10 Common Speaker Problems and How to Fix Them

Speakers have come a long way in the past few decades, but they’re far from perfect. Whether you’ve had them for many years or recently purchased them, experiencing such issues can be quite frustrating. The good news is almost every sound system issue can be fixed by either replacing parts or changing the settings.

Common speaker problems include a lack of audio output, audio distortion, blown speakers, no bass or treble, and popping sounds. You can fix these issues by changing the output channels, lowering the volume, or replacing the coils, wires, and fabric. High volume can instantly damage new speakers.

Throughout this post, we’ll cover several problems and solutions to fix your common speaker issues. We’ll also talk about why they happen and what you can do to avoid them from happening again.

Non-working speaker

Why Is There No Sound Coming from Your Speakers?

Perhaps the most common issue with speakers is a lack of sound. If your speakers aren’t playing noise, they’re virtually useless. The good news is there are more than enough fixes, many of which you can DIY without professional help. Whether your speakers are many years old or brand-new, it’s time to fix this issue once and for all.

Follow this five-step process:

  1. Adjust the volume coming from the sound system. It might seem silly, but sometimes your speakers could lose their volume if they’re too low or high. Many speaker systems will come with safety triggers that prevent them from blasting too loudly. Your device might also stop it from going too high.
  2. Check if the speakers are muted. Muted speakers won’t ever produce sound, so your fix might be as simple as unmuting the problem. Check your speakers, the receiver, and the device you’re using to play the audio. All three of them should be unmuted. Don’t forget to inspect your surround sound, too!
  3. Repair, replace, or connect any electrical wires. According to Techwalla, wires are often the sole cause of no sound. Your speakers might drop or become crackly if there are loose connections, but disconnected wires won’t be able to produce any noise. Check all of them to ensure they’re plugged in snugly.
  4. Inspect the system’s output device (smartphone, laptop, TV, entertainment system, etc.). These devices could be the source of the problem since they have separate mute buttons. Before checking them, lower your speaker’s volume, so they don’t blare loud noise once you make the necessary adjustments on the device.
  5. Ensure you’re setting the speakers to the proper channel. Some speakers have multiple channels, so it’s essential to check if they’re in the proper setting. If your speakers are connected to Channel 1, but the receiver is playing audio to Channel 2, you won’t get any audio coming through them.

As you can see, many of the causes are relatively easy to avoid. While finding a solution is always welcome, it’s crucial to prevent it from recurring. Leaving wires loosened or turning the sound too loud can cause permanent damage to your speakers. If you want to know why your speaker’s audio is distorted, read on.

Audio Distortion is a Common Issue

If your sound system sounds garbled or inaudible, the fix might be easier than you’d think. Before you buy a new speaker or fork out hundreds of dollars on pro-level repairs, we’ve made a list of quick solutions for you to try. Below, you’ll find a handful of reasons the audio might sound distorted or distant.

  • Check if the speakers play from another device. If you’re unable to hear clear audio, plug the speakers into something else. If they work fine, then the device is the problem; If not, the speakers need to be fixed. Let’s cover a few repairs in the following four options below.
  • Switch the cable if necessary or applicable. Old, twisted cables start to wear down over time. Your cables should be neat, tidy, and organized to prevent them from breaking or stripping apart. If any of the cables look broken or busted, it might be time to replace them. This change can also prevent safety hazards.
  • Loose wire connections, cables, and plugs can cause audio distortion. As we saw in the previous section, cable and wire connections can take a toll on your sound system. Ensure they’re all connected correctly. You’ll notice this fix is found on almost every speaker problem in this list because it’s such a common issue.
  • Bluetooth connectivity often distorts with distance or interference. Anything blocking your Bluetooth device from a clear pathway to the speakers can cause fuzziness or distortion. This problem includes walls, doors, couches, furniture, and other big, dense structures.
  • Check if a coil is blown. Electronics Notes states you can repair a blown coil by centering it on the speaker. If it’s broken beyond repair, it’s best to contact the company to get a replacement. Many speaker coils are brand-specific (or at least size-specific), so ensure you’re getting the correct coil replacement.

