Pop noises from subwoofers come in many forms. Its important you explain when it happens to your technician. After fixing this issue time and time again I figured I would give you all some info to help you diagnose speaker pop on your own.
We created a short list of different situations that we have had to fix or diagnose an audible pop noise from a subwoofer.
A pop noise is usually heard when an amplifiers Gain setting is set too high. This is heard when you first start the vehicle and the amplifier turns on. The pop noise is the amplifier powering up and sending the initial 6 volts though the subwoofer which can be heard through the subwoofer(s) connected to it.
Subwoofer Pops When Amp Turns on
An amplifier will play a pop noise through its subwoofer for a few reasons:
Amplifier Gain too high
This (as explained above) is the general issue for popping noises from subs when amp is powered on. Lowering the amps GAIN settings will fix this issue.
Line Output Converter (HI/Lo) Gain too high
This issue is similar to an amplifier having the gain settings set too high. The Line output converter receives 12 volts to power itself on and is sometimes used to power the subwoofers amplifier on as well. Even when its not the pop noise it generated when gains are too high and youll hear this through the speaker(s).
Ford Amplifier Needing 5 Volt Amp Turn on
When installing an aftermarket stereo onto a Ford vehicle with the SHAKER amp package installed you will more than likely get a pop when the car turns on. This amplifier Requires 5 volts to power on. When the subwoofer makes a pop noise your actually hearing the amp put 12 volts into speaker leads (subwoofer).
Subwoofer Pops When Amp Turns off
Amplifier making pop noises through subwoofer usually has to do with the Gains in the same way it would when turning on the vehicle. In fact, if you get a pop noise when turning your vehicle on youll get it when you turn the vehicle off for the same reason.
Subwoofer makes Pop noise While music is playing
Subwoofer pop noises also happen when your actually using the subwoofer. Id say this is probably the most annoying scenario. A pop noise on your favorite songs that force you to turn down the music is such a buzz kill.
Subwoofer Pops at full volume
Subwoofers popping at high volumes can be attributed to amp gains or bass boost being too high.
Subsonic filter set too low
Your amplifier is able to reproduce a lot of different frequencies, some of which your subwoofer cannot reproduce properly. Try playing the subwoofer and slowly change the subsonic filter or (low pass) until the pop noise is gone.
Bass boost or as we like to call it (audible distortion boost) is a pretty common setting on your amplifier. We think its the worst. It is often improperly used and shouldn’t be used at all most times. This should be turned down when trying to find a pop noise from your subwoofers.
Power or Ground Not done properly
A short to power or ground coming from the power and ground wires will limit the power to the amplifier which will limit the power the amplifier has to play with. The lower the power the less wattage it can create, so less performance from subwoofer.
You’ll see this at high volumes, the subwoofer will pop and create a static as you increase the volume or gain to the subwoofer.
Signal wires Bad or Damaged
RCA and speaker wires can be the culprit too! This is generally not the case but its worth mentioning that cheap or pinched signal wires to the amplifier or from the amplifier to the subwoofer has been known to cause a clipping noise which sounds similar to a pop noise.
Here are some Helpful Resources:
- How To Use A Multimeter To Test A Fuse – A Simple Guide
- How to Add an Amplifier To Your Factory Car Stereo System – Keep Your Radio & Speakers
- Amplifier Installation, Troubleshoot and Bypass Resource page
- Get more bass out of Your subwoofer – 5 Easy Methods
- What Kind of Subwoofer Enclosure Should I Use? – Home Theater