Why Does my Home Theater Subwoofer Pop?

That unusual sound leaves you thinking, “Why does my home theater subwoofer pop?” To think there is no fix is farfetched and mythic. And this publication proposes various ways to resolve this problem.

Your home theater subwoofer keeps popping possibly due to a failed diode or circuit, or power or ground problem. Damaged speaker wires are also a common cause, and if your woofer is connected wirelessly, there may be interference. Lastly, keep the volume and gain lower.

Your subwoofer could be emitting and popping either occasionally or randomly. It could sometimes be a really quick double popping instead of a single pop occurring when playing the sound system or turning it off.

Why is my subwoofer making a popping noise?

Your subwoofer makes a popping noise for some common reasons. Below are a number of them:

  1. A failed speaker diode or circuit

When you change inputs on the audio or video receiver and then your subwoofer pops, it may not be a faulty subwoofer. This is because a subwoofer will ordinarily reproduce the sound signal it receives from your AVR (Audio Video Receiver).

Moreover, the pre-out jacks should be muted for a short time when your receiver loses the audio codec or signal

Thus, changing listening modes or inputs will cause the subwoofer to pop. This shows that a certain pre-out jack is either not being muted or not being muted long enough. Typically, this is caused by a failed diode or circuit in your receiver.

  • Volume too high

When you turn up the bass on your home theater, it amplifies the bass waves of a particular frequency. This results in the subwoofer cone moving further in or out whenever it hits that note. In layman’s terms, the voice coil of the woofer is hitting the backplate hard.

Turn down the bass control on your home theater to a point where your subwoofer no longer pops or crackles.

Amping the front speakers can also help to gain additional mid-bass in the front in the form of snares and kick drums. The bass will not be real like what a sub produces.

  • Power or ground problem

Power short or ground from the power or ground wires limit the amplifier power, which in turn limits playing power. Thus, the lower the power, the less wattage produced, which makes the subwoofer pop or generally underperform.

This is significantly noticeable at high volumes. The subwoofer pops and becomes static when you increase the gain or volume.

  • Bad or damaged speaker wires

Damaged speaker wires can also be a problem. Your RCA or speaker wire is not commonly the cause of popping noise from subs but is worth inspecting.

Pinched or cheap signal cables to or from the amplifier to the subwoofer can result in a clipping noise, just similar to popping.

  • Incorrect gain settings

Incorrectly setting the gain can also be the culprit. So, you may need DD1 or an oscope to set up your amplifier correctly.

The home theater can go to 35 but maybe distorted sooner than that. Your amp gain should match the RCA pre-out voltage from the home theater. Perform a quick internet search for correct amp gain settings to see if you can set it up yourself.

On some stock speakers with a cheap home theater, your rear speakers may pop at 40/50 on certain songs. DD1 may be able to tell a distortion point at 40.

Also, playing frequencies at a level lower than your speakers can handle with no crossover points on your speakers can be a problem.

Thus, your home theater equalizer needs to be set correctly. Otherwise, your bass boost enabled or equalizer turned up will pop the subwoofer.

How do I stop my subwoofer from popping?

This section of the publication discloses the variety of ways you can stop a popping subwoofer. Before you engage a professional, do the following:

Turn off the stereo receiver

Turning off the home theater for some time may be able to fix your popping subwoofer. Turn it on again after a few minutes to check if your sub still pops or crackles.

Before you turn on your home theater, inspect the speaker wires. Ensure to connect them properly to both your home theater and subwoofer.

Disable nearby devices

Interference is another reason your subwoofer will pop. Make sure to temporarily turn off all nearby electronic devices.

An active Bluetooth connection or even Wi-Fi may cause your subwoofer to pop if it connects wirelessly to the home theater.

Meanwhile, Sony suggests moving all speaker wires away from the electrical cords. This should eliminate any form of wired interference that keeps your home theater sub popping annoyingly.

Reset the sound system

If it is not an interference problem or turning off/on does not fix, you have to reset your audio receiver to its default factory settings.

The steps depend on your product, so do well to refer to the product manual. Some manufacturers also offer online troubleshooting instruction resources accessible through their website.

Replace the speaker wires

The speaker wires may be faulty but do not immediately replace them. First, connect a different set of subs using the wires to see if they pop. Do the same with a different home theater.

If no popping sound comes from this different woofer set or home theater, it is likely a subwoofer or the home theater problem. Otherwise, you need new speaker wires.

Adjust the gain control

Power Sound Audio recommends adjusting your gain control on the subwoofer in conjunction with the bass level in your home stereo. You want a settings combo that maintains correct bass levels to reduce the popping sound.

This is not a permanent fix because increasing the gain level will bring up the pop again. At a low level, the pop is still there, just not audible.

Inspect the input settings

Ensure to check the input settings for your subwoofer and home theater. You want to set the audio input to the specific audio signal rather than setting it to ‘auto’.

