Speaker Cabinet Repair

Written by greg jackson
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Speaker Cabinet Repair
(speaker image by gajatz from Fotolia.com)

A speaker cabinet can be used for many purposes. Home audio systems, theatres and live music venues are just a few of the places where a speaker cabinet will be seen. Although most cabinets are solidly constructed of strong materials, the characteristics of sound reproduction (especially at higher decibel levels and expanded frequency ranges) can lead to the need for speaker cabinet repair. Constant movement of a speaker cabinet, such as one that is used by a touring band, will also cause repairs to be needed.

Vulnerable Points

Perhaps the most vulnerable part of a speaker cabinet is the speaker itself. The very nature of a speaker (flexible material cone that moves constantly) can lead to repairs or replacement. The good news is that replacing a speaker is probably the easiest part of speaker cabinet repair. It is usually just a matter of unscrewing the screws or bolts that hold the speaker to the baffle, disconnecting the speaker wire leads (sometimes, unsoldering will be required), and setting a new speaker into place. In some cases, either the back of the speaker cabinet or the front grille will need to be removed to access the speaker.

Another vulnerable part of a speaker cabinet is the exterior. Cabinets that are located in high traffic areas or that are moved frequently will receive trauma that often results in scratches, dents, and gouges in the cabinet. These can be repaired by using a quality wood filler or epoxy to fill the damaged area, sanding the area smooth, and refinishing with a matching paint, veneer, or fabric.

High Stress

The corners of a speaker cabinet generally take the most impact, especially if it is moved regularly. The weight of the cabinet rests on the corners, and consequently moving, sliding, or stacking cabinets will increase the wear and tear on the corners. Metal corner protectors should always be used, especially for heavier speaker cabinets. These are easy to install, usually with a screwdriver or drill, and will vastly extend the life of the cabinet overall. If corner protectors are not used, a repair will often consist of smoothing down and filling damaged or missing slivers of wood or other speaker cabinet material and refinishing.

The areas where the sections of the speaker cabinet are joined also carry a significant amount of stress. The sound vibrations within the speaker cabinet (as well as gravity itself) are natural stress factors in these areas. Well-made speaker cabinets include a "screw and glue" method of joining sections, which increases the strength of the joint. Bracing can be added along each joint, consisting of anywhere from 1/2-inch to 1-inch thick sections that run the entire length of the joint.

Wiring

The most fragile of all the parts of a speaker cabinet is found in the wiring. The various connections between the speaker and the plug jack can become loose, even if securely connected. In some cases, this will require removing the plug plate or the access to the speaker itself to reconnect the wire leads. The best type of terminal for both plug jacks and speakers is arguably the screw-on type. The lead is screwed into place on the terminal and then soldered on for enhanced stability. An layer of electrical tape can be applied after this for stability and for protecting against any shorting possibilities.

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