Why Is My Subwoofer Popping When I Turn It On? (And How To Fix It)


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What is the popping sound when I turn on my subwoofer? This is a question that many people ask themselves. There are many things that could be causing this issue, and in this article, we will go over what it could be and how to fix it!

I remember a while ago my subwoofer would occasionally makes a “popping” sound. Sometimes it’s a rapid double pop, and other times it’s a single. This happens at random and just rarely, regardless of whether I’m using the system or everything is turned off (stand by mode).

I couldn’t figure it out at all, so I did some digging.

Why is my subwoofer making a popping sound?

It turns out, it can be caused by a wide array of factors.

– It could be interference with the power coming from your A/C. Interference from your A/C can be caused by the wiring, the subwoofer’s placement near any other electrical appliances, or even just from a power surge.

– Your subwoofer might have a loose wire or connection, which is why it pops when turned on and off.

As a general rule the popping sound when you turn your subwoofer on means that either your bass knob is turned up too high, your subwoofer is in need of either fine-tuning or repair, and/or there is something wrong with your electrical setup. 

Subwoofer pops are can also be caused by a gas pocket, such as after the air has been sucked up by the speaker cone and then released.

Sometimes the ‘pop’ we is hear when our subwoofers go into thermal protection mode happens because of a vacuum or partial vacuum created around the coil in our subwoofer. This is most likely to happen when it’s really cold outside, or during hot weather like July if you live near sea level.

A very common cause of the popping noise with a subwoofer is something called acoustic resonance. Different materials vibrate at different frequencies and intensities when the sound gets conducted through them, so it’s theoretically possible for your floor to be vibrating at just the right frequency to add an extra low level “pop” into the sound being amplified by your subwoofer.

This obviously doesn’t apply to those who hear a ‘pop’ when the subwoofer turns on, but I feel it’s worth mentioning.

How can I fix this popping sound when my subwoofer turns on?

The key to solving the issue is to only change one variable at a time. If you rush in and change multiple things at once which fixes the issue, you won’t know what caused it in the future. So take your time, and solve it once and for all.

Usually, the most common cause of a subwoofer ‘popping’ is caused by a power spike from the amplifier. This is usually because the volume is set at a very high volume when you turn the subwoofer on. To prevent this, either mute the subwoofer or just turn it down before you switch it back on.

Another way to try and solve this issue is to check each of the connections in your electrical system for an issue; you should also disconnect all wires going to the subwoofer including speaker, amp, etc. Then turn them back on one by one until you find where the interference (if there) originates.

Alternatively, if that doesn’t work out then try switching outlets as well as using a surge protector between the outlet and cable box/subwoofers input jack. This can help rule out interference being the issue.

If you’ve ruled all of the other options out, it’s probably nothing to be concerned about.

Certain subwoofer amplifiers utilize capacitors to store power until it is required to push the woofer louder and further out as required by the content. When kept in “auto-off” mode, these capacitors gradually drain. When the switch mechanically disconnects the sub, the electrical potential rapidly returns to earth, resulting in a pop noise.

If you are concerned, get in touch with the support team of your subwoofers brand.

Can popping damage subwoofers?

Yes, it’s possible. But it’s not the popping that will damage subwoofers, it’s the driving of them at levels where they can’t do their job properly. You need to keep your subwoofer in a certain frequency range, too high and you excite it too much and it won’t work well; too low and you lose control over it.

So if you give a good sound source with well-defined frequencies (say Steve Kardynal or Girl Talk) to small drivers, then any resulting intermittent distortion is unlikely to cause significant problems. But if you’re blasting your woofers with distorted signals from media players that don’t properly reproduce waveforms then yes, it can damage your subwoofer.

Conclusion

Subwoofer popping when you turn it on can be caused by a wide array of things. Most commonly, it is because you have your subwoofer volume turned up too high, which causes a power spike from the amplifier. Other common causes are loose wire/connections, interference from your A/C, or just from trapped air in the subwoofer cone.

I hope this article helped solve your issue with your subwoofer popping and you can get back to listening in peace!

Shawn Shepherd

Hi, I'm the owner of the Hifi Guide and have been an audio lover enthusiast for over 16 years. I have a Bachelor's degree in Sound Engineering and I work on producing content for the Hifi Guide in my spare time. My love for audio stemmed from my Dad who was an audio technician, and now I share my knowledge here on this website!

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