Most audio systems sound different if there’s an electrical issue. Whether it’s a loose wire or a misaligned coil, you should inspect everything from top to bottom. Distortions can often be a sign that there’s an interrupted signal, but it might also mean your speakers are in danger of blowing out.

Check if Your Speakers Are Blown

Blown speakers often seem like a death sentence, but they’re not the end of your sound setup. In fact, most blown speakers can be repaired without replacing any of the parts. All you have to do is test the system to ensure that they’re actually blown, then adjust the coils, cons, fabric, or wiring. If they’re broken, then it might be time to bring them to a repair shop.

Here’s the three-step procedure to check if your speakers are blown:

Reduce the Volume

The first and most important step is to lower the volume. If you think your speakers are blown, the worth thing you can do is turn them up higher to see if you can hear them clearly. Blown speakers can worsen beyond repair if you’re not careful enough. Lower the volume to the point where it’s barely audible, then proceed to the next step.

Adjust the Bass and Treble

Extremely high bass or treble have been known to impact a speaker system negatively. The constant vibrations can tear through the coils and fabric, so it’s important to lower both of them after changing the volume. If you’re playing the speakers from a computer or smartphone, lower the bass and treble on those devices if applicable.

Inspect the Wires, Coils, and Fabric

In some cases, you can actually sew or seal the fabric if it’s separated from the speaker cone. You can also use silicone sealant to allow the fabric to flex instead of holding it in one place. The cone should be able to move around when the bass is going. Check the wires and coils behind the fabric if they’re exposed or loosened.

Many people think a blown speaker has to be replaced. Truthfully, you can either repair them for much cheaper or make a few minor adjustments to bring them back to their original condition. Remember to keep your speakers at a low-to-mid-level volume to prevent them from blowing out in the long run.

Tampered Source Material Can Ruin Sound Systems

You can upload a song to a computer program, increase the gain several times, and burn it on a CD or digital track. This process might sound familiar and harmless, but it’s one of the quickest ways to break your speakers. They can overheat, blow out, or become completely unusable. The source material is just as important as the speakers themselves.

Don’t Use Third-Party Digital Programs

If you raise the gain by two or three times the track’s original specs, you might think it sounds better, but it can ruin your speakers. Some go back to change the gain settings thinking it’ll improve the volume and let them play music louder on their sound system. While this is true, adjusting the gain too much can shred your speakers.

Keep the Computer’s Volume at a Reasonable Level

If you’re playing your speakers through a computer or similar device, you should lower the settings to a reasonable amount. Your speakers can play quite loud, but that doesn’t mean you should turn them as high as possible.

Lower the device’s volume and adjust the speaker volume to fit the same settings; That way, you don’t have to worry about them going too high from minimal changes.

Use CD’s, Entertainment Systems, or Vinyl

These three sources don’t go too sound since they’re designed for speakers. Digital content is acceptable, too, including smartphones and laptops. However, making adjustments to these devices makes it easy to destroy your speakers. Stick to the stock settings to prevent audio clipping or distortions.

There’s no reason to pump a song or movie’s gain and volume higher than it’s designed to go. These adjustments are fun in the short term but can cost you quite a bit of money on repairs or replacements if they damage your audio equipment. It’s best to let the track work its magic without modifications.

A Lack of Bass or Treble

We all love blasting the bass to our favorite tunes and bringing out the beauty of each instrument with the treble. Unfortunately, our speakers don’t enjoy it as much as we do. If you’re wondering why your speakers aren’t showing enough bass or treble, you might be surprised by the causes and solutions.

  • Cheap speakers distort the treble and bass at a high volume. The treble and bass often can’t keep up with increased gain or volume. When the speakers get too loud, the subwoofers and tweeters will sound distorted or won’t produce noise. Louder both settings, then try the next suggestion.
  • Adjust the source to ensure the treble and bass aren’t too high or low. Sometimes, your speakers will have high treble and bass, but the source isn’t adjusted. For example, if you’re using a laptop, check the program’s settings. You might have the treble and bass lowered, which means they won’t play through the speakers.
  • Ensure proper placement of the speakers if you’re using them indoors. Your speakers should have plenty of room on all sides. If they’re pressed against the wall, and the subwoofers don’t have room to produce the sound properly, you won’t notice the bass as much as you should be.
  • Check if the tweeters or subwoofers are too big or small for the speakers. Improper sizes can make them malfunction, rendering them useless. Thankfully, this is never an issue when you purchase them brand-new from a store. Consider asking the seller if you’re getting them from a third-party aftermarket deal.
  • If all else fails, inspect the wires and other connections. The wires and cables can always take a toll on your sound system. If they’re not connected properly, you won’t hear bass, treble, sound, and so on. The cables should wiggle or fall out. If there’s a recurring issue, you might have to get replacements.

