How To Fix Speaker Crackling
Speaker crackling in a car can be so annoying and it’s a problem that once it starts isn’t going to go away, so how do you find the route of the problem and fix it?
There are several causes for this, and depending on the source of the crackling noise, will determine the action you should take.
It could be down to a faulty speaker of course, but with all the computers in cars today crackling noise from your speakers could be down to many things.
Anything that can produce electric fields can cause the speaker crackling, but basically it’s down to other signals interrupting the soundwaves that are sent to your speakers.
So, for a few ideas of the source of your problems, here’s the most common areas, and some advice on how to stop speaker crackling.
Speaker Crackling from Your Wiring
The crackling noise from your speakers could quite well be from the wiring installation. Check the back of your head unit and make sure the wires are all properly installed.
Some wires may have come loose, which can cause noise interference in your speakers. This is a more common cause if you have recently installed some aftermarket speakers, as you may not have got a secure enough connection.
Also if you have routed the speaker wires and RCA jacks too close to the power wires is another reason you could have crackling speakers. Check how the route your wires have been installed and if they are down the same side, this could definitely be the problem.
This is a problem many first time, or lazy installers make, because they’re either unsure how to install the wiring properly, or too lazy to run wires down two different sides of the car. The proper way to run your wiring is to run your power about 12 inches away from your speaker wires.
If it’s not that, it could be the RCA cables might are coaxial type, which means the signal wire is in the center with an insulating layer round it, and the ground braid wrapped around that.
RCA cables with twisted wires might be better. These wires have the signal and ground wires twisted tightly around each other. These are much better at rejecting induced noise than coaxial, so you could try changing the type of RCA jacks.
Make Sure Your Head Unit Is Securely Grounded
You will get unwanted noise in your audio system if your head unit isn’t grounded properly, or if it’s too close to a noise source such as the air-conditioning or a computer.
Is your ground actually connected to the car’s ground? Some head unit’s use the antenna’s lead as a ground, and the antenna is a common source of noise interference.
If it is, you could always ground your car stereo securely using the car’s existing stereo ground wire. Just splice the grounding and harnessing wire from the stereo and crimp them together. It’s usually a black wire but check your manual to be sure.
Car Amplifier Might Be Problematic
As well as the wiring, if you have an external amplifier in your car, that might be the source of your speaker crackling.
In most cases, a damaged amp can’t run speakers, but in some cases when it runs, it can cause speaker crackling. Try run your speaker wires direct from your receiver to your speakers and if the problem has stopped, it’s likely you have a damaged amplifier.
Set The High Pass Filter Correctly
You may get speaker crackling if your High Pass Filter (HPF) isn’t set correctly, so getting the right crossover settings is important.
If it’s set wrong, you could be letting too much bass into your door speakers. Car speakers aren’t designed for deep bass, and forcing low frequencies into your woofers, you will cause distortion and eventually stress your speakers.
You should set your HPF at 80 Hz, so frequencies above 80 Hz can only get into your speakers. If you do this and the problem persists, it’s either not this or you have permanently damaged them and need to replace the speakers with some new ones.
If none of these work, check the car battery and alternator, as this could be the source of your crackling speaker problems.
When you switch the car ignition, you might notice as you go faster the crackling noise will probably get louder. If this happens it’s likely interference from the alternator output, possibly due to rust.
If it is this, noise from the alternator is getting into the head unit via your power cables, and to fix this you can do one of the following:
Install a noise filter between the alternator and the battery.
Install an inline noise filter in the head unit power cable.
None of these will fix the noise from the alternator, but the noise signals won’t be able to get into your receiver, and so your audio will sound much better.
Speaker Crackling from Damaged Speakers
Of course you might be getting annoying speaker crackling because it’s impaired. Damaged speakers can be repaired, but you have to think about the time and cost. Repairing car speakers is not always worth the effort because it could be just as expensive as getting some new ones, especially if you get a professional to look at them.
The main reason for speaker crackling in a damaged speaker would be your Voice Coil, which might not even be damaged but simply displaced. This might have happened if you recently replaced an old damaged voice coil and didn’t install it carefully enough.
Your voice coil can displace for several reasons. If you have replaced the voice coil and installed a new one, you might not have installed it correctly. So, when this happens, the magnet and the speaker’s voice coil have a spark that can cause the crackling sound.
If it’s a displaced, voice coil simply secure it in properly, but if the coil is damaged and you don’t know exactly how to replace it, you might be better off just getting some new car speakers.
Locate and Repair Your Speaker Crackling
Speaker crackling is annoying and can also seriously damage your system if it’s not sorted. It could be a number of reasons, but the first thing to do is check the wiring, as this is the main cause for unwanted crackling noises.
If it’s not your wiring, it could be your antenna as that is another common conductor of unwanted noises, and wanted noises of course.
Then check your other external applications, especially if you have recently been installing anything, or if they have been installed for a long time, as newly installed or old and faulty installations can also cause speaker crackling.
If it’s not that, check your filters, and make sure you’re not pushing too much bass into your woofers. If you really want deep bass, you should get yourself a subwoofer and free up your speaker to work on the mids.