Speaker Crackling

Discussion in 'hardware' started by KaptainBug, Mar 2, 2014.

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  1. KaptainBug

    KaptainBug Registered Member

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    Hello,

    My laptop speaker makes crackling sound when I play videos through browser and in vlc player too. And its only from one speaker(Left). Is this purely a hardware problem or could be because of software/driver issues ?
     
  2. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    In Dell forums I have read that VLC produces "clipping" in the sound waves, and this generates a lot of high frequencies, which can damage speakers.

    I don´t know if this is true, and I don´t use VLC. But this may be the problem. VLC may have damaged your speakers.
     
  3. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    I'd say that the speaker is either loose or it's going to die. :D
     
  4. KaptainBug

    KaptainBug Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply..
     
  5. SweX

    SweX Registered Member

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    I used the headphone jack in one of my external speakers and started to get a similar problem, so I disconnected the headphones but the problem continued out of the speaker too, so I tried another pair of speakers I had and they did it too. So I bought a USB DAC and started to use that as my soundcard instead and of course the problem was gone.

    So now I use Heaphones -> USB DAC -> PC. And it works great.

    The DAC I bought was very cheap since I didn't knew if it were going to fix the problem or not but luckily it did. Though I am going to buy a better DAC in the future.
     
  6. whitedragon551

    whitedragon551 Registered Member

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    Sounds like a driver issue or conflict somewhere on the system. I had a similar issue on my Sager NP8235 when I first got it.
     
  7. KaptainBug

    KaptainBug Registered Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions.. I tried running on linux and a clean install of windows.. Still the same problem.. Im sure now that its the hardware issue.
     
  8. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    For the problem only to be affecting one channel it can only be a hardware issue.
     
  9. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    "Clipping" is introduced in the amplifier stages of audio reproduction, typically from being "overdriven". Clipping is a form of distortion where the top (and bottom) "curved" portions of the audio sinewaves are chopped off ("clipped") so the resulting waveform almost resembles a "squarewave" - which is associated with digital signals, not audio (which is analog). Squarewaves cannot be reproduced accurately or easily by speakers, which are pure analog devices.

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A DIGITAL SPEAKER!!! Sound is analog. Period!

    So speakers, being analog, expect a nice curved "analog" sinewave and not a distorted clipped waveform. Consequently speakers struggle (at best) to reproduce that distorted sound.

    Clipping often results in the production of "harmonics". In this case, a form of distortion that doubles or halves the desired frequencies. While the doubled frequencies may drive a high frequency driver or speaker (the tweeter) beyond capabilities, thus cause damage due to excessive heat, that is rare because the power behind the harmonic frequency is 50% or less of the original frequency. You would have to really be pumping up the volume to damage the speakers.

    HOWEVER - when the tops of the waveform are clipped, the majority of the amplifier's power is concentrated in remaining portion of the clipped waveform. This can EASILY result in excessive power being pushed out to a speaker, damaging the speaker.

    In a home theater setup, a "good" amplifier would (should) shut down out of self and speaker protection before damage occurs. Less sophisticated (and much less expensive) computer speaker systems may not. :(

    If the speakers are tasked to produce high "SPLs" (sound pressure level), that is, "loud" music with high-levels of distortion, that can certainly damage a speaker.

    A speaker can reproduce much higher SPL (loudness) with "clean" audio waveforms than it can with distorted waveforms.

    *****
    Having said all that,
    The "crackling" coming from just one speaker "could" indicate a problem with just that speaker, or the amplifier circuits for that one channel.

    How does it sound with headphones?
     
  10. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    laptop speakers are generally EASILY overdriven and pushed to the point of clipping. even if the other side is fine this can happen if the source material was not recorded right or it was converted where one side of the audio track is set to a higher level then the other side and thus only one side will "clip".

    otherwise imo its a bad speaker. as bill said listen to it with headphones and see what you hear and report back.
     
  11. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

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    When I had this problem, I discovered that the magnetic coil was partly separated from the cone. Thus it was rattling and crashing into it making a clicking or buzzing/raspy noise depending on what I would play.

    I suspect at one time in the past the speaker had received too powerful a signal and ripped the coil loose. Or it may have been running too hot because of a prolonged exposure to high signal level, and the adhesive connecting the coil to the cone softened and detached. I didn't investigate any further.
     
  12. KaptainBug

    KaptainBug Registered Member

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    Thanks for the inputs.. Unfortunately I don't have headphones.. Will borrow from someone and report back.. Also I noticed that at volume less than 50% it does not make crackling sound, only above 50% it makes that :(

    Previous night before the issue occurred I was watching a movie in vlc player with 200% volume, because the movie itself had very less sound.. So could this be the source of the speaker problem ?
     
  13. KaptainBug

    KaptainBug Registered Member

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    Does anyone know how to disable stereo and direct both the speaker inputs to only one speaker ? I remember we had an option in XP where we can disable stereo and turn on mono. I cannot find this in Windows 8.1, there is only stereo option. Btw I disabled left speaker using balance and its ok now, though its not perfect.
     
