Introduction: Fixing Corsair SP2200 Crackling

The corsair SP2200 are great speakers, but they have some sort of factory defect in which the left speakers start to exhibit a crackle after some time. I decided to open mine and check what was causing it.

Please vote for me in the Fix & Improvement contest.

This fix is not confirmed yet to work on all cases, however, it does work for me.

As far as I know, I may be the only person to have attempted this fix and it may or may not be specific to my case/speaker.

Corsair has a great RMA service, and I recommend to talk to them. I only did this myself because I live in Panama and paying any kind of international shipping is cost-prohibitive.

I am not responsible for anything you do to your speakers.

Edit: Corsair seems to have discontinued this product, which makes this instructable even more important for those with crackly speakers than it was before.

Step 1: Dissassembly

First of all, the problem causing the crackle in the speaker is not in the left speaker, but on the circuits hosted on the right circuit. This can be observed by the fact that the crackling is present on the headphone output.

First, remove the speaker dust cover on the right speaker. You will find underneath speaker cover four Phillip screws. Remove all four of them.

On the base of the right speaker, you will find two rubber strips. Underneath the one facing the front of the speaker, you will need to remove three more Phillip screws. After removing those three screws, pry open the speakers starting from the upper side. It will require a moderate force to pry it open, but as long as you did not miss any of the seven screws it will open without being damaged.

The knobs can also be removed at this point. They are held by a friction fit, just pull them straight out.

Step 2: Dissassembly, Part II

Behind the volume knob, there will be a small nut. You can remove it by using a small needle nose plier. After separating the two halves (as much as the cable allows you to), there will be two screws holding the printed circuit board to the plastic case. (the printed circuit board is the green board, I will just refer to it as PCB) Remove them.

There is no need to separate the plastic case from the speaker; just lay both of them aside as much as the cable will allow.

Step 3: Possible Cause

My analysis leads me into thinking that the issue is an excessively high impedance after the potentiometer. This is because: 

-At zero volume, crackling is not present since the line is tied to ground
-At max volume, crackling is not present or almost nonexistent since the line is tied to the audio source
-At mid volume, where the impedance is the highest, crackling is also at its peak.

Please confirm that your speakers exhibit the same behavior, else they could have an entirely different issue.

The theoretical solution (remember this is just a theory, nothing is confirmed) would be to add a preamplifier. Or, the easier case, to reuse the headphone preamp as a buffer, thus eliminating the need for extra pieces.

Step 4: Easy Way

The way I originally did the mod was the following

Remove the zero ohm resistors located in the upper left corner of the PCB; they will be marked R37,R38.
(The zero ohm resistor has a small zero written in it.)

Solder one wire to the upper connection of the resistors you desoldered, the other end going to R41 and R34. The connections must cross; The right one to R41 and the left one to R34.

Make sure that the wires are only soldered to the upper contact where the SMD zero ohm resistor was. the uncovered part of the cable must not touch the lower contact.

The headphone amplifier has a gain of ~5.7. That means that voltage would be ~5.7 times stronger than normal, potentially damaging the speakers. You must decrease the volume on software almost all the way to the bottom in order to compensate this.

That is why this is the easiest way, as you compensate the amplifier gain on your software. Failing to do this can damage the speakers. Also, when turning it on the first time, advance the volume knob very slowly as the setting and range may not be the same. Be sure to adjust the volume via software before doing anything the first time. Afterwards, the volume knob will work normally.

The best place to lower the volume is not the master volume you normally use, (for those who use it), but an option in the mixer panel often called as front.

Step 5: Correcting Amplifier Gain

It is also possible to reduce the gain of the amplifier as to avoid having to do software hacks.

To do so, identify the two smd resistors marked R26 and R16. They will have inscribed the value 12D; which is equivalent to 130k. Double check with a multimeter that the resistance across it is 130k; else you could be removing the wrong one. After removing them, you must replace them with one whose value is much lower; under 20k. Both R26 and R16 must have the same value.

The reason an exact value is not mentioned is because after I replaced the resistors by a pair of 20k  resistors, the volume was still a tad loud (although better than without it). This means the resistor should be smaller, but I do not know the exact value. A lower value, around 16k, would be a good start. However, doing this requires soldering skills and trial and error, and unless you plug your speakers on different computers frequently, the software hack is usually enough.

For reference, replacing the 130k resistors by 20k would change the gain from 5.7 to 0.88 . However, it appears that the input filters form a divider with the circuitry in the amplifier. Fed directly, the gain needs to be lower to reproduce pre-fix volumes by hardware.

Step 6: Reassemble

Don't forget to place the nut on the potentiometer knob before placing the plastic cap. Enjoy.


jchen24 made it!(author)2013-04-20

moderate force? I'm putting a lot of force into it, and the bottom part of the faceplate just refuses to come off.

JackyC17 made it!(author)2017-04-20


Do you remember the solution, please?


whatthebaek made it!(author)2016-07-30

Michael Chen, RabidShepherd, darhlyk, thank you all for collaborating towards a solution for Corsair's oversight. I remember how disappointed I was back in college, early 2012, when my speakers first started crackling, and I even remember telling myself I'd maybe try the bandaid fix Michael had posted originally. Fast-forward 5 years and several bargain speakers later, and I figured why not check-in on this page again. Lo and behold yall've done it! Two easy solder joints (on the white wire) and the crackling is GONE. I fixed what I thought were dead speakers in less than 30 minutes. Thank you, thank you, thank you all!

