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Finding out your high-cost speaker isn’t performing, as usual, can be disheartening for any music lover. Luckily, a damaged speaker isn’t necessarily always a cause for worry. By troubleshooting the problem and figuring out its cause, you’ll have your speaker fixed in no time.
A speaker usually gets damaged due to overpowering. This phenomenon happens when too much power is applied to the appliance’s grid. A speaker can also get damaged from physical deterioration, underpowering, and faulty wiring.
In this article, I’ll dive deeper into the main reason why your speaker might be blown. Additionally, I’ll take you through everything you’ll need to know about how to properly deal with a damaged speaker.
Also read: How To Tell If Your Speakers Are Blown
Overpowering is usually the main reason why your speaker might be blown or damaged. However, always keep in mind that this is just one of the possible causes of your problem. Going through a thorough troubleshooting process before attempting any fixing techniques is always a good idea.
A speaker gets damaged from overpowering when it receives too strong electrical signals for extended periods. These power surges can cause the voice coil to overheat, which in turn will quickly wear out the equipment’s grid, leading to what is usually known as a speaker blowout.
A speaker getting overblown is usually an indicator of a mechanical or electrical issue happening inside the equipment.
Mechanical failure is usually manifested through rips and tears occurring on the speaker’s surface. The most common cause of this type of damage is an excessive volume level applied for extended periods.
For this reason, it’s always a good idea to try and stay within the manufacturer’s recommended volume range. If you’re exceeding it, at least limit the time frame.
Electrical failure is the most common cause of speaker damage. This phenomenon happens when too much power is applied to the speaker’s grid, leading to the overheating of its coils. It’s always a good idea to keep amplifier settings as low as possible without compromising the sound.
However, sometimes underpowering can be just as dangerous as overpowering—if not more. Not supplying your speaker with enough electric power can lead to clipping and square waving, the possible risks of which I’ll cover in one of the following sections.
Additionally, over and underpowering aren’t the only issues that can cause your speakers to get damaged or blown. Before jumping to a conclusion, I suggest taking into account the possible causes below.
As I mentioned before, there’s a wide variety of problems that might be causing damage to your speakers. Over and underpowering are only some of them.
First of all, the issue might lie in the wiring itself. Faulty wiring can come as a manufacturing issue, or it can come as a result of extended use. Anyhow, if this is the case, you’ll need to take your speaker to a professional to get it checked out. This issue often goes beyond the owner’s repair skills.
Secondly, the issue might be caused by physical damage endured by the speakers. This problem is the easiest to spot; however, it often requires professional attention to be fixed. For this reason, the first step you’ll want to take when going through the troubleshooting process is examining the speaker’s exterior for any kind of physical damage.
Any dents, bumps, or even scratches can be much more damaging than you would’ve thought, especially if they’re placed on a delicate place.
However, physical damage won’t always be visible. Having the habit of checking on your speakers will prove immensely helpful during the troubleshooting process.
For example, frequently using your speakers outdoors or in a high-humidity location, such as a basement, can often cause severe internal damage to your equipment without you even noticing it.
Furthermore, placing your speakers outdoors can be dangerous in more than one way. Usually, when playing music outdoors, you’ll be required to opt for higher volume levels to receive the same experience.
Playing music at excessive volume levels can significantly damage your speakers. Together with all the circumstantial factors that could physically damage the equipment, placing a traditional speaker outdoors can be a recipe for disaster.
If you plan on using your speaker outdoors for extended periods of time, you might want to invest a bit more and get an alternative designed specifically for outdoor use. You may need to pay a premium price at first, but the investment will probably save you money in the long run.
The Ion Audio Tailgater (available on Amazon.com) is a best-selling, powerful outdoor speaker that provides a crisp and dynamic sound.
Its range of dispersion and impressive peak power allows you to amp up the volume as high as you prefer without having to worry about internal coils being damaged or burned.
The speaker is easy to set up, gather, and move around. Additionally, it comes with a long-lasting, rechargeable battery that can give up to two days of constant use between charges.
There are a few tell-tale signs that can help you immediately identify a damaged speaker. Ideally, you’d want to keep a close eye on the equipment’s performance. This will let you norice warning signs before the issue gets blown out (no pun intended) of proportion.
You know a speaker is damaged if:
- The equipment doesn’t turn on at all.
- The audio sounds strained or distorted.
- You can’t adjust the volume as usual.
- The sound gets interrupted from time to time.
Noticing any of these signs coming from your speaker may be a cause for concern. However, there’s no need for full-on panic yet. If you’ve caught the issue soon enough, chances are a professional will likely be able to return the equipment to its initial state without requiring excess repair time and costs.
If these signs are still too vague for you, there are some more practical day-to-day steps that you can take to ensure your equipment is working properly.
