The Sony SRS XB32 Bluetooth Bluetooth speaker has several buttons on its top panel, including the Volume, Phone / Play-Pause, Live, and Power-Pairing buttons. We also find the Reset, LIGHT-BATT, WPC, and Add buttons in the back of the unit in the port compartment. These buttons let you operate the many features of this portable but large sounding speaker. So here we offer our Sony SRS XB32 buttons explained guide. E.g. We show where to find each control on the speaker, explain its meaning and function, what any button code combination presses do, when to press them, and how to use the buttons to work the speaker overall.
Sony SRS XB32 Top Panel Buttons Explained
There is one row of buttons on the top of the speaker. They each have unique shapes.
Plus, there are three lamps on the top, and three more in the rear port area. The lights tell you what the speaker is doing at any given time. E.g. The Power lamp lights up white when the speaker is ON. The Pairing Status lamp lights or blinks blue to show the current speaker connection state. And the LIVE light tells you that the XB32 is in stereo expansive mode. Further, there’s a CHARGE lamp that blinks when the battery is getting low, and glows steadily as you charge the speaker. Also there, we find the ADD and WPC lamps. These illuminate when either of these modes is in effect. And finally, there’s the micro USB charging, and Audio In (AUX) ports.
The Power / Pairing Button
One function of the Pairing / Power button is to turn the 32 ON and OFF. Another is to begin Bluetooth pairing mode. And finally, this button is a part of a button chord to hard reset the speaker (described below) Find it near the right end of the control panel, as we point out with the green arrow in the next picture. Note its power symbol shape.
Turning the XB32 ON and OFF
Press and release the button when the speaker is OFF, to power it on. Depress and release it again, to turn the 32 OFF again.
The Power Status lamp lights up when the speaker boots, as we see next, pointed out by the arrow in the right hand part of the picture.
Note that the speaker might make no sound at all as it powers up. But if it connects with a source device at that time, you will hear two beeps.
When the unit is OFF, no lights on the top panel glow. But when you’re charging it, and the battery is not yet full, the CHARGE lamp in the back still glows solid orange.
Finally, the Bluetooth Status lamp illuminates in one of three possible ways.
- It slow blinks when the speaker comes up in standby mode, ready to pair but not in discovery mode.
- The lamp fast flashes when the speaker boots into discovery / pairing mode. This occurs just after you take a new 32 out of the box, or after a factory reset.
- It glows steadily when the speaker makes a connection with a source device.
Activating Pairing Mode on the SRS XB32
With the speaker powered ON, you press and hold the Power-Pairing button until you hear the speaker announce in a lady’s voice, “Bluetooth pairing.” Then release the button. The speaker is now in pairing mode, and the Bluetooth Status lamp begins fast flashing blue.
You need to start pairing mode anytime you want to link the 32 with a never-before-paired Bluetooth source device. When in this (a.k.a. Discovery) mode, the speaker sends out its name and other connection data over the Bluetooth air channels. Then, this allows nearby BT devices to find and connect to it. Don’t release this button too quickly though, lest you turn the speaker OFF, without it ever going into pairing mode.
Sony SRS XB32 Buttons Explained: The Volume DOWN and Volume UP Buttons
The 32 also has volume controls. The Volume UP and Volume DOWN buttons that Sony places in the center of the buttons panel, between the Play-Pause and Power buttons. Further, you can feel their minus and plus symbol shapes. E.g. Find these controls that we point out in the next picture.
When pressed, these lower and raise the loudness respectively, by reducing or increasing the volume setting of the connected device.
The Power lamp blinks once for each time you press either the Volume UP or Volume DOWN buttons. That is, except when you hit the lower or upper ends of the loudness range. Then that light fast flashes a few times. Also, no beeps or other accessibility sounds play when you modify the volume level.
Note that you can also change XB32 volume by working the controls on your source BT device as well.
How to Raise (Turn Up) and Lower (Turn Down) Sony SRS XB32 Volume
With the speaker paired and playing, press the minus shaped Volume DOWN button to decrease its sound output level. Press the plus shaped Volume UP button to increase audio output.
Note that these controls have no effect when the speaker is not paired, since there is no paired source device to change the volume on. Moreover, the volume setting may change from paired device to paired device. I.e. Each paired device remembers its own volume setting. So you might need to re set the volume when you unpair the speaker from one source device and link it to another.
The LIVE Button
The LIVE button changes the output sound, giving it a more “live” sounding, expansive stereo quality. I.e. It makes the room you’re listening in sound bigger, more like a concert hall.
Normally, the Live mode is OFF, and the Extra Bass mode is ON by default, and the LIVE lamp is dark, as we see next.
With Live mode OFF, the sound appears to mimic a flat response but with a little bass boost.
