The -Bluetooth Pairing- and -Volume DOWN- buttons on the Sony SRS XB33 speaker.

Sony SRS XB33 Buttons Explained, Functions, Meanings

Sony SRS XB33 Buttons Explained Summary

The Sony SRS XB33 Bluetooth Extra Bass speaker has several buttons across its top panel as well as a few more inside its rear power and AUX port compartment, behind the sealing cap. E.g. Including the Power, Bluetooth Pairing, Play-Pause, Volume, and LIVE. Plus in the back, we find the LIGHT-BATT, PARTY, and ST PAIR (Stereo Pairing) buttons. So here we give our version of these Sony SRS XB33 buttons explained. Herein, for each button, we tell what it does along with how and when to press it to do the things that most people want to do with a Bluetooth speaker. Thus, you can fully enjoy all the features of this stupendous sounding product with this comprehensive guide at your fingertips.

Summary of the Ports on the Sony SRS XB33

In the port panel, sealed with a semi flexible cover, we find USB-C charging port as well as a 3.5mm auxiliary (AUX) input port. There’s also a USB-A style output port for the power bank feature.

Summary of the Lights on the Sony XB33

Additionally, there are five lights in the top button area. These lamps tell you in part, what the speaker is up to, as you work each of the buttons, as follows.

  1. The Power lamp lights solid, to show that the speaker is ON.
  2. The CHARGE lamp glows orange when the speaker is recharging.  Plus, this same light blinks when you’re not charging, to let you know that the battery is pretty low and should be charged soon.
  3. The Pairing lamp flashes or glows solid blue to tell of the speaker’s connection status.
  4. The LIVE lamp glows when the speaker is in its expansive stereo mode.
  5. The STAMINA light glows when the XB33 is in Stamina (power saving) mode.

We also find two other LEDs inside the port compartment in the rear of the speaker.  These include the PARTY and ST PAIR lamps.

  1. The PARTY lamp glows when the XB33 is in party mode and is part of a speaker group of up to a hundred compatible Sony SRS speakers.  But more on that below.
  2. The ST PAIR (Stereo Pair Mode) lamp glows when this speaker is joined to another speaker of the same model, to create bigger stereo sound. But again, we’ll discuss that more below.




Sony SRS XB33 Buttons Explained, Each One in Detail

First, there is one row of six buttons on the top of the XB33.  All  buttons there have a unique shape as we see in the next picture. Then there’s also the buttons in the back compartment, which we’ll get to later.

Picture of the top button panel on the speaker. Sony SRS XB33 Buttons Explained.
The Sony SRS XB33 speaker top button panel.

The Power Button

We begin our Sony SRS XB33 buttons guide with the Power button, on  the far left edge of the buttons panel as we point out with the yellow arrow in the next picture. Note its round power symbol shape with the plum line passing through its top.

Picture of the -Power- button.
The -Power- button.

Turning the SRS XB33 ON and OFF

Press and release the Power button when the speaker is OFF, to switch it on.  Press and release it again, to turn it back OFF.  The Power  lamp lights up when the speaker powers up, as we show in the next picture.

Picture of the -Power- lamp lit up.
The -Power- lamp lit up.

The speaker makes no sound when you turn it on or off, unless it automatically pairs with a device upon power up. In that case, you hear two ding-down sounding tones and the unit announces, “Bluetooth connected.” But whether paired or not, no sound is heard when you turn off the XB33.

So, to know for sure that this speaker has turned OFF, you must check the Power status lamp, mentioned above, or the party lights mounted around the unit. When the speaker is OFF, all lamps should be dark, unless you’re charging the unit.  When OFF in that case, the CHARGE lamp still glows solid orange.

For more details, see our  How to Turn Off Sony SRS XB33 post.





The Pairing Button

This button is essential when you want to connect the 33 to a source device, and then stream music on that device to this speaker.

Starting SRS XB33 Pairing Mode

With the speaker powered ON, you press and release quickly the Pairing button. You then hear the speaker say, “Bluetooth pairing.”  The speaker is now in pairing mode.

Picture of the -Bluetooth Pairing- button.
The -Bluetooth Pairing- button.

