Subwoofer Pops When Turned On

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Updated October 17, 2022

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Subwoofers make popping sounds, humming noises, or static noises when powered on for a variety of maintenance-related reasons.
  • Start troubleshooting this audio signal issue by adding a ground wire into the mix, leading it from the sub to the preamp or receiver.
  • Another option is to test and swap out all of the various connection wires, including power cables, power output wires, speaker wires, remote wires, and more. Also, look for loose connections.

Why Does My Subwoofer Pop When I Turn it On?

If you are wondering why a subwoofer is making noise when turned on, you are not alone. This is a common problem that has many people wondering why their subwoofers are rattling. So what are the causes? First and foremost, connection issues via cables and wires, so you won’t have to learn how to repair a subwoofer voice coil.

Insider Tip

You should also make sure your subwoofer integrates with your preamp, as your amp’s RMS power rating (RMS rating) could be overloading the speaker.

Other than that, it is likely a “hum loop” caused by improper grounding or poor integration with associated stereo components. No matter the reason, there are ways to troubleshoot the issue so you can move on to learning about correct subwoofer phasing.

How to Prevent Subwoofer Popping Noises

Here are some fairly universal troubleshooting tips to eliminate that annoying popping noise when powering on or powering off your subwoofer.

Add a Ground Connection

If your system is improperly grounded, this leads to all kinds of signal interference issues, including the dreaded popping noise. Fix the issue by adding a ground to your subwoofer and the receiver or preamp it is connected to. If your subwoofer connects via RCA cable, they typically include a small grounding wire. If your system uses speaker wires, you may have to purchase and affix a dedicated grounding wire. If your subwoofer does not have a grounding wire port, you can affix the end of the grounding wire directly to the back of the speaker, so long as it touches metal.

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)

Check Other Connections

Faulty power cables, power supply units, speaker wires, and other connection cables are likely culprits here. Check all of your various connections, replacing cables as an experiment to see if that works. You should always have plenty of replacement cables on hand, as they fail frequently and act as a root cause for many of these issues. Swap out all of the cables you can, one by one, testing as you go.

Subwoofer Popping FAQs

Why does this problem only happen in cars?

This problem happens in cars and in-home speaker setups, no matter where the components are placed. Rear speakers could lead to this issue, as can the source signal itself (if clipping.)

Why do clipped signals cause popping sounds?

Clipped signals cause a large amount of distortion and a rapid uptick in volume, leading to popping sounds. This has nothing to do with bad connections and everything to do with noise control. Keep your signal down to avoid this problem.

What is the best subwoofer to use to stop popping?

If you are shopping for subwoofer models, choose based on personal preference, as there is no "correct" model. While you are at it, ensure that the speaker includes a sturdy remote wire, ignition wire, and plenty of amp gains.
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