Why Are Speakers Crackling When Loud and How to Fix It

Speakers crackling when loud can be caused by pushing the speakers too hard, a faulty cable or electrical connection, blown speaker components, or issues with the input connections within the speaker. All of these can be fixed or improved. 

I’m Donovan, a lifelong musician with years of experience building and running home recording studios. I’ve dealt with many different speaker issues over the years and know how to diagnose and fix these first-hand. 

This post will explain why speakers can crackle when the music gets loud. I’ll point out the causes of this problem and what you can do to fix things quickly and easily. I want to ensure you have a great listening experience. 

Let’s get started. 

Key Takeaways

  • There are multiple reasons why speakers can crackle when loud, including faulty cables and connections, blown speaker components, or the speakers being pushed too hard. 
  • Using an amplifier with your audio setup can help speakers perform better at higher volumes without crackling. 
  • Replacing a cable or cord is another easy way to fix speaker crackles caused by broken equipment. 
  • Speakers can also break due to high volumes. This is called a blown speaker and can’t always be fixed. 

Reasons Why Speakers Crackling When Loud

There are several common reasons why speakers crackle when loud volumes are played through them. Knowing about these issues is good so you can try to limit them from happening and get the best audio quality possible from your speakers. 

It is OK to listen to speakers are loud volumes, but not all speakers are capable of being pushed to their limits. Some speakers are of lesser quality than others, and cheaper speakers will crackle or get distorted more than high-quality options. 

That said, take a look at all of the reasons why speakers crackle when things get loud here to help you figure out the cause and solution of the speaker issues you are dealing with. 

1. Bad or Failing Cables

Bad or failing cables are the most likely cause of your speakers crackling when the music gets too loud. Speaker cables are relatively easy to break, especially if they get twisted, bent, or wrapped up often. 

An easy way to troubleshoot if you have a bad or failing cable is to turn on your stereo system and touch and wiggle your cable. If you hear any crackling or pops, you know the cable is shot, and you need a new one. 

The input ends of the speaker cables are common spots for damage, but this can also occur anywhere along the length of the cable. If you hear crackling whenever a cable is moved, you likely have a bad one. 

How to Fix It: 

The fix for this issue is one of the simplest as well – you just need to buy a new speaker cable. Then you can replace the bad one and get rid of your crackles. Be sure to get a cable that is the same length and style as the one you are replacing to make things easier. 

2. Speakers being Pushed too Hard

Another common reason for crackling speakers is pushing them too hard. Speakers are designed to handle louder volumes, but this doesn’t mean you can push every speaker to the max without any repercussions. 

Your speaker’s quality can directly correlate with how hard they can be pushed. If you invest in higher-quality speakers, you’ll likely be able to put more volume through them. Low-quality speakers will crackle easier. 

This doesn’t mean that high-quality speakers are immune from crackles. It just means they can typically handle more signal before they start to crackle. But you can easily push nice speakers to the point where the sound gets distorted as well. 

How to Fix It: 

You can fix the crackle coming from a speaker being pushed too hard in two ways. The first is to simply turn the volume down. You might not need to turn it down much for the crackle to disappear.

The other way is to use an amplifier with your audio system. This will allow the speakers to handle more signal since it’s being processed first within the amp. This will lead to better audio quality in the long run as well. 

Using an amp is always a good idea if you have a higher-end audio system, whether at home or in your car. Not only will this help prevent crackles, but it also has other benefits that will improve your overall listening experience.  

3. Bad Input Connection

A bad input connection will also lead to crackles from your speaker when the volume gets loud. This is pretty much the same source of the distortion as a bad or failing cable, but it might be within the speaker design and not the speaker. 

You can quickly diagnose this cause by wiggling the speaker wire at the connection input on the speaker. This is typically on the back of the speaker. If you hear more crackling or distortion when you wiggle near the input, it’s the cable’s input or end causing it. 

How to Fix It: 

The first thing you should do is switch the speaker cable to a good one to rule out the possibility of a bad cable. If the crackle still occurs after you switch to a new cable, the problem is likely with the input on your speaker. 