You need to do this anytime you pair the Sony SRS XB33 with any source device that you’ve never paired with this speaker since the last factory reset.

When in pairing mode, the Pairing Status lamp blinks in a pulse-pulse-pause, pulse-pulse-pause pattern.  And while that’s going on, the XB33 sends out its name and other connection handle info over the Bluetooth frequencies. Then, this allows nearby BT devices to find and sync to it.

The glowing -Bluetooth Status- light. Sony SRS XB33 Buttons Explained.
Sony SRS XB33 -Bluetooth Status- lamp glowing.

When a device subsequently connects to the XB33, the pairing status lamp stops blinking, and starts glowing a steady blue.

For more details, please see our  How to Put Sony SRS XB33 in Pairing Mode posts.





The  Play-Pause / Phone / Voice Assistant  Button

The multifunction Play / Pause / Phone / Voice Assistant button looks like a right-pointing arrow / triangle with two vertical lines to the right of that.  We find it immediately to the left of the Volume DOWN button, and immediately to the right of the Pairing button, as we point out with the green arrow in the next picture.

Picture of the Play-Pause button.
The Play-Pause button.

How to Use This Button to Stop and Start Program Play

Press and release the  Play-Pause / Phone / Voice Assistant  button quickly to pause audio play. Rapidly press it again to reverse the pause action, and resume playback.

Note that this button is not a mute button. That is, pausing play in this way stops playback on the source Bluetooth device to which this speaker is currently paired. It does not merely just cut the speaker volume while the stream continues going.  If streaming, the play stops.  So, you won’t miss any content when you pause the speaker, as the source device (your phone, tablet, or computer) remembers where the content was paused. Then it picks up playback where it left off, when you press the play pause button.

How to Use the Play / Pause / Phone / Voice Assistant Button to Change Songs

To skip ahead to the next song in the playlist you’re listening to, quickly press and release the Play / Pause button two times.

To start the currently-playing song over again, quickly press and release this button three times.

If you want to skip backward in the playlist to the start of the previous song, get to the beginning of the current song.  Again, to do that, press the Play / Pause button three times.  Then as soon as the song starts over, quickly press and release this button again three times.





How to Use the Play / Pause Button to Call Up a Voice Assistant

When paired with an Apple device, you may press and hold the Play / Pause button on the XB33 to get Siri’s attention. Note that you must first enable Siri on the source device (phone, tablet) to get her attention this way. Note though that this may not work if you pair more than one device with the speaker at the same time.

How to Use the Play / Pause Button to Answer a Call on the XB33

If you have your 33.paired with your phone, and a call comes in, you can answer it on this speaker by quickly pressing and releasing this button once. Detail: The phone ringing sound comes through the XB33 and the program you were playing pauses.

The XB33 then becomes a speaker phone.  E.g. You’ll hear callers on the speaker, and they will hear you via the built in mic.  See the location of this tiny condenser microphone in the next picture.

Picture of the microphone location on speaker front.
The speaker microphone location on speaker front.

The Volume DOWN and Volume UP Buttons

The XB 33.also sports Volume Controls. In the center of the button panel, to the right of the Play / Pause button, and to the left of the LIVE button, the Volume buttons look like minus and plus symbols.  We point them out in the next picture.

Picture of the Volume control buttons.
The Volume control buttons.

When pressed, these lower and raise the output volume respectively, by reducing or increasing the volume setting on the paired source device.  Moreover, you have approximately 50 volume level steps on this unit.

Note that you can also change XB33 volume by changing the volume on your source BT device, and you can also do it from within the Sony Music Center app as well.

No other accessibility sounds play when you adjust volume on the XB 33. But the green  Power  lamp normally blinks once, each time you press and release these controls.  However it quickly pulses several times when the speaker is at maximum volume and you press the Volume UP button to raise the sound level further.  The Power lamp also does this when the speaker is at minimum volume, and you try to turn it down further by pressing the Volume DOWN button.

How to Raise (Turn Up) and Lower (Turn Down) Sony SRS XB33 Volume

With the speaker paired and playing, press and release the minus shaped Volume DOWN button to decrease its audio output level by one step. Press the plus shaped Volume UP button to increase audio output. Or, you can press and hold the buttons to rapidly raise and lower the volume.

