You’ve been thinking about relaxing to your favorite music or watching a new show on Netflix all day. But when you turn on your speakers, there’s this constant droning humming or buzzing sound from your speakers. So you sat down after a long, hard day at work – Beer in one hand, remote in the other. What do you do?
Don’t worry! It’s probably pretty simple to fix. I’ve run into this problem countless times throughout the years, and not once was it a significant issue where it needed to be sent for repairs (although, I’m not ruling that out!).
Why are my speakers buzzing?
There are a few reasons why your speakers might be buzzing. One possibility is that one of the cables is loose and is making contact with another cable, causing a short. Another option is something wrong with the speaker itself, such as a blown speaker or a wiring issue.
If you’re handy with tools, you might be able to fix the issue yourself by checking all of the cables and connections and repairing any damage you find. If you’re not comfortable doing this type of work yourself, it’s best to take the speakers to a professional who can inspect them and make necessary repairs.
Run through each step in this article, one of them will surely be the solution for your speaker buzzing.
How to stop speakers from buzzing
1. Check the Connections
Perhaps one of the simplest troubleshooting ways is to make sure that there are no loose connections anywhere. Often in the most complex of audio systems, multiple inputs, outputs, and wires could be used.
It is essential to check everything is connected correctly and plugged in. The wires and cables should be flush with the connection on the speaker.
Another thing to note is there may be dust or dirt stuck on the inside of the inputs or the wires. If anything is on them, you can clean them with a tiny bit of alcohol and a q-tip.
Note: Be sure to look up the alcohol you are using, as some can damage your ports and wires.
You can also blow into the ports with just your mouth, or preferably use a compressed air can.
2. Fixing a Ground Loop
A couple of years ago, I just purchased an amplifier, and I was so excited to test it out! I heard a humming or buzzing noise coming from my speakers, to my dismay.
I spent hours researching and testing different things, but nothing worked until I came across a ground loop. I had never heard of it before, and I was concerned when seeing the words, but it is not a significant problem and was fixed quite easily.
This is the sound I was hearing:
A ground loop occurs when a system of two or more devices is connected through different paths, which causes unwanted external noise.
There are two main ways to solve a ground loop.
- The simplest way is to remove one of the ground paths from your system; in doing so, you convert it to a single point ground.
- If this is not an option for you, the other option is to use an isolation transformer device (It’s not as scary as it sounds!).
An isolation transformer allows all of your cable’s signal to pass freely without getting too technical, thus breaking the ground loop.
3. Test for Frequency Interference
Another cause for your speakers’ buzzing may be frequency interference, also known as radiofrequency.
It is more common for this to occur in wireless speakers, but it can still happen in others, especially if the audio cables are poorly shielded, which is more common in budget speakers.
This frequency interference can come from external sources such as the TV signal, radio stations, or other wireless equipment such as another speaker or microphone.
Other familiar sources of Radio Frequencies include:
- Computer Monitor
- Fluorescent lights
- Unstable Power Supply
- Any external devices such as USB, hard drive, etc.
One way of testing if this is the issue is to turn off these external speakers one-by-one while checking if the problem has been resolved between each one.
If a radio frequency source cannot be removed, you can attach a cheap ferrite bead to your cable. More expensive speakers will have electromagnetic shielding, so keep this in mind when referring to this option.
Preferably, you will need a clip-on ferrite bead that is easy to attach. You can get one here on Amazon.
4. Use a Cable Tester
A cable tester is a tool used to test the electrical integrity of a cable. This means that you can use it to test whether a cable is connected correctly and has no shorts or opens.
It’s also essential to use a cable tester anytime you suspect there may be something wrong with your audio cables, such as when you want a quick speaker humming noise fix.
When using any audio equipment, it’s vital to ensure that all cables are correctly connected and functioning. This is especially true for speakers, as an improperly-functioning speaker can result in degraded sound quality or even damage the audio equipment.
A cable tester can help you quickly and easily determine if there is a problem with any of the cables connecting your audio equipment. This can save you time and hassle in troubleshooting and help prevent damage to your audio equipment.
They’re pretty cheap too, and if your speakers make a buzzing noise when plugged in, it may solve that issue quickly.
I recommend this one here as it can test every port you’ll ever need.
5. Tweak the volume
More often than not, the volume is the culprit for buzzing in your speakers. If this is the case, you’re lucky because it is quite an easy issue to solve.
Why does high volume cause speakers to buzz?
All speakers are powered by an amplifier, which takes a low level-signal as input and pushes it through the speakers to create sound. When there is no input, the amplifier amplifies the background noise. As you increase the volume, you will hear more noise.
There is always this background noise, but speakers with a better, more powerful amplifier won’t have this problem.
