Speaker crackling is one of those annoying problems that you can probably tolerate most of the time. And in many cases, it's only once the crackling stops that you realise just how irritating it was. A bit like that guy at work who wears a "funny" tie and cracks "jokes" that he thinks are "edgy", then describes it as "banter".
In this article, we'll explain the usual causes of a crackling speaker, and most importantly, how to fix those causes. We can't do anything about the office clown though.
How To Fix Speaker Crackling
It does depend to an extent on exactly where the source of the crackling is. But your options are as follows:
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Check The Wires
Your first port of call is to check all the connections in your setup. See if any of them have come loose. The most likely place to find an issue is the connection between the amplifier and the speaker terminals. Sometimes all it takes is resecuring those connections, and your issue will be resolved.
Other steps you can try include:
- Sometimes, other electronic devices can interfere with the speaker sound, so try turning off any that are close by.
- Move the speaker wires away from any other electrical cords.
- If possible, you can try resetting the receiver to factory settings (check your instruction manual for how to do this).
- You can try replacing the wires.
- If possible, test a different set of speakers, to try to identify if the issue is with the speakers or not. If the crackling stops, it points to the speakers being the problem. If the crackling is still there, this may indicate a receiver issue.
Look Inside The Speaker
Once you've checked all the connections, the next thing to do is inspect the internal components of your speaker. It's possible that something has broken inside, which could also lead to crackling. It could even be a wire that needs to be reconnected.
If there is an internal issue, then it's really going to be down to your personal skillset as to whether you can repair it yourself or not. Some issues may need you to be able to do some soldering, or replacing a wire.
If you don't feel confident in doing any repairs yourself, you may want to take it to a specialist. It's also worth checking the warranty status of your speakers. If you've not had them for very long, then this may be regarded as a manufacturing fault, in which case a warranty might cover them.
If You're Listening to Vinyl Records
It's a slightly different story if you're listening to LPs. We'd still recommend checking the cables in case a connection has come loose. But more typically, you can reduce or stop crackling by using an anti-static vinyl brush before any listening you do.
Use this on your record to reduce static and remove dust, and this will go a long way to removing crackling sounds.
What Causes Speakers To Crackle?
Speaker crackling is almost always caused by an issue with the connection. We won't get into the details of how speakers convert electrical energy into sound waves. We're saving that for our Ted talk.
But basically, if the connection between your amplifier and speaker driver isn't working properly, this can cause interference, which leads to the crackling noise.
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It's a slightly different story if you are listening to vinyl records. In this case, crackling is usually caused by static electricity which is picked up by the needle cartridge.
The static electricity can also attract dust and dirt into the grooves of the LP, and as the needle hits this debris, it creates a crackling sound.
Hopefully, the steps we outlined above will help you resolve the crackling issue. Some fixes are easier than others, so don't be afraid to seek help if you need it.
Why Are My Speakers Popping When I Turn Them On?
If you are experiencing your speakers popping or crackling when you first switch them in, this is most likely caused by what is described as a transient spike.
This is a short burst of energy causing a spike in the sound wave. Typically, an example of this is switching a speaker on or off.
Usually, this won't wreck your speakers, especially at low volumes. But a sufficiently large pop can do some damage to the speaker cone.
To try and reduce the chances of this happening, make sure your speakers are switched off first, and switched on last.