Crackling sound in right headphones

Copper Contributor

Hello. I would like to start this off with saying that this is NOT a hardware issue I am having. If I switch headsets, the crackling persists in the right side. Using headsets on a different device, sounds great. There are no crackles when using headphones on other devices. A second point, to clear out pointless troubleshooting that I have done for YEARS now, it is not my headphone jack. Throughout my troubleshooting I have found a TEMPORARY solution to this issue. So if all you have to offer is checking my hardware, don't waste my time responding.


With that out of the way, I am having an issue with using headphones on my windows 11 laptop. It is a Dell Alienware laptop, originally came with windows 10, which the issue was present then as well, and was upgraded to windows 11. The issue is that whenever any sound is played through the headphones, only the right side has this crackling/popping sound that, while not necessarily loud, can become quite distracting when trying to listen to commentary. As explained above this is the same for every headset device I have ever used with this laptop. Now, right away you would think that it is a result of a faulty headphone jack. But I am more inclined to believe it is some setting/driver issue because I can get it to go away, at least until my laptop restarts.

So if it is a driver issue, I just have to update the drivers, yeah? Makes the most sense. So I go to realtek and download them. When updating or reinstalling a Realtek driver, the process is it has to uninstall the drivers, restart the computer, install them, restart the computer again. I've lost count at how many times I've done this. Until I found a driver that, if not fully completed, stops the crackling. I have no idea what version of the driver is, but if I start the installation process, restart the computer the first time, and then cancel the re-installation, the crackling is gone. I can switch headphones, and it does not come back.


But should my computer be restarted, either by me, or a random update in the middle of the night while it should be closed and asleep (I know it does it at night because it lights my LEDs up like a christmas tree, even though the laptop is still shut. Even the alienware logo lights up on the lid, then the crackling returns and I have to repeat the process. Sometimes I have to do it multiple times before it finally works.


So if someone can digest that information, or have gone through this in the past, can someone please give me a PERMANENT solution, I would be immensely grateful. 

2 Replies
Make sure file a bug report in the Feedback Hub app.
Try contact Realtek and report this issue.
From what you explained, there is bug in the driver and they need to look into it and fix it.
Hi there Hope,
A quick follow up to your situation because i think that mine is quite similar and more agressive.
Difference is that i don't use integrated sound card but and external headphone amplifier which is the Xduoo TA-10R, after some hours of music/gaming i started having the same issue as you so crackling in the right ear then then the right ear stopped working at once. This damaged my favorite headphones (Audeze LCD-X).

Tried the same thing on cheaper headphones exactly the same symptoms and scenario.

Lastly, i plugged out the headphone amplifier and replaced it by an external sound card (Focusrite scarlett 2i2) Exactly the same symptoms so i broke 3 headphones in total.

This cannot be a hardware issue at all since i borrowed another headphone amplifer and got the same symptoms.

Tried the amplifier's' and headphones on a MAC, no issues at all, everything is working perfectly with 0 issues.

My desktop pc is quite a top notch machine rog 790 dark hero, 14900K CPU, 1600W PSU etc..
I am 100% positive that there is an issue with how windows handles the sound output since i'ts been 3 amplifers against 1 windows 11 machine.

Sadly i cannot analyse how the sound management system works on windows but i am 100% positive that the issue comes from windows.

Contrary to you, i have speakers plugged in to the realtek integrated card, and no issues at all.

This is weird and i suppose that it should be investigated properly and not win a naive answer like "check your drivers".

Please reply if you got a solution :)