Speakers give your music, videos, and other audio files the extra kick that takes them to the next level. There are few things more relaxing than playing your favorite music on your speaker.
However, with time, you might start hearing that dreadful buzzing sound. It begins quietly at first, but it gets more consistent and louder over time. This can get very annoying. But before you make a hasty decision and get rid of the speaker, let us look at how you can stop the annoying buzzing.
What is the Cause of the Buzzing?
White noise can be soothing and help some people get to sleep faster. This, however, only works when it is in a specially designed white noise machine. The continuous buzzing from a speaker does the opposite, giving you headaches and angering you.
One of the most common reasons why speakers buzz is an electrical malfunction. If this is your problem, you can easily fix the sound by replacing the cords.
Two other causes that could produce
Humming Sounds Are:
- Structural problems. This applies in cases where there is a problem with the overall speaker design. You might have a blown speaker that causes the buzzing sound.
- Software–related problems. All parts of the speaker’s software need to be functioning effectively. Your computer’s audio drivers might be outdated, creating the strange humming sound from your speaker.
Now that we know the main problems causing the sound, let us see why the issues can make your speakers buzz.
Your speakers use two cables to make them work: the audio cables and the power supply line. This line connects the speakers to a power outlet, which might be why the speaker buzzes. There could also be a problem with grounding leading to that sound.
The power supply cord has two plugs, the female IEC-C13 connector and the male end. The female connector plugs into devices such as computers and studio monitors. The male end connects to the power outlet and is where most speaker sound problems arise.
There are three pins at the male connector, two being AC power conductors and the last one providing grounding. Most speakers have grounding prongs that help with the audio quality. Despite their usefulness, the prongs also produce a high-pitched buzzing sound at around 120 Hz.
If you suspect that your grounding pin is the source of the noise, speak to a professional. Don’t do it yourself unless you have the needed skills. I will later show you why it is unsafe to remove the grounding pin physically.
Sometimes your cables are the source of the constant, distorted noise. The noise can continue even without audio output and worsen when other electrical devices get too close to the speaker. Unbalanced cords/ wires can be the main reason your speaker’s buzz.
Two RCA cords and robust instrument cables are included in the cords. All three wires are crucial, but outside interference can interfere with them. The low buzzing sounds could be coming from the interference. Otherwise, the cables function flawlessly in considerably calmer settings.
The drawback is that interference in the image cannot be entirely eliminated. Interference can be produced by any electronic device or by anything having a magnetic field. This implies that the sound can come from your phone and mouse as well.
Outdated/ Faulty Audio Drivers
This is a software-related problem. A computer error can cause your speakers to have reduced functionality, producing disturbing sounds. You can easily troubleshoot this problem and find out if all relevant drivers are updated and fully functional.
You can perform this check yourself by going to the Device Manager. This shows you all the drivers and lets you know whether they are up to date or not.
Electrical issues are the most common cause of speaker buzzing. This is a structural issue that involves physical damage to the speaker. If the outer components of your speaker are cut or have a tear, they can let air escape from the speaker, resulting in a buzzing or humming sound.
The parts you need to focus on include the dust cap, the diaphragm or cone, and the surround. As the name suggests, the dust cap prevents dust from getting into the speaker. It is surrounded by the diaphragm, made out of metal, plastic, or paper.
The outer part of the diaphragm is the speaker’s surround. In most cases, the surround is a rubber foam suspender that vibrates freely when using the speakers. You can adjust the vibrations by tweaking the coil movements just a little.
The buzzing sound can also be because of the diaphragm suspension cracks. The cracks sustain a lot of physical damage that brings the anomalies. It can start as a slow popping sound that gradually worsens, producing a hissing, rattling, and finally buzzing sound whenever you want to use the speaker.
How to Fix Buzzing Speakers
Now that you are aware of the possible reasons causing the buzzing sound, let us move on to how you can fix it.
If the problem is outdated drivers, you will only need to update them. For that, go to the Device Manager program, select your speakers on the devices list, and right-click on it. This should give you all the information about the speakers, including the last time they were updated and whether they need updating or not.
If you see the speakers are due for an update, click on the update option and let the computer sort it out. Once the drivers successfully update, restart the computer and allow the changes to take effect while rebooting. This should then show you whether the update was successful.
Another software-related issue you can check out while updating drivers is the sound properties. Select Sound Properties, then Sound Settings, and click on the Playback tab. Once you open the tab, select the Enhancements tab, and disable the available enhancements.
Disabling the enhancements eliminates features like bass boost, room correction, and virtual surround. You can now listen to your files without hearing the constant buzzing.
Fix a Blown Speaker
Speakers that sustain a lot of physical damage tend to produce a humming sound, and you need to address that problem before it gets worse. Find the area with the problem and get new replacement parts.
