the filmmakers intended, only that it's more even than the unnatural and unusable dynamics of a surround sound signal played through just two speakers, assuming that's the kind of signal this Roku Express is limited to putting out.
Glad to hear the Factory Reset fixed the missing Volume Mode options for you (You may have been updated to OS11 in the process, you may want to check your software version again).
As far the lack of "true stereo":
1) Since you did a Factory Reset which fixed some audio issues, make sure you configure both the Audio Mode & Digital output format to stereo (forces PCM 2.0 output)
2) Your Roku doesnt support Dolby decoding, it can only passthrough Dolby from the app/content providers/streams.
3) For PCM (AAC) 2.0 output, again, the app/service/content providers may be applying Dolby matrix encoding to the (AAC) 2.0 stream, but Roku has no control over this, and your device is just decoding the AAC2.0 into PCM2.0.
4) Disable any Dolby surround/pro logic decoding/processing in your 2.1 system to make sure any such PCM 2.0 Dolby matrix encoding isnt decoded/applied.
Well, the leveling option disappeared and the * menu options look as they did before, which if I didn't mention, are titled "Accessibility" and have an unchangeable grayed-out "default" setting under the nominal options for "Volume."
The OS version is 10.5, as before, but I didn't bother to check what it was during the session "leveling" was available, so I guess it might have briefly been 11. But when I go to update, it says 10.5 is the most recent version available for my system.
I wonder if the availability of leveling depends on the "stereo" settings I configure from the system/audio menu accessible from the device's home screen. It's possible that after I did my factory reset I went directly to testing the sound and the options for a Netflix video, and did not set them first. It's possible I set them always the same, but if I do, that's somewhat down to luck, because several options are unintelligible to me (eg I don't have Dolby or DTS and yet it seems I have to choose, and given that there are "digital" options for "stereo" IDK what are the options for "streaming"about? )
Meanwhile, I didn't notice an obvious return of the erratic volume changes, but I watched a different movie and to be sure would want to test a movie I clearly remember them affecting.
Incidentally, another problem I've had intermittently is that blackscreen popup message recommending I restart. Awhile back it was often that I made a habit of restarting immediately after bootup every time, without first loading an app to stream and find out if I'd be allowed. After the factory reset I didn't restart and didn't get the popup, but I'd never experienced that popup being a sure thing