MagniFi Max SR - Surrounds Popping (despite software updates)

The Bluetooth surround sound speakers for my MagniFi Max SR make startling popping sounds periodically and frequently in every form of use, whether HDMI input for a film/TV, aux/Bluetooth/chromecast for music or other audio sources. It was my understanding that this was a known software issue that would be resolved with a software patch. For the last 3 months I have been waiting for this patch, and while it has improved from awful to annoying, the issue persists. Is this actually a hardware issue? Will Polk ever fix this or replace the defective components? What is the time horizon for delivering the product that was marketed? My excitement has turned to disappointment.

Does anyone else have this issue?


  • LeeSoFL
    LeeSoFL Posts: 118
    I too get pops from the rear speakers. It sounds like firecrackers off in the distance. I also get an occasional, loud, quick "digital chirp" on the surrounds.

    I am on software version 79.
  • 2hyped12
    2hyped12 Posts: 5
    Same problem here with the popping and crackling from the subwoofer. I exchanged my first purchase thinking i had a defective unit but the problem remains. Not a happy camper. WTF Polk? At least acknowledge the problem.
  • LeeSoFL
    LeeSoFL Posts: 118
    Polk rep contacted me 3/27, and I think they're getting "on" the case.
  • Same problem here, loud chirping and popping sounds from the rear speakers. I was thinking it was an interference issue. So I purchased a power conditioner and plugged everything into it. Unfortunately that did not fix the issue. May just do an exchange at this point...BUMMER
  • gonavy34
    gonavy34 Posts: 2
    Disappointed to see this is a common issue...just started happening and got to the point I had to turn them off. If I was still in a return window I'd think of doing it but that ship has sailed.

    How do you determine firmware version you're system is on?
  • LeeSoFL
    LeeSoFL Posts: 118
    Use Google Home app, open Device Card for soundbar and tap three dots for settings. Latest is version 79.9t8t37xo1lcv.png
  • tkirbydc
    tkirbydc Posts: 2
    I also get the startling chirps! I recently contacted them and the rep on the phone said that it was a known issue and encouraged me to keep updating the firmware. I have been doing that and it has gotten better before going back to the same or worse. I also suspected some interference, so I have taken measure to try reducing interference. However, interference is a reasonably foreseeable problem that the product should be designed around, asking either to repair, adjust price, or accept a return. Here's what loyally standing by them while they develop a patch gets you. These are direct quotes from written correspondence with the customer service department: "Upon purchasing the MagniFi Max SR you agreed to the listed cost of $599.95 + tax. I apologize for the trouble that you experienced regarding the surround speakers, however this does not modify the agreed-upon price that you paid, and so we are unable to fulfill your request." And another zinger from the Customer Service Debate Club President, "At the end of the day there is nothing in this system to repair. If the latest update failed to resolve the issue, be advised that the fix for this problem will come in the form of an update. At this juncture a return is not possible as it has been several months since the unit was purchased and is outside the 45 day return window we enforce." The empathy is in the correspondence is feigned but the argumentativeness appears genuine. I would suggest that the best way to manage the stress in the customer service department is to invest in actually fixing or recalling the product, or at least offering a check for the incremental costs of the surrounds over the bar and sub-woofer combo.
  • LeeSoFL
    LeeSoFL Posts: 118
    Since they're aware of a problem, and working on some update (beyond v.79) I remain optimistic this will get corrected. When all "systems are go," the Max SR sounds really good. A chirp-free patch will make my dog really happy too.
  • Rosaski
    Rosaski Posts: 17
    edited April 2018
    I am also experiencing popping/chirping/etc. :'(

    Using with Google Android TV on HDMI ARC I/O
  • PolkHero
    PolkHero Posts: 5
    edited April 2018
    HI, just purchased these before I saw this forum. A few questions:

    1. If I don't connect it to the internet, will that prevent it from installing newer firmware that caused the popping issue? Or is the issue right out of the box?
    2. I saw some posts that changing to 5G wireless seemed to help the speakers not pop, has anyone had any luck with this?
  • LeeSoFL
    LeeSoFL Posts: 118
    I moved it over to 5G because most of the devices in the house were on 2.4. Less traffic seemed to make the Polk more stable. (Also the Google Home connected more reliably with the bar on 5G)

    I know for a fact, there is a fix in the works, so I'm hanging in there.

    What I have noticed is there is specific program content that triggers the chirp, and (for example) it occurs on the same network news show I watch nightly. It could be something in the transmission of the show from NY to my local ABC station, since it happens daily on that 6:30 program, but nothing else on that local station.

    I watched the full series "Counterpart" on Starz, and almost every episode caused the pops and chirps. There are days at a time when there is no bad behavior from the MaxSR.

