If you are a guitar enthusiast, you must be a fan of Solid State Amps. But there are many problems that you might face with your amp. One of them might be the amplifier producing a crackling sound. So why is your Solid State Amp Crackling?
Your Solid State Amp might be crackling due to various reasons. It can be due to a bad solder, disruptive amp power supply. It can also happen for a connection between amplifier and speaker. But how to solve them? Don’t worry. We have sorted all the step-by-step processes for solutions.
Without any further delay, let’s move into the details.
Types of Crackling Sounds
The first step to solve the problem is to study the issue by yourself and know the noise that you are hearing. So, is the crackling getting louder after turning on the amp?
In most cases, the volume remains the same regardless of how loud you turn the knob on. It may also vary to be occasional popping or steady cracking. Studying the sound can narrow down the outcomes. Another issue is knowing if the crackling sound is coming from the speaker.
Turn off all the volume settings like reverb and turn the amp on to the fullest. Is there any sound? If yes, you can start taking the steps below. If not, turn on all the volume setting controls and do the same process. Now, if you can hear the crackling, move to the next step.
Let’s look at some possible types of cracking coming from your speakers.
If the sound that you hear is like a rumbling noise and the speaker is crackling loud. It is possibly due to a faulty output tube. You can completely shift to a new set of spares or you just need to continue with the processes mentioned below.
Lightly hit the tubes inside with a pencil or drumstick. You can also do it with a wooden tool or a non-electro-conductive tool. The one that produces crackling is the culprit. Replace that troubling tube to solve the issue. A better option would be to replace the entire set of power tubes in your amplifier. It is ideal to maintain your power tubes in the same brand and age.
Glassy or High Pitched Crackle
Is your solid-state amp crackling while playing and is higher, very pitching and glassy? This is most probably with the preamp tube. The glassy sound comes like a broken sound of mid to high-range frequency. To confirm the defect, hit each tube with the same wooden tool or pencil. Start with the closest one to the output tube.
If one of them crackles with a glassy sound, it’s likely that it’s the source of the problem, and you should replace it.
Loud Static Crackles
When you hear static sound from the amplifier, you have to start checking all the amp’s connections. Also, check the speaker and input cables along with your tube socket.
Don’t forget the tube sockets. The static sound is due to an oxidized, rusty, and dirty connection. Clean all the parts thoroughly for this. For cleaning the parts, you need to follow a few steps that we have mentioned in Solution 1.
Random Crackles and Pops
If your solid-state amp is making a “popping” sound, it usually occurs due to faulty power tubes. You will hear a popping effect in the sound. To solve this, swap one after another with a spare tube. You can also have a technician examine the plate or cathode resistor in your preamp.
Firstly, take care to prevent getting burnt by hot tubes or even electrocuted. So precautions are very important while working. To start with, you need to wear eye protection and heat-resistant gloves. ‘
If you are a newbie, you should take help from an expert. At least a person should be assisting and observing you when you start working. It’s not worth risking your health, or possibly your life, to save a few dollars. Here are some precautions you must take before starting the process:
- Keep your one hand in your pocket while probing a live amp. It will prevent the current from passing through your heart.
- You should not wear any kind of jewelry. Gold and silver are very good conductors of electricity and heat and might be risky.
- Before soldering, always unplug the amp. You should not just rely on switches.
- Don’t bite a solder as it might lead to ingestion to kill your brain cells.
- Turn off the power of your amp. Also remove the capacitor discharging jumper wire before repowering the amp.
- Installing tubes with power on can break the glass and produce high electricity.
After you take the precautions needed, you can move into the steps.
How to Stop The Amp from Crackling?
It’s completely usual for a tube amplifier to create considerable quantities of noise. Particularly when compared to a solid-state amplifier). But loud and regular crackling can be an indication of some major issues. So determining the reason and how much is too much is the tricky part. Keep reading for additional in-depth guidance if the above tips haven’t worked yet.
To know how to fix the crackling amplifier, let’s move to the next part.
Solution 1: Clean The Connections
First of all, check all the connecting cables of your amp. A dirty connector is the most common in producing a crackling sound. So you need to clean the parts. Low-quality products can also wear out easily and need cleaning. Tube socket pins that are loose or filthy can cause a variety of issues. Some difficult-to-diagnose intermittent issues include
- Loss of signal
- Red plating for loss of bias voltage
- Crackling noise
- Signal output thinning
- No voltage on the cathode
Now, to know the details of the solution, let’s move into the details.
Before starting, disconnect the power supply at least 24 hours before. It will discharge all the energy and lessen the risk. Avoid any contact with the capacitor. Also, use a newspaper on the floor to avoid static electricity. Do not use a wool sweater or carpet.
The list of things needed are given below:
- Vacuum cleaner
- Dust can
- Electric contact cleaner
- Lint-free cloth
- 99% isopropyl alcohol
Now, let’s move into the steps.
Step 1 of 5 Remove The Outer Casing
Take a screwdriver and start unscrewing the outer cover. Keep the screws in a safe place. Clean the covering if dirty.
Step 2 of 5 Remove Debris
Use a vacuum cleaner hose to remove the large dirt. A vacuum cleaner won’t get into all of the nooks and crannies of the case or the circuit board’s surface. However, it will remove any big amounts of dust that have accumulated in the amp.
Be careful to operate the vacuum near small wires and connections. This is to blow off the dust from fans, you can use compressed air.
Step 3 of 5 Remove Stubborn Spots
Examine the components, transistors, and connections on the board. Spray electric contact cleanser lightly where there is any dirt to remove. Scrubbing is not required and may be hazardous. The spray is non-conductive. So it is safe to be used.