  14. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Ummm, you realize that is not possible, right?

    Your Control Panel > Sound applet may let you "slide" the left/right "balance" all the way to the good speaker.
     
  15. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    Crazy as it might sound, if you are running MBAM Pro in real time (I see MBAM in your sig), then there can be a speaker noise issue if you have Website Blocking enabled. I have noticed this myself from time to time. Disabling Website Blocking eliminated the crackling sound. I don't have any links for you, but the problem has been discussed on their forum.
     
  16. KaptainBug

    KaptainBug Registered Member

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    Its possible in vlc to increase the volume to 200%. Just scroll the mouse wheel up and it goes till 200%..

    Yes, for now that's what I did regarding the balance to right speaker alone.
     
  17. KaptainBug

    KaptainBug Registered Member

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    Yes I remember the issue with MBAM, but I am using it only on-demand. So definitely its not causing the problem.
     
  18. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    With VLC you can increase the volume to 400% in old versions. Later versions changed it to a maximum of 200%.

    This thread suggests that increasing the volume can damage speakers:
    A quick Google search revealed no shortage of posts saying that VLC can damage speakers.
     
  19. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Okay. Bad terminology on VLC's part.

    Do note that "increase to 400%" is a totally different from "increase by 400%".

    The former is not possible, the latter is.
     
  20. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    imo if its not a bad speaker altogether ill bet you are simply over driving it. many laptops (im a warranty tech and do repairs daily on most major brands) have TERRIBLE speakers and even at 50% if the audio you are listening to have to much low end they will start to break up. most lower priced laptops have just terrible speakers in them worse then most even low-mid priced headphones.
     
  21. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    The problem is the limited size. In spite of what the notebook and speaker maker marketing weenies would like us to believe, tiny notebook speakers just do not have the frequency response, dynamic range, or wide dispersion patterns of full range home theater speakers. Yet we push them as though they do.

    This is the same for even the best notebooks and new monitors that come with integrated speakers too. Speakers have to overcome ambient sounds and send the sound wave great distances (compared to headphones). This requires lots of power - something tiny speakers have a hard time dealing with.

    Headphones (or earbuds) straddle up next to (or into) our "auditory canals" allowing a highly efficient transfer of sound a couple centimeters into our ears with just a few mW (milliwatts) of power. Their physical design (covering or plugging the ear canal) suppresses ambient noises.

    IMO, integrated speakers (whether integrated into notebooks, PC cases, or monitors, should be used for Windows "system" sounds only. And not for any music listening, except very low level "background" music.
     
  22. treehouse786

    treehouse786 Registered Member

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    as a car audio fanatic, i agree with everything Bill has posted :thumb:
     
  23. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I forgot to say one thing. Loud volume (high SPL - sound pressure levels) is obtained by the speaker moving massive amount of air (since it is the air that carries the sound). It only makes sense a 6 inch diameter speaker cone that has a lot more "travel" (the back and forth movement of the cone's "driver") and a lot more surface area to push a lot more air.

    A tiny 1 inch notebook or monitor speaker, or an even smaller 3mm headphone speaker just cannot physically move much air. And there is no room in a notebook or monitor case to build sonic "chambers" like some "mini-boombox" speakers use.

    So that takes us back to users overdriving these speakers for greater volume, causing damage.
     
  24. DVD+R

    DVD+R Registered Member

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  25. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    actually with the right enclosure you can create some ridiculous spl with even with a very tiny speaker. and get a reasonably decent sound while at it, no you will not get 20-20 out of a 1" speaker but you can get a decent sound from them that will make most people happy. this is in fact why my home designs are voigt pipe's (dr. bruce edgar) it allows me to use smaller drivers and make them sound amazing. the "pipe" or horn could easily be done in a laptop even if they used small plastic tunnels and tuned them properly. fact is they just dont.

    i used to compete in db drag as well as iasca sq. i was on a world record holding team for a time and also have designed show systems for many companies over the years for the ces and sema shows. was on a few iasca sq teams (including manufacture ones) etc. you can very easily take a single 10" sub even a junk pyramid and get some ridiculous spl out of it; if the enclosure is designed right and tuned properly for the application (cabin gain etc). this can also be done with even a small 1" speaker and there is plenty of room in there to make it sound good. no it will not have much real low end but for a normal user it will sound pretty decent. i used to be a die hard car audio fanatic (used to own a shop) and still am i just dont do it as much anymore. ive designed speakers with oz audio, image dynamics (when matt and eric were there), massive audio (ever since they actually were monster bass years back) and many other companies. as well as a master mecp installer. just a bit more of my backround.

    as far as laptop speakers, many out there do have actually pretty nice setups in them. but most cheaper ones use garbage speakers and dont do any design at all for decent sound. in stead they mount tiny junk speakers in a "free air" type of way and thus you get garbage sound. in fact i have a toshiba right now in front of me im rebuilding and have to replace a speaker thats blown and they sound terrible (the replacements are brand new and sound horrible right out of the box). now my clevo has FAR better speakers on it but it is priced much higher.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
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