You can fix this input if you are comfortable with taking the speaker apart to access it. The wires to this connection might need to be resoldered or otherwise attached. You can take the speaker to a repair shop if you don’t feel uncomfortable doing it yourself. 

Some speaker inputs will just pop out without much disassembly, making the process very easy to do yourself. But if it doesn’t look like your input pops out easily, you’ll likely need to take the speaker apart. 

4. Blown Speaker

A blown speaker is bad news, and this is another cause of crackling and other audio issues when the volume is played loudly. Blown speakers are typically caused by louder volumes and result in physical damage to the speaker itself. 

Blown speakers sound pretty terrible. Not only will you hear crackles, but you might also hear muffled sounds, rattles, and other abnormalities. You can also often see tears in the diaphragm or drivers of the speaker, which indicates that it’s blown. 

How to Fix It: 

There isn’t much you can do about a blown speaker. If your speaker has been pushed loud enough to cause damage to the physical components, it’s most likely beyond repair. You need to buy a new speaker or a new set of speakers to deal with the issue. 

Sometimes it is possible to fix a blown speaker, but it’s a difficult DIY job and depends on what parts of the speaker have been blown. If you want to go this route, your best bet is to take the speaker to a professional for an attempt at repair. 

5. Low-Quality Speaker

A low-quality speaker can also cause crackling. Some speakers that don’t have a solid construction will have some sort of distortion, no matter what volume they are played at. And this will only get worse the louder the speaker gets. 

Not all cheap speakers will crackle, but there’s a much higher chance that they will compared to high-quality options. Keep that in mind when you are shopping for speakers in the first place. Audio quality isn’t always guaranteed, and it’s often worth spending more upfront. 

How to Fix It: 

Bad speakers are bad speakers, and there isn’t much you can do to fix them other than purchase a new pair. If you don’t care much about audio quality and the crackles aren’t that bad, you can tough it out. 

But if the crackling is driving you crazy and you can’t handle it any longer, invest in some good quality speakers that are less likely to have distortion in the first place. 

6. Items on Top or In Front of Speaker

This last issue isn’t related to the actual speaker itself. But I still wanted to include it because I’ve dealt with this problem numerous times, and it’s very easy to fix. 

If you have anything placed on top or in front of your speaker, this can cause vibrations that sound like crackling. As sound comes out of the speakers, it causes vibrations that will potentially move anything nearby. 

How to Fix It: 

The fix to this issue is super simple – take the items away from your speakers. Even small objects can cause sounds, so it’s always best not to place anything on or near your speakers to avoid this.

If you still hear crackles after moving everything, then you know the problem is caused by one of the other reasons mentioned above. 


Here are a few short answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to why speakers crackle when loud. 

Why do my speakers crackle at high volumes? 

The most common cause for a speaker to crackle at high volumes is distortion created through the audio signal. The speakers can be pushed too much, and this results in distortion. Using an amplifier with your speakers can help reduce this problem. 

Is there a way to fix a crackling speaker? 

There are ways to fix a crackling speaker, but it depends on what the crackling is being caused by. Sometimes just turning down the volume or using an amplifier will do the trick; other times, you might need to replace a cable or connection. 

How do you clean a crackling volume control? 

If the volume control on your speaker or mixer is crackling, you should clean out the port. You’ll need to expose the hardware and clean it from dust and any other potential debris that might be causing the crackling.

What do blown speakers sound like? 

A blown speaker typically produces a scratching, crackling, or muffled sound. Blown speakers can also buzz heavily. You can physically see tears in the speaker’s diaphragm, indicating that it’s blown. 

Can high volume damage speakers? 

High volumes can damage speakers, and blown speakers are typically caused by volume being pushed too hard. Using an amplifier with speakers can help reduce the damage, but speakers can easily get ruined when too much volume is consistently pushed through them.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of reasons your speakers crackle when they get loud. A bad cable is one of the most common causes of this, and simply replacing the cable should get rid of the distortion. 

If you always listen to really loud music and have just noticed a significant crackle, there’s a decent chance you have a blown speaker. You can’t easily fix a blown speaker, so you might need to purchase new ones to get things sounding good again. 

Have you ever dealt with crackling speakers? How did you fix the problem? Let me know in the comments below.

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