static in speakers
(Last Updated On: May 14, 2020)

A speaker is a device that converts electricity into sound. So, if you plug your speaker into a wall outlet or you power it using batteries, the speaker will convert electricity from those sources to sound.

However, speakers also pick up unwanted electrical signals from the environment which are also converted into sound. This is referred to as static in speakers.

Let’s explain further…

So What Is Static In Speakers?

Speaker static is a sound interruption that occurs when the sound signals being transmitted into the speakers have too much power or extraneous signals are being picked up by the wiring.

In other words, speaker static occurs when too much electricity is going through your speakers, distorting the desired sound.

It’s what causes the cracking, buzz, or humming sound you hear in speakers sometimes. It can also occur if the wiring picks up extrinsic (unwanted) signals from the surrounding.

Luckily, speaker static is not permanent, and you can easily get rid of it.

Stopping speaker static in your speaker requires that you find and eliminate the source of the extra power going through your speakers.

Bear in mind that several issues may contribute to static. Let’s explore them.

 

Causes of Static in Speakers

Static in speakers when a speaker picks up too much electric current than it can handle or unwanted electrical signals. Several factors can contribute to that:

1. Interference

Speakers use electromagnets to create sound from the electrical signal going through them.

That being the case, they are capable of picking up signals from other devices around the house and transmitting them as sound output.

That automatically results in a static. Several devices create electromagnetic radiation that can, in turn, be picked up by speakers or speaker wires and be transmitted as sound.

interference speaker static

Phones, Wi-Fi routers, microwaves, baby monitors, televisions, radios and other electronic devices transmit electromagnetic radiation to the atmosphere and result in static in your speakers.

Keep in mind that the interference intensity may vary from one device to another.

So, how can you get rid of interference?

To get rid of static caused by interference, you have to ensure that the electronic signals transmitted by these devices do not get picked up by the speakers.

You can do this by moving the speaker away from the source of the interference or by using shielded speakers and shielded cables.

Shielded speakers and cables help you get rid of the static quickly, as they do not pick up any unwanted signals from the surroundings.

They are similar to those used in computers and have a better design than regular home audio speakers and regular speaker wires.

2. Damaged Speakers

A speaker amplifies sound by the use of a cone, a flexible material (made of rubber, paper or plastic) attached at the base, to help pump sound waves towards your ears.

Firstly, you can check the cables on the back of the speaker and ensure that they are still correctly in place and that they haven’t been bent or partially pulled out at all.

If you don’t see any signs of frayed cord or a potentially bad bend then put on a song and just move the cord around to see if it has any effects on the sound, if the static continues then this may not be the source of the problem.

In the event it makes the static better or worse as you move the cable then it is making a bad connection and you will either have to brave your fear of fixing stuff and possibly just solder the wire back onto the board or alternatively call “the guy” to come and take a look if you don’t trust yourself.

Another potential problem is a damaged speaker cone. If the cone is loose or torn, it won’t vibrate correctly and any signal that comes through the speaker will cause vibration through the damaged surface, resulting in a static.

torn speaker cone
In other words, the torn surface of the speaker causes an extra vibration besides the one caused by the sound signal, causing extra noise.

That affects the smooth flow of the sound signal and results in static in speakers. Remember also that any foreign object touching your speaker can result in sound distortion, due to the extra vibrations.

How Do You Know If The Speakers Are Damaged And What Do You Do?

If the speakers are new, it’s most likely that the static is resulting from something else other than damage.

However, you can identify the torn surface by gently placing your hand above the cone of your speakers.

You will be doing this to feel if there are any strange vibrations that you can detect, if you are unsure then alternatively you can always just open up the speaker and look for yourself.

While doing this, you will want to regulate the volume and avoid applying too much pressure to prevent further damage.

In case the speaker’s case is loose, you can use glue to fasten it and prevent extra vibrations.

However, you need to use the proper glue to avoid damaging the speaker. Keep in mind that if the speaker is torn, your best bet would be to replace the entire cone altogether.

As we’ve already established, materials touching your speakers may also cause extra vibrations, resulting in static.

As such, you need to move your speakers away from anything that may disrupt the smooth flow of sound signals.

 

3. Ground Loops (Earth Loops)

Electricity always wants to go to ground, and if it does not have a clear path to the ground, then that may cause shorts and static in speakers.

Firstly, please note that the ground is very important for safety reasons.

ground loops

Ground loops occur when multiple devices are connected through a single ground. The problem can be worse when the devices are linked to different AC outlets (wall outlets). Before we go into the solution, let’s first look at the basics.

What Are Ground Loops?

Simply put, a ground loop occurs when two or more electronic devices are plugged into different power outlets then connected to each other using a cable with a ground.

That creates two different pathways to the ground (a loop), and the current may then flow in undesired ways. That will cause an audio hum, and it might damage your devices.

For example, if you have a powered speaker and amplifier plugged in different grounded outlets, you are most likely going to experience speaker static.

How To Know If Your Speaker Is Affected By Ground Loops

Unlike the static caused by interference in your speakers, ground loops cause a consistent buzz or hum.

As such, if you notice that the buzzing sound is continuous and consistent, then is probably caused by a ground loop.

How To Solve Ground Loop Issues

To eliminate a ground loop issue, you need to get rid of the ground connection on one of the devices.

This way, only one ground connection is left. You can easily do that by plugging all your electrical equipment into the same grounded circuit.

Other simple solutions involve cutting off the ground pin on one of the devices.

Please note that this is not recommended because you may want to use that device by itself and forget that it doesn’t have a ground pin. Other than that, you can buy an isolation transformer.

 

4. Excess power

Every speaker is capable of handling a certain amount of audio signals. When a speaker receives too much electrical power than it can handle, it will try work to the maximum and the resulting sound be flattened at the top.

That will distort the sound output. The problem is most noticeable when the volume is turned up.

speaker max power

If you notice this type of problem, you will need to turn down your speakers until the distortion goes away. If that doesn’t solve the static issue, you will need to check your amplifier and try to turn down the ‘volume’ (gain) of the amp too.

If the distortion only goes away when the volume is turned all the way down then this likely means that your amplifier produces too much power for your speakers to manage.

It may also mean that your amp and speakers have different impedance ratings. In either case, you will need to get a better match.

 

Bottom Line

Static in speakers can be quite annoying and hard to solve if you don’t know what is causing the problem.

That means that the first step towards solving and stopping a static hum or buzzing issue in your sound system is to identify the root of the problem. Sometimes the simplest solutions work best.