Are Your Speakers Popping? Here’s How to Fix the Crackle


Speaker crackle and popping is a common issue in audio, affecting live venues and studios alike. Finding the root of an audio problem can be tough, requiring a mix of knowledge, experience, and trial and error. This guide is here to help you identify what might be causing that awful noise every time you turn your speakers on.

In a hurry?

For those seeking a quick fix, here are some easy steps to finding the cause of the crackle. Follow each step until you identify the problem:

  • Check that all cables are plugged into your speakers properly – both power and audio cables
  • Check the condition of the cables to see if they’re worn out
  • Swap cables for spare ones
  • Check the connections inside the speaker to make sure no key components are loose or damaged
  • Check the connection on the audio source, whether it’s a mixer, audio interface, or AV amplifier
  • Switch your devices off to safely and carefully clean the connectors with microfibre cloths, solvent, and/or cotton swabs. If you see visible rust, try a deoxidiser

Why do speakers pop?

Speakers almost always pop due to some kind of issue with the connection between the source and the speaker. Usually, this is something simple, like a not-fully plugged-in cable, a damaged cable, or a lot of dust or rust inside the connectors. Whatever the reason, the problem is probably that your amplifier and speaker are not connected properly.

A cable could have been knocked out of place during a performance, while cleaning, or by a pet, for example. Sometimes the cables get twisted or trapped under things and get crushed, damaged, or just pulled loose and out of place. Alternatively, the output connectors on the amplifier or the input connectors on the speaker could be loose, damaged, or dirty.

If your amplifier-speaker connection isn’t the issue, it may be that there are damaged components inside your speaker. Live PA speakers, in particular, that see a lot of use will simply degrade over time with the frequency and intensity of use. Components get knocked out of place, solder becomes loose, and the thin wiring that runs to the speaker drivers can easily become slackened or damaged.

As with any electronics, they’ll just occasionally need maintenance or replacement.

Fundamentally, speakers receive voltages that are then converted into movement by the drivers. If that voltage is interrupted and suddenly drops to zero, the sudden stop in movement of the speaker drivers will cause a pop sound. If it happens multiple times in quick succession, it’ll sound more like crackling.

How to fix any popping and crackling in your speakers

Firstly, unplug the cables and reconnect them to see if that fixes anything, or if you have any backup cables, try them and see if the issue persists.

It’s also worth periodically switching them off and thoroughly cleaning them with cotton swabs, microfibre cloths, and a cleaning solution to remove dust. If they’re particularly old, they may have started to rust and require a deoxidiser instead of a standard solvent.

However, although it’s usually a faulty connection between the amplifier and speaker that causes the crackle, sometimes this isn’t the case! So, if all else fails, it may be worth checking inside the speakers for loose, damaged components, or loose internal wiring.

KRK ROKIT RP5 G4 Studio Monitors, Pair

Digital pops and clicks

Digital pops and clicks tend to sound a little different but have the same overall cause. This is essentially caused by a sudden discontinuation of the voltage that makes up the audio signal, which means that a digital-to-analogue converter is the source of the faulty connection.

Amplifiers, audio interfaces, digital mixers, or digital stageboxes could all be at fault here, as they all have built-in converters. The answer will depend on what your audio system consists of and is used for.

To correct these sounds, it’s worth checking the cables or input and output connectors between your converters and speakers. Whatever your signal chain is, look at these areas, clean connectors, swap cables, and check the inside of your speakers.

Whilst the digital pops and clicks can sound different, the causes and fixes are pretty much the same, although what might be causing the issues might be slightly different, or more hidden within your audio path.

Crackle on vinyl

There are two main issues that can cause vinyl crackling. Due to the nature of the format, some crackling and low-level noise is pretty much expected with vinyl. However, it can get overbearing and worse with time, due to a buildup of either static electricity or dust on your vinyls.

This crackling comes from an interruption in the connection between the turntable’s needle and the grooves in the record. Things like dust, dirt, debris, and static will make it harder for the needle to read the vinyl by sticking to the grooves either by tangible causes or static, which sends an additional voltage through the needle.

It’s worth cleaning your records with a microfibre cloth and dedicated cleaning or anti-static solutions to correct this. If this doesn’t work, check your turntable’s needle or cartridge. It’s worth gently cleaning the needle or swapping cartridges, but you need to be delicate with this, as you don’t want to snap the needle.

