How Do You Tell if a Subwoofer Is Blown?

A subwoofer is like a valuable part of a home theater. However, home theaters can work without one. With a subwoofer, you will be able to get an amazing sound. Nothing works as great as a subwoofer to lift your home theater experience. But what will happen if you ever face any problem with your subwoofer or notice any malfunctioning? You may also ask if it could possibly be fixed or not? So how can you get to know if your home theater subwoofer is blown?

You can test your subwoofer with a low volume. If it is distorted, then you have a blown or partially blown subwoofer. If there is no sound at all, then the subwoofer has been completely blown. You can also check your cable if you think that’s the issue before making any conclusions.

Subwoofers can be blown when they either receive too much power or too much of a distorted signal. You can easily find out that your subwoofer is blown by listening to the sound or reviewing the woofer’s movement. You can also use a multimeter to find out if the coil is blown.

If you want to test the movement of your woofer, you’ll want to remove the cover to reach the cone. In that case, you have to move the cone to evaluate the damage carefully. Signs that your subwoofer is damaged:

  • If you do not notice any movement, then it is really damaged.
  • If it is extra shaky, this is also a sign of damage.
  • If you hear any scratching sounds from your subwoofer, then it is blown.
  • Moreover, you can rather use a multimeter to test for a blown coil. (A multimeter measures the amount of voltage, resistance, and current) so that you can find out if there is a lack of electrical resistance.

If you are already undergoing any of these signs, then you might be having a blown subwoofer. But if you notice that, at first, you will want to assess the situation completely. You have to understand what kind of damage happened to your subwoofer, and then you have to determine what you need to do next.

What Happens When a Subwoofer Blows?

Subwoofer Blowen

Suppose you are enjoying your home theater system, but suddenly one day, something happens with your low-end sound. It may get very soft, or the sound starts to get distorted. Or you may do not hear any sound from the low-end at all, or it starts to sound very unfamiliar and extra loud. Whatever happens, it is making you think that your subwoofer is blown. You can be frustrated because the subwoofer is like a valuable part of a home theater.

When your subwoofer gets damaged or blown to some degree, this can happen because of two things. Those are your subwoofer either received too much power or too much signal. Many subwoofers have been damaged because of the Clipped signals. If you put too much pressure on your subwoofer with too much power, that can also damage it.

Clipped or Distorted Signals

If you turn up a signal that is distorted, that can also damage your subwoofer. Clipped or distorted signals are really harmful to your subwoofer. Sometimes you will not even notice that your signal is distorted until the levels go so high and it starts to distort and damage your subwoofer.

Too Much Power

Sometimes a subwoofer is blown is due to too much power. Though a lot of sounds can be exciting and enjoyable, a subwoofer can only handle so much. If you push your subwoofer to go beyond its power limits so that you can get more sound can result in damage.

Even though subwoofers are skillfully created to resist more power than their specified RMS (root mean square) ratings, also known as continuous power handling, it is still important to make sure the sound is clear and distortion-free at extra high volumes. You should know your subwoofer RMS wattage to ensure that you are supplying the valid amount of power to your subwoofer continuously.

Blown Subwoofer

Different Ways to Test if a Subwoofer is Blown

When you start noticing that there is a probability that a subwoofer in your home theater has been blown, you should fully assess the woofer to determine the total amount of damage that already happened. Damage can happen in more than one place. So you have to find out all the damaged parts carefully. Here are the three main ways to test if a subwoofer is blown.

  • Test the sound. Is it clipping, distorted, etc.?
  • Test the movement of the cone.
  • You can also use a multimeter to inquire about electrical resistance.

In this article, you can learn the exact way to perform these tests without further damaging the possibly inadequate subwoofer. So keep reading.

Test the Sound

You can notice the sound to determine how much your subwoofer has already been damaged because sound quality works like an indicator. Most of the time, what you will hear during a fully blown or partially blown subwoofer are:

No sound at all – if you do not hear anything from your subwoofer, then it has likely been completely blown. Test the cable and audio source as well. Make sure that those are well before you do anything to the subwoofer.