There’s no denying the influence of bass and treble in music. They’re some of the most important parts of listening to songs, watching movies, and more. Your audio system should have separate knobs for both settings, so play around with them until you notice a difference; Otherwise, check the electrical connections or the connected device.

Malfunctioning Speaker Channels

It might seem silly, but your non-working speaker channels might be caused by user error. If you’ve been making several adjustments or not paying attention to the cables, there’s a high chance you can fix everything very quickly.

Here are our top four ways to fix speaker channel issues:

  1. Switch to a different channel. Try switching channels since old speaker systems can have malfunctioning channel options. If they work on another channel, you’re good to go. This simple fix is often enough to get rid of the problem and let you listen to the speakers again.
  2. Make sure the cables are plugged into the correct channels. If they’re wired into the first channel, but your receiver is set to the second channel, you won’t have any audio output. In some cases, you might hear a slight crackle, which could be confusing since it’ll make you think something’s wrong with the speakers and not the channels.
  3. Try the speakers on a different device. If they’re not working after you plug them into the proper channels, try using your speakers with anything else you have around your home. If they don’t work, there’s another issue afoot. If they do, then there’s something wrong with the channel connections.
  4. Contact an electrician or speaker expert to check the wiring. While we’d all like to DIY every sound system repair, you might need to contact a professional. Electrical issues can be hazardous, so don’t take the risk. You could consider asking for expert assistance for overheating, buzzing, and humming, too.

Try these solutions to get your speakers back on track. For more information about popping speakers, loosened cables, and strange audio interferences with your speakers, proceed to the next section.

Popping Sounds Coming From Speakers

Nothing’s worse than playing your favorite song or movie with random pops and blips throughout the track. These noises could start small and grow into an unavoidable problem, so it’s a good idea to stop them as soon as possible. Below, we’ll cover everything you should know about popping sounds from speaker systems.

  • Turn off electrical devices to reduce possible interferences. Anything nearby can interrupt the signal or wires. If you’re using an entertainment center, consider turning off the TV and other unused electrical appliances. You could also move smartphones, house phones, and everything else away from the area.
  • Check all of the wires to ensure they’re snug and not torn. If the wires are exposed or stripped, small disconnections could mess with their performance. This issue could cause popping and humming, but it’ll eventually lead to no sound coming from the speakers. The good news is most small speaker wires are relatively affordable.
  • Consider resetting the receiver to its factory settings or replacing it (if applicable). According to Sony, restoring the receiver to its like-new condition could fix the problem. While it’s not a common solution, it’s worth trying this step if you tried everything else without any success.
  • Inspect all of the surrounding cables and plugs. Move the cables away if they’re not contributing to the speakers. If they’re a part of a different system, they shouldn’t be touching the speaker’s wires and cables. Minor electrical interference could make loud humming or popping noises, which sound similar to a guitar amp’s cable when it’s touching another cable.
  • Your device might be the culprit. Another simple solution is to check your input device. If you’re using a computer and your WiFi isn’t strong enough, it could cause lagging and popping. Disconnect your device from the speakers and listen for the noises through your device’s sound system.

You don’t have to put up with interrupting popping sounds anymore. These solutions are straightforward and can prevent the noises from returning. If you notice a humming, most of the fixes are the same. However, we’ll cover a few differences below.

Humming is a Frustrating Audio Concern

You might’ve heard a constant hum that sounds like an audio interference coming from your speakers or amplifier. Whether they’re in your car, home, or anywhere else, these buzzing noises can ruin your listening experience. Let’s break down a five-step process to get rid of them for good.

