You look forward to crisp and satisfying music when a stereo is installed, but static coming out of the speakers is noise that ruins the sounds you expect. Sound is delivered to your speakers using wires that carry electrical signals, which are easily distorted by signals from other electrical devices such as microwaves and power lines. Whether the static is coming through speakers in a car or home, you'll need to use troubleshoot to discover the source of the noise and eliminate it.
Car Stereo Troubleshooting
Cycle through each of your stereo input modes. Put the stereo on FM or AM, and tune into a broadcast station you know. Switch the stereo to CD mode and insert a disk. Compare the sound quality to determine if the static deals with an input mode or speaker connections. For example, if your CD plays without static while the radio play with static, this indicates there is a problem with your FM/AM mode and ultimately, the antenna.
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Determine if your antenna is functioning properly. Refer to the car manual to locate the antenna if it is not readily apparent. Ensure that you have the tuner set to the right station.
Pull stereo out of the dash and check the wiring harness and antenna connection. Insert the tip of a Flathead screwdriver in the space between the dash and stereo to dislodge it, or use your system's in-dash removal tool. Ensure that the appropriate connections are properly seated in the stereo ports.
Start the car and step on the accelerator while the radio is on. Listen to the noise to determine if it intensifies as the RPMs increase. If this is the case, you may require a tune-up or replacement of the electrical components in the engine compartment. Contact your mechanic to inspect the condition of your spark plugs, wires, distributor and distributor cap and replace as needed.
Locate the ground wire connected to the stereo amplifier if there is one. Ensure that the wire is firmly secured to the metal chassis, which grounds the system. Use electrical tape to secure the wire.
Check the stereo wiring between the amplifier, car battery and speakers. If necessary, separate the power wire, typically identified as red, from speaker wires. Reroute speaker wire at least 2 feet from the power wire. Noise is introduced to the system if wires are too close.
Home Stereo Troubleshooting
Put the stereo in "Tuner" mode, and then select a radio station in your area. Check the antenna connection, which is labeled in the rear of the receiver. Next, reposition the stereo antenna and listen carefully to the sound quality.
Determine if there are other devices near the stereo that use radio waves such as Wi-Fi routers and devices. Move items that may introduce noise into the speaker system to another location.
Ensure that speaker wire cables are correctly placed in the terminals. Verify that the left and right wire terminals are connected to the matching left and right terminals on the speakers. Look for a thin white line on the speaker wire, which helps differentiate the left and right wire leads.
Inspect each connection speaker wire connection for a strong and properly seated wire. Remove wires from spring clips, twist the wire tips between your fingers, and reconnect the wires.