What Causes a Blown Subwoofer? — Discover the Root Cause and How to Fix it

blown subwoofer

A subwoofer punctuates the highs and mids in a home theater system. With damaged or blown subwoofers, your content will not sound the same. Before you panic about the lack of bass sound, our team will assist in identifying the problem and how to repair a damaged subwoofer. 

Causes of a Blown Subwoofer

There are many reasons causing subwoofers to blow. In this section, our experts will address the problems we commonly see. 

One of the most frequently seen causes of a subwoofer that’s blown is excessive or too much power. Our team stresses in the test the difference between the peak power rating in a subwoofer and the RMS. If you increase the volume and bass past a certain extent for a long period, you will end up with a blown speaker cone or subwoofer.

black subwoofer

The RMS wattage is the safe rating at which you can play your content for longer. The peak power or max power is the amount of power your subwoofer can handle in short bursts and it’s not advisable to play the subwoofer at this level for too long.

A distorted signals may also cause your subwoofer to blow. A distorted signal means unclear sound or audio, wherein we tend to turn up and increase the volume and bass to get a better idea of what’s wrong. However, it will only make matters worse and could only exacerbate the damage.

Signs of a Blown Subwoofer

How do you tell whether a subwoofer is blown or just an external amplifier problem? There are a few ways to test and know whether your subwoofers is fully or partially blown. 

The first step in the test is by listening to the audio. The initial sign of blown speakers or subwoofers is distorted sounds signal. The poor sound or audio presents itself as crackles and pops. 

silver sound woofer

If you experience no sound from it, it is completely damaged and requires you for a replacement. However, if you can hear partial sound or audio, then it means a partially blown speaker cone. 

You can also physically inspect the damage, test the movement of subwoofer by removing the cover. You can test this theory by gaining access to the speaker cone, voice coil and spider. You have to remove the cover or grill and take a look inside. The speaker cone is a very fragile part around the sub and you want to make sure there are no signs of wear and tear when remove it.

When testing the cone, you should be delicate without putting too much power or force. If the speaker cone does not move, then the damage is severe. If you have moved around, then the suspension system has already sustained some damage. The worst is if you hear any type of a scratching sound or audio. In this case, then you need to remove the sub from the rest of the setup to prevent further deterioration. 

subwoofer on a speaker

Next, you can measure the resistance voltage with a multimeter. Testing the resistance is one way to check your sub.  A multimeter is a device used to measure the voltage, the current and the resistance in speakers cone. If the multimeter shows no resistance, then it is a big indicator of a damaged voice coil wires. 

The voice coil produces the force behind your subwoofer. If the meter shows any resistance, it means the coil is still functioning.  Once you have a blown voice coils, you need to replace the whole subwoofer. Fixing the voice coil may be a potentially difficult process, it is better to buy a new subwoofer instead.

Can a Blown Subwoofer Be Fixed?

Fixing a sub that’s blown still depends on the extent of the damage. If you are looking at a new one and you are still in the return period, exchanging the faulty item with another one is your best bet.

fixing a subwoofer

Sometimes buying speakers is the smartest move as it won’t be a hassle than fixing the subwoofer. Thus, our team suggests disconnecting the faulty subwoofer from the rest of your home theater to avoid damaging other connected devices.

Solutions to a Blown Subwoofer

If you want to repair the damage, then we have a few solutions you can try. After removing the sub from the devices that surround it, check if your system is still under a warranty period [1]. You may contact customer service and have the device be sent back or be replaced. 

If the impairment appears to be too severe, replacing it will be your sure and best option. If you are looking at a sub for your car, the prices for sub for your car are quite reasonable and shouldn’t set you back too much. Our team does suggest replacing it rather than forgoing it, especially if you like to play music at loud volume instead of low volume in your car. 

inside a subwoofer

There are also low priced options for your home. Replacing it would be the first step to enjoying the bass you once love. Unfortunately, there is not much to be done if the result of your test is a fully blown subwoofer .

There are midrange subs you can consider to replace your blown device, here is the list of the top-caliber subwoofers below 500 for your next purchase. 

How to Avoid this Problem

If your subwoofer is blown, paying more attention to the peak power and RMS rating of your speaker  cone is crucial. You can minimize the risk of potentially having a damaged subwoofer with your new speaker if you pay attention to the RMS rating.  Complete lack of electrical resistance will mean that your blown coil are damaged.  You don’t have to play it at a much power or low volume and can stay within the limits. 

Proper speaker maintenance is also important. You need to keep them clean and get a cover if the speakers are not in use. The amplifier compatibility is another aspect that could cause signal distortion. Audio signal distortion is also referred to as clipping. Clipping audio or sound is the result of an overpowered amp.

subwoofers in a speaker

Whether it’s in your car or at home, to ensure the quality of the music and bass sounds, the power rating of the amplifier is very important.

FAQ

What happens when a subwoofer blows?

Two things can happen when a subwoofer blows. You are either left with no audio or play with a partially distorted sound. The former is an indicator of a fully blown sub and the latter is a sub that has only sustained partial damage.

Can you fix a blown subwoofer?

Yes, you can fix a blown subwoofer especially when it is partially blown sub damaged cone. However, a damaged voice coil will be difficult to replace. Depending on the extent of the problem, the best solution is to purchase a new subwoofer.

How tell if subwoofer is blown?

You can tell if a subwoofer is blown when there is a sound issue. You can also tell if a subwoofer is blown if you hear distorted sound to no sound at all.  If you suspect your sub or speaker cone is blown, you can inspect the cone, or measure the voltage using a multimeter.  The cone is fragile, so only use minimal force when you check the movement.  By using both of your hands, move the cone carefully without using much force.

Conclusion

A blown subwoofer can still be fixed and repaired. First, identify the extent of the damage and then decide if you want to purchase a new set or to try and fix it. Most of the time, replacing your broken one with a new unit is the better option.

Another way to improve a faulty subwoofer is refoaming your whole speakers. Read our practical tips on how to refoam speakers here

Writer

Willie Greer
Willie Greer
Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.