Why Do My Speakers Crackle?

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Updated July 26, 2022

All speaker-heads know that hearing any funky noise coming from their system is worth losing sleep over. But unfortunately, even the best speakers sometimes suffer damage and need to be inspected. So, we’re about to take a journey into the land of speakers to help you diagnose the question, “Why do my speakers crackle?”

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Crackling speakers are a common sound issue. It happens because of bad connections that interrupt the audio signals.
  • To fix a crackling speaker sound, you must check the speaker wires and the connections for damage, wear, or dirt/debris.
  • Interruptions to a digital audio signal can also occur due to a slowed or hindered data transfer.

And while it may seem like a redundancy (we assure you it isn’t), we also have an article that explains why your speaker’s buzz.

How to Fix Crackling Speakers

The likeliest reason for speaker crackles is that the electrical signal is interrupted. Interruptions can come from various reasons, the main ones being a dirty or loose connection.

Insider Tip

If you have a computer with crackling speakers, try to change the sound format and see if that works.

The electrical signal is generated in your amplifier and then transfers to your speaker through a conductor, whether a copper wire or a wireless electromagnetic wave frequency. When this signal is interrupted, the voltage suddenly drops off, and it causes a crackling noise because the internal speaker is receiving mixed signals about what to do.

Crackling tends to be less intense with wireless devices because there aren’t physical connections that can become worn, loose, or dirtied. However, crackling can still occur due to something interrupting the wireless signal. You can check out this guide on why your speakers keep cutting out for another informational piece on speaker issues.

Warning

Leaving your speaker connections dirtied for too long can cause systemic corrosion that can cause irreparable damage.

Possible Ways How to Fix Crackling Speakers

The first thing you need to do is examine the speaker wires and connections. If any wire is frayed or damaged, you need to fix or replace it as soon as possible.

After the wire, go to the speakers and amplifier connections and jiggle the connector to see if it causes a crackling noise. Once you have determined the cause, you then can begin troubleshooting.

If it’s a damaged speaker wire, determine if it’s something you can re-solder or if it needs to be replaced outright. If you don’t have the soldering equipment and expertise, it can be worth it to replace the wire.

With a dirty connection, you will have to tighten it, clean it, or re-solder it. To clean a speaker connection, use rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth or q-tip to clean inside the connection (making sure all equipment is unplugged before doing this). Or, you could use a vacuum to try to suck any dust or debris out of the connector.

For a loose cable connection issue, this will depend on your type of speaker. If it’s a binding post, just re-insert the wire and tighten it with a screwdriver. If it’s a broke connector plug, you may need to re-solder on end.

STAT: Most common stereo systems take between 12 to 16 gauge speaker wire. (source)

F.A.Q.S

Is speaker distortion at a high volume related to connection issues?

Speaker distortion has to do with the amp not giving enough power to the speakers, not the connection.


Why does the speaker crackle when I change the volume?

Changes in sound volume adjust the intensity of the electrical signal. This process means that if something is interrupting the signal, it will crackle more when the strength of the volume changes.


Is crackling harmful to speakers?

A minor crackling most likely won’t cause significant damage, but heavy amounts can wear out the suspension and cone.


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