Distortion coming from Computer Speakers?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Barbo214' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I don't know how to explain the noise that comes from my computer speakers -- but it almost like wires are trying to connect. I've heard the same sound sometimes from my car radio speakers. Do you know what could be causing this and how I can resolve the issue? "

My response:

I'm not quite sure what sound you are referring to, but if it's a constant buzz (like feedback in a microphone), it's probably because your computer speakers aren't plugged in all the way in the back of your computer. If this is the case, make sure it's plugged in snugly and try again.

If you're using a Y-splitter to split your audio across different hardware (such as 1 connection for your computer speakers and 1 for a headset, for example), you may want to bypass the splitter and make a direct connection to see if this resolves your problem.

If your sound card supports Digital Audio output, you can try disabling that to see if it helps. You should also make sure that the Microphone / Line-In on your sound card is disabled / muted, as this can cause feedback noise, too. Disabling the digital audio output and muting 'input' ports should be accessible through Control Panel -> Sound (you may need to click an "advanced" button, or similar). Note that not all audio cards have the same "options" layout, so it is only possible to generalize the location of these features.

If you're getting a crackling noise from your speakers -- especially when adjusting the volume -- you most likely need to clean the contact on your volume knob. You can get contact cleaner from Radio Shack or any other electronics store. Make sure you unplug the speakers before you spray the knob, though.

If the above suggestions did not resolve your issue and you want to rule out that your computer (or sound board) is responsible for producing the distortion, try plugging your computer speakers into something else like a CD player (walkman) to see if you can reproduce the noise. If you can replicate the sound, either there is a problem with your speaker connection, the speakers themselves, or the wire leading to the speakers. Otherwise, the problem lies with your computer and requires further troubleshooting.

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