Subwoofer Making Noise When Turned On

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Updated October 17, 2022

If you are new to the wacky world of home audio maintenance, you may wonder why a subwoofer is making noise when turned on. Many of the best speakers, after all, are subwoofers, and these speakers can run into repair issues that cause this problem and others like it. So why do the best subwoofers make noise when powered on, and what can you do about it? Keep reading to find out.


  • Subwoofers make noises, such as popping or humming noise, when being turned on for a number of reasons.
  • Start troubleshooting this issue by trying out different power supply cables and connection cables, including speaker wires, audio cables, power strips, and ground loops.
  • You should also check on any potential compatibility issues between your subwoofer and related stereo system components.

Why is Your Subwoofer Making a Loud Noise When Turned On?

There are many reasons why subwoofers emit noises when being turned on, leading many to learn how to properly connect a subwoofer. When you are learning how to tell if a subwoofer is blown, this could be a tell-tale sign, though the noises would have to continue during use. If you are wondering why a subwoofer pops when turned on, there are many reasons why these speakers get noisy when being powered on.

Insider Tip

Faulty power cables are especially likely to cause this problem, so check on them first.

It could be a preamp or wattage issue, or it could be a connection issue if you are wondering what gauge speaker wire to use with a subwoofer. Connection snafus are especially common here if you are learning how to wire a dual-voice coil sub. The subwoofer could also simply be out of phase if you are wondering about the correct subwoofer phase. In other words, there are many reasons why this happens.

How to Prevent Loud Subwoofer Noises

As previously stated, there are many reasons why a subwoofer makes noise when turned on. With that in mind, here are some simple troubleshooting tips to help you get to the bottom of the issue and fix it.

Check and Replace Cables

Your first step in this mission is to check and replace all cables. This includes speaker wires, speaker cables, optical cables, RCA cables, and power cables/power wires. Why do this? Faulty cables are often the cause of this and many other issues, and it is a budget-friendly and simple solution. Make sure to always have plenty of replacement cables on hand because you never know when one will fail.

Check Compatibility

A compatibility issue with another component of your stereo system is a likely culprit here. Check the wattage and power rating of your subwoofer and ensures it falls under the purview of your receiver or preamp. Also, check any connected speakers, such as tower speakers.

STAT: Subwoofer buzz or hum is a low-level sound system that can be heard when a powered or passive subwoofer hum turns on. It doesn’t matter if it is playing or not. The 60-hertz hum can be caused by being plugged into an AC power outlet. (source)

Subwoofer Noise FAQs

How to fix the subwoofer hum?

Subwoofer hum is typically alleviated by addressing any connection concerns. This could mean replacing the power strip or RCA cables, but it likely means inserting a grounding wire into the system.

How can I tell if my subwoofer has a problem?

You can usually tell by listening to it. If it sounds off, it likely is off. Start troubleshooting by looking for loose connections on or around the power strip and the power supply. Also, listen for any out-of-place loud noise during use.

What is the difference between a subwoofer and a speaker?

It’s all about the frequency range. Regular speakers handle all frequency ranges, while subwoofers specialize in the bass. This is true even when using an extension cord, power plug, power outlet, or any other type of connection.
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