An AV receiver serves as the hub of a home theater system, connecting all the components together. You may hear an annoying clicking sound, perhaps on specific occasions or randomly, but what is causing it to click? And is the clicking in AVRs really a problem?

What causes AV receivers to click are usually relays and it is perfectly normal. It happens because turning your system on/off causes the relays to switch on/off. But if you notice random or excessive clicks from your AV receiver, it may be caused by faulty relay switches or solder joints.

It can be confusing to diagnose a clicking AV receiver. That’s why in this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about clicking in AVRs and how you can fix it (if it even needs fixed).

Why Your AV Receiver Clicks

So you’ve set up your brand-new home theater system, but what’s that sound every time you turn it on? The clicking sound coming from AV receivers can be quite annoying, and you may be tempted to get it repaired or replaced. But wait, didn’t you just unbox it a few hours ago?

The good news is that you’re not alone. When you look it up on the Internet, you’ll find many people facing the same issue and wondering if their receiver is defective.

But there’s another good news! You probably don’t have a faulty receiver. As it turns out, the clicking sound in AVRs is perfectly normal if it only happens on specific occasions. Your AV receiver can make a clicking or ticking sound under the following circumstances:

  • When you turn it on or off.
  • While switching from surround sound to stereo and vice versa.
  • While muting and unmuting the audio.
  • Moments before the audio and video are output.
  • When you switch between different HDMI inputs.
  • When you increase the volume above a certain point.

The electromechanical relays are responsible for this occasional clicking sound. A relay is a fancy term for physical switches that control high-power electrical devices. Relays essentially allow a much lower voltage switch on/off a different machine component that requires a larger amount of power. They are especially important when you want to control multiple circuits with one signal, which is what happens in AV receivers.

When you hear the clicking sound in an AV receiver, it’s the contacts inside the relay physically opening or closing to complete or disconnect the circuit. The volume and number of clicks can vary, depending on your receiver’s design. Some AVRs produce a single loud click, while others may have multiple back-to-back clicks.

Back in the day, speakers would usually produce a loud pop or “thump” sound when switched on and off. It was because the speakers would be powered on all at once. And this issue was fixed by relays in modern AV receivers.

Bottom line: if everything else is working as it should, you don’t need to worry about your AV receiver clicking occasionally.

Random or Excessive Clicking From AV Receivers

It’s normal for relays to make a clicking sound every now and then. But if your AV receiver is repeatedly or randomly making such sounds, it could be caused by defective relays. The clicking can even affect your speakers and lower the sound quality of your setup.

If that’s the case, there are a few things you can do before sending it away for repair. Remember that it’s better to start with less invasive solutions so that you don’t have to look at the receiver’s insides. Here are the top five solutions I recommend you try:

Check Your Wiring

Your wiring is the first place to start the diagnosis. Faulty connections can cause your speakers to cut in and out whenever relays are switched inside the AV receiver. Even a single loose connection can cause a short, making the speakers drop out or produce weird sounds.

This may sound obvious, but you might be surprised to find how simply reconnecting the speaker and receiver wires can solve the issue. Ensure that the wires are held in place using banana clips, and try removing banana clips (if you were previously using them) to see if it makes a difference.

If you’ve checked all the connections and the clicking still persists, you know that the issue lies inside your AVR.

Lightly Drop the AVR

I know it sounds strange, but several users have reported that it fixed their receiver’s clicking sound. Sometimes, the clicks are caused by something as simple as a stuck relay, and giving the receiver a nudge solves the problem. However, you should try this one at your own risk since an AV receiver’s insides are quite sensitive, which is both a good and a bad thing.

Lift the front part of your speaker by a few millimeters and drop it. This can push the relay out of place and make it click. Obviously, you shouldn’t drop it from too high. And only attempt this solution if you feel comfortable with it and your AVR is aged or out of warranty.

Replace the Relays

The next option you can try is to replace the relays. They don’t cost a lot, so it’s worth a shot. Most user manuals are well-illustrated and contain a circuit diagram and exploded diagrams with labels. So it shouldn’t be challenging to find the relays causing the issue.

You’ll need to look for the required part online. Note the part number written on the relay, and look it up on the All Data Sheet website. Finding parts for older receivers can be challenging, but several websites have a remarkable collection of electronic components.

Fix Cold Solder Joints

There can be joints where the solder material has not been heated enough to form a proper joint. This can result in cracks in the solder over time, causing failed connections. Cold solder joints are a common cause of clicking sound in AV receivers.

Fixing a cold solder joint is not that difficult. You just need to reheat the solder material until it melts and forms the joint again. Here’s a YouTube tutorial that shows how you can repair cold solder joints:

If you don’t know your way around a circuit, it’ll be challenging to identify the faulty solder joint and repair it. If that’s the case, you probably shouldn't try to fix the receiver on your own.

Get Professional Help

If all else fails, you can get the AV receiver repaired by an expert. Although it’s the last option on this list, it may be your first choice if you don’t want to try fixing the device by yourself.

The biggest problem with this solution is finding a specialist because there may not be any qualified AV repairmen around you. The Internet is your friend. It is also a good idea to contact your AVR manufacturer as they can provide valuable insight into the issue.

Final Thoughts

It is normal for AV receivers to make a clicking sound when they’re turned on and off. It happens because of electromechanical relays inside the AVR switching on and off. Sometimes, the sound may also be produced when changing audio modes or volume.

However, if you notice constant or random clicking, there’s probably an underlying issue that needs fixing. Some solutions include making sure your system is wired correctly, lightly dropping the receiver, replacing the relays, and fixing cold solder joints. If the issue persists, it is best to get the AVR repaired by a professional.