Partial sound with distortion – if you ever notice a weak, distorted sound coming from your subwoofer at any volume, then it might be because of a partially blown subwoofer on your hands.

Test the Cone

Reaching to a subwoofer cone to identify damage is not so hard. All the Subwoofer cones come with a built-in suspension system that allows them to move fluidly. So you can easily identify when the cone is off only by using your hands. When you are doing it, you should be very careful and lightly press on the subwoofer cone. Now you will get to know that what you might experience and what they actually mean.

  • No movement – if you lightly press on the cone but it does not move, it is an indicator that damage has occurred.
  • A wobbly cone – if you see that the cone unsteadily moves around, then it’s likely the suspension system has been greatly hazarded.
  • Scratching sounds – if you hear the cone make scratchy noises while you move it with your hands, then the damage has occurred. You should remove it from your home theater system before it causes damage to any other equipment.

Use a Multimeter

Multimeter

A multimeter is a very useful tool. This tool will be able to inform you if a subwoofer has any damage to its coil. With this device, you can easily check the electrical resistance (also known as ohms, symbol = Ω). If you find that the electrical resistance is zero, then the coil might have been damaged. Again, if the multimeter’s reading does not stay in place, it is also a sign of you having a damaged coil in your hand. So you should probably keep a multimeter around the house. A multimeter is very easy to use. You just have to complete the steps given here.

  • At first, disconnect the subwoofer from the power source if it has one.
  • Disconnect the audio input from the subwoofer.
  • If an external amplifier or receiver is not powering your subwoofer, then you will need to remove the sub from its cage.
  • Then you have to connect the two probes to the multimeter. And turn the multimeter on to measure the ohms (Ω) of your subwoofer.
  • You have to connect the red probe with the positive lead and the black probe with the negative lead.

Then the multimeter will start to measure the amount of resistance. You will usually have to round up to the nearest whole number to know the correct resistance.

What to Do if You Know Your Subwoofer Is Blown

Damaging a subwoofer is really very stressful. But you should take action as soon as possible once you get to know that your subwoofer is damaged.

At first, you should remove your subwoofer from your working home theater system. Because if you do not remove it from the place, it may end up causing damage to your other equipment, which will be more stressful and cost you a lot of money as well. So you should completely remove it.

If you do not have any electronics experience, you should call someone who is an expert. If your subwoofer is relatively new, it could possibly be covered under warranty. So check this before you start to disassemble the subwoofer. It is good to test the subwoofer by yourself. But it is even better to get more people to estimate the damage. So you can call your extremely tech-savvy friend or take it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy.

And finally, you should now make a decision about what you will do without your subwoofer. Are you on a budget to buy a new one? Could you live without it, currently? Have you ever considered trying to fix it? Most of the time, people choose to buy a new one, but there may be another route for you. So we recommend you to review all of your options to find out what’s best for you.

Best Seller List of Subwoofers:

