What Causes Static in Speakers? Solve it Here!

Are you experiencing static even when your speakers are on mute? Or are you tired of dealing with it when listening to music or watching a movie? It’s a common issue for many people, and you can hear it no matter the volume. You’d naturally want to resolve this immediately, so you’re likely wondering: what causes static in speakers?

Common causes of static in speakers range from poor connection to distortion. Each one has a different effect, severity, and solution.

Check out this guide to learn more about the causes behind static speakers—and how to fix them!

What is Static Noise, and Why Does it Pop Up in Speakers?

Static is an umbrella phrase for electrical noises amplified by speakers. It might also refer to the interferences responsible for creating electromagnetic waves. That means static may also interfere with other signals on similar frequency bands. Besides that, these disruptions can also create pulses in the current inside speakers.

You’ll be able to hear hissing, buzzing, and crackling, otherwise known as static. And these noises can be heard even when you have your speakers on mute.

Let’s look at what causes static in speakers below to find the best solution for your unique situation.

What Causes Static in Speakers? 5 Common Causes

what causes static in speakers (infographic)

🔊 Speaker Distortion

green plant on brown pot next to a speaker - what causes static in speakers
Photo Courtesy of Caleb Woods

Distortion manifests as audible buzzing or crackling, noticeable during audio playbacks. And this is responsible for any static presence you’d hear in most volume levels. Plus, if you can isolate the noise between the left and right channels, you’re dealing with a speaker issue.

A common cause of speaker distortion is physical trauma to the cone or suspension. Or it can also be from trapped dirt and debris inside and on top of a speaker’s assembly. Damaging the cone can be quickly done as they undergo constant wear and tear.

Distortion is inevitable since most speakers use paper or pressed fabric for that. And these aren’t the most sturdy, degrading over time—especially with continual use.

So, though these are engineered to be sensitive to broad sound frequencies and produce clearer and richer sounds, they’re incredibly fragile. And you may easily damage the cone when mishandled.

There are many ways you can cause speaker distortion. Nothing escapes your speakers, whether it’s tearing the cone to natural wear and tear. And these are often responsible for the crackling or buzzing sound output.

Aside from physical trauma, water can also be a common cause of speaker distortion. As mentioned earlier, most speakers use paper or pressed fabric for their cones. You can see why water is terrible news for speakers. So, keep your units dry and far from water.

Crumbs and other debris are also something you need to consider. After all, these can easily lodge in a speaker assembly, causing static at most volume levels. In most cases, distortion caused by trapped debris will go away by itself. But, in rare instances, these can lead to permanent damage.

🔊 Broadcast Signal Interference

man wearing black sweater using smartphone
Photo Courtesy of Jonas Leupe

Wireless systems, like your smartphone, can interfere with your speakers, causing static.

After all, the wound wiring in speaker cords is similar to an antenna’s windings. So, you can see why broadcast signals can interfere with your speakers’ performance.

Your speakers may pick up these signals, showing as static noise, which can be frustrating. However, these interferences would typically go away by themselves. And this isn’t a severe issue unless the broadcast equipment is close to your units.

So, the next time you put your speakers on blast, keep your cell phones and wireless routers far away.

🔊 Audio Processing Problems

grayscale photo of condenser microphone beside pop filter - what causes static in speakers
Photo Courtesy of Leo Wieling

While discussing what causes static in speakers, you’ve likely noticed how often I’ve mentioned distortion. After all, it’s the top culprit behind static in speakers. However, it’s also possible for audio processing problems to create static noise. 

With digital music often getting converted, you’ll likely face an issue or two. So, whether you’re transferring or playing music, you’re prone to compression or conversion problems. 

Also, in a few cases, the setting within the audio processing system of your speakers might not be compatible with the kind of music files you’re trying to play. You might hear persistent buzzing in the background, otherwise known as static. 

Either way, you may notice that static noises tend to be more noticeable at higher volumes with higher frequency sounds. And that’s due to the amplifier overpowering your speaker drivers. That, or it’s trying to push sounds outside the range of capability of your unit. 

Generally, you’d face static sounds in non-optimized processing. Meanwhile, crackling noises originate from improper signal ranges transferred to the speakers. 

🔊 Electrical Interference

colorful cables
Photo Courtesy of Ryutaro Uozumi

There might not be an issue with your speakers themselves in some instances. Instead, some interferences outside of your system cause negative feedback. And this, in turn, eventually manifests into static in speakers. 

Aside from broadcast signals, electrical interferences are also pretty common. Power cords and cables exude electromagnetic radiation at different frequencies. And this might affect your units differently, some worse than others. 

Usually, though, the energy is minuscule, and you can barely detect it. But in some instances, they can disrupt audio signals transmitted through your speakers. For example, placing a power cable directly in line with or on a sound system may produce static noises. 

Also, because the disrupting signals aren’t related to your speakers, the volume of the static noises depends on the system volume. That means that your sounds might be louder than the original intentions. And this feedback not only leads to static noise but can also cause physical damage to the drivers. 

🔊 Connection Issues

black and gray electronic device
Photo Courtesy of NeonBrand

As I mentioned earlier, static noises don’t need to be related to the speakers themselves. And often, distortion has nothing to do with your sound system.

Sometimes, it only takes a poor connection between your audio source and speakers. These static noises are abrupt and may be present in one—or all channels. 

Although connection issues may sound simple, it’s more challenging to check. And this is especially the case for more minuscule speakers. But a single break among any speaker’s connection points can affect the overall sounds.

Eventually, this degradation in connection might result in static noises. 

Aside from poor connections, the placement of your speakers also has to do something with static. For example, placing speakers in a humid environment puts them at risk for corrosion. And this, in turn, might result in a degradation in connections. 