Ensure you get the exact replacements as your original parts make and model. You can find universal replacement parts online if you don’t find the exact model from the original manufacturer. Ensure you get the correct speaker measurements.
Correcting the problem is much easier if your speakers are not blown and simply have a hole in the conical diaphragm. Use paper cones to fill out the hole. In case you don’t have paper cones, you can fill the gap using a mixture of Elmer’s glue and paper tissue.
Use Different Outlets
Another cause of speaker buzzing is a faulty power supply. If this is your problem, try to determine whether it is an electrical problem. If it is, plug the speaker into a different outlet. A power strip can get overwhelmed, forcing you to spread the electric demand between multiple ports.
Try different arrangements when experimenting with the various outlets until you find one that sticks.
You can start by disconnecting the speakers and then plugging them into a different strip. If the buzzing persists, switch the computer and speaker positions. If that doesn’t work, move to another room and plug the speakers in there to see if it will work.
If the speaker stops buzzing when you change outlets, the problem is faulty grounding. To fix the grounding, get a new power strip, especially those with Type E sockets, as they have fewer grounding issues.
You might need to get matching power cables with a type C, E, or F male plug. Ensure it is a two-prong cable and that both ends are compatible. Note that this step only works if your speakers don’t have an inbuilt power cable.
Use a Rounding Adaptor
Rounding adaptors have three-prong to two-prong adapters. You can get the correct adaptor depending on the type of plug you have. Getting rid of the third prong can bring other issues if you use the wrong outlet, undoing all your hard work.
Lower the Volume
High volume can harm your speakers, creating a buzzing sound. Try lowering your speaker’s volume and see if there is a change. Leaving your speakers on high even when you are not using them can also create a humming sound.
You can find out if the volume is the problem by turning the volume dial counterclockwise. If you notice the buzz on higher volumes, you can easily fix that. Make sure the audio volume is not more than 75% whether you are using the speakers or not. This helps preserve their structural integrity and also protects your ears.
Get an Isolation Transformer
An isolation transformer or hum eliminator gets rid of the buzzing sound. The two devices have the same noise dampening problem. Isolation transformers have a floating AC output while hum eliminators don’t lift off the ground.
Buy an Audio Ground Loop Isolator
Use an audio ground loop insulator. This method, however, only works with speakers with 3.5mm jack cables that easily pick up electrical interference. A good ground loop insulator stops the interference, letting you enjoy clear and clean audio.
Connect the jack to the isolator’s female port and connect the male end to the speaker. This isolates the electrical interference before it reaches the amplifier, thus eliminating the humming/ buzzing sound.
Use a Direct Inject (DI) Box
A DI box eliminates buzzing by making the cords seem balanced. The box converts unbalanced signals from the cable into balanced ones.
DI boxes are quite affordable. They are, however, not the best solution for buzzing sounds that interfere with your games, music, or shows. This is because they don’t completely stop the buzzing; they only reduce it to a certain amount where you can barely hear it.
Get Balanced Cables
Instead of attempting to create balanced cables using a DI box, you can purchase already balanced cables. You can easily switch the audio cords as long as they are not built into your speakers.
Balanced cords have three wires in the connector cord. Two are signal wires, and the third one is a ground wire. The second signal wire stops the buzzing or changes your speakers into a noise-cancelation device.
Get a balanced cable to replace the second signal wire, reversing the polarity and eliminating the buzzing sound.
Call an Electrician
What if you have checked all the possible causes and fixes and the buzzing sound persists? In such a case, calling an electrician is your best bet. They have more knowledge of how the speakers work, and they can tell if there are underlying issues in the power grid.
Sometimes the buzzing sound can signify an even bigger problem, such as a power grid problem. You should not touch anything that affects the speaker’s power plug yourself, as you risk making things worse; that is why you need an electrician.
What exactly happens if you change the components by yourself?
Can You Detach the Power Plug and the Ground Pin Yourself?
Detaching the ground pin from the power plug is one of the most effective solutions to stopping the buzzing sound. However, the procedure is unsafe. The ground pin protects you from power surges that can cause electric shocks.
Removing the power plug and the ground pin by yourself leaves you in a vulnerable state where you can get an electrical shock or even cause fires. To avoid such drastic reactions, stick to the above methods or contact a specialist who knows how to make the changes.
There are many reasons why a speaker produces a buzzing sound. It can be due to a blown speaker, outdated audio drivers, or grounding issues.
You can easily fix these problems yourself by using solutions such as buying a grounding adaptor or an audio ground insulator.
Remember, don’t make any significant changes without contacting an expert to avoid making things worse.
Further Reading: Effective Solutions to Car Speakers that Rattle with Bass