Bestseller No. 1
Klipsch R-100SW 10" Subwoofer, Incredibly Deep Bass and an All-digital Amplifier,14 5" x 12 5" x 16...
  • 10" front-firing spun-copper IMG woofer
  • All-digital amplifier with 300 watts peak power
  • Volume low pass crossover and phase control
  • Line level LFE RCA inputs for maximum receiver compatibility
  • Dimensions 14 5" x 12 5" x 16 4"
SaleBestseller No. 2
Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer, Black
  • 12" high excursion spun-copper Imp woofer
  • 29 hertz – 120 hertz plus /- 3 dB
  • 400 watt
  • Max acoustic output 116dB
  • Bass-reflex via rear firing port. Amplifier power (control/peak): 200 watts/400 watts
SaleBestseller No. 3
Klipsch Synergy Black Label Sub-100 10” Front-Firing Subwoofer with 150 Watts of continuous power,...
  • Spun copper front-firing Cerametallic woofers
  • 10-inch, front-firing driver
  • 150 watts continuous, 300 watts dynamic power
  • Strong, flexible, removable grille
  • All digital amplifier for high-efficiency and true-to-source sound accuracy
Bestseller No. 4
Rockville Rock Shaker 10" Inch Black 600w Powered Home Theater Subwoofer Sub
  • Features: Rockville Rock Shaker 10 Black 600 Watt Powered 10" Home Theater Subwoofer, 600 Watts Peak / 300 Watts RMS, Built-in Class D Amplifier, Enclosure is made of top quality MDF wood. (MDF wood sounds better and lasts longer than particle board), High-grade vinyl enclosure covering with a beautiful finish, The enclosure is built with the perfect air space to maximize sound quality and punch, The rear firing port is engineered for optimal sound
  • Class “D” Amplifier Circuitry with Auto-Switching Power Supply, High-grade woofer with foam surround and paper cone, Woofer has a Y30 grade magnet, and 1.5” 4-layer voice coil, Distortion-Free Playback Even at Max Volume Listening! Very Clean Sound!, Enclosure is filled with fire resistant poly cotton, Detachable foam grill
  • Inputs / Outputs / Controls: RCA line input, RCA line output, Speaker High level inputs, Speaker High level outputs, Volume control, Phase switch (0°-180°), Crossover Frequency control, Power switch, Standard IEC power cable included
  • Specifications: Amplifier: Class D, Woofer Impedance: 4 Ohm, Signal to noise ratio: 85 dB (Maximum output with THD+N
  • Rear side of the subwoofer: Subwoofer (LINE) Jack in, Subwoofer (LINE) Jack out, Volume Control, Phase switch (0° - 180°), Frequency control, Power switch, Speaker high level in, Speaker high level out??
Bestseller No. 5
Klipsch R-12SW Powerful Deep Bass Front Firing 12" Copper-Spun Driver 400W Digital Power Subwoofer...
  • Equally impressive with music and movies;Brushed black polymer veneer cabinet with satin painted plinth
  • Low pass crossover and phase control
  • Line/LFE inputs for compatibility with most receivers
  • Equally impressive with music and movies
Bestseller No. 6
Yamaha Audio 10" 100W Powered Subwoofer - Black (NS-SW100BL)
  • New twisted flare port contributes to clear and tight bass
  • Advanced YST II (Yamaha Active Servo Technology II)
  • 10” cone woofer
  • Stylish addition to any room
Bestseller No. 7
Sony SACS9 10-Inch Active Subwoofer,Black
  • Active 10” subwoofer perfect to provide that extra punch for your home theater or music listening setup
  • Amplify your movie, music, and gaming experience with a speaker that provides full frequency audio with a three-way coaxial, four-driver speaker system
  • Create a robust 5.1.2 home theater setup perfect for Dolby Atmos with the complete range of CS speakers from Sony with the SACS9 subwoofer, 2 SSCS3 tower speakers, 1 SSCS8 center channel speaker, 2 SSCS5 bookshelf speakers, and 2 SSCSE Dolby Atmos enabled speakers
  • 10” Dual layer mica woofer diaphragm delivers faithful sound and optimal bass response
  • Motion feedback technology utilizes detection circuitry to correct variations in the input signal, helping to prevent distortion
SaleBestseller No. 8
Klipsch KD-10SW 10" Subwoofer
  • Movie Theater Quality Bass: You know that feeling at the movies when your seat shakes from the roar of the action? The KD-10SW subwoofer is engineered to bring that ultimate low frequency experience to your home, so your movies and music sound like you’re there.
  • All-Digital Amplifier: The built-in, all-digital amplifier delivers ample power with high efficiency and true-to-source accuracy in reproduction, ensuring maximum efficiency for maximum output, detail, and power.
  • Low Pass Crossover and Phase Control: Ensures the KD-10SW's low-frequency tones blend with other Klipsch speakers and establishes the ideal level of bass for your room.
  • Front-Firing Driver: The high-performance, 10" driver provides deep bass while minimizing distortion, while the front-firing design provides versatile room placement flexibility.
  • Sleek, Contemporary Appearance: The Klipsch KD Series offers a stylish and highly durable aesthetic that fits seamlessly into any décor. The cabinets are designed just like our professional movie theater speakers, reducing vibration for a crisp, clear sound. The series features a low-profile grille for a refined look and acoustic transparency.
SaleBestseller No. 9
Seventour 10" 800W Slim Under Seat Powered Car Subwoofer, Car/Truck Audio Sub Built in Amplifier,...
  • Seventour ST-800 10 inch Ultra Slim Under Seat Active Powered Car/Truck Subwoofer with Built-In Amplifier, Enclosure made of cast aluminum for excellent heat dissipation and reliable performance.
  • This is a new 2023 upgraded car subwoofer audio that features a personalized spider speaker protector as well as a speaker LED ambient light ring design. When the car is started, the subwoofer lights up with blue LED lights. Make your car look more cool and dynamic.
  • This ST-800 car subwoofer includes wired bass volume remote control. With gain, bass boost and crossover controls, peak power: 800 watts, giving you a stunning bass experience.
  • The Car Sub supports low level RCA inputs. It is also compatible with high level inputs, adjustable input sensitivity, thermal protection circuitry, short circuit protection circuitry, overload protection circuitry, green power/red protection LED.
  • Low Pass Filter: 50Hz - 150Hz, Bass Boost: 0 - 12dB @ 45Hz, Built-in Sub-Acoustic Filter Load @ 20Hz, Total Harmonic Distortion (THD):
Bestseller No. 10
PreSonus Eris Sub 8BT — 8-inch Active Studio Subwoofer with Bluetooth for Multimedia, Gaming,...
  • Big sub-low end. 8-inch front-firing driver delivers smooth, accurate sub-low frequencies.
  • Bluetooth 5.0 stereo input ensures outstanding wireless audio quality.
  • Power to spare: 100W Class AB amplifier (50W RMS) delivers 100 dB SPL peak output (@ 1 meter) output with minimal distortion. That’s plenty loud!
  • Deep low frequencies: 30 Hz to 200 Hz frequency response.
  • Input gain control gives -30 dB to +6 dB of continuously variable output

