Why Speakers Pop When I Turn Car On or Off (Answered)

The speakers in your car are one of the most important components, not only for the in-car music experience but also for taking the call and receiving navigation messages.

Accessories such as amplifiers and subwoofers only add to this experience and allow us to truly feel the music. Without them, the music can sound very dull.

That’s why it is very understandable for a user to worry about these audio system parts.

In this article, we’ll discuss one of the problems drivers face and how to solve the problem.

Here’s Why Speakers Or Subwoofers Pop When You Turn the Car On or Off?

You may have often noticed that a pop sound is heard from your speakers when you turn your car on and off. This can be caused due to various reasons linked to your amplifier. A “pop” or “thump” typically indicates that a DC step has been applied to the speaker cone. This occurs in electronic amplifiers because, when the power is turned off, one of the two bipolar power rails or the amplifier sections (a class AB amp has a positive and a negative portion) shuts down more quickly than the other.

Audi A6 2016 rear deck speaker
Audi A6 2016 rear deck speaker

However, there is nothing much to worry about as long as you maintain your car’s audio system.


Why Does The Speaker Or Subwoofer Pop When The Amplifier Turns On Or Off?

car subwoofer enclosure boot
Subwoofer enclosure in a boot of a car

The amplifier is a device that boosts the audio signals from the head units and plays them through the subwoofers. It goes hand in hand with the subwoofers.

A sound from the subwoofer whenever the amplifier is turned on can be due to many reasons:

1. High Amplifier Gain

A pop noise is frequently heard when the gain setting on an amplifier is set too high.

You may hear this when you initially start the car and the amplifier switches on.

The speakers and subwoofers attached to the amplifier can be heard popping as the amplifier turns on and sends the first 6 volts via the speakers and subwoofers.

2. High Line Output Converter

This problem is similar to an amplifier with excessive gain settings.

The line output converter is powered by 12 volts, which is also occasionally used to turn on the subwoofer amplifier.

That is when you hear the same pop sound.

3. Insufficient Turn-on Delay

To prevent turn-on pops, amplifiers normally contain a little delay. However, occasionally this delay is insufficient.

Similar to how the DC offset disappears when the head is turned off, there is a pop because it takes the amplifier a certain amount of time to shut down once the remote wire loses power.

What Causes Speaker or Subwoofer Thump In General?

Current interruption is the main reason for the speaker’s popping and cracking.

Audio signals from speakers are converted into mechanical wave energy via transducers (sound waves). Electrical transmissions with alternating currents make up audio signals. 

Sometimes, it happens due to a poor connection. A faulty connection between your amplifier and speaker driver is causing the driver to move erratically and generating interference.

The faulty connection problem could be located in a number of locations, some of which are simpler to fix than others.

The thumping sound can also be caused due to the amplifier. The amplifier powering the speakers is where the sound comes from.

To keep their output at “zero volts” in the absence of a signal and to stabilize their performance, almost all amplifiers require some form of “feedback.” 

Depending on the amplifier-specific design, amplifiers require some time after power is introduced for the feedback loop to become active and start controlling the system.

When the feedback loop finally “kicks in” and pushes the output voltage back to zero, if the amplifier’s output voltage (i.e., the signal applied to the speaker) starts to climb during that time, it will result in a “pop.”

How Do I Fix The Speaker/Subwoofer Pop?

There are various ways to fix your car speakers, depending on the reason for their popping.

If it is due to a connection problem:

  • Turn off your car’s audio system.
  • Ensure the speaker wires are securely attached to the stereo receiver and speakers.
  • Disable any neighboring electronics that might be obstructing the speaker’s audio.
  • Disconnect any electrical cords from the speaker wires.
  • Reset the receiver to its default settings if the problem is still not fixed. Note: For instructions on resetting the stereo receiver, refer to the instruction manual.
  • Replace the speaker wires if necessary.
  • Connect a different set of speakers if at all possible. 

Note: If the issue is with the original speakers, it should disappear when different speakers are attached. If the issue is still present, it is the amplifier’s fault.

Check this great article on how reasons why speakers crackle.

If, however, it is your amplifier that is causing a problem, you should remove or replace your amplifier. Most modern amplifiers control the problem, and you won’t hear your speaker popping again.

If you do not know what the problem is, you can try these two steps:

  • The volume should be adjusted. The root of the issue is frequently pushing speakers past their breaking point. Try reducing and altering the volume and bass levels to check if it helps to eliminate the popping noises.
  • Move electrical equipment away from the speakers. Inconvenient popping sounds in the speakers may come from signal interference caused by radiation from cell phones and other electronic gadgets. See if taking your phone out will solve the issue.        

Wrapping Up

Once you identify the reason for the thump, it becomes very easy to sort out the issue.

It’s something very common, and hence there’s no need to panic when you hear it for the first time.

Just follow the steps discussed above, and your sound system will return to normal before you know it!


What Does It Mean When a Headphone Crackles?

A popping or crackling noise is heard from a speaker or subwoofer.