Our favourite speakers at the moment

Bose S1 Pro+

Bose S1 Pro+When it comes to our favourite speakers at the moment, the Bose S1 Pro+ holds a special place. This portable PA system is a dream come true for touring artists, small venue owners, and live sound engineers.

The Bose S1 Pro+ is all about convenience, flexibility, and top-notch sound quality. It’s got an Auto EQ feature that adjusts to different positions, ensuring your sound is always at its best.

A three-channel mixer with combo jacks and aux inputs makes the Bose S1 Pro+ versatile enough to handle whatever audio setup you throw at it.

Plus, Bluetooth streaming capability means you can play backing tracks, samples, music, and more straight from your device. And the best part? You can control it all wirelessly via the Bose Music app.

Worried about running out of juice during your performance? Fear not! The Bose S1 Pro+’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 11 hours of playtime on a single charge. Combined with its lightweight design and ergonomic carry handle, it’s perfect for those gigs on the go.

The Bose S1 Pro+ boasts a frequency response of 62 Hz – 17 kHz and a maximum SPL of 103 dB. With three 2 1/4″ HR drivers and a 6″ woofer, this system guarantees excellent sound quality that will impress your audience.

G4M 12″ Passive Speaker

G4M 12" Passive SpeakerWhen it comes to delivering a stellar audio experience, the G4M 12″ Passive Speaker is right up there with the best. This speaker doesn’t just promise power; it delivers it in heaps, with an impressive output of 250W RMS and a peak power hitting 500W.

But it’s not all about power. The G4M 12″ Passive Speaker ensures that every note hits the right chord with your audience.

Thanks to its 1.35″ compression driver and 12″ woofer, the sound reproduction is balanced and high-quality. So whether you’re strumming a soft melody or belting out a powerful chorus, this speaker has got you covered.

One thing that sets the G4M 12″ Passive Speaker apart is its versatility and durability. Whether you’re touring across the country or setting up a permanent installation, this speaker can take it all. And with 2-pole Speakon input and output connections, it’s compatible with a broad range of audio equipment.

The G4M 12″ Passive Speaker also boasts a wide frequency response, from 60Hz to 20kHz. This means your music will be accurately reproduced, capturing all the nuances and subtleties. Plus, it has features that help reduce noise and maintain signal integrity for a clean, professional sound.

And let’s not forget about its design. The G4M 12″ Passive Speaker is built to last, with durable construction and convenient fly points for easy installation. Plus, its unique tilt-forward design allows for precise positioning and optimised sound projection.

So, if you’re a touring artist, small venue owner, or live sound engineer, the G4M 12″ Passive Speaker is definitely worth considering. It’s power-packed, versatile, and designed to deliver excellent sound quality – exactly what you need to keep your audiences coming back for more!

SubZero SZS-P12 12″ Passive PA Speaker

SubZero SZS-P12 12" Passive PA SpeakerAmong the top choices for touring artists, small venue owners, and live sound engineers, the SubZero SZS-P12 12″ Passive PA Speaker stands out. This speaker is not just about power, but also about delivering a clear, detailed sound that captures every nuance of the music.

The SubZero SZS-P12 boasts impressive power outputs – 150W RMS, 200W Peak, and 600W Max. So, whether it’s a small gig or a larger event, this speaker has the power to deliver a memorable performance.

Thanks to its high-quality 12″ speaker and 1″ compression driver, the SubZero SZS-P12 ensures a wide frequency response. From the deepest bass to the highest treble, every note resonates with clarity and richness.

The SubZero SZS-P12 is also incredibly portable. Weighing just 10kg, it’s a breeze to transport. This makes it a favourite among touring artists and live sound engineers who are always on the move.

Setting up the SubZero SZS-P12 is a cinch, thanks to its twist-lock speaker in and out connections. This feature allows for easy connection to other speakers or audio equipment – a real boon for small venue owners looking to expand their sound system.

SubZero 600W 12″ Passive PA Speaker

SubZero 600W 12" Passive PA SpeakerLet’s dive into the world of sound with another favourite – the SubZero 600W 12″ Passive PA Speaker.

This speaker is a sound powerhouse, delivering a clear and focused sound that can fill any venue. With a peak output of 600 watts, it’s got enough punch to impress even the most discerning listeners.

