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Why do my car speakers sound distorted?

Everyone wants their car audio quality to be the best it can be. If you’ve noticed that your sound can easily become distorted — especially when the volume gets loud — you may have a few bones to pick with your speakers. There’s hope yet. You simply need to check a few items and make sure you’re using the right equipment.

Why do my speakers distort at high volume?

Audio Distortion can happen when speakers are warped or damaged. While it is commonly said that high volume—and therefore too much power from the amplifier—will blow out the speaker, the opposite is true.

Speakers tend to blow out when they are underpowered. This can happen when you ask for high output from your speakers, but you rely on an unequipped amplifier to deliver it. If the amp cannot provide the proper power requested of it, the speaker will suffer the damage and distort the sound quality.

Overheating can also create speaker distortion. Even if the right amount of power is being delivered to the car speakers, if they are of low quality, there is a risk of damage inside during high volume. As the volume increases, the amplifier produces more power, creating heat. This heat can cause damage inside the speaker system, increasing the damage as the volume goes higher.

An easy solution to these problems is to make sure to get high-quality speakers and to get the right amplifier for your speaker system. With compatible pieces, your system will produce better sound and stay in a better condition at any volume. Rockford Fosgate speakers use the highest quality materials and craftsmanship, resulting in unparalleled performance and durability.

Why is my car speaker rattling?

A rattling sound from a car speaker could have many causes. There could be something touching the cone of the speaker. Because speakers vibrate when in use, the wires or other pieces inside the system can come loose and rattle against the cone. Also, small objects from outside could find their way inside the cabinet to cause the noise. A simple fix would be to access the area where the speaker resides and make sure nothing is touching the cone. If there is something touching the cone, remove it so it no longer vibrates against it.

If the speaker itself is damaged, particularly the cone, this might also be the culprit of a rattling sound. As speakers age and are exposed to the elements – like inside a door panel – the components of a speaker can dry rot or become damaged, causing the cone, surround, or spider to physically tear. Again, access the speaker location and inspect the speaker for any broken or damaged components.

Sometimes the rattling sound is not the fault of the speaker. Pay attention to when you hear it. Is the rattle only happening when the car speakers are being driven by a specific source like an AUX input or Bluetooth connection to a mobile device? If that is the case, the device may be the problem. If the device is a smartphone, there could be an issue with its output or the volume is too high. Make sure your device is fully updated, check any connecting cables, and reduce the volume on the device anywhere from 3/4 volume to 7/8 volume. Depending on your device, anything higher will cause the audio to distort, causing your speakers to sound bad.

How do you stop speaker distortion?

Ther are many ways to minimize or stop the distortion coming from your car speakers. A straightforward option is to make sure all of your music files are of high quality. When music is compressed, high and low-frequency music can get lost. If you need to compress the music, put it on a high-quality music player, a quality sound compressor is worth the investment.

Bass boosted music, too, may create distortion at low volumes, and especially at high volumes. With an amplifier, bass boosted music will produce extra bass, which will lead to distortion no matter how good your system is. This will also wear down your speakers over time.

Sometimes, merely adjusting the bass and treble settings – depending on your volume – will reduce distortion. A -5 treble with a +10 bass will have a lot of distortion at high volume, but a very clear sound at low volume. Adjust your settings to find the sound you like, adjusting for the volume setting you generally use. You can also add a subwoofer to your car to handle the bass, leaving your fronts and rears to handle the rest, lowering the complications for them.

Another effort to customize your best sound is to add an equalizer or signal processor to your car. An equalizer levels out the peaks of sound, smoothing it out before you hear it. They help manage the awkward bouncing of sound created by car interior sound-waves reflecting off of plastics, glass, seat covers, and carpets to not make an ideal sound environment. It’s best to get an equalizer with more than 13 bands of equalization where its level can match the maximum voltage. Typically, you shouldn’t need to boost any frequencies above +9 dB. If you find yourself doing so, your system may have issues in other places, such as an out-of-phase speaker. To verify the proper phase, make sure the (+) and (-) terminals on your speakers are connected to the right polarity because if one speaker is wired with the positive and negative terminals reversed, this will cause cancellation issues.

Another option to correct distortion is to use an external car amplifier. There is a significant difference between the output of a built-in stereo amplifier and an external amplifier. A dedicated amplifier offers a lot of clean power and is meant to amplify your music so it sounds nice and clear.

You can also adjust the amplifier to match your source unit, minimizing the risk of distortion. Gain controls allow you to tweak the input signal going to the amp. If the signal level is too high, there will be distortion, but when properly matched, the source unit volume can be turned-up halfway or three quarters without any distortion.

If you have worked with your car audio system, and find that the distortion is still very high, it may mean that the speakers may not powerful enough. Your system may need new speakers. If that is the case, always make sure to find speakers that are compatible with your amplifier’s power range to prevent issues with the amp. Rockford Fosgate car speakers are designed to handle high powered amplifiers, increasing in performance and power handling as you move from Prime to Punch, up to the Power series. Explore Rockford Fosgate’s complete line car audio systems and components.