You’ll first want to visually and physically inspect your speaker. As I’ve previously mentioned, the most obvious signs of equipment damage are the ones you can physically see or hear. Some issues will manifest in tears on holes found on the speaker’s exterior.
Additionally, you might want to inspect whether the mechanical movement of your equipment is working properly. Try lightly tapping the surface of your speaker to hear if there are any unusual sounds coming from its interior.
For example, a rattling sound may indicate a loose component or an internal issue that should be fixed immediately to prevent any further damage. You can learn more about how to execute this physical test here.
Additionally, you can always test a speaker by replacing the whole equipment or one of its components with an alternative that you know for a fact is working properly. Although this is an accurate test, not a lot of speaker owners have many equipment variations and amplifiers lying around.
However, if you do manage to get your hands on a device that you know is working as it should, you can replace the speaker or one of its components to get a better understanding of where the issue is located in the audio chain.
As always, prevention is better (and often much cheaper) than the cure. If you’re worried about optimizing your speaker’s performance and longevity, there are a few steps you might want to take.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent speaker damage:
- Always keep your speaker’s volume below its highest setting.
- Adjust your amp’s settings and set them as low as possible.
- Keep your speaker in a clean, dry, room temperature area.
When you buy a new speaker set, you’ll receive a how-to-use pamphlet provided by the manufacturer to ensure the equipment’s optimal performance and longevity. In this pamphlet, you’ll want to look for and find the maximum volume setting advised by the manufacturer.
Take a note of that number. Throughout the use of your speakers, you should always stay below that upper limit if you want to avoid any possible damage or blowouts.
If this doesn’t let you make your speakers as loud as you’d want, it’s always a better idea to lower circumstantial noise instead of cranking up the system’s volume. It would be preferable to change the location altogether rather than exceed the manufacturer-advised limit.
Search for a quieter environment where you won’t have to turn up the volume as much. Placement also matters—a speaker placed in the center of a crowded room will provide a much less powerful sound than when placed in the corner of that same room.
It’s always a good idea to play with the equipment’s positioning to get the best sound payout.
Likewise, try to get rid of any external sound sources that may be drowning out your speaker’s audio. This can help immensely if you’re struggling to hear your music.
This step is pretty self-explanatory. All you’ll have to do is go on your system’s settings and adjust them all to the lowest level possible without compromising sound. Doing so will help you maintain the speaker’s wiring and grid much better, which will help improve the equipment’s performance and longevity.
Dust and humidity can severely deteriorate a sound system’s wiring. For this reason, finding the right placement for your speaker goes way beyond finding a location that amplifies its sound.
Choosing a clean, dry, room temperature area for your speakers is the best long-term method to ensure your system is safe and well-maintained.
You can fix damaged speakers. However, it’s not advised to do it yourself. Many of the most common speaker issues, whether mechanical or electrical in nature, will require professional care and attention.
However, you can take the previously mentioned measures to prevent any further damage from happening.
You can severely damage speakers by playing them too loud. In fact, this is one of the main causes of speaker blowouts. Louder sounds require higher signal levels to be produced. This can overwork and heat up voice coils, leading to overall grid failure.
The only way to avoid most electrical and mechanical speaker issues from happening is to always stay below the manufacturer-advised highest volume level. This may seem to constrict most music lovers. But in reality, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy your sound in full force without damaging your speakers.
Clipping can damage your speakers. The reason is that you’d have to turn the system’s settings way up for this to occur. Although clipping doesn’t directly damage your speakers, it might harm them through the processes needed for it to be acquired.
Clipping can happen in different steps of the audio chain. If you hear your clipping, check the gain settings in your music player, pre-amp, amp, and speakers.
Too much bass can damage speakers. It can cause the equipment’s cones to move beyond their limit for extended periods of time. Those listening to strong bass frequently may have to deal with wear, tear, and breakage in their speakers.
Additionally, low frequencies such as bass require to be played at higher volume levels to be heard properly. As previously mentioned, high volume levels can be very damaging to your speakers—and your ears. This makes the risk of listening to powerful bass for extended periods two-fold.
Speakers usually get damaged through a phenomenon called overpowering. However, there are a lot of alternative issues that can be causing your equipment’s performance to suffer, which is why a thorough troubleshooting process is necessary before taking any additional steps.
Knowing how to take care of your speaker, inspecting for any early causes of damage, and learning how to fix them can significantly increase its performance and longevity.
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- Reddit: Could We Dispel the Myth That Clipping and/or Square Waves Damage Speakers?
- Tropical Fish Vintage: How To Tell if My Speaker Is Blown?
- Behind The Speakers: How To Make Music Louder Without Destroying It