Cyberpunk 2077: How to Fix Audio Crackling

Is your audio "crackling" while playing Cyberpunk 2077? Here's how you can fix one of the game's most annoying problems.

cyberpunk 2077
Photo: CD Projekt Red

In case you missed our rundown of some of Cyberpunk 2077‘s most notable bugs, let’s take a moment to confirm that the rumors are true. Cyberpunk 2077 is an incredibly buggy game that features a variety of audio, visual, and gameplay glitches.

While the number of bugs you’ll encounter in Cyberpunk 2077 depends on your playstyle, platform, and a bit of luck, there are a few bugs that the vast majority of users seem to encounter at some point. The most annoying of those nearly universal problems has to be this bizarre “crackling” problem with the game’s audio.

It’s a little hard to describe, but there are times when playing Cyberpunk 2077 when the in-game audio will produce this popping noise kind of like what you’d hear out of a broken microphone. It’s so pronounced that you may think it’s an intentional effect.

While there are times when it sounds like Cyberpunk 2077 is designed to produce “raw” sounds that are a little rough, that annoying (sometimes painful) cracking sound that most users are reporting is absolutely unintentional. If you notice that your audio seems consistently “off” for long periods of time, then this is likely the problem that you’ve run into.

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Is there a fix? Kind of, but it’s sadly a classic “good news” and “bad news situation.”

The bad news is that there doesn’t seem to be a universal solution for this problem on consoles. We’ve heard reports of some console players being able to mitigate the impact of this effect by playing with the console and game audio settings (or just using a different output device), but the results of these setting changes seem to vary wildly.

The good (or much better) news is that PC players have found a solution to this problem, but it strangely involves leaving the Cyberpunk 2077 settings entirely and playing with your Windows audio settings.

If you’re running Cyberpunk 2077 on Windows and encounter crackling audio, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Right-click the speaker icon on your toolbar.
  2. Open Sound Settings and navigate to Output Device Properties
  3. Select the Advanced tab under Additional Device Properties
  4. Lower your audio quality to around 96000Hz.

After following those steps, you should notice that the crackling sound has gone away. If that doesn’t work, you may want to try lowering the audio quality further until the noise stops.

I’ve heard many users report that they were able to raise the audio quality again after “fixing” the problem via this method, but it’s possible that you may have to play Cyberpunk 2077 at lower audio quality in order to avoid this issue entirely. Again, though, results will vary based on your computer, audio devices, and, yes, a little luck.

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As for why this is a problem in the first place…that’s a great question. Given that this appears to be a multi-platform problem, it seems likely that the issue comes down to some kind of audio mixing bug. That would also help explain why it’s easier to solve this problem through Windows and not the in-game settings as PCs offer deeper audio customization options that allow you to brute force your way through these kinds of shortcomings.

While it’s doubtful this glitch is going to make the shortlist of the biggest Cyberpunk 2077 controversies, it’s definitely one of those things you’ll want to keep in mind if you’re looking to play Cyberpunk 2077 with optimized settings.