Why are my headphones crackling? How to Fix it.

Whenever you play audio like listening to music and watching videos, you get a crackling sound from your headphones. What’s causing this issue, and how to stop it from crackling? Read on to find the solutions below.

I’ve included five methods below to fix the problem. You can try them one by one until you find the one that works for you.

Method 1: Change minimum processor state
Method 2: Change audio format
Method 3: Disable audio enhancement
Method 4: Disable exclusive mode
Method 5: Update audio drivers


Method 1: Change minimum processor state

To save energy, Windows has a built-in power saving protocol that minimizes the usage of your processor. But in some cases, this can cause sound quality issues like headphones crackling. To fix the headphones crackling issue, you can try to change the minimum processor state to 100%.

To do so:

1) On your keyboard, press Win+I (the Windows logo key and the I key) at the same time open the Settings window.

2) Click on System.

3) Click on Power & sleep on the left pane, then click on Additional power settings on the right pane.

4) On the Preferred plans or High additional plans, select High Performance, and click on Change plan settings next to it.

5) Click on Change advanced power settings to open the Power Options window.

6) On the Power Options window, expand Processor power management -> minimum processor state, and change the setting to 100% (which is set as 5% by default).

7) Click Apply -> OK to save the changes.

8) Check to see if your headphone crackling issue is resolved.


Method 2: Change audio format

In some cases, changing audio format can fix sound crackling popping issues. Here’s how to change the audio format.

1) On your keyboard, press Win+R (the Windows logo key and the R key) at the same time to invoke the Run box.

2) Type in ‘mmsys.cpl’ into the run box and click OK to open the Sound window.

3) Right-click on the default playback device (something like Speakers), which should have a green tick on it, then click Properties.

4) Select the Advanced tab and select a format from the Default Format list. First, you can select the format ‘24bit, 48000 Hz (Studio Quality)’.

5) Click Apply -> OK to save the changes.

6) Check to see if the headphones crackling problem is resolved. If not, try other formats by repeating the step 3) to step 5).

If Method 2 doesn’t work for you, try method 3.


Method 3: Disable audio enhancement

Windows built-in “audio enhancement” feature allows you to improve the sound quality. But if it doesn’t work properly, it can cause sound problems. So you can try disabling audio enhancement to fix the problem.

Here’s how to disable audio enhancement.

1) On your keyboard, press Win+R (the Windows logo key and the R key) at the same time to invoke the Run box.

2) Type in ‘mmsys.cpl’ into the run box and click OK to open the Sound window.

3) Right-click on the default audio device (something like Speakers), which should have a green tick on it, then click Properties.

4) Select the Enhancements tab, and check Disable all enhancements box. Click Apply and OK to save. If you don’t see the Enhancements tab, skip this method.

5) Check to see if the headphones crackling issue is resolved


Method 4: Disable exclusive mode

When sound crackling issues occur, it’s possible that some sound drivers are having issues with the “exclusive mode” option, which allows applications to take exclusive control of your sound device. To fix the problem, you can try disabling the exclusive mode.

Here’s how to do it:

1) On your keyboard, press Win+R (the Windows logo key and the R key) at the same time to invoke the Run box.

2) Type in ‘mmsys.cpl’ into the run box and click OK to open the Sound window.

3) Right-click on the default playback device (something like Speakers), which should have a green tick on it, then click Properties.

4) Select the Advanced tab. In the Exclusive Mode section, uncheck Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device.

5) Click Apply -> OK to save the changes.

6) Check to see if the audio crackling problem is resolved.


Method 5: Update audio drivers

The last method you can try is to update audio drivers, as the problem can be caused by faulty or outdated audio drivers.

You can go to your PC manufacturer’s website to download the latest audio driver manually. If you don’t have time to do it manually, you can do it automatically with Driver Booster. A few clicks are just required.

Here’s how to use Driver Booster to download and update the driver.

1) Download and install Driver Booster on your computer.

2) Launch it and click SCAN to scan your computer to detect any problem drivers.

3) Click the Update button next to the audio driver to update the driver.

4) After updating the driver, check to see if your headphones crackling issue is resolved.

Hopefully you find this article helpful. If you have any questions, ideas or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below.

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