So, always remember to plan the routing of your wires and cables thoroughly. Plus, make sure to provide sufficient space between your amplifiers and speakers. 

How to Fix Static in Speakers?

Now that you know what causes static in speakers, it’s time to learn how to fix them. Luckily, most have easy enough remedies that anyone can do at home. Check out which one will help your speakers get their rhythm back!

✔️ Check and Fix Cable Connections

When dealing with static in speakers, the first thing you must do is check the cable connections. See if all wires are appropriately connected between the audio source and your speakers. If there aren’t any issues, disconnect each one and see if the static noise goes away. Repeat this until you can find the main culprit.

In some cases, it only takes a single bad cable or loose wire to cause excessing static noises. Luckily, it’s an easy fix. And anyone can do it at home. Just re-solder back the cable, or if not possible, replace it with a new one.

However, don’t simply disconnect and reconnect these cables. You must make sure that their grounding is correct. After all, it’s responsible for making audio signals transfer seamlessly between the circuits.

✔️ Check Your Hardware

If all things seem well with your cables, your hardware might be the one facing some issues. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Unplug the power supply from your audio source. This way, you can try different connectors without damaging your audio source. 
  2. Experiment with different connectors. Connect your speakers to other ports on your audio source if available. If the static noise dissipates, the issue is with the port, not your speakers. Also, I recommend disconnecting a few plugs from the power outlet. 
  3. Place your speakers far from particular home appliances. As I mentioned earlier, outside interference is a common cause of static noise. So, try to place your speakers far from devices such as smartphones or printers. 

✔️ Check for Ground Loops

Ground loops refer to your speakers and audio source’s grounding placement. Issues here can be another reason why there’s static coming from your sound system. And this may happen because sometimes audio signals create fluctuations in other gadgets. Eventually, this results in static noise amplified by your audio system.

Ground loops may form if several audio devices are connected to your speakers. And if so, you must check if there are other gadgets in-between where electricity flows from its power source into the speakers themselves.

Generally, an efficient solution to ground loops is splitting these currents up. This way, you’re separating their current flows, preventing any disruption. Plus, this reduces static noise while improving the sound performance of your speakers.

✔️ Change Speaker Settings

If there are no outside interferences, it’s time to work on your speakers. And at times, static noise might be caused by faulty speaker settings. Here’s how you can alter yours via laptop: 

  1. Go to the volume icon on the bottom right of your desktop and click on “Playback devices.” 
  2. Go to default speakers and click on “Configure speakers.”
  3. Change your system’s Audio channels to “5.1 Surround sound,” and click on “Test.”

This should help you reconfigure your speakers and deal with the static noise. But if you still notice buzzing sounds, set back your Audio channels to Stereo and try other methods. 

✔️ Update Your Audio Card Driver

If changing the speaker settings wasn’t enough to remove the static noise, you might have driver issues. You’re likely using incompatible speaker drivers. Luckily, you can remedy this yourself in two ways: manually or automatically updating your audio card driver. 

Here’s an insight into the two options:

  • Manual. Visit the manufacturer’s website to update your audio driver to the latest version. But pick one that’s compatible with your audio source. 
  • Automatic. Set to update your audio drivers automatically via your preferred software program. It scans your audio source and periodically detects issues and updates. 

✔️ Check for Electrical Interferences

As mentioned earlier, electrical interferences create static by disrupting signals across your audio source’s microsecond timescales. Eventually, this will create random pulses through your speakers, otherwise known as static. You can fix this by checking your electricity supply. It’s a cheaper remedy and does the job.

But if that doesn’t work for you, you can invest in UPS units that filter out these distorted frequencies. Your speakers will be freed from electrical interferences, providing consistent signals and sounds.

Another way to deal with electrical interference is by placing your speakers and audio source far from other appliances such as the refrigerator.

✔️ Check the Cone

Wear and tear are inevitable if you have older speakers or use your system often. Over time, a speaker’s cone degrades, affecting sound quality and causing loud buzzing. So, you can see where the static noises originate. Unfortunately, this is a problem that only professionals can handle.

But if your speakers are far too gone, it doesn’t hurt to invest in a new system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I stop static in my speakers?

A: Check your speakers’ wires and see if they have stable connections to the audio source. If not, rearrange them neatly to stop any static noise. You may also turn off nearby gadgets that might be interfering with the speakers. And if nothing works, change up your audio source. After all, it might be the one with problems.

Q: Why does my speakers’ audio sound scratchy?

A: Crackling speakers are usually the result of a connection issue. There might be a wire causing the drivers to move, causing static and scratchy noises. It’s a common interference, and you can quickly remedy it by fixing all cables and other connections.

Q: Can static damage my speakers?

A: Particular sounds such as static and distortions can be harmful to speakers. These could damage your speakers over time. But it’s a rare occurrence and only happens when unaddressed for an extended period. And as long as you keep your speakers at a reasonable volume, they should be safe. 

Q: Can white noise like static affect speaker performance?

A: If the white noise is present in silent bits, it shouldn’t affect your speaker’s audio quality. So, white noise shouldn’t jeopardize your unit unless you’ve cranked your volume too high. But this may signify that there’s something wrong with the amplifier chain. 

Q: Why do my speakers pop whenever I turn them on?

A: Your audio source will produce an inrush current when the amplifier turns on first. And this, in turn, leads to your speakers inexplicably popping. If not, your amplifier might be the one facing some issues—not your speakers. It may also signify that you have a blown speaker, which requires further attention.

Final Words

Although static on speakers can be frustrating, the remedies are easier to do than you’d think! But remember to identify the cause first to find the best solution for your unique situation. Either way, this guide on what causes static in speakers should help you handle this issue like a pro in no time. So, achieve optimal sound quality by addressing static one step at a time.

Leave a Comment