Why Speakers Pop and Crackle

June 09, 2017 1 Comment

Broken speakerHave you noticed one or more of your stereo speakers emitting a “popping” or “crackling” sound? You don't have to an audio wiz to know that sounds such as this aren't normal. Regardless of your setup, speakers should not produce a popping or crackling sound. So, what causes this phenomenon and how to you prevent it from happening again?


Let's first discuss why these sounds are bad. For starters, popping and crackling affects the quality of sound produced by your speakers. No one wants to hear these sounds when they are trying to listen to an MP3 or radio station. Furthermore, popping and crackling can physically damage or even ruin your speakers. If you hear a popping or crackling sound, avoid using your speakers until you've identified and fixed the problem.


Interrupted Current


One of the most common causes of popping and crackling sounds from speakers is an interrupted current. Speakers, as you probably know already, require power. Power is needed to move the air around in the speakers and produce sound. If the current is interrupted, however, it can cause popping and/or crackling sounds, which in turn stresses the speakers while also making them susceptible to damage.


Check the Speaker Cables


Go ahead and inspect the cables running from the amplifier to the speaker, looking for damage in the shielding, corrosion, or general wear. Over time, it's not uncommon for speaker cables to loosen. This is particularly true for subwoofers, as the deep bass may vibrate the connections loose. And when the connection is loose, the current is interrupted; thus, leading to popping and crackling sounds when the speaker is turned on.




Of course, the problem of crackling and popping sounds could also be attributed to the amplifier and not the speaker cables. Some amplifiers, particularly older models, have a tendency to produce abnormal sounds like this. Within the amplifier contains transistors, capacitors and wiring. If one or more of these components fail, it could lead to unusual sounds produced by the speakers.


Hopefully, this will give you a better idea of some of the most common causes of popping and crackling sounds coming from speakers. By using process of elimination, you should be able to identify the root cause of these sounds. And once you've found the culprit, you can take the necessary action to fix it.

1 Response


September 10, 2018

Having net been able to diagnose the crackling, popping, and low volume that has started with my 35 year old Criterion speakers driven by my equally old Marantz 1600 amp. I think it is time to replace them both. Nothing lasts forever…LOL

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