The SubZero 600W offers a wide frequency response range from 45 Hz – 20 kHz. This means every note is accurately reproduced, from the deepest bass to the highest treble. Whether you’re a touring artist performing your heart out or a live sound engineer trying to create the perfect soundscape, this speaker delivers.

But it’s not just about the sound. The SubZero 600W is built for the road. Its heavy-duty polypropylene construction can withstand the rigours of touring, while the integral handle and pole mount make setup and transportation a breeze. And with a bracket connection, setting up your sound system is ultra-simple.

Noise reduction and signal integrity are also part of the package. This speaker is designed to reduce noise and maintain signal integrity, ensuring a clean, professional sound.

Kanto YU4 Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Kanto YU4 Powered Bookshelf SpeakersHigh-quality sound with powerful bass and smooth highs? Check. Versatile connectivity options? Check. Sleek design? Check. The Kanto YU4 Powered Bookshelf Speakers have it all.

With a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a 4-inch Kevlar woofer, sound reproduction is top-notch. Every note is delivered with clarity and precision, making these speakers a dream come true for audiophiles and music lovers alike.

Connectivity is a breeze with the YU4 speakers. Whether it’s Bluetooth streaming, RCA, AUX, or TOSLINK inputs, these speakers have got you covered. And let’s not forget the built-in phono preamp – a boon for turntable aficionados.

The YU4 speakers also shine in the design department. Their compact size and walnut finish make them a stylish addition to any home audio or home cinema setup. Plus, they’re easy to control with the included remote control.

The Kanto YU4 Powered Bookshelf Speakers deliver on all fronts – sound quality, connectivity, and design. They’re a perfect choice for those seeking a great listening experience in smaller spaces.

KRK ROKIT RP5 G4 Studio Monitors

KRK ROKIT RP5 G4 Studio MonitorsFor those seeking precision in sound reproduction, the KRK ROKIT RP5 G4 Studio Monitor is a top pick. This speaker is an audio engineer’s dream, delivering an impressive frequency response of 43Hz – 40kHz. From the deepest bass to the highest treble, every note is captured with accuracy.

The KRK ROKIT RP5 G4 Studio Monitor isn’t just about delivering great sound, it’s also about giving control to its users. With built-in DSP room tuning with manual control, tailoring the listening experience to suit individual needs is a breeze.

One standout feature is the built-in LCD display which allows for easy EQ visualisation. This, along with the ability to optimise the monitor using the KRK App for real-time analysis, makes it a must-have tool for musicians and producers.

The KRK ROKIT RP5 G4 Studio Monitor offers numerous connectivity options, thanks to its balanced combo input, making it a versatile choice for any setup. Designed with noise reduction and signal integrity in mind, this studio monitor delivers nothing but pure, detailed sound.

Whether it’s for a home project studio or desktop setup, the KRK ROKIT RP5 G4 Studio Monitor is an excellent choice for those seeking high-quality sound and advanced features.


How do I get rid of the speaker popping sound?

To get rid of that pesky speaker popping sound, check connections outside of the speaker, like cables, and make sure they’re in place properly. If that doesn’t solve the problem, check and clean the connectors on the speaker and your output device to avoid the buildup of dust and rust. Then, check connections inside the speaker for solder breakdown and loose components, if you’re familiar with the workings of the speaker or know somebody who is, you can get it repaired.

Can popping damage active speakers?

If your speakers don’t have protection circuitry, popping can damage your speakers. Since it stops or creates sudden movement in the driver, this can create wear and tear.

Why is my speaker buzzing and crackling?

There are a few causes behind speaker buzzing and crackling, but it’s mostly about the connection between your output device and speaker. Cables, amplifier issues, loose connections, damaged internal components, or excessively loud volumes can all cause this. Make sure all of your connections are secure and properly plugged in!

Final thoughts

So, we’ve covered a range of causes for speakers crackling and popping, the issue at the heart of it, why the sound happens, and how to fix it. We’ve discussed different types of speaker noise and covered a few of our favourite speakers. So, if you want to fix your speakers’ popping and crackling, hopefully this guide has helped!


Content Writer - Live Sound

Callum is a former audio and music technology student who has a love of punk, rock, metal, and electronic music. In his spare time, he produces music, and DJs occasionally. He's also a freelance engineer when possible, helping local bands make their noise even noisier.



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