Note that these loudness controls affect the volume level setting whether the unit is paired or not. Also, the volume setting may change from paired device to paired device. That is, each paired device remembers its own volume setting. So you might need to re set the sound output when you unpair the speaker from one source device and pair it to another.





The LIVE Button

The LIVE button alters the output sound.  The SRS XB33 has three sound effect modes that you activate with this button, including the following…

    1. Extra Bass (default) mode.
    2. The Live (stereo expansion) mode,
    3. The Stamina mode.
Picture of the LIVE button. Sony SRS XB33 Buttons Explained.
The Sony SRS XB33 speaker LIVE button.

Normally, the Live and Stamina modes are both off, and Extra Bass mode is ON by default.  In this case, neither the STAMINA nor LIVE lights glow. The sound appears to imitate a flat response but with a bit of bass boost.  Live mode gives a spacious, larger stereo image that you do not have to directly face the speaker to hear.  Finally, Stamina mode seems to bring up the midrange and cut back on the deep bass and high treble sounds to conserve battery power and thus, provide longer playing time per charge.

The Back Panel Buttons

We find three buttons inside the port compartment on the back of the speaker, behind the port chamber door.  They are the LIGHT-BATT, PARTY, and ST PAIR buttons.

The LIGHT-BATT Button

This button switches the party lamps on the front and ends of the speaker ON and OFF. It’s the first of the three buttons (leftmost button) in the horizontal row of buttons inside this compartment.

Picture of the BATT button.
The BATT button.

How to Turn Speaker Party Lights ON and OFF

The multi colored lamps the pulsate, fade, flash, and change colors on the XB33 are ON by default, 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 bit of battery power, especially when you don’t really need to waste any on running these lamps. E.g. Like when playing the speaker in daylight or in a bright room where the lights would be harder to see anyway.

Picture of the speaker with its party lamps OFF.
The speaker with its party lights OFF.

Then to turn them back on again, simply repeat what you did before.  I.e. Press and hold in the LIGHT-BATT button for three seconds. At that point, the party lamps will resume their flashing.

How to Hear the Battery Percentage Remaining Announcement

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 to you in a female voice.





The PARTY (Party Connect) Button

This party connect mode function lets you join from two to a hundred compatible speakers such that both play the same program. It’s the second of the three buttons in the row.

Picture of the PARTY button.
The PARTY button.

Why use Party mode?  Because, as with the Connect Plus and Party Boost feature on JBL speakers, you get a wider coverage area when you have more than one speaker in sync, than when just one is playing. So you get more volume to spread around bigger party areas.

How to Set Up Party Connect Mode

Now to create a party group, you can use any combination of XB23, XB33, and XB33 models. In party connect 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 party connect group of speakers, do as follows.

Get the Speakers Together
  1. 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 Party Mode on Speaker One
  1. Power up the first speaker.  We’ll call this one  Speaker One.
  2. Pair Speaker One with your source Bluetooth device.
  3. Press the PARTY button on Speaker One for three seconds. The PARTY (Party Connect Mode) light will start blinking. E.g. See this light in the next picture below. Then after a few seconds, this lamp stops flashing, and begins glowing a solid white.
Start Party Mode on Speaker Two
  1. Next, turn on the second speaker.  I.e. Speaker Two.
  2. As you did on Speaker One, press and hold the Party button on Speaker Two  for three seconds.  The PARTY light begins flashing on that speaker for six seconds. Then it glows steadily. Also, the Bluetooth lamp on Speaker Two goes dark. At this point, you have successfully created a party connect link between these two speakers. Note that once you initiate party connect 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 returns to normal single-speaker Bluetooth operation.
  3. Finally, once you connect to the new party connect group, you can start playing music on that device. Then it will stream to that speaker group, and you’ll hear the program on both speakers.
  4. Now to add other speakers to the group, repeat steps 1 through 2 on the speaker you’re adding. Note that after adding the last speaker to the group, you have thirty seconds to add another if you so desire.