    More to come, hopefully good a good fix coming down the pike,
  • LeeSoFL
    LeeSoFL Posts: 118
    edited April 2018
    From Kenneth Swauger
    The large majority of Max SR owners have no problems with the surrounds and subwoofer making occassional noises and enjoy the sound and performance completely. In some environments there can be interference between other wireless devices which result in popping sounds coming from the surrounds and the subwoofer. The good news is that Polk is going to be able to solve this problem via a firmware update which they are in beta testing. Anyone who is experiencing this kind of problem can contact me via PM and I will work with Polk to solve the issue.
  • PolkHero
    PolkHero Posts: 5
    Okay, helpful thank you. I have it arriving tomorrow and will see if it starts having sound issues. If it does, I'll write to Kenneth Swauger.

    Nice to see this forum is so active, I appreciate your replies.
  • +1
    I have random popping from the sub and chirping from the surrounds. Fw79
  • bmorrell
    bmorrell Posts: 1
    I have chirping from the surrounds.
  • Nick_S
    Nick_S Posts: 12
    I also have crackling noises from the sub (on 2nd one now, dealer replaced whole system) & popping from the surrounds. I experience this manly when playing Blu Ray & DVDs some of which were brand new. TV & Netflix are OK most of the time although noise from sub can still be heard & is distracting. Tried turning off WiFi & devices in house & still experience issues. I suspect it may be a specific signal from source causing pops rather than WiFi but can’t be sure. Such a shame as sound is terrific when all working as it should but considering the cost it’s disappointing. Several friends/relatives have been put off buying one when they have heard this for themselves. Any update on the new firmware? I’m also on version 79 at the moment.
  • motorhead43026
    motorhead43026 Posts: 3,892
    There's a whole lot of chirping going on.
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk SDA2BTL's; LAT International speaker cables, ZU Mission IC's and power cables all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    Other; M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage. All vintage Polk have had crossover rebuilds and tweeter upgrades.

    The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

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  • LeeSoFL
    LeeSoFL Posts: 118

    A few weeks ago, Polk asked me if I'd give their beta v85 a try.

    (I don't think I signed an NDA- ah joke)

    There were three of us that had the new software pushed onto their MagnifiMaxSR.

    After three weeks of regular use, I've told Polk that there is a significant improvement in overall performance. NOTE: I had never experienced any sub problem with connection or irregular performance.

    The harsh momentary burst of "chirp" (of the rear) has been eliminated. The faint pop in one or both (sometimes alternating) rear speakers has been dramatically reduced. Occasionally, I hear what sounds like a distant firecracker, but nowhere near as bad as it had been. There is still some room for improvement with the pop in the rear.

    What I've come to feel about this whole issue is, that it is NOT an issue of transmitting signal from bar to remote speaker, but is related to some anomaly in the actual content or source of the content.

    Example 1: After v85, watching a program on cable (xfinity xg1v4 box) there was a bright open caption and the rears gave the faint pop. I replayed the scene and it popped again at the same place. I have my devices connected to the Sony and then the ARC from the TV to the soundbar. I re-routed the cable box right to the soundbar, played the same scene and it popped that way too.

    Example 2: After v85, while playing live "Homeland," which had no issues, all was fine until the credits. When they put the corner box of what's on next week, the rears started chirping quite a bit. Many short bursts. The oddity here is the program is in DD, yet when they play the next week clip, the audio from that material is almost inaudible. My feeling is that next week clip is in 2 channel, and somehow that is **** up the 5.1 the show is transmitted in. This 2-ch over 5.1 could be one of the things triggering the remaining infrequent chirp.

    MagnifiMax SR Performance After Update v85

    I received the MaxSR just after Christmas and have been using it regularly since. My TV is the Sony 75Z9D, and I use the ARC from the TV to the soundbar.

    My cable provider (xfinity) installed their newest XG1v4 4K box when I got the TV mid 2017. I use the inputs on the TV for cable, Roku 4K device and Bluray player. The soundbar receives those devices through the (HDMI Out/TV) ARC input. Two other devices are hooked up to the soundbar, a Sony 4K player in HDMI1, and the Optical In from the Roku, so I can play Roku music channels without powering on the TV.

    After making mention of the pops in the rear speakers (which I've described as sounding like distant fireworks) and a loud digital chirp, that lasts only a fraction of a second (also from the rear speakers,) I was contacted to beta test the version 85 software.

    First off, the elimination of the digital chirp has been significantly improved. The faint pops, also less frequent, still seems to be an issue,

    Before the update, the chirp occurred nightly for one broadcast I watch. ABC World News, a network half-hour program which is carried on my local ABC affiliate, chirped loudly, several times during the broadcast. Since the update, that is no longer a problem on that program. It had to be a problem with the way the program was being transmitted out of New York and received here in Palm Beach, by my local station.

