How To Tell If Subwoofer Is Blown? Expert Guide
If your subwoofer suddenly stopped functioning, chances are it might have blown. Blowing up is quite common in subs. And occurs for reasons such as too much power or feeding the sub with an excessive sound that forces the voice coil to separate from speaker cone—rendering the subwoofer non-functional.
Before you rush to conclusions, however, it’s important to conduct some diagnosis to ascertain that your woofer has indeed blown.
Here are some helpful ways to check if your sub is blown…
How to test if a subwoofer is blown
1. Start with a quick physical inspection
The easiest way to determine if a speaker has been blown is to physically inspect it for any damage signs.
You can do this by gently pressing on either side of the speaker cone. What do you see or feel? If your speaker’s cone feels rigid or locked in place (i.e., it’s not moving) that’s a clear sign that it has blown.
If the cone moves on pressing, the sub might not be blown after all. Pay closer attention…listen for any scratching noises and take note of any movements that appear too loose/sluggish. These could be signs of worn suspension.
2. Try playing some audio at low volume
Another helpful way to establish if your sub has been blown playing audio with it at low volume.
This is a great test method if you hear any cracks, pops, or general static when your sub is playing audio.
Try playing some audio playback at low volume. Then, gradually increase the volume as well as the bass as you listen for any disturbances in the audio quality.
What do you hear?
Distorted sound? If yes, that means your sub is partially blown. If you don’t hear any sound with increased volume/bass, it means the sub has been fully blown.
IMPORTANT: If your sub is receiving the audio signal via a subwoofer cable, and there are other cables around, you might want to check the cable first before making any conclusions. We suggest that you place your sub cable at 90 degrees to other cables around.
3. Go for the Voltmeter
You can also diagnose a blown sub using a digital voltmeter.
Just hook the device’s leads to the positive and negative terminals of your subwoofer and check its reading.
Each sub has its own ohms reading. For instance, the CompR 12-inch kicker subwoofer reads 2Ohms.
What’s your sub’s resistance value?
If the voltmeter displays something lower than the expected value, this is a sign of a damaged speaker.
Still at it, if the ohms reading keeps fluctuating, it also means the sub is dead.
NOTE that you might need to round off the voltmeter reading to the nearest whole number to help you find the correct resistance reading for your specific subwoofer.
What might have caused your sub to blow?
As we said at the beginning of this post, the most common culprits for sub blows include too much power and too much signal.
Let’s briefly discuss each of them below…
Too much signal
Your sub can get blown if you force too much signal to it. what causes too much signal and how do you avoid it?
Clipping results in excessive signal going into your sub. Clipping occurs when the audio signals hitting the amp’s power voltage supplies. the resulting clipped signal can easily damage your sub.
You know your sub has if it suddenly starts sounding odd and loud. That is, it stops playing the low notes (bass notes) of your favorite tracks. Low-quality amps are more prone to clipping when you apply bass boost. If you want to prevent your sub from clipping, consider getting a high-quality amp with built-in protection for clipping attempts.
Too much power
Overpowering your car subwoofer can also cause it to blow easily. Overpowering, as the name suggests, is sending too much power to your sub, forcing it to operate in conditions beyond what it was originally designed for.
Excessive power getting into the sub leads to increased pressure build-up from the speaker magnets. And this results in excessive stress on the surrounds of your woofer, spider, and even the sub itself.
Luckily, you can avoid overpowering your subwoofer by matching up its RMS power rating with that of the amp you plan to pair it with. You can either get an amp with the same power rating as your sub or something with slightly more power than your woofer’s rating.
While still at it, underpowering your sub can also easily damage it.
What to do if your sub is blown?
The FIRST thing you need to do once you have established that your sub is indeed blown is removing it from your home or car audio system. Letting it stay hooked to your system can lead to damages to your audio equipment, increasing the extent of the damage.
If your subwoofer is still new, it might still be covered by a warranty. You need to check the warranty validity before you can disassemble the woofer. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a replacement or a repair by the manufacturer.
If your blown sub was old and you’ve been thinking of buying a new one lately, then you might take this as an opportunity to upgrade to that new model you’ve always been dreaming of. Check this post on the top-rated in-wall subwoofer reviews.
If you’re not ready to get a new sub, however, you might consider fixing the old one. The fixing process for a blown sub is pretty easy and you can do it at the comfort of your home.
A sub can easily blow is you overpower it or force too much sound through it. the extent of damage can vary from one subwoofer to another; some models might suffer partial blow while others get full-blown.
You can use one of the 3 main methods we have outlined above to check if your sub has been blown.
A blown sub doesn’t always mean that it should be replaced. You can try fixing it on your own and see if it’ll work again.