Buzzing speakers can be infuriating. Whether you’re recording or listening to music, any form of unwanted noise from your speakers is a distraction. Finding the cause can sometimes be a time-consuming affair.
However, there are a few simple checks you can make that will generally root out the issue relatively quickly. So, if you’re scratching your head and wondering, “Why are my speakers buzzing?” read on, and hopefully, you’ll be back to buzz-free listening before you know it. Let’s get started.
I’ve started with cables since this is one of the most common causes of hissing and buzzing speakers.
You should begin by checking that your cables are properly connected. You’d be amazed by how many people experience buzzing just because a cable is not properly seated. If this is you, then you’re lucky.
Because it’s a very quick fix, and you can easily get on with enjoying your music. Now, while checking for badly seated cables, you should also check if there’s a cable plugged into your receiver that’s not connected at the other end.
For instance, you might have a karaoke machine that’s not connected. This means that the unconnected cable could be the source of all your woes. If you’ve still got issues, you might also want to take a look at the quality of your cables.
Cheap cables are cheap for a reason…
They are made from thinner materials, and often the level of shielding is very poor. If you’ve already invested in a great audio setup, don’t ruin the whole experience by cutting costs on cables.
Happily, you don’t have to break the bank for a set of cables. However, whether you are using HDMI cables or speaker cables, get yourself something decent. I can promise you you’ll be pleased you did.
When you check the speaker cables, you should ensure that any other connection feeding into the system is properly housed. This includes all electrical systems feeding into the loop, such as those connecting your laptop or TV.
Fortunately, like the speaker cable check, this is something that can be done relatively quickly. Even better, if it works, it’s a free fix. What’s not to like about that?
Poorly Set Controls
We’re sticking with the free fixes and sticking with another potential cause of speaker buzzing that’s also easy to fix. This won’t take up more than a couple of minutes, I promise. And, it may end up being the easy fix of the lot.
All you have to do is take a look at your controls and make sure none of them have been left in an extreme position. What I mean by this is having the volume or gain controls turned up close to the maximum. No system is designed for this, and you’re almost certain to get buzzing as a result.
This goes for any of the controls on your equalizer too…
If you need any of these kinds of extremes to be regularly dialed into your system, you’re simply asking more than it can deliver. It’s at this point that you genuinely need to consider updating your audio equipment for something better.
If you still don’t have an answer to the question, “Why are my speakers buzzing?” it’s probably time to check for signal interference.
This takes the form of other electronic devices that emit an electrical signal. Things that may cause issues might include a device that uses Bluetooth or WiFi. It could be something like a nearby router, laptop, mobile phone, AirPods, or even a fridge.
The best way to diagnose this is to turn off each device in turn and see if it sorts things out. If not, then it’s time to move on and try something else.
This is different from frequency interference. Electrical interference is simply physical current interference. This can be caused by your audio cables being near the power cables supplying your electrical devices.
So, what’s the solution?
Since most of us live in less than grandiose spaces, where space is tight, it can lead to power and audio cables bunched together or running side by side.
Low voltage speaker cables and high voltage power cables don’t always play well together. And the proximity can consequently cause buzzing. This is more likely to be the case if you have cheaper and less insulated cables.
If these two kinds of cables are close to each other, then try your best to space them apart. Admittedly, this can be difficult. Especially if there are long cable runs with both sets of cables fixed together. Regardless, give it your best shot.
Ground Loop Hum
When two or more devices are connected by a different path, the result can be a ground loop hum. In turn, this can be transmitted to your audio system, where it will be amplified and result in speaker buzz.
One of the most straightforward ways to alleviate the problem is by removing one of the paths. You can easily do this by plugging all your paths into a single one. Simply plug your audio equipment into a single outlet or a single high-quality power strip.
If this still fails to give you the required results, then you should consider investing in an audio hum eliminator. If you have a ground loop hum issue, this will cure it.
When trying to figure out what makes speakers buzz or hum, one of the last things on your mind is likely to be a software issue. Or, more specifically, an issue with your drivers. However, the reality is that you may have either a corrupted or out-of-date driver.
The good news is the problem is easily resolved if this is the case. Without going into detail, it’s a simple case of going into the menu on whatever operating system you’re using and manually checking and updating all your audio drivers.
For those of you that prefer to use a software program to do the job for you, there are plenty of options. You can use a PC Download Driver Updater or a CD-ROM Download Updater. These will take care of all your audio and also all other driver updates to keep your computer running smoothly.
At this point, you’ll most probably be tearing your hair out. And, you’ll have to begin to face the unsavory possibility that one or both of your speakers is blown.
So, how do you check for a blown speaker?
The best way is to isolate each channel and listen closely to a single speaker at a time. If the buzzing is only coming from one, it’s much more likely to be the source of your problem. If the buzzing is coming from both, it’s still possible to have a pair of blown speakers but less likely.
It’s now time to make a close manual inspection of the speaker or speakers and look for a tear. Since tears are notoriously hard to spot and can be very small, first make sure the speaker cones are clean. You should also ensure that you inspect in very well-lit conditions.
If you can immediately spot a tear, the next step is to play some music at progressively louder volumes. This will hopefully expose any damage if it exists.
What to do next?
If you subsequently discover that either of your speakers is blown, you’re then faced with the conundrum of how to repair them.
You could do it yourself using some rubber cement. Cheaper speakers might warrant being exposed to your potentially less than perfect DIY attempts.
However, if you have high-end speakers, you might be better advised to seek some professional advice concerning a repair.
Need More Help With Your Speakers?
If so, take a look at our detailed articles on How to Connect Speakers to your TV, How to Set Crossover Frequency for Speakers, How To Connect A CD Player To Speakers, and Can you Connect a Soundbar to a Receiver for more information.
You might also enjoy our in-depth reviews of the Best Speakers For Vinyl, the Best Floor Standing Speakers, the Best Bookshelf Speakers, the Best Powered Speakers, the Best Smart Speakers, the Best Sonos Speakers, and the Best Wireless TV Speakers you can buy in 2023.
Why are My Speakers Buzzing – Final Thoughts
So, there you have it. I hope that I’ve covered most of the bases to answer the problem with buzzing speakers. In short, with a little patience, the problem can be fixed, and the good news is that it can be fixed for free.
If not, then it’s rarely going to mean breaking the bank. And, it’s also rarely down to an expensive hardware equipment failure. This kind of buzzing is frankly annoying, so good luck with the fix.
Until next time, happy listening.