Related Questions:

Question

Can you fix a blown subwoofer?

Yes, there are numerous ways that you can use to fix a subwoofer. But the task is not easy at all. It will require precision and skill. You will need to detach and separate parts of the subwoofer.

Fixing the area of the subwoofer that has been damaged is also quite challenging. If you want to get your blown subwoofer repaired, it’s best to get it in the hands of an experienced professional with the tools and knowledge to complete the tasks at hand. So we do not recommend you to take attempt to fix your subwoofer unless you actually know what you are doing.

What are the good options for purchasing a new subwoofer?

There are many kinds of subwoofer available on the market from different manufacturers. Day by day, they are getting much better and upgraded. Though it is a matter of sorrow that your subwoofer is blown, you will really enjoy shopping for a new subwoofer. You can find an option available for every budget very easily. The Polk Audio has a few highly rated, budget-friendly options on Amazon.

The PWS10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer and its PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer really come with good build quality. The Bic Acoustech PL-200 II Subwoofer is another great option, but you have to spend a slightly higher amount of money for this. And if you have a budget of 500 dollars, you can upgrade to the SVS SB-100 Subwoofer with a 12-inch Driver, 300-Watts RMS, and a Sealed Cabinet. You can choose one of the above or find something else. But whatever your specifications are, there is always a solution for you.

BIC America PL-200II Acoustech PL-200 II Indoor 250-Watt-Continuous Powered Subwoofer, Black
  • Built-in BASH amp
  • output: 1,000 watts peak/250 watts RMS
  • 12-in. front-firing, long-throw, heavy-duty poly-injected woofer with high-power magnet and long excursion surround
  • dual flared front ports provide positioning versatility
  • Frequency response: 21 Hz to 200 HZ (±3 dB)

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

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Last update on 2024-03-01

With an impressive 15-year track record in the world of blogging, I have established myself as an expert in this field. The passion for home entertainment and electronics shines through in work, providing readers with valuable information and guidance on creating the ultimate home theater experience.

Leading authority in the field of home theaters and home electronics. With a passion for sharing unique discoveries and personal experiences, I’m dedicated to providing valuable insights to enthusiasts and experts alike.

Through Theater DIY, I continue to be at the forefront of the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, offering expertise that enlightens and inspires.