The Live mode on the other hand, adds a “presence” and larger stereo image that you do not have to be in front of the speaker to sense. When Live mode is active, the LIVE lamp glows white, as we show next.
Press and release the LIVE button to put Live mode into effect. This button has the shape of the word LIVE, in all capital letters. Then to switch off Live mode, just press and release this button once more to return to Extra Bass mode.
The Play-Pause / Phone / Voice Assistant Button
The Phone / Voice Assistant button has an icon of an old fashioned telephone receiver just above it, and the button itself is the ever familiar right facing triangle and two vertical lines shape. We find it, second button in from the left edge of the top buttons panel. See it in the next picture.
Answering a Phone Call Coming In
Press and release this button quickly to pick up on an arriving call when you have this speaker paired with a smart phone. Depress it again to hang up the call.
When a call reaches your phone, the item you were streaming pauses when you press this button to pick up the call. But note that once you disconnect from the call, music playback usually resumes automatically. If it does not, try quickly pressing this button. But this button may not restart the music, depending on the app you were listening in. In that case, you have to go into the app supplying the music, and un-pause it there, on the phone itself.
Getting Siri’s Attention
When paired with an Apple phone, you may press and hold the Play / Pause / Phone / Voice Assistant button to wake up Siri. Note that you must first enable Siri on the source device (phone, tablet) to use Siri for this to work. Siri then hears you on the built-in microphone on the XB32. So be sure to talk at the speaker, and not at your phone, when paired with the 32. The mic is behind the front grill, near the right edge.
Finally, after Siri answers, the system normally restarts playing what you were hearing before.
Pausing and Resuming the Music
This is the Play-Pause function of this button. To use it while the 32 is playing, simply press and release this button. Play stops and the source device goes into pause mode.
To resume play, then again, press and release the Play-Pause button.
Sony SRS XB32 Back Panel Buttons Explained
The LIGHT-BATT Button
This button switches the party lamps on the front top and bottom center of the speaker ON and OFF. E.g. See it in the next photo. It’s the leftmost button in the horizontal row of three buttons in the port compartment at the top of the compartment.
How to Turn Speaker Party Lights ON and OFF
The light bars pulsate, flash, scan, fade, and change colors along with the music on the XB32. These lamps are ON by default any time the speaker is ON. I.e. Either when fresh out of the box, or after a factory reset.
But you can turn them off by pressing and holding for three seconds the LIGHT-BATT button. Doing so may save a fair amount power, especially when you don’t really need to waste any battery on lighting and need to get maximum playing time. You might also switch them off when listening outside in daylight or in some other bright area where the lights would be useless anyhow.
Then to turn them back on, simply repeat what you did above. I.e. Press and hold in the LIGHT-BATT button for three seconds. Then, the party lamps resume their pulsating light show.
How to Hear Battery Percentage
Quickly press and release the same button (the LIGHT-BATT button) any time the speaker is ON. Then the unit speaks that percentage number of battery power left before the speaker goes dead, in a female voice.
The Wireless Party Chain (WPC) Button
This WPC function lets you join from two to a hundred compatible speakers such that both play the same program. Why do this? Because, as with the Party Boost or Connect Plus feature on JBL speakers, you get a broader coverage area when you have more than one speaker playing the same thing, than when just one is playing. Thus you get more volume to spread around bigger party areas.
How to Set Up WPC Mode
Now to create a party group, you can use any combination of XB20, XB21, XB32, XB30, XB31, XB32, XB40, and XB41, models. Furthermore, the GTK-XB60, GTK-XB90 Sony models work here as well. Now In WPC mode, unlike with stereo pairing, you can indeed mix and match different speaker models, so long as you do it with only the models listed here.
To form a WPC group of speakers, do as follows.
Get the Speakers Together
- Position all speakers you wish to add within 3.2 feet, or 1 meter, of your phone or tablet from which you’ll be playing the music.
Start WPC Mode on Speaker One
- Power up the first speaker. We’ll call this one Speaker One.
- Pair Speaker One with your source Bluetooth device.
- Press the WPC button on Speaker One for three seconds. The WPC (Wireless Party Chain) light will start blinking. E.g. See this light in the next picture below. Then after a few seconds, this lamp stops blinking, and assumes a glow a solid white glow.
Start WPC Mode on Speaker Two
- Next, turn on the second speaker. I.e. Speaker Two.
- As you did on Speaker One, press and hold the WPC button on Speaker Two for three seconds. The WPC light begins flashing on that unit for a short time. Then it glows steadily. Also, the Bluetooth lamp on Speaker Two goes dark. At this point, you have successfully created a WPC link between these two speakers. Note that once you initiate WPC on Speaker One, you have just one minute to complete the connection on Speaker Two. If you do not, the waiting Speaker One times out, and goes back to normal single-speaker Bluetooth operation.
