How to tell if a subwoofer is blown?

Written by james clark
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How to tell if a subwoofer is blown?
Subwoofer Showing Exposed Speaker Cone (

A subwoofer produces the heavy bass sound for your system, be it a car stereo or home theatre. A sudden power surge or prolonged high volume can damage the vibrating coil inside the cabinet and possibly split or rupture the round speaker cone that delivers the low-frequency bass sound. Before replacing a subwoofer, particularly an expensive component such as a powered subwoofer used for home theatre setups, it's a good idea to test the equipment and determine if it is blown or if a minor repair could get the bass blasting again for minimal expense. A mid-range subwoofer for home use can be pricey, but a minor rupture in the speaker cone can often be fixed for the price of an inexpensive tube of sealant available at electronics stores.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Speaker repair sealant

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  1. 1

    Remove the cover enclosure for the subwoofer by lifting it straight off.

  2. 2

    Power up the system and adjust the volume no higher than medium.

  3. 3

    Inspect the speaker cone for holes or rips. Special sealants are available at electronics stores to close a torn subwoofer cone that has a relatively minor split or has a hole from too much bass.

  4. 4

    Gently depress the centre of the subwoofer cone, which is the centre piece surrounded by a large grey or black bowl (the subwoofer loudspeaker).

  5. 5

    Listen for a distinctive scraping sound, which could mean a blown speaker coil inside the cabinet. This scraping or rattling sound typically means it's time to get a new subwoofer, because replacing a blown coil is almost as much as a new subwoofer. No sound or a persistent buzzing noise are common signs that the subwoofer is blown.

  6. 6

    Test the subwoofer to see it if is getting power and capable of producing any sound by connecting the two speaker wires off the subwoofer to the terminals of a 9-volt transistor battery. If the subwoofer is working at all, you will hear a brief popping sound and the cone will push outward.

Tips and warnings

  • Touch the speaker cone only with clean hands.
  • Don't bring sharp objects near the material of the speaker and centre cone because it can rupture.

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