Are My Laptop Speakers Blown?
Your speakers are likely to have blown if you hear coil whining, grinding and clicking noises.
Blown speakers on a laptop can be very annoying. It will sound quite harsh on the ears and prevent you from enjoying your favorite movie or game.
- If you have a Dell XPS laptop with speakers powered by WaveMaxx technology, they tend to break down if you put on your audio regularly at loud volume.
- Another sign of blown speakers is hissing and popping at moderate volumes resulting in distorted and muffled sounds.
Symptoms of a Blown Laptop Speaker
Several giveaway signs indicate your laptop may have a blown-out speaker. You may encounter one or more of these symptoms at a time.
- Fixing up bad connections or attending to damaged or loose wires will usually solve the problem.
- However, if the problem persists, it’s worth looking into the system settings as they may need an adjustment.
- Incorrect settings, faulty or outdated sound drivers or interference with other hardware can cause speaker problems.
- Crackling or popping sound
This is one of the most common problems encountered with a laptop speaker. On Windows 10 laptops, this can often be corrected by doing any one of the following:
- Change the sound format from the default Windows sound format to another format. The list of formatted sounds is available in the Speakers Properties window.
- Run the Audio Troubleshooter. This can be accessed from the Troubleshooting menu through Settings.
- Select the “Disable all enhancements” and “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device” checkboxes under the Enhancement and Advanced tabs in the System Properties window.
- Update the audio driver through the Device Manager.
- Buzzing or rattling sound
This problem is often associated with a damaged cone. As a result, you will hear a buzzing sound along with your regular sound. The most common cone damage is a tear. To check for this, you’ll have to disassemble the speaker as mentioned above. Taping the torn area can help.
A rattling sound is also one indication that you have a blown laptop speaker.
- Low sound or no sound at all
If you hear only low sounds or no sound at all, this means that some other part of the speaker apart from the speaker cone is damaged.
- Burnt out voice coil
An ohmmeter can help to diagnose if the voice coil is at fault. The most common problem with this coil is that it tends to melt or burn out.
- Faulty motherboard socket
A faulty motherboard socket can trigger blowing up of the speakers and result in an unpleasant sound when you play something on the laptop. You may not experience this sound when you use a headphone.
- Scratchy noise
On Windows laptops, this can happen after an operating system update. You can try uninstalling the driver and reinstalling it.
How to Check if your Laptop Speakers are Blown
You can verify if your speakers have blown by playing a default Windows sound and checking if you can hear it properly through the laptop speakers.
- Unlike external speakers, laptop speakers need just a little power to function. So, if external speakers were connected through a headphone port, the laptop may have delivered extra power and blown up the internal speakers.
- You should check if the audio and sound properties and settings are properly enabled in the Control Panel.
- Reconnect the powered external speakers and check if they are working. If so, there is no problem with the output amplifier. If they don’t, the amplifier has become faulty.
When a jack of the external speakers is plugged into the port, a contact opens up and disconnects the inbuilt speakers. The contact gets closed and the built-in speakers are reconnected when the jack is pulled out. You can try plugging the jack in, turning it a little and pulling it out again.
- Check if you are getting a burnt smell even when the speakers sound normal. Sometimes, you may hear a snap sound before the burning smell occurs.
The smell could indicate blown-out laptop speakers. In some cases, a heavy buzzing or a light scratching sound is a giveaway sign for a damaged or non-centered voice coil.
- Weak or raspy sounds through the speakers indicate that the speakers are blown. Often, the cone may be broken, ruptured or torn.
- Change the settings of the speakers to their default parameters and check if you can hear any sound through them. Sometimes, a reboot may be required after you do this setting.
- Check the Mute setting to see if it has been accidentally activated, disable it and try to listen to a song or something of your choice. If you still don’t hear anything, the speakers may have blown up.
- Reboot the laptop and check your laptop speakers again by playing some sound. If you still don’t hear any sound, the speakers may have a problem.
- If there is no sound at less than 10% volume, the speakers are likely to have blown. Also, you are likely to experience distorted and muffled sounds at a moderate volume.
How to fix blown-out speakers on a laptop
Fixing noise from the laptop or buzzing static noise when something is playing
- Right-click on the Speaker icon found in the taskbar.
- Click on the Open Volume Mixer to display the details of devices and applications that produce sound.
- Adjust the settings to your preferences.
- Go to the Control panel and check the sounds listed there.
Blowing out on port screen
- Blow out the port screen using an air can.
- Check the screen for tears or rips using a flashlight.
- Replace the speaker if you notice any sign of damage as mentioned above.
Fixing crackling sounds
- Click on the speaker icon at the bottom on the right side of the screen.
- Click on Properties. You can also access the Speaker Properties through the Control Panel.
- Click Levels followed by Balance.
- Adjust the left and right sound levels.
When you use external speakers for your laptop, you must keep in mind that they come as a pair. There are high chances that only one of them has blown up. The faulty speaker will have to be first identified.
How to Fix External Blown-out Speakers on a Laptop
You can use the following steps to fix blown-out external speakers connected to a laptop.
- Identify the problematic speaker by adjusting the equalizer to change the fader and balance. Remember not to keep the volume at the maximum level as this can damage or blow up the good speaker as well.
- Take off the speaker carefully and remove its faceplate.
- Loosen the seams attached to the fabric of the speaker. Make sure that you don’t tear them during the loosening process.
- Check if the speaker cone is torn or punctured. If you find such damage, cover up the tear or hole completely using either some glue or tape.
- Inspect the voice coil carefully for damage. One of the most common wear and tear problems encountered is a melted voice coil. This causes a gap in the coil. Depending on how big or small the gap is, the speaker will either produce distorted sound or no sound at all.
It’s generally not recommended or advisable to repair a damaged voice coil. The best option would be to go in for a complete speaker replacement.
- If there is no problem with the voice coil, continue checking other parts of the speaker. If you come across any damaged part, note down the part number to order from the manufacturer. You may also buy the part off the shelf from a specialty store.
You must buy the exact part number to avoid encountering other issues later. The part number can usually be found on the back of the speaker cone or the inside of the speaker.
- Take time and understand how the damaged part has been fitted to the speaker. This is important because you will have to fit the new replacement part the same way that the damaged part was fitted.
- Test the speaker by connecting it back to the laptop. Start the testing process at a low volume and increase the volume gradually to check the maximum volume that it’s capable of handling. Ensure that you never exceed this limit.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair a Laptop Speaker
It will cost $100 to $120 USD to repair the average laptop speaker.
The cost associated with repairing a speaker depends on the extent of damage and the part/parts that need to be repaired. The cost also depends on the age of the laptop.
If you are looking for a speaker assembly part, it will cost around 30 USD.
Often, it will be required to remove the cover and the speakers from the laptop. The speakers are connected to the motherboard through a plug-in connection. You can also buy replacement speakers and fit them yourself.
In case you don’t find the exact set, you can buy a pair that matches the specifications of your laptop. If your laptop is really old, you can consider buying a headset instead of thinking about a repair or replacement.
Some manufacturers like Apple charge close to 800 USD to get the speakers repaired on the MacBook. So, MacBook owners often prefer repairing themselves using some easily available tools. If you are one of them, ensure that you do it well.