- Finally, once you connect to the new WPC group, you can start playing music on that device. Then it will stream to your speaker group, and you’ll hear the program on both speakers.
- Now to add other speakers to the group, repeat steps 1 and 2 on the speaker you’re adding.
How to Stop WPC Mode
When you’re ready to break the WPC link, simply press and hold the WPC button on Speaker One for three seconds. A tone is then heard, and the WPC light goes out, meaning that the link is now broken.
Then simply turn off the speakers that you’ll no longer be using. Note that turning off the speaker that’s paired with your source device breaks the entire WPC chain, and all speakers stop playing in that case.
Sony SRS XB32 Buttons Explained: The Add Button
You use the Add button to sync two Sony XB32 speakers together for stereo play (Stereo Mode), or as two mono speakers for extra volume (Double Mode). To use two speakers together like this, you first create a Bluetooth connection between the speakers. Then, you set up a Bluetooth connection between this pair, and the source Bluetooth device you’ll be playing music from. Plugging a cord into the Audio Input port ends the Add function.
How to Use the Add Button
You need two Sony SRS XB32 speakers to use the Add feature for either Stereo or Double modes.
Turn the First Speaker On
- Start with both speakers powered OFF.
- Power up the first speaker, and watch for the Power / Pairing lamp to begin flashing white.
- Press and release the Add button. Then that XB32 beeps, and the ADD button lamp flashes several times and then comes on steady white, as we see next.
Turn On the Second Speaker
- Next, power up the second speaker. Again, its Power / Pairing lamp should start flashing white. Note that you have one minute to do this after putting the first speaker in Add mode. Otherwise, that speaker times out, and reverts to a single speaker configuration. If this happens, power down both speakers, and start over with step 1.
- Press and release the Add button on the second speaker. This causes this XB32 to beep, and the Add lamp on that unit flashes and then glows steadily.
Pair Source Device to the New Sony Speaker Set Just Created
- Then, pair your Bluetooth source device to your XB32 speaker set that you just created.
- Begin playing something on your BT source device, and you should hear it play on both speakers.
- Then, adjust the volume using the controls on one or the other speaker. Adjusting volume on one also changes it on the other.
To Switch Between Add and Double Mode
- To switch between Double Mode and Stereo Mode, press and release the Add button on one of the speakers. When in Double Mode, each speaker plays a mono version of the content, which contains both the left and right channels. But in Stereo Mode, one speaker plays the left channel while the other plays the right.
To end this speaker stereo pairing, simply turn off both speakers.
Sony SRS XB32 Buttons Explained: The Reset Button
Find this recessed button on the speaker back, just above the Audio In port and just below the ADD button. To work it, insert a paper clip end and gently press.
Now how this one works differs from the reset buttons on many other speakers. That is, this button does NOT restore the unit to its factory default state. Instead, you press this only when the speaker becomes unresponsive or acts strangely. E.g. It won’t power ON or OFF, or the other buttons do nothing when you press them. Thus, pressing Reset does not clear the stored Bluetooth pairings from memory.
Nonetheless, this button appears to disconnect the speaker from its battery by brute force when pressed. Thus pressing it causes a hard shutdown to occur, but not a hard reset. Further, releasing it applies battery power again. Note though that the speaker will not come back on until you press the Power button.
The hope with this design is that the unit will again respond to other button presses when cold started after a Reset button press.
How to Use the Reset Button
Should the 32 lock up or become frozen to button presses, press and release this button. If the Power lamp is ON, it should shut OFF right away. Again, the speaker does not come back on when you release this button. So to turn it on again, press the Power button.
The Reset Button Code Combination
Note that this is different from the Reset button described in the last section. This method is how to actually hard reset the XB32 to put it back to factory default settings. The Reset button described earlier does not do this however. But it is possible to run a true master reset on the 32. as follows.
With the XB 32 running, press and hold the Power and Volume DOWN buttons at the same time until the speaker goes OFF and all the top panel lamps go dark. E.g. See these buttons pointed at by the green arrows in the next picture.
You may wish to reset the speaker to fix any unusual behaviors you notice from it such as failing to pair, sound distortion, failure to power off when you press the Power button, pressing the Reset button does not solve your issue, and so on. Note that resetting invalidates any saved connection info about this speaker on your source Bluetooth devices. So you’ll have to forget those connections on these devices, and re pair the speaker after a reset to play your audio content through it once again.
For more details, check out our post that describes How to Reset Sony SRS XB32 Speaker.
Other Posts About the Sony Speaker SRS XB32 Bluetooth Speaker
- How to Reset Sony SRS XB32 Portable Speaker
- Making the XB 32 Discoverable
- Turning On the Pairing Mode on the XB32
- How to Pair the XB32 Speaker
- How to Shut Off the XB32
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References for Sony SRS XB32 Buttons Explained
- 2021-10-01: First posted.