It’s very irritating when your Xbox controller audio is crackling! It can drive you nuts. Especially when the audio cuts out every second. Don’t worry, I think I found the solution.
I recently experienced the Xbox controller audio crackling issue on my four-month-old Xbox Series S. After a few hours of intense troubleshooting and resisting the urge to throw my controller across the room, I found a solution.
Fix Xbox Controller Audio Crackling
Interference from 5 GHz network. Disconnect your Xbox from 5 GHz Wi-Fi and connect it to a 2.4 GHz or wired network. The Xbox controller audio crackling should be gone.
Why does this happen? Since the Xbox One, Xbox controllers use Wi-Fi direct on the 5 GHz frequency to communicate with the Xbox. 5 GHz is faster and less likely to run into interference from nearby networks.
Xbox controllers do not use Bluetooth to connect to the consoles. Bluetooth was added to the controller later on to improve connectivity with other devices like phones, laptops, and whatnot. Is your Xbox controller disconnecting from your PC?
5 GHz Router Interference
The problem is your router could be broadcasting 5 GHz Wi-Fi on the same channel that your Xbox controller uses to communicate with the Xbox. When that happens, the Xbox controller either won’t connect to your Xbox at all or it will be very unreliable.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell which 5 GHz channel Xbox controllers use. However, if you hold down the Xbox button on your controller it will shut down and when you turn it on again it might use a different channel.
An easier option is to change the broadcasting channel of your router (or disable the 5 GHz SSID altogether).
How to Change 5 GHz Wi-Fi Channel
To make troubleshooting a bit easier, make sure your Xbox is connected to the 5 GHz Wi-Fi network,
First, you need to access your router’s settings. The login details are usually printed on the bottom or side of the router.
You can also easily find the configuration address by opening CMD and typing IPCONFIG. The Default Gateway will be your router’s IP Address, type that into a web browser to access the router’s configuration panel.
The login information will be printed on the router. You can also research your router’s model for the default username and password. If you don’t know the password, you might need to completely reset the router. Once in the router’s settings (every router will have a different user interface) locate the Wireless Setup menu.
Under the 5 GHz network, look for the option to change the channel, it’s usually under the SSID information. Switch it to a random channel and test the Xbox controller. Don’t worry, you can change the channel without rebooting the router.
If you’re lucky, then you’ll land on a channel that won’t cause any issues with your Xbox controller.
If you try all the 5 GHz channels and your Xbox controller is still having issues, I would disable the 5 GHz network altogether. Uncheck Broadcast SSID. Instead, connect your Xbox to the standard 2.4 GHz network.
Advanced Settings to Troubleshoot
If you’re determined to use 5 GHz Wi-Fi, you will have to try various settings on your router.
Here are some settings to change:
- Change 5 GHz broadcast Channel (the default is Auto)
- Configure the bandwidth (80 MHz, 40 MHz, or 20 MHz)
In some cases changing the bandwidth will do the trick. I’ve heard people who changed it to 20 MHz had luck.
Unfortunately for me, I was not able to completely eliminate the crackling by adjusting the settings on my 5 GHz Wi-Fi network.
When I disabled 5 GHz entirely and connected my Xbox to the 2.4 GHz network the audio was crystal clear.
Here’s the thing:
In my case, the problem only happened when my Xbox was connected to my 5 GHz band Wi-fi network. If the router was simply broadcasting the network, it wouldn’t cause any problems with the controller.
If you still want the benefits of 5 GHZ home Wi-fi, you can leave it on, but don’t connect your Xbox to it. Most routers will allow you to have two separate Wi-Fi networks on different frequencies. Leave the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network on for the Xbox, and the 5 GHz one for all the other devices in your home.
The Bottom Line
The Xbox controller audio crackling issue is really annoying and I discovered it could be caused by a 5 GHz Wi-Fi network. Connect to a regular 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network or use wired ethernet to test if that truly is the problem.
If your Xbox controller’s audio continuous to crackle after disconnecting and disabling the 5 GHz Wi-fi network, the issue is most likely hardware related, and you might have better luck contacting Microsoft’s official support.
Nevertheless, this trick worked for me, and I hope it works for you too. Either way, it’s an easy fix to try!
Let me know in the comment section below if this worked for you.