Having a headphone crackling problem? You’re certainly not alone. But don’t worry, it can be quite easy to fix…

4 fixes for Headphones Crackling

Here are 4 fixes that have helped other users resolve their Windows 10/8.1/7 sound crackling in headphones issue.
You may not need to try them all; just work your way down the list until you find the one that works for you.

  1. Check for hardware issues
  2. Disable Exclusive Mode and change the sound format
  3. Update your audio driver
  4. Adjust the minimum processor state

Fix 1: Check for hardware issues

  1. Try the headphone on other devices and see if it works.
  • If yes: then the problem isn’t on your headphone. Move on to 2) to narrow the problem down.
  • If no: then chances are high that your headphone itself is at fault. You might want to contact the manufacturer for repair/replacement.

2) Try your headphone on a different port on your PC and see if it works.

  • If yes: then the other port you have your headphone on is at fault.
  • If no: then move on to Fix 2 to further troubleshoot the audio crackling issue.

Fix 2: Disable Exclusive Mode and change the sound format

Having Exclusive Mode on means the specific app will take full control while in use so that other apps cannot play audio through the device. But the feature can sometimes interfere with the audio driver, hence the crackling or popping sound in headphone problem. To disable Exclusive Mode:

1) On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key  and type audio, then click Manage audio devices.

2) Right-click on speakers and click Properties.

3) Click the Advanced tab, un-check the box before Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device. Then click Apply > OK.

4) Play some music and check if the sound coming through is noise-free now. If not, continue with 5) to change the audio format.

5) Still in the Advanced tab, select 16 bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality). Then click Apply > OK.

6) Hopefully the popping/crackling sound in your headphone problem has gone by now. If not, you might also want to change it to other audio formats to see if it works.

Check if the headphone crackling problem persists. If yes, then congrats! But if it still persists, you should try Fix 3, below.


Fix 3: Update your audio driver

This problem may occur if you are using the wrong audio driver or it’s out of date. So you should update your audio driver to see if it fixes your problem. If you don’t have the time, patience or skills to update the driver manually, you can do it automatically with Driver Easy.

Driver Easy will automatically recognize your system and find the correct drivers for it. You don’t need to know exactly what system your computer is running, you don’t need to be troubled by the wrong driver you would be downloading, and you don’t need to worry about making a mistake when installing. Driver Easy handles it all.

You can update your drivers automatically with either the FREE or the Pro version of Driver Easy. But with the Pro version it takes just 2 steps (and you get full support and a 30-day money back guarantee):

  1. Download and install Driver Easy.
  2. Run Driver Easy and click the Scan Now button. Driver Easy will then scan your computer and detect any problem drivers.
  3.  You can upgrade to the Pro version and click Update All to automatically download and install the correct version of ALL the drivers that are missing or out of date on your system.
    You can also click Update to do it for free if you like, but it’s partly manual.

    4) Restart your computer, play some audio through your headphone to see if this nasty crackling noise has been resolved. If it’s still happening, move on to Fix 4, below.


Fix 4: Adjust the minimum processor state

Adjusting the minimum processor state, as reported by many users, is another effective way to fix the crackling in headphones issue. To do so:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key  and R at the same time, then copy & paste powercfg.cpl into the box and press Enter.
  2. Click the High performance option > Change plan settings.
  3. Click Change advanced power settings.
  4. Double-click on Processor power management Minimum processor state. Type 100 in Setting (%). Then click Apply > OK.
Depending on the build of your Windows, you might also see On battery and Plugged in in Setting (%). Change both values to 100 and click OK.

5) Restart your computer and test the audio on your headphone to see if all these pops and crackles have disappeared.


There you go – top 4 fixes for your headphone crackling problem. Hope this helps and feel free to drop us a comment if you have any further ideas to share with us. 

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