How to Get Rid of Static Noise in Car Audio Speakers
Are you getting tired of the static noise coming from your car speakers? Nothing messes up a driving experience more than turning on the radio, only to be met with a strange popping or crackling sound coming from your speakers.
Whether you’ve just replaced the speakers or installed an amp, static noise in a car is a common stereo problem that can arise from a range of factors.
Usually, this happens when an electrical field is introduced, which distorts the electric signals to produce unwanted noise. Luckily, the issue can be solved as long as you successfully track the source of the noise.
This post tells you how you can get rid of static noise in your car speakers!
Step 1: Track Down the Source of the Noise
The first thing to do is find out where the static noise is coming from. You need to determine whether the issue is within the car radio, in built-in audio accessories such as the CD player, or from external accessories like an iPhone. You want to start by turning on the head unit then set it up in such a way that allows you to hear the static noise.
If the noise only comes on when the engine is running and increases as the RPM of the car increases, then probably the problem is in the alternator. In most cases, this car speaker whine is repaired by installing some sort of noise filter. If the noise persists even with the engine off, try to note down the audio sources static noise could come from .
Step 2: Examine your Patch Cables
The source of the noise may just come from the RCA patch cables. The cables connected to your car stereo components may be picking static noise. To check whether this is true, you want to unplug these cables from the amplifier before inserting the opposite ends of the spare patch cable into the right and left input jacks on the radio amp.
Turn on the audio system and engine so that they are running simultaneously and listen to check whether the noise disappears. If it does, try reconnecting the cables to the amplifier and disconnecting them from the receiver. But if the noise persists, the static noise is coming from the patch cables.
The solution here would be to re-route the cables so that they are separated from the power cable by 18” or more. Generally, most car owners tend to use inexpensive RCA cables to connect their audio components. The problem here is that these types of cables have no insulation, hence cannot deflect the noise in a body of a highly conductive vehicle.
Generally, the level of static noise you hear in your car speakers will depend on the size of the loop area. This refers to the distance from the static noise center conductor to the outer shields multiplied by the cable length. In this case, you may want to consider replacing the cable with one that features a twisted pair design.
This will result in a reduced loop area and subsequently less noise. In case the noise is coming from the patch cables, then there is a high likelihood that it is finding its way through the antenna. Try connecting the patch cables to the amp then disconnect your system antenna. If you notice the noise fading away, then installing an antenna noise suppressor may just work for you.
This serves to filter the in-line between the antenna and the receiver, hence breaking the ground between the two. But if you plug off the antenna and the noise is still present; the source of the noise may be the main power cable. You may want to buy a thicker cable to fix this.
Step 3: Retrieve the Receiver from the Dashboard as a Tape or CD is Playing
Sometimes, the static noise is radiated into the stereo system in what is referred to as radiated static noise. You want to try pulling the receiver off the dashboard when the CD is playing. If you do this and hear the noise fading, then there is no radiation of static noise into your vehicle’s stereo system.
The issue can be remedied with the help of a magnetic shielding foil (Mu-metal). It works by shielding the receiver’s back or wrapping the component that may be radiating this static noise into your car system.
Step 4: Turn Off the Sound System then Disconnect the Speakers Wires from the Amps
Another thing that can lead to strange noise in your car is speaker wires. To check whether this is the case, start by turning off the audio system then unplug the speaker wires off the amps. Turn on the car engine and if the noise doesn’t disappear, then maybe there’s radiation into the wires. Try shielding the wires using Mu-metal foil wrapping or repositioning them.
Furthermore, make sure that the speaker wires are securely connected and that there are no breaks along the wireline.
Step 5: Assess the Alternator and Car Battery
If you can still hear the noise even after trying to fix the wires, then the other source of the static noise could be in the car’s electrical system. In such a case, what you want to do is fill the battery of your car with fluid and see if it helps. If it doesn’t make a difference, you might want to get hold of a mechanic to take a look at the battery’s alternator.
For an old car that hasn’t been turned down for a fairly extensive period, chances are the source of the unwanted static noise is the ignition. This will usually involve a tickling noise that tends to increase as the vehicle accelerates. You’ll want to tune-up your car using shielded carbon core spark plug wires, distributor cap, as well as resistor-type spark plugs.
However, if you can still hear the static noise, then check your car’s ignition system in terms of grounding. Poor grounding may tick to other parts of the car such as the hood, exhaust system, or even the air conditioner. Try to ground any of the under-the-hood components to check whether the noise disappears.
Step 6: Install a Noise Filter
If the strange static sound is connected to the engine, chances are you’ll hear a whining or clicking noise emanating from the speakers. Also, if you realize that the noise comes only when the car engine is running and increases as you increase the speed of your vehicle while driving, then possibly the issue is stemming from the alternator.
Normally, the level of noise will vary depending on how fast the engine is running. Additionally, static noise could be due to poor grounding, hence you want to check that your ground wire is securely connected when you hear any static noise.
In some cases, static noise in car speakers may be removed using a noise filter. Consider isolating the amp from the chassis by mounting one on the dashboard. If nothing changes, try using different kinds of patch cables. All in all, you need to track down the source of the noise to find the appropriate solution. Applying sound deadening materials can also be used as a way to dampen unwanted noise.
Don’t allow static noise in your car speakers to take the joy out of your driving sessions. Various things may cause static noise, but with the right diagnosis, you can find a lasting solution for this. Use the step-by-step guide above to go about eliminating static noise in your car audio speakers
About the author:
I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.
The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide!