What Causes Speakers to Crackle

Imagine yourself watching a movie and just when you get to the climax, sounds that weren’t supposed to be there interrupted the critical lines thrown by the actors. Now, isn’t that frustrating?

What Causes Speakers to Crackle

Most of the time, these unwelcome sounds are in the form of crackles coming from one of the speakers. If you have ever experienced the same problem before, chances are you know how annoying this can be that you’d want to fix it right away.

But before you do so, it is important to know what causes speakers to crackle in the first place so you can solve it accordingly.

Speakers crackle and pop because of interrupted audio signals or electrical current or a dirty or loose connection. You need to troubleshoot the connective wires to look for the problem spot and replace the cable or secure the connection.

Continue reading below to learn more about crackles in speakers and how to get rid of them once and for all.

Why Do Speakers Crackle and Pop?

Interrupted current is the primary culprit behind why speakers crackle and pop. Speakers are a form of transducers converting audio signals or electrical energy into sound waves or mechanical wave energy. The audio signals are actually electrical signals that have alternating currents.

If this AC signal is interrupted in any way, it will result in crackling and popping. Why is that the case, you ask?

For starters, speakers are meant to move linearly depending on the applied signal. The moment the AC signal has passed through the driver, the driver will move inward and outward to generate smooth sound waves.

When the audio signal reaches its peak or the maximum voltage in a certain cycle, the driver gets pushed far outward as this will be throughout that cycle. The driver will then get pulled as far inward as this will be during that cycle at the trough or the negative peal, which is a certain cycle’s maximum negative voltage.

Once the signal reaches zero point, the speaker is at a resting position since no voltage reaches the speaker driver even for a bit as the electrical current changes its direction. With this, the speaker produces a smooth sound without crackling or popping.

However, once a current interrupt occurs in that same signal, both the audio signal as well as the resulting movement of the speaker driver is no longer smooth. For just a brief moment, it interrupts the current, producing a period without voltage.

It is safe to assume that for that short moment, the speaker is told to stay at rest position without producing any sound. That pop you hear doesn’t come from the speaker’s silence but instead, it is because of how the speaker has been told to get to the rest position.

This means that the speaker driver has to be at two physical locations simultaneously. It needs to be in a resting position and pushed outward at the same time, which is impossible.

Instead of teleporting, the driver tries moving as quickly as it can between the two different locations right at the current interrupt, resulting in a clicking or popping sound.

If these current interruptions occur very often, such as with faulty lead wires, the speaker will pop in close succession, leading to what is called speaker crackle.

Other Common Reasons Why Speakers Crackle

Troubleshooting is often the best way to determine why your speakers crackle. Aside from the more technical reason mentioned above, here are other culprits behind those crackling sounds with a few tips on how to fix them.

Hardware Issues

The control knobs might be the reason why your speakers are producing that crackling sound, particularly if you bought a poor-quality speaker. After some time, the control knobs of speakers tend to deteriorate.

If your speakers produce a loud distorted or crackling sound while you are trying to adjust the knobs, your speaker is the problem. If you don’t have the budget to purchase a brand new speaker set, your old one will still do. Just set the volume on the level where there is no cackling and maintain the control knobs on this level.

Loose Connection

Probably the most common reason behind the crackling sounds coming from your speakers is a loose connection between your device and speaker. Make sure you check to ensure that you inserted the audio cable properly into your device’s audio port.

Budge the audio cable little by little then listen to your speakers to see if they still make a crackling sound. If yes, then, it might be time for you to replace the audio wire connecting the speaker to your device.

What Causes Vinyl Crackle?

Vinyl records have long been loved for their crackle. The good news is that this crackle isn’t the result of the same current interruption mentioned earlier regarding audio crackles and pops.

Instead, vinyl crackle is basically noise in the audio signal. Dust and static electricity cause most of this noise. By nature, vinyl holds on to a somewhat decent quantity of static electricity. The needle cartridge picks up some of the static electricity as noise before it gets amplified and sent over to the speakers.

However, the bigger culprit is the debris and dust that end up in the record’s grooves. This dirt is largely attracted by the vinyl’s static charge.

To lessen this vinyl crackle, you might want to invest in an anti-static vinyl brush and use it before your listening sessions.

How to Fix Crackling and Popping in Speakers

Fixing the cables is most often the best and easiest way to address crackling in speakers. It might be something as simple as replacing or repairing your car’s auxiliary 3.5mm TRS cable or a little bit more complex as disassembling the amplifier to troubleshoot it.

Remember that the problem of current interruption between the speaker driver and the audio source is almost always associated with a loose or somewhat faulty connection or cable. The important point here is to always troubleshoot before you proceed with any attempts at fixing.