    When watching "Homeland" live, this past Sunday, the show played with no audio issue, but then during the closing credits, when they run a preview of the next episode (in a small corner box over credits) the rear speakers chirped several times. The show is 5.1 DD, and the preview at the end is in 2 channel stereo.

    All my cables are certified 18Gbps, new when I got the TV last year. I switched the ARC cable when the audio problem became regular. There was no difference with a changed cable.

    Apps like Netflix and Prime, both 4K sources from the Sony TV, (also on the ARC cable) play without chirps, but do have occasional rear channel popping.

    Overall, the v85 is a major improvement in solving the issues. If I experience an occasional, faint, single pop, I feel it's something I could live with. Maybe other people's comments might steer you closer to completely eliminate these glitches.
  • LeeSoFL
    LeeSoFL Posts: 118
    btw: the **** above is from the word "$¢rewing" and not what you were thinking. :)
  • Nick_S
    Nick_S Posts: 12
    Thanks for the update LeeSoFL fingers crossed they’ll roll out the new version to everyone else soon.

    Agree with your comment about the popping not being related to sound bar transmission to sub/surrounds & more to the system handling (or not!) certain sounds/signals from content . For example experienced rears popping the other night at the end of the opening scene of Skyfall just at start of soundtrack. Loaded DVD which came free with the Blu-ray & had pops/interference at exactly the same place which would seem to rule out damage to disc or intermittent loss of signal from the sound bar or WiFi interference.

    Anyway thanks again.
  • MarioX
    MarioX Posts: 11
    I am the next one experiencing noices ( popping, crackling)from subwoofer and rear speakers. It sounds like popcorn in my microwave. Terrible
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 7,658
    Polk is aware of the problem and is working on a solution as part of a firmware update. I don't have a specific date, I'd approximate it within the next seven to ten days. If you'd like to be a participant in a beta test of the update send me a PM. In the meantime if the popping sounds are too distracting unplug the surround speakers.
  • MarioX
    MarioX Posts: 11
    I can't agree with Nick_S that popping is not related to transmission between soundbar and wireless speakers. If so we should have same issue with soundbar not only with subwoofer and/or surround speakers. In my opinion it is definitely problem with proper transmission of signal from base to wireless speakers. I switched all transmitting devices at home. Router, mobiles etc.and connected my phone (plane mode) using AUX port and noticed still the same noises from SW and rear speakers. So it shouldn't be as well problem of interferences with other home devices.
    I really hope that upcoming update will fix the problem. I wish that to Polk and myself.
  • txcoastal1
    txcoastal1 Posts: 12,983
    Keep in my, what comes out of the front channels is not the same sounds and signals in the rear speakers
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers, Modwright LS100 (voltz), Simaudio 780D DAC

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  • MarioX
    MarioX Posts: 11
    txcoastal1 wrote: »
    Keep in my, what comes out of the front channels is not the same sounds and signals in the rear speakers

    As well what comes out of the subwoofer is not the same signal in the rear speakers. Anyway I hear noises from both, SW and SR speakers but never from bar.
  • Nick_S
    Nick_S Posts: 12
    I probably didn’t word my last post very well. To clarify - In my case having turned off all wi-fi in house & not being near an adjacent property I don’t believe the issues are in the main caused by wi-fi/radio interference but rather the soundbar unable to transmit certain signals to the rear speakers from source which then causes a pop. I have been able to recreate popping by playing the same part of a film Skyfall) on both Blu-ray and DVD. Some discs will play completely fine time and again. I don’t know about the sub issues or if that will be resolved.
  • dangish
    dangish Posts: 23
    edited May 2018
    Started watching Black Panther, I hear THUN-KA-THUN... I actually watched the sub to see what was going on. Every time it made the thumping sound the sync button flashes it’ll blink for a moment and stop.

    The thing is, it shows on the Soundbar that the Sub nor the SR speakers are even paired. There’s no sound on the SRs and the only sounds from the Sub is the horrible out of sync thumping.

    Unplugged the sub and tbe SRs and attempted to pair them...nada. They will not sync.
  • rpeatt
    rpeatt Posts: 6
    I am having the same issue - chirping / interference in the rears and sub popping and crackling. I have replaced the system, disable all wifi in the house, added a power conditioner, changed cabling, tried multiple sources. Nothing works. I really hope the firmware update when it is available can fix the issue.
  • bjones16
    bjones16 Posts: 1
    My system updated to firmware 85 and it still makes the annoying popping and cracking sounds. Possibly even worse than it has been in the past
  • LeeSoFL
    LeeSoFL Posts: 118
    I haven't had the chirp since 85, but the popping still continues to be a serious issue. On the Google Home app, there is a "help improve" box covering the Polk software version info, so please let me know if anything newer than v85 comes around. Do any of you have that problem seeing what version you're running??kayi0do7r3l4.png