For instance, you want to ensure the appropriate setting if you need your component for digital signal only. On your device, this may be labeled as a type of input or cable used (like digital co-ax input #1), bit-stream or digital.

Using the auto-detect or auto setting will force your home theater to delay locking to the audio signal. When this delay exceeds the mute time of the pre-out jack, you will get an annoying pop noise.

Best sounding subwoofer for home theater

This section of the publication helps you to quickly decide on a good subwoofer for the home theater you need. Below are good sounding subs you can buy:

Polk Audio PSW10 10″ powered subwoofer

This good-sounding subwoofer  is reputable for its immersive sound rendering.

Other features that should get you to invest the money in a Polk Audio PSW10 include:

Driver materials

Quite a resonance-free and dynamic balance driver material that envelopes your room in deep bass without pops.

This thoughtful use of optimal materials also ensures durability that aids the woofer to move at a faster pace and remain stiff. Again, this results in deep bass and musical low frequencies.


Easily connect this subwoofer to any system. For outputs, speaker and audio outputs. It uses 2 pairs of spring terminals.

For inputs, its audio outputs include a pair of (L/R) analog RCA, stereo line-level RCA. The speaker inputs include 2 pairs of spring terminals.


The design of this woofer keeps it stable and visually streamlined for your contemporary room. It relaxes well enough when placed to manage and release the deep balanced bass.


Polk Audio uses laser-based Klippel Measurement technology, a distortion analyzer to deliver an optimized and smoother woofer motor structure, suspension, and voice coil alignment.

This technology also ensures an unimpeded movement over lower frequencies to enhance efficient performance, even at high listening levels.


This single 10″ subwoofer is a ticket to cut off pops even under high volumes. It is well-tuned to produce distortion-free low frequencies. Polk Audio has also braced the interior to get rid of performance-robbing resonances.

BESTISAN powered subwoofer, home theater deep bass subwoofer

BESTISAN also offers you a way out of having annoying popping noise distort what the music artistes, movie producers, and game developers want you to listen to. Other than being well optimized to eliminate crackles and pops, this woofer offers a lot more including:


You get to experience a down-firing SW65C woofer and a powered-down sub that envelops your room with immersive sound. You will also experience low tight surround sound and smoother bass.


Quite a compact but powerful subwoofer for your apartment. It complements your existing home theater wound system by introducing deeper music notes.

TV compatibility

Apart from making a good home theater companion, this sub is compatible with your TV with an analog output (the TV and external speakers must support its sound output option).

If this subwoofer cannot be connected to your TV, pair it with your home theater before connecting it to the TV.

Device compatibility

Apart from TVs, this woofer supports turntables, speakers, DVD players, game consoles, CD and more. The selected device must use 1/8″ mini-jack or RCA outputs for you to enjoy the deep bass and immersive sound.

In the pack

When you buy a BESTISAN powered subwoofer for your home theater, you also get a starter guide, RCA cables, audio cables, and a power adapter.

Subwoofer pops when bass hits

When you crank the bass on your home theater or woofer, you could be drawing more power than the woofer can handle. Thus, the front speaker amplifier may become underpowered and then clipping takes place.

You may have to disconnect the rear speakers from your home theater, and then play the woofer how you would want to.

Try to feel the cone of the rear speaker to see if it moves excessively or vibrates. If the movement is too much, it could be that your subwoofer is interfering with the rear speaker. You have to enclose the rears in a box or foam baffles to resolve the problem. You could as well completely remove the rears.

Subwoofers can interfere with the speakers and would affect the rears due to the pressure applied to them. When the punch is too hard, the woofer will resort to using the rears as its passive radiator.

The rears acting as radiators move their cones, which causes sound distortion and the popping noise you so much detest.

How do I stop my subwoofers from popping when I turn them off?

You can stop your subwoofers from popping when turning them off. Regarding the cause, the source signal (LFE output) uses a certain blocked DC but gets through alongside the power supplies during turn-off transitions. It is also possible that the dual power supplies of the woofers turn off at varying rates.

In a layman’s, an amp has two sides, the push and pull the driver and source, and more. When there is a drop in the power supply voltage, the amp becomes unbalanced or unstable until one of the output sides is enabled.

When this happens, there is a faster movement of current through the enabled side into the speaker, which causes the popping noise. The power supply will also drop quickly to become more balanced.

The popping sound when you turn off the woofer occurs due to the energy stored in the capacitor or inductor of the amp. This stored energy triggers a back-EMF when there is a circuit cut, and thus, a pop.

You can mechanically get rid of the pop when you turn off your subwoofer using a power detection circuit. This device holds on a relay while there is power, and the relay immediately goes off during a power cut.

This is quite effective because the back-EMF is just shorted through a protection diode, so nothing escapes to the speaker.

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