The noise you hear is the amplifier running. A great way of describing it is this; if your speakers’ amplifier is 100W and you have it at total volume, the speaker will use the full 100W, which causes it to create more noise.
If you use a speaker that has a more powerful amplifier, you won’t have to turn it up as much to get your desired volume so that it won’t create as much noise.
So check if turning down your volume to 75% or below fixes the issue, and if it does, you know it’s the speakers’ amp causing the problem.
6. Try a different Audio Input
Many speakers come with multiple audio inputs. Sometimes one input can be loose, and the cable cannot get a ‘flush’ connection with the speaker. Try unplugging your cable from the current one, and plug it into the other audio input.
7. Changing Speaker Cable
Whether it’s from wear and tear or a dodgy cable, sometimes the tiny wires inside can become damaged. When this happens, the connection between the speaker and your device is flawed, which can cause noise or distortion.
Usually, this happens near the top of the cable where it plugs in. Try wiggling the cable gently and holding it in certain positions to see if it will work. If it does, you know that one of the wires inside is damaged, and you can try to narrow down its location.
You can try creating your contraption that holds the cable in place with either a piece of string or tape, but don’t expect this to work in the long run.
If you have the experience, this can be an easy fix as it just involves stripping back the insulation and twisting them together. However, this is not recommended if you are new to this. You are better off buying a new cable altogether.
8. Update your Audio Drivers
Drivers are needed for your computer to run your components, like speakers, properly. Over time, they can become outdated as new updates roll out, which can cause compatibility issues if not updated.
It’s a straightforward task to do and hopefully solves your issue.
Step 1. Click the Windows icon in the bottom left and type “Device Manager” into the search box.
Step 2. Find and click the arrow at “Audio Input and Outputs” and “Sound, video, and game controllers.” This will show a list of all your audio devices.
Step 3. Right-click on all of the devices and click “Update Driver.”
Step 4. Once they are all updated, restart your computer and see if the buzzing has stopped.
Alternatively, you can go to your speaker manufacturers’ website and download the latest drivers there.
Note: If you are on Mac, make sure you have the latest OS Update as the drivers are installed and updated automatically with it.
9. Check if your Speaker is Blown
A blown speaker is every music lover’s worst nightmare. There are ways of fixing it at home yourself, but it is recommended you either get a professional to repair it or buy new speakers altogether.
How to check if your speaker is blown
Step 1. There should be a couple of screws on the front panel of your speaker, usually 3 or 4. Unscrew these screws, which will reveal the speaker’s membrane. Be careful here as it is delicate.
Step 2. While using a torch, gently run your finger across the membrane and see if you can feel any hole or tear. Alternatively, play some low-volume music which may make the spot stand out.
Step 3. If you find a hole, disconnect the power and rub a small amount of rubber cement. Be sure to spread it evenly across it.
10. Adjust your speaker position
Any time you have a speaker close to a wall or other reflective surface, part of the sound will bounce off that surface and cause interference. This is called comb filtering, and it causes specific frequencies to be reinforced while others are canceled out. This can more often than not cause humming or buzzing from your speakers.
The further away you place the speaker from any reflective surfaces, the less pronounced this effect will be. However, if the speaker is too far away from the listener, some of the sounds will disappear entirely, leading to a loss of audio quality.
Finding the right balance between minimizing reflections and maintaining an audible distance can be tricky. Still, with a bit of trial and error, you should be able to achieve good results.
You should also make sure your speaker is on a flat surface as if they are instead or unbalanced; the vibration can cause buzzing in your speakers.
10. Copper Corrosion in Speakers
Many speakers have copper built into them in some form or another. Whether that’s in just the wires or the actual mechanisms of the speakers themselves, copper corrosion can happen with speakers, and it can cause several problems. One of these problems is a buzzing noise from your speakers.
For starters, the corrosion can create an electrical connection between the speaker wires and the metal parts of the speaker, which can short out the system. Additionally, the corroded metal can flake off and get into the speaker’s moving parts, which can cause them to wear down more quickly.
There are a few ways to prevent copper corrosion in speakers. One must make sure all of the wiring connections are tight and secure. Another is to use dielectric grease on all connector pins to keep out moisture.
One way to check for copper corrosion is to use a magnet. If the magnet sticks to the speaker, there is metal oxidation (copper corrosion), and the speaker should be replaced.
Another way to test for copper corrosion is by using an electrical multimeter in continuity mode. If an electrical current flows through the speaker, it means metal oxidation (copper corrosion), and the speaker should be replaced.
We hope this guide helped you find out how to fix buzzing speakers. Hopefully, you are left with speakers that produce clear sound and no more buzzing. It can be an annoying experience, and there is no better feeling than solving the problem.
You may also be interested in the best Yamaha Bookshelf Speakers.