  1. Switch to an AC ground adapter to limit the buzzing from the subwoofers. If you’re using a three-prong plug, it could cause a constant humming noise. We suggest using the 3-to-2-Prong Grounding Converter by Supply Guru. This budget-friendly adapter comes in a six-pack and can be the easiest solution to the problem.
  2. Make sure you’re using the proper cables (outdated or improper cables might work fine, but they can produce a buzzing sound). Just because the cables fit in the channels or input and output areas doesn’t mean they’re the correct type. Check the speaker’s user’s manual to ensure you have the proper size.
  3. Consider an audio isolation transformer to reduce or get rid of the buzzing and humming noises. They can balance signals and adjust the AC voltage, which is often the cause of annoying buzzes or constant humming noises.
  4. Test the electrical connections since overloading a circuit can cause it to overheat and buzz. Use a multimeter to ensure you’re getting the same voltage on every electrical connection. Ensure you’re not adding too many plugs to the wall or power strip. All power strips should come with a maximum load capacity, so check it beforehand.
  5. Straighten and organize all of the audio system’s cables. If they’re too close to one another, they’ll cause a buzzing sound. Exposed wires touching one another will make a loud sound. The closer they are, the louder it will be. Tangled cables can wreak havoc on your speaker’s audio quality.

Humming can be caused by electricity more often than not. Another rare cause of humming is the wall outlet being overloaded. Listen closely to hear if the noise is coming from the outlet. If it is, you should unplug the system because it can cause electrical arcing and spark a fire.

How to Fix Surround Sound Issues

Surround sound systems can seem complicated and overwhelming for beginners. If you’ve never owned one and are experiencing various problems, you’re in the right place. We’ve covered every surround sound problem with numerous solutions to prevent them from coming back.

  • Check if your TV or other device is set to the surround sound mode. Many devices have a selection designed for surround sound compatibility. If your device isn’t on the correct setting or channel, your surround sound system won’t work. Furthermore, ensure the speakers are turned on.
  • Disconnect and connect all cables and wires. Loose cables or improper connections can make your surround sound system a bit weak. Many of these setups have dozens of cables, so it’s challenging to know which is the problem. Instead of testing each of them, you could unplug and plug every one of them.
  • Test the receiver settings until you find the proper channel. Surround sound systems have to all be on the same channel. If they’re not using the proper channel, it won’t go through the system. Choosing the proper setting between 5.1 and 7.1 will ensure they work well.
  • Bluetooth speakers require reduced interference. Bluetooth surround sound speakers are convenient because they’re out of the way and use minimal cables. However, you have to create a clear, decluttered path between all of the speakers and the primary playing device. We’ll discuss more Bluetooth speaker issues in the next section.

There are many types of surround sound systems. Whether you’re choosing the right type between 5.1 and 7.1 or using wired vs. wireless setups, you should keep the user’s manual nearby at all times. Those with Bluetooth systems should review the final subheading for more information.

Common Bluetooth Speaker Problems

Bluetooth systems are exciting because they’re wireless and let you connect music and movies from your favorite devices. However, with modern technology comes modern problems and necessary solutions.

It’s time to find out how you can fix or prevent Bluetooth speaker issues by checking their requirements, update versions, and device connections.

Check the Bluetooth Device’s Distance Requirements

Some Bluetooth devices have to be within a handful of feet, while others can work across the house. Knowing your system’s limitations will allow you to create the best layout for your speaker’s sound system. Check the requirements and keep in mind that those are the limits, which means you should have everything slightly closer than the highest distance possible.

Find the Bluetooth Update Version

There are many versions of Bluetooth connections. If your device or speakers are on different Bluetooth versions, they won’t be compatible. You might hear a quiet popping sound, quiet audio, or constant interruptions. However, nothing will be as clear as if you had the same version across both systems. Check for software updates if possible.

Disconnect the Device from Other Systems

It’s difficult to connect a smartphone, computer, or other Bluetooth devices to multiple systems. Make sure it’s only connected to the speakers and not your smartwatch, car, wireless headphones, and so on. There should only be one device connected to your Bluetooth system if you’re using it for an entertainment system.

Conclusion

Now that you know the most common speaker problems and how to fix them, it’s time to take good care of your audio system. Many modern speakers are capable of playing extremely high, clear soundtracks, but that doesn’t mean you should push them to their limits, Reduce the volume and adjust the bass or treble to keep them in top shape.