(SOLVED) Amplifier Pops When Turned On

Norvan Martin
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When an audio amplifier is turned on, it can produce a pop sound, which can be annoying for some users and damage the speakers if the sound is too loud or occurs frequently. This article will explore why amplifiers make a pop sound when turned on and discuss solutions to reduce it.

The pop sound that occurs when an amplifier is turned on is typically a result of the electrical events that occur as the amplifier powers up. When an amplifier is turned on, it goes through a sequence of events that can cause a sudden surge of electrical current.

This surge can create a sound wave audible as a pop. This includes charging up capacitors. When we turn an amplifier on, capacitors charge up very quickly, leading to a sudden spike in the electric flow which can cause the pop. The spike can even damage the amplifier sometimes. 

Often, the feedback loop can lose control while there’s still voltage on the electric rails. 

Now, we will discuss the solution to fix the problem. Let us get right into it.

Let us see how you can fix the problem:

1. Soft-start Circuit

A soft-start circuit slowly increases the voltage and current as the amplifier turns on and slowly reduces them as it turns off.

Amplifier soft start circuit

This can prevent sudden power surges that can cause the pop noise. Modern amplifiers often include soft-start circuits, but older amplifiers may not have this feature.

Fix: It is recommended that you consult a professional technician or contact the manufacturer for further assistance in diagnosing and resolving the issues with the soft-start circuit. 

2. Power Surge

Sometimes there is a power surge from the amplifier that can cause the pop and even damage the speaker voice coil. An amplifier with too much power can also drive the speaker to its maximum and minimum extension. This normally happens when you are running the amplifier at close to its highest level.

Fix: If you notice a power surge in your system, keep volume control low. If you want to listen to your music at high volume levels, you will need to purchase an amplifier with a higher RMS wattage output. These are normally more expensive.

3. Clipping

If your amplifier is underpowered, it may start clipping. Clipping is a form of waveform distortion that occurs when an amplifier is overdriven and attempts to deliver an output voltage or current beyond its maximum. This clipping issue will driver to extend to its max extension thus the popping noise.

Fix: Ensure that your amplifier is properly powered according to its specifications.

4. Delay Circuit or Turn-on Delay

In this, a short delay occurs between when the amplifier is turned on/off and when the speakers are activated/deactivated.

Amplifier delay circuit

This delay can give the capacitors time to charge up, which can reduce or eliminate the sound. You can externally connect a delay circuit if your amplifier does not have one. 

Fix: Many amplifiers have a built-in turn-on delay feature that prevents popping sounds. In your specific case, check if your amplifier has this feature and enable it.

5. Mute Circuit

In this, the amplifier’s output is muted when turned on/off. This can prevent any pop sound from reaching the speakers, but it may not be practical or desirable in all situations. 

6. Faulty Power Source

An irregular power supply can cause surges in power that result in popping sounds. 

Fix: Try plugging your amplifier into a different power outlet. You could also try using a surge protector to see if it resolves the issue.

7. Faulty Components

Many defective amplifier components can often result in a popping sound. This includes capacitors and transistors.

Fix: In such cases, it is recommended to have the amplifier inspected and repaired by a qualified technician.

8. Grounding Issues

Grounding issues such as ground loops can cause amplifier popping sounds.

Fix: Ensure your amplifier is properly grounded and try using a ground loop isolator.

9. Faulty Cables

Faulty cables can also cause your amplifier to pop unexpectedly as the sound signals are interrupted.

Fix: Ensure all your cables are in good condition. Ensure that there are no frayed or damaged wires. You could also try replacing the cables to see if the popping sound goes away.

Finally, always make sure the speaker wires are securely connected and that there are no loose strands of wire causing a short circuit.

Best Practices To Avoid The Popping Sound

In addition to these technical solutions, some best practices can help to minimize the pop noise when using audio equipment. Let us see what they are:

  • Turn the amplifier at last after turning on all other equipment, and turn off the amplifier first before turning off the rest. This way, you can prevent the sudden surge and completely evade the pop sound.
  • Users can reduce the volume before turning off the amplifier or temporarily disconnect the speakers to prevent any pop sound from reaching the speakers.

 

FAQs

1. Should I have my amplifier checked if the pop is loud?

A loud pop could be a sign of a problem with the amplifier. In such situations, it is best to have everything checked by a professional to ensure it functions properly.

2. Are modern amplifiers less likely to produce pop sound?

Soft-start circuits and other features are common among modern amplifiers, which can reduce the pop sound. Checking the specifications is vital because older amplifiers could not have these functions.

3. How do you know if you blew your amplifier?

Here are the reasons to know if your amplifier has blown:

  • A loud buzzing sound that is unpleasant to the ears. 
  • No sound at all, despite supplying power. 

4. How long do amplifiers last?

An amplifier can last 20 to 30 years, depending on the maintenance and how you look after it. If you want it to run this long, you must change any deteriorated parts. 

5. Is This Amplifier Pop Sound Dangerous?

It’s important to note that when an amplifier is turned on, the pop is often a normal part of its operation. While it can be annoying, it is not usually harmful to the system.

However, if the pop is loud or happens often, it can be a sign of a problem with the amplifier or the speakers. In this case, it may be necessary to have the entire system inspected by a professional.

Conclusion

So, mostly spikes in the electric flow can make a popping sound in the amplifier, especially if the capacitors get charged up. This is how you can fix the popping:

  • Use soft-start circuit
  • Add Delay Circuit
  • Use Mute Circuit

Follow best practices and maintain your amplifiers. You must buy a replacement if the amplifier does not get it despite all the changes. 

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin