Enjoying wireless music through a bluetooth speaker is great. But once the music is interrupted with crackles, popping, or static interferrence, it can make cutting the audio cord seem like a chore.
Audio interference from a bluetooth speaker can result from a number of complications.
And it’s best to know where to start troubleshooting your wireless setup so that you can pinpoint exactly the cause of the audio issue and fix it right away.
Follow these guided steps below so that you can remove the crackling, popping, or static noise that’s coming from your bluetooth speaker:
Step 1. Determine If Either The Speaker Or Audio Source Is The Issue
Since the noise is coming from the speaker, since that is the device that is producing the sound, you might think that the bluetooth speaker itself is at fault for the interference.
But there are a number of components along the chain that, if not connected seamlessly, can actually be the source of the complication before the speaker.
To find where the source of the issue is coming from, find a stereo audio cable and connect it from the mobile device (a smartphone, tablet, or laptop for example) to the bluetooth speaker.
Most bluetooth speakers have a line-in connection that allows you to play music through your speaker without bluetooth by using a wired connection to your audio device. Find this input jack and connect the stereo cable to the speaker and the mobile device that you use for your music.
If by connecting the audio source to the bluetooth speaker through headphone jack eliminates the crackling, popping, or static sound, then it is the wireless bluetooth connection that is the issue.
Otherwise, if you still hear interference with the cable connection, the source of the issue is either in the hardware of the speaker, or from the audio device that you are using.
Determining where in the overall connection the sound interference is pinpointed will eliminate a lot of unnecessary steps during this troubleshooting process.
Step 2. Check distance of the bluetooth speaker and audio source
In order for a bluetooth speaker to produce a clean sound without noise there needs to be a clear path between the audio source and the speaker itself.
As the distance between your mobile device and the bluetooth speaker increases, this can weaken the bluetooth signal between both units, and introduce interfering frequencies from other radio signals.
It is recommended that the device you play audio from should be no more than 30 feet away from the bluetooth speaker that it is connected to.
And that’s the general rule for the latest bluetooth technology, which is able to reach further than older iterations.
If you are connecting either a wireless speaker or mobile device that has an older version of bluetooth, the two devices should be no more than at least 10 feet away.
To test if the distance is what is causing the crackling, popping, or static noise in your bluetooth speaker, bring both devices together so that they are sitting right next to one another while playing audio.
Next, wait a few minutes with the audio playing and check to see if bringing the devices close together has fixed the issue.
If the noise goes away, confirm that distance was the issue by moving either device and see if the interference returns.
Does your bluetooth speaker also cut out? If so, be sure to read this article I wrote troubleshooting step-by-step on how to fix bluetooth speakers where the audio cuts out.
Step 3. Unpair and Re-Pair and check battery life for both
If you have ever noticed that when your smartphone, tablet, or bluetooth speaker is low on battery that it will either not pair with your devices or produce a crackling, static sound, that’s because the bluetooth is requiring more power in order to operate.
Make sure all of your bluetooth devices have a decent battery charge to ensure the best signal and pairing.
While troubleshooting, if you notice that your bluetooth speaker or the device your sourcing the audio from has a low battery charge, unpair and forget the connections between both.
Once both batteries have over 50% battery charge, re-pair the devices to see if the crackling sound is fixed.
Read More: Bluetooth Speakers: What You Should Look For When Buying
Step 4. Pair with another device
If unpairing and re-pairing your bluetooth speaker and audio device doesn’t fix the issue, try pairing it with another bluetooth audio device that is laying around.
First, unpair your original audio device from the bluetooth speaker and, if needed, forget that connection so that it doesn’t try to auto pair.
Power this audio device down if you need to so that there’s no chance that it interfered with the new device.
Then, make sure that the new audio device that you are pairing has an adequate charge before connecting with your existing speaker.
Pair this new audio device to the speaker and see if the noise issue is fixed. If it is, there could be an issue with the device that you are signaling your audio from, whether it’s hardware, software, or the app itself (more on that later).
Step 5. Pair with another speaker
By pairing a new audio device to an existing speaker, if you find that this still does not fix the issue, find another bluetooth speaker and pair it with the audio device.
Crackling, static, and popping noises can be due to a number of reasons if it is coming from the bluetooth speaker itself.
Some faults include: the bluetooth module, water damage, the speaker driver and cone, and its internal resistors.
In order to determine if the speaker itself is the cause of the crackling sound, use the same audio device and pair it with a different and new bluetooth speaker.
If the sound goes away by connecting via bluetooth to the new speaker, your original speaker is likely the issue.
There are many reasons that your original speaker could be the issue of the crackling sound, and it could be a simple software update fix.
However, if it is an internal hardware issue, it is best to follow your specific manufacturer’s guidelines to troubleshoot the hardware and/or how to send it in for warranty repair if it is a more serious fix.
Step 6. Check the quality of the audio cable if required for Bluetooth
It is common, with smart assistants and bluetooth modules like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa becoming so popular, to connect them to speakers that don’t have bluetooth in order to make them bluetooth capable.
Many times there needs to be a short, wired connection between the smart assistant and the speaker itself, usually through a 3.5mm or stereo headphone jack cable.
If you have been using the same audio cable through every step of this troubleshooting process so far, it could be because the stereo cable is the issue.
Find another stereo cable laying around and use that to connect your smart assistant or bluetooth module to the speaker instead of the existing audio cable that you have been using.
After connecting your speaker to the bluetooth module with the new stereo cable, unpair and re-pair your audio device to the bluetooth connection once again.
Now, play any audio to see if the noise issue has settled from the speaker. If you still hear it, move on to step 7.
Read More: Is it Safe to Leave a USB Cable Plugged in Your Car or Truck?
Step 7. Make sure speaker and audio device have fully updated firmware and software (apps, hardware, operating system)
So you tried pairing your speaker to another audio device, or you swapped out your existing stereo cable for a new one, and you are still hearing that dreaded snap, pop, crackle sound.
Sometimes, the noise might not be affected by a hardware issue at all, rather, it could stem from the software that’s running your audio device, speaker, or even the app that you are playing music from.
Depending on the brand and model of bluetooth speaker that you are listening from, there are different ways to access what version firmware that it is currently running, and if there is an update to a newer version.
Usually the process involves nothing more than simply connecting your bluetooth speaker to your laptop through a USB cable and opening an app that reports all this information.
Some newer bluetooth speakers also have their own dedicated apps so that you can find this same firmware information from a smartphone or tablet.
Regardless, always make sure that the firmware (and if there is also an app that’s associated with the bluetooth speaker) is updated to the most up-to-date version.
Manufacturers are always working to patch any bugs that they and their customers are finding with bluetooth speakers, whether it’s a pairing issue, device compatibility fault, or a crackling sound.
Be sure to stay on top of these patch updates so that any software issues related to this noise are fixed.
Also, double check to see if the operating system that your audio device is running and the application that you are playing music from are both also up to date.
If one of these pieces of software is up to date, but the other is running on an older version, this can affect compatibilities between them, and can very well be the source of any audio interference.
Step 8. Delete and re-install music app (if using one)
Making sure that the application that you’re running music from on your audio device is a critical first step to ensuring that the sound running from your bluetooth speaker is crystal clear.
However, if updating the app did not solve the issue, and you also tried all of the guided troubleshooting steps above, you may need to delete the music app from your audio device and re-install it once again.
This final step should be a last resort, although still important, because this can potentially erase any playlists, downloaded songs, or albums that you may have on there.
And it can take a while to re-install your music back on your audio device once again.
Thankfully, many applications that play audio today have accounts that you sign in with that are stored in the cloud, so any information that is lost can usually be restored quite easily.
Like any other type of software, music apps are developed with lines of code, and any interruptions in the code can affect the performance of its sound.
Deleting and re-installing the app ensures that any lines of code that may have been affected have been wiped clean and then rewritten on your device.
If you have an Apple device like an iPhone or iPad that you are using as the audio source, delete the music app in question by first tapping and holding on its icon from the home screen.
Keep holding until the icons on your home screen start shaking, and you should see a small “x” on the top corner of the music app icon.
Tap the “x” and confirm that you would like to delete the information on the app so that it wipes the code clean from your device.
To reinstall the app, head on over to the App Store and type in the name of the app that you just deleted.
Then, tap the install button of the app in the results menu. If needed, login to the app with your original credentials to play your audio once again.
Optional Step: Call or Check Your Specific Manufacturer’s Support Site
Crackling, popping, and static noise coming from a Bluetooth speaker can seem like a rare occurrence that is only happening to your unit.
But the issue can also be found by a number of other customers, especially if the audio is played by a well known audio device and app.
Many bluetooth speaker manufacturers have a phone number, either on the back of the box packaging or on their website that offers support for questions relating to issues like these.
Calling the manufacturer’s support team related to your product could save you from an unnecessary trip to the store, or worse, rendering your bluetooth speaker as useless.
If your bluetooth speaker is from a widely known brand, there are sometimes even troubleshooting manuals and user-driven forums that discuss topics like crackling sound issues.
Do a quick Google search for the brand name and model of your bluetooth speaker to find their website and see if they have a support section.
Then, search for either a FAQ, manuals, or forums section that could relate to the subject of the noise issue.
It may be a surprise, but there could very well be dozens of other customers that are having the exact same issue as you, and may have even found the best way to fix it.