How to End Party Connect Mode

When you’re ready to break the party connect link, simply press and hold the PARTY button on Speaker One for three seconds.  A tone then sounds and the PARTY light goes out, meaning that the link is now broken, and all the other speakers in the group stop playing.

Picture of the glowing PARTY light. Sony SRS XB33 Buttons Explained.
Sony SRS XB33 speaker, showing the PARTY lamp glowing.

The ST PAIR Button

The Stereo Pairing function lets you join two XB33s such that one plays the left channel of the stereo program, while the other plays the right channel.  Now to create a stereo pair, you need two SRS XB33 speakers. Pairing the 33 with speakers other than an identical model did not work in our tests, and the Sony documentation states that you must have two of the same model in Bluetooth range of each other for this to work.

Picture of the ST PAIR button.
The ST PAIR button.

We find the ST PAIR button in the back compartment, the rightmost button, as shown in the last picture.

Activating the SRS XB33 Stereo Pair Mode

Picture of the glowing ST PAIR light.
The ST PAIR lamp glowing.

To form a stereo pair of two XB33 speakers, do as follows.

  1. Power up the first speaker.  We’ll call this XB33  Speaker One.
  2. Press the Pairing button on Speaker One for three seconds. The ST PAIR (stereo pair) light will start blinking. E.g. See this light in the last picture above. After a few seconds, this lamp stops flashing, and begins glowing a solid white.
  3. Next, turn on the second XB33.  I.e. Speaker Two.
  4. As you did on Speaker One, press and hold the Pairing button on Speaker Two  for three seconds.  The ST PAIR light will begin flashing on that speaker.
  5. No go to your Bluetooth source device, and connect it to the speaker pair, called “SRS-XB33”.  If you do not see this device, the move your phone / tablet closer to the speakers.
  6. Finally, once you connect to the new stereo pair, you can start playing music on that device. Then it will stream to that speaker pair, and you’ll hear the program in STEREO!

When you’re ready to break the stereo pairing, simply press and hold the ST PAIR button on one of the speakers for three seconds.  A tone then sounds and the ST PAIR light goes out, indicating that the pairing is now broken.





Sony SRS XB33 Buttons Combinations, Codes

Sony SRS XB33 Reset Button Code Combination

You can reset the XB33 to factory default settings and state. To do that, turn on the speaker. Then press and hold the  Pairing  and   Volume DOWN buttons, found on the top panel in the second and fourth button positions from the left, at the same time until all lights on the unit go dark. See these buttons pointed at by the green arrows in the next picture.

Picture of the -Bluetooth Pairing- and -Volume DOWN- buttons.
The -Bluetooth Pairing- and -Volume DOWN- buttons.

You may wish to reset the speaker to correct any weird behaviors you notice from it such as failing to pair, sound distortion, cutting out, failing to power off when you press the  Power  button, 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 in order to play your audio content through it once again.

Final Remarks

Note that you can control many of these XB33 functions from your phone or tablet, instead of using the buttons on the speaker directly.  For that, you need the Sony Music Center app.  In that app, you can adjust speaker volume, turn it off, update its firmware, and other actions.  But how to use that app is beyond the scope of this post, though if enough of you want that information, we may develop a post that describes that later.





Other Posts About the Sony SRS XB33 Extra Bass Bluetooth Speaker

  1. How to Turn Off the XB33 BT Speaker
  2. How to Turn Off the XB33 Party Lamps
  3. Telling if the XB33 is Charging
  4. How to Put the XB33 in Pairing Mode
  5. Pairing the Sony SRS XB33 Wireless Speaker

Related Posts to Sony SRS XB33 Buttons Explained

  1. Sony SRS XB32 Button Meanings, Codes, and Functions Explained
  2. SRS XB22 Button Functions  Explained
  3. Sony SRS XB41 Speaker Buttons Meaning Explained
  4. Buttons Explained on the SRS XB31 Speaker
  5. Sony SRS XB21 Buttons Explained

References for Sony SRS XB33 Buttons Explained

  1. Sony SRS XB33 Bluetooth Speaker Product Page at Sony.com

Revision History

  • 2021-10-01: First posted.
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