RabidShepherd made it!(author)2015-07-16

I decided to take your repair one step further and try to diagnose the cause. Using your instructable as a starting point, I discovered 4-14 volts throughout the left channel circuitry. Upon tear down of sub-woofer, I located a problem on the male 13 pin DIN plug. The left channel pin and the 17 volt power pin are next to each other and voltage was leaking over into the left channel.

I cut open the DIN cable, located the brown left speaker wire and cut it. Then I broke off the left speaker pin in DIN plug so the voltage leak wouldn't feed into the sub-woofer PCB. I opened up the sub and soldered a wire to left speaker DIN connection point on PCB. I drilled a hole though mounting plate, fed this wire through and soldered it to the brown left speaker wire I cut previously. Now I don't have such high voltages on the left speaker circuit and the SP-2200 set sounds great once again. Hopefully this is the cause and my fix holds up.

Finished sp220 fix.jpg
darhlyk made it!(author)2015-09-23

Ok so I found the 17V alimentation wire: it's the white one. I did the same manipulation as I ddid for the left speaker one, and now I don't have anymore crackling AT ALL :)

So I advise to deviate the 17v wire only. Some pictures again: The 17v broken pin (middle right (the bottom right is the left speaker one I broke before (see post below)), not needed but I preferred to break it anyway ^^), the PCB soldering corresponding to the 17v wire (left one (white wire too)), and the wire soldering (white-white).

Don't forget to isolate everything with glue and tape!

Enjoy :)

Jaxsown made it!(author)2015-10-10

Thank you so much, i did the job with 17v wire only and its perfect

darhlyk made it!(author)2015-10-14

Awesome =)

darhlyk made it!(author)2015-08-20

Okay so I did it and... it worked! And my set was crackling in all speakers (right, left and subwoofer) so loudly I couldn't even hear the sound it played, it was even crackling when it was off...

However I still have a very light "wind" and cracklings in the right speaker, and just a bit of wind in the left, but it's independant of the volume now, and so low I can't hear it even when nothing plays.

Maybe it's because the 17v power pin is leaking on other pins, and we should deviate it instead of deviating the left speaker, however I don't know which one it is, can you help me here RabidShepherd? :)

I took some pictures to make it more understandable:

The brown wire (the cut one).

The corresponding pin in the DIN plug (the missing one, bottom left on the picture)

The corresponding soldering on the PCB

And the soldering on the brown wire.

IsacZ made it!(author)2015-01-11

Hi! I followed your guide to step 4 but now there is no music at all in the left speaker, just crackles and a constant hiss. I've checked the solderings with multimeter and they are ok. What can have happened?

Trogador made it!(author)2014-06-09

What's the formula to calculate gain? It seems counter-intuitive to me that a lower resistance results in a quieter sound, but that's probably just because I don't know the formula

Pixe1 made it!(author)2013-09-26

ATTENTION, the origin of the issue is probably completely different !!! Many elements lead to the conclusion that the potentiometer itself is the cause of the noise:

- The potentiometer is the only component located before every other components on the circuit, which is why the noise remains in the headphone output, and with the auxiliary input
- the noise appears at mid-volume, the area where it is used most of the time, it makes sense if it wears out on this zone

A multimeter cannot detect the noise because it is a high frequency signal, you could only detect it with a oscilloscope. And the potentiometer brand, DELTA, strongly looks like a cheap chinese manufacturer.

The solution proposed here consists in reducing the influence of the potentiometer flaw, not in fixing it. I am going to try and change the potentiometer, I will post to confirm it (or not) when i'm done.

svan+der+straeten made it!(author)2013-11-26

how did that work out??

Pixe1 made it!(author)2013-11-28

Unfortunately, changing it didn't affect the noise, hello frustration. Btw, I had to install a separated switch because I didn't find any stereo potentiometer with switch included Interestingly, that had a positive effect because I can now leave the potentiometer in the same position all the time (I change volume through the computer settings). The noise took 2 weeks to disappear and I don't have any crackling anymore even when I change the volume. I will try and get the crackling back to be able to locate the source. The causes of that noise are getting weirder and weirder, I cannot rationally recommend you to install a separated switch :)

svan+der+straeten made it!(author)2013-11-28

these things really have a life on its own. the static buzz has magically stopped today. I wonder if any components get warm or hot after a while. maybe it's something there. having two sets with two diff behaviours is quite strange.

svan+der+straeten made it!(author)2013-11-26

I have use this fix 6 months ago. However the crackeling has come back on one of my speakers (I have two sets)
I have noticed that when the power is on for prolonged times like hours on end) it will get more violent. Usually I unplug it, and the first few hours its fine.

My other set just started making a constant static buzzz in the left speaker (no more crackle though) and when the buzz appears the general volume seems to drop a bit.

bhoover3 made it!(author)2013-09-14

Thanks so much, Michael! Wiring it to the headphone did the trick. Saved me from having to put my favorite speakers out on the curb. The 24 month warranty expired last month, of course.

Yes, it took a lot of force to open the speaker. The bottom part of the speaker front is held in place with plastic "pop-in" pieces, viewable in the step 2 picture. Pulling really hard was the only way to open the speaker. I didn't damage it though.

Thanks again.

Tomdf made it!(author)2012-08-02