How Can I Fix Wii U Sound Lag?

Sony Bravia Television
Some TVs, like mine, don't quite sync up with the Wii U gamepad. Sony

How Can I Fix Wii U Sound Lag?

The Wii U outputs sound from both the TV and the gamepad. Some games use the two speakers for different sounds, but in games where both speakers are playing the same sound, many gamers find that the speakers are slightly out of sync. Can the resulting echo be prevented?​

TV Lag: What's Going On?

This is an issue with some High Definition TVs, which take a little time to process sound. This is known as lag; the lower the latency of your TV, the less lag you’ll have. Gamers have had problems with lag prior to the Wii U, as in some games the sound doesn’t quite match up with the visuals, which televisions process more quickly, but the Wii U is the first console where you can actually hear lag. People who use Standard Definition TVs have not reported experiencing lag.

Solutions: Start Simple

Since there is no way to add lag to the gamepad, it is necessary to find a way to decrease the sound processing time of your TV. The first thing to try is to set your video output to “game mode” if it is available, as this is designed, in part, to reduce lag. In some cases this is all that is required to get the sound synced up.

If this doesn’t work, you can try playing with your television’s other settings. In theory, the less processing your TV has to do, the quicker the sound will come out of it, so try turning off anything that enhances the sound or video.

Solutions: Advanced

There is another, more advanced option, which is to access your television’s hidden service menu. This is a special menu designed for use only by service staff, and it offers far more settings to tweak.

Getting into your TV’s service menu will vary according to your TV. All you can really do is search on the internet for your TV/model alongside the phrase “service menu.” You may discover that different sites give different codes, and that they don’t all work. For example, eHow told me to turn my Sony TV on then press Power, Display, Volume+, 5, Power, which didn’t work for me. On AVforums I was told to turn my TV off then press Display, 5, Volume+, Power, which did work. One site said to press them all at once, but I found I needed to press them quickly in succession. I don’t know if this is simply because some people are putting up wrong information or because these things vary from one TV to the next, even within a brand.

If you successfully enter the service menu you’ll need to experiment or try to find some advice on the Internet. Before making any changes to anything in the service menu, make sure you take note of the original setting, in case something disastrous happens.

Some people report that one change fixed the problem; someone on reddit with an LG TV says he fixed the problem by setting “lipsync” to 0.

If All Else Fails: Deal With It

In my case, my Sony Bravia TV does not have a “lipsync” option, and I could find nothing online suggesting that anyone had figured out how to fix lag on anything from Sony.

In the case of some TVs like mine there seems to be no way of ending lag. In that case, if the echo annoys you all you can do is keep the gamepad sound down for any game that outputs the same sounds to both the TV and the controller. Few games use the gamepad speaker for anything other than repeating the TV sound, but when they do I often spend some time wondering why I'm not hearing anything until remember to turn up the gamepad volume. It's a little annoying, but it's cheaper than buying a new TV.