Step 4 of 5 Wipe off Internal Parts
Clean all the sockets, input/output connectors, and other electrical connections. It can be done with a lint-free cloth soaked in 99% isopropyl alcohol. Because 99% isopropyl harms your skin, use rubber gloves when doing this. Don’t use any other alcohol.
Step 5 of 5 Reassembling The Parts
Let the amp dry overnight. Make sure that all the liquid is dried out. Place the cover or outer casing back on the amp. Now, plug it in once you’re sure the amp and all internal components are totally dry.
Solution 2: Reset Internal Parts
The problem may lie in your tubes or some other internal parts. The cracking sounds you’re hearing might be the result of a bad tube connection as well. So, as a measure, you can reset the tubes and internal connections. This is to check if there is any loose connection or faulty tube. The crackling can be a result of an incomplete connection in the pins of the amp socket.
To check and be sure of the part that has the problem, you need to disassemble the amplifier and reset the parts. To know more, let’s move into the steps.
A very few things will be needed given below:
- Philip head screwdriver
- Part to be replaced
Now that we know the things needed, let’s move to the steps.
Step 1 of 3 Remove The Back Panel
Disassembling the amp with the steps mentioned in the previous fix. Now, remove the panel from the rear of the chassis. You can use a Philip head screwdriver for it. Gently tugging on the tubes can sometimes assist in re-seat them. It provides them a stronger connection, therefore resolving your issue.
Step 2 of 3 Examine The Inner Parts
Firstly, see carefully to find any visible difference in the tubes. If you find a bad one, it needs to be replaced. To remove the tube, carefully grasp it and raise it upwards, working it back and forth. Avoid bending or breaking the pins. When raising the tube, do not twist it.
Step 3 of 3 Reassembling Parts
After replacing the tubes just as opening them. You need to reassemble the parts back together. Discard the old tube and see if your amp is still crackling or not. Go through and replace each of your preamp tubes one at a time to see if the crackling stops. If the crackling is random, this might take a long time.
Check all of your tubes. If they don’t appear to be cracking, replace all output tubes with a set of matching spares.
After cleaning your connectors, plug them back in to see if the problem persists. Whether it does, swap out your connections to see if the connector is the source of the problem.
Troubleshooting The Crackling
If the above fixes haven’t worked for you, there might still be a problem with your amp. To know more about the problems, let’s move into the next section.
Connections Between The Speakers and The Amplifier:
The connection between the amp and speaker might be loose that causing interference. The simple solution to this is to reset the cable. If you see that the cable is damaged or faulty, it is time you replace the cable.
Following the steps above, disassemble the amp. Any broken or worn-out parts should be replaced. If you find any evident loose connection, open the wire. Now reconnect it again to the same place. In case of destroyed wire, use an exact replacement. It’s critical to replace like parts with similar parts. This is so you know the new component will work with your solid-state amplifier.
Once you’ve ruled out your connections, you may move on to these additional options.
A small solder can be loose and cause connection problems. So you need to take a close look inside and see if there is any visible soldering. A cold solder joint occurs when the joints are rough and lumpy.
If your amplifier has a crackling, poor solder is always something to look for and rule out. You need to disassemble the amp and replace the solder with a new one to solve the problem.
And to do the soldering properly, you need a quality soldering kit. To ease your pain of finding them, here are our top choices for soldering kits.
Check Amp’s Power Supply:
Maybe the main culprit is actually the power supply. Where is your amp connected? Is it your house or studio? Plug the amp in somewhere else. A faulty power supply can cause an uneven flow of power through the amp. As a result, it may produce sounds like crackling or humming.
So, try using another socket to check the sound. If the noise stops, then the problem was with the amp’s socket or circuit. For this, you need to change the position of your amp and connect it to a new location with a proper power supply. You can also install tube dampers for better sound quality.
If adjusting the amp knobs is solving the problem, then your amp is faultless. Fine dust has accumulated in your knobs. For this, your amp is making a cracking sound. For this, you need to thoroughly clean the knobs by opening the amp and replacing them with new ones if needed.
Still crackling? If yes, it is better to go to an expert technician. A technician will look into the parts and perform the needed changes.
How Can You Prevent The Crackling?
An amplifier has an expected lifespan of 10,000 hours of use. So it is better to take them for servicing after every two years. Most guitarists have an idea that the amp needs to be serviced only after difficulty. As a result, the amp wears out and decays. As a result, when any problem arises, they are not fixable and need to be replaced.
Not just this, after regular use, the amp should be cleaned, nuts should be tightened, and kept inside a cover. Also, the amplifier should be kept in a dry place away from moisture to resist rusting. You can also keep standby parts and tools to use if any problem occurs.
All in all, regular maintenance of your guitar amplifier is very important. This is to stop it from any damage along with crackling.
If you still have questions, have a look at the answers to these frequently asked questions.
Is It bad to Keep Your Solid-state Amp on?
When you plug and unplug your devices from the electricity, they suffer a minor beating. A fully electronic item, such as a power amp or preamp, on the other hand, should be left on at all times – with a few exceptions. So, when it comes to your equipment, keep the lights on – it will help it last longer and sound better.
Are Solid Amps Good to Use?
Solid-state amplifiers are ideal for musicians that want a lot of headroom. For example loud, clean, undistorted signals. An electric guitar might sound brittle without a little natural distortion. Solid-state amplifiers are therefore more popular. They’re more popular among bassists and keyboard players than among guitarists.
That is all from us. As you have come this far, we have an added tip just for you. When you turn your amp on or off, be sure to turn your volume to the minimum. The popping sound when you switch on is for a rush of electricity passing through your amplifier. That is all from us on Solid-state amp crackling.
Do you have any quarries? Let us know in the comment section below. Till then, have a good day!