How to Know If Your Subwoofer Is Bottoming Out

Written by deronte' smith
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How to Know If Your Subwoofer Is Bottoming Out
Know if your subwoofers are bottoming out in a matter of seconds. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Hearing your subwoofer rattling while playing your favourite song is not ideal for impressing anyone with your stereo. Your stereo system is made up of an intricate network of wires, coils, co-axles and other components.To the average person, this sounds like more than you care to know -- all you want to know is how to prevent your subwoofers from "bottoming out." Bottoming out your subwoofer refers to a sound given off by the voice coil on the magnet assembly, indicating a problem; however, there is a means of knowing if your subwoofer is bottoming out in minutes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Audio system
  • Subwoofer
  • Ported Subwoofer Box (optional)

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Turn your stereo system up to the volume for which you would normally play your music. Your woofer is bottoming out if you a notice a crackling, clapping or thumping sound.

  2. 2

    Adjust the settings of your equilizer (built in most receiever units today) to a lower bass setting, which will lower your bass throughput of the subwoofer. Lowering the bass setting should minimise the impedence of the subwoofer's performance.

  3. 3

    Turn down the gain (on car audio amplifiers), which will decrease or eliminate the distortion given off by the subwoofers. If the problem persists, purchase a ported subwoofer box for rehousing the subwoofers. Purchasing new housing for the subwoofers with the consultation of an audio expert would likely correct the problem.

  4. 4

    Turn off the "bass boost" (on car audio amplifiers) typically found on lower-quality amplifiers.

Tips and warnings

  • All audio equipment is rated by OHMS, a rating system measuring the resistance of the electrical device's means of electricity flow.
  • Audio systems have equalisers and amps, which control the power amperage. Depending on the design of your system, it is possible to have noncompatible components, causing particular audible imbalances yielding the undesirable bottoming out effect.
  • The effect of bottoming out can also be a consequence of your system's setting being adjusted too high or too low.
  • When subwoofers reach their maximum capacity in Hz, major non-repairable damage can be done to the voice cones, rendering your speakers useless.
  • As a subwoofer bottoms out it can also reflect a problem with too much wattage or amperage to the unit.
  • Bottoming out can seem to occur as the culprit with your subwoofer's problem; however, when the amplifier goes beyond it's limits it has a very similar effect, also known as "clipping."

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