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?

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.

Test the sound at a low volume. If your subwoofer is partially blown, you will hear a distorted sound. But if you do not hear any sound at all, then your subwoofer is completely blown. If your subwoofer is connected to the main soundbar with a cable, you should check the cable before rushing to conclusions.

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?

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.

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

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.

Related Questions

Can you fix a blown subwoofer?

Answer: 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?

Bic Acoustech PL-200 II Subwoofer - Gloss Black
  • Front-Firing 12" Long-Throw Powered Subwoofer with state-of-the-art BASH amplifier
  • 1000 Watts Dynamic Peak Output, 250 Watts RMS Continuous
  • Frequency Response: 22Hz - 200Hz, adjustable crossover & volume controls
  • Sensitivity: 110dB @ 30Hz
  • 12" Poly-injected, with high power magnet and long excursion surround

Answer: 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.

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

Best Seller List of Subwoofers:

Bestseller No. 1
Polk Audio PSW10 10" Powered Subwoofer - Power Port Technology, Up to 100 Watts, Big Bass in Compact...
  • POWERED SUBWOOFER FOR EXTRA BASS & PUNCH – A 10-inch Dynamic Balance woofer & a uniquely configured directed port provides accurate bass with added depth that brings your music and movies alive. A perfect solution for your small-to-mid size room
  • LOUDER CLEARER SOUND EVEN AT HIGH VOLUME – Enjoy a thrilling yet balanced music experience with rich, deep sound, even at low frequencies. BLENDS EASILY WITH ANY SPEAKER and plays the most demanding nodes effortlessly without any distortion
  • DOUBLE THE AMPLIFIER POWER TO 100 Watts of Dynamic Power with its in-built 50-watt RMS amp. Sophisticated engineering with best in class resonance-free driver materials make this sub highly durable and FIT FOR EXTENDED USE
  • EASY TO INTEGRATE WITH EXISTING SYSTEMS – Hook up this sub to the receiver and upgrade your music sound instantly. Features continuously variable 80-160 Hz crossover and 40-160 Hz (-3dB) frequency response
  • A sleek detachable grille on the front, speaker and line-level inputs as well as speaker-level outputs on the back, and a Phase Toggle Switch for multiple subwoofers, make this sub cohesive and complete
SaleBestseller No. 2
Klipsch R-12SW Subwoofer
  • Powerful 12" copper-spun front-firing woofer
  • All-digital amplifier delivers 400 watts of dynamic power
  • 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
SaleBestseller No. 3
Polk Audio HTS10 (Brown) powered subwoofer
  • 10" front-firing woofer with ported enclosure
  • built-in 100-watt amplifier
  • frequency response: 30-120 Hz
Bestseller No. 4
Klipsch R115SW and WA2 Kit Subwoofer and Wireless Kit
  • You will receive the system described in the Product Title
SaleBestseller No. 5
Sony SACS9 10-Inch Active Subwoofer,Black
  • 115 Watt, Amplified Subwoofer (6 ohms, 80 Hz, 10% THD).Compatible with High-Resolution Audio
  • 10 inches Foamed-Mica Cellular Reinforced Woofer
  • Speaker and Line Level Inputs, Frequency Response 28-200 Hz
  • In the box: RCA cord, Instruction manual
Bestseller No. 6
Monoprice 60-Watt Powered Subwoofer - 8 Inch With Auto-On Function, For Studio And Home Theater...
  • This is an 8" powered subwoofer capable of producing 60 watts (RMS) output. The subwoofer has a frequency response range of 50 to 250 Hz with a lowpass crossover filter, which can be adjusted from 50 to 150 Hz. Gain and frequency knobs on the control panel allow you to adjust the crossover filter and the power output for the optimum blend and balance of bass output with your stereo or surround speakers.
  • The subwoofer has multiple input options, which allow it to be used with any existing stereo or 5.1 (or greater) amplifier system. For each input there is a corresponding output.
  • High-level inputs accept a full-range signal from the amplifier's stereo speaker outputs. When connecting the unit as part of a 5.1 system, these would be taken off the Front Left and Front Right outputs in parallel to the standard pair of front speakers. The subwoofer provides its own power and includes impedance matching circuitry, so this will not reduce the power output to the front speakers or affect the overall impedance load on the amplifier.
  • Additionally, the subwoofer has a set of right/left Line Level inputs. If using a standard stereo system, without a special subwoofer output, you can connect these to the left and right line level outputs on the amp. The subwoofer will then combine the signals to process the mono bass signal it needs to drive the speaker. If you are using an amplifier with a single mono subwoofer line level output, simply use an RCA "Y" cable to split the output and send it to the two line level inputs on the subwoofer.
  • The subwoofer is housed in an attractive black wood cabinet that measures 13.75" x 11.75" x 11.75" (H x W x D). The driver and a 2 3/4" sound port are located on the front, covered by a black cloth speaker grill.
Bestseller No. 7
Klipsch Reference R-12SW 12" 400W All-Digital Powered Subwoofer, Brushed Black Polymer Veneer
  • Powerful 12 in. Copper-spun Front-firing Woofer
  • All-digital Amplifier Delivers 400 Watts Of Dynamic Power
  • Equally Impressive With Music And Movies
  • Line/LFE Inputs For Compatibility With Most Receivers
SaleBestseller No. 8
Yamaha 8" 100W Powered Subwoofer - Black (NS-SW050BL)
  • New twisted flare port contributes to clear and tight bass
  • Advanced YST II (Yamaha Active Servo Technology II)
  • 8” cone woofer
  • Stylish addition to any room
  • Dynamic Power: 100W (5 ohms)
SaleBestseller No. 9
Klipsch Reference R-10SW 10" 300w Powered Subwoofer (Black)
  • Powerful 10" copper-spun front-firing woofer
  • All-digital amplifier delivers 300 watts of dynamic power
  • Equally impressive with music and movies
  • Low pass crossover and phase control,Dimensions:14(H) x 12.5(W) x 15.7(D) Inches
  • Line/LFE inputs for compatibility with most receivers
Bestseller No. 10
Rockville DK512 Package Dual 12" 2800w K5 Car Subwoofer Enclosure+DB12 Amplifier
  • Loaded Sub Enclosure Features: Final Impedance: 2 Ohm, Peak Power Handling: 2800 Watts, CEA-2031 Compliant RMS Power Handling: 700 Watts, ¾” MDF enclosure, Bonded stapled and braced, Computer designed vents, Angled at 15 % for perfect bass alignment
  • 2" 4-Layer Black Aluminum Voice Coils Wound with OFC (100% Copper) Wire, The wire we use to wind the voice coil is imported from Japan which is way better quality than the standard China wire, 50 Oz High Quality Magnet
  • Amplifier Features: Rockville dB12 2000 Watt/500w RMS Mono Class D 2 Ohm Amplifier Car Audio Amp, CEA Compliant Power Ratings (Rated at less than 1 % distortion)
  • RMS Power Ratings: (Use these RMS ratings when comparing with great brands such as Hifonics, Earthquake, Soundstream, etc.), - 2 Ohm: 1000 Watts x 1 Channel, - 4 Ohm: 600 Watts x 1 Channel
  • Amp kit features: 1 – 17’ High Grade Twisted Pair of 100% Copper RCA Cable, 17’ – 4 Gauge Translucent Blue SuperFlex Power Cables, 17’ – 18 Gauge Blue Remote Cable, 17’ – 16 Gauge Clear Speaker Wire, 3’ – 4 Gauge Clear SuperFlex Ground Wire

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Last update on 2021-06-10

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