“That blows.” “Diaper blowout.” “Blown away.” All of these phrases lead you to think about the negative associations with the term “blown”.
But, when paired with your sound system equipment, what happens? Specifically, what happens to a blown subwoofer? Will a subwoofer still work if blown?
While a blown subwoofer might stream distorted, crackling audio, it will not continue to work in the capacity at which it was designed to. In most cases, a blown subwoofer will eventually stop working entirely. If your subwoofer is blown, you can opt to repair it or purchase a new one.
Of course, it can be incredibly disappointing to find out that your subwoofer has blown.
While some sound equipment warranties will cover a blown subwoofer, this is not always the case- especially if you cannot prove that it was not a user error that caused the subwoofer to be blown in the first place. Continue reading to learn more about what happens when your subwoofer blows.
Also read: Will Underpowering a Subwoofer Damage it?
What Happens when a Subwoofer Blows?
As you drive around with the bass bumping to the tune of your favorite song, you begin to notice a bit of hazy sizzling coming from the subwoofer.
Or, maybe you are not driving around and notice a crackle or a pop when streaming audio for your favorite movie in your home theater. Unfortunately, this is likely due to a blown subwoofer.
So, what happens when a subwoofer blows?
A subwoofer is blown when too much power or a distorted (clipped) signal is repeatedly sent to the subwoofer- adding pressure that eventually damages the sub. When this occurs, the subwoofer will become strained and unable to play low-frequency audio signals at all, or the minimal sound produced will be distorted.
You can test if the subwoofer is blown in a few different ways, but we will get into that a little bit later. For now, it is important to recognize that when a subwoofer is blown, it is not going to continue to work in the way that you would like.
Sure, the sub might send out some distorted or crackling audio, but this can become quite frustrating to have to listen to (or to submit your friends to have to listen to).
With this in mind, it is important to recognize that a blown subwoofer should either be repaired or should be replaced entirely.
Not only will you have to listen to distorted audio (or none at all), but this will mess with the entire sound system that you have connected in your home (or elsewhere).
Since the subwoofer is used to send out the low-frequency audio signals, your audio experience will be completely misperceived without an outlet for these frequencies.
And, if you are attempting to use a blown subwoofer (or have yet to replace yours) in your home theater, you might even notice that it becomes difficult to distinguish audio like conversations from the various background music or themed tones.
So, once you notice that your subwoofer is blown, it is time to make a move on repairing or replacing this important piece of sound equipment in your sound system.
How Do You Know if a Subwoofer is Blown?
Now that you know what happens when the subwoofer is blown, and the importance of replacing or repairing this component of your sound system, you might be wondering how you can check if your subwoofer is blown or if it is just having other issues.
After all, it would be frustrating to take your subwoofer in to be repaired or to pay to replace it entirely only to find out that something else was wrong with it in the first place.
So, how do you know if a subwoofer is blown?
You can check if a subwoofer is blown by listening to the audio that it produces (or does not produce). If it is blown and still producing audio, there will be a crackling or popping sound while streaming. You can also touch the sub and check for any resistance or bounce; a blown sub will be stiff.
Of course, it is likely that you are noticing that your subwoofer is blown due to its inability to perform as it should in terms of the audio that it is streaming.
So, it is likely that you already noticed it crackling or sizzling and have yet to settle on the idea that this means that it is blown.
But, it can be blown and still signaling some portions of the distorted audio signals- this is just not safe for your equipment and will likely lead to the eventual downfall of the sub entirely.
On another note, you can know if a subwoofer is blown by testing it with touch. Since the subwoofer is designed with various components that “bounce” back and forth as the audio signals come through them, a working subwoofer will have a little bit of a spring to it when pressed upon.
This is due to the design of the sub including the spider and the resistance that the various components use to portray the audio signals that they receive.
You will notice that a blown subwoofer does not offer any “bounce” when it is pressed upon. Instead, it will remain stiff as if all of the components are glued together tightly.
If you find that your subwoofer is very stiff when touched, you can also check for other indications of a blown sub.
But, if you are not an expert and are new to the audio game and do not trust that you will know that your subwoofer is blown or not, you can always take it to a professional or have a professional come to you to check the piece of equipment.
They might even be able to guide you over the phone to run a few tests or suggest different ways of checking so that you know for sure if your subwoofer is blown or not.
Can I Fix a Blown Subwoofer?
Now that you have established that your subwoofer is blown, you have two main choices. You can either repair the blown subwoofer or you can replace it entirely.
Either of these two options can work, but it will depend on which one is best for your skillset, budget, and specific issues that are arising with your blown subwoofer.
So, can you fix a blown subwoofer?
Yes, you can either repair a blown subwoofer yourself with thorough research into the root cause of the issue (and consequent part replacement), or you can take it to a local audio shop and have them repair it for you. If the repair will cost more in parts and service than a new sub, you might consider a replacement.
However, it is totally understandable if you have an attachment to your subwoofer and you do not want to have it replaced.
In this case, you can choose to fix your blown subwoofer by figuring out the problem and repairing the parts yourself, or, you can take the blown subwoofer to a local sound equipment shop.
One of the best ways to ensure that you are properly adjusting the broken or damaged parts on your subwoofer is to speak with a professional.
Even if you plan on repairing the subwoofer yourself, you can still talk over the phone with a professional who can ask you a few different verification questions to ensure the proper and safe use of your equipment.
In doing this, you can effectively consider any alternative solutions that you might not have thought of otherwise (especially if you are new to this). But, there are definitely ways to fix your blown subwoofer if you would like to avoid the entire replacement cost.
Is it Worth Repairing a Blown Subwoofer?
As you recognize that your blown subwoofer will need to be repaired or replaced (assuming you wish to achieve high-quality audio from your speaker system including an outlet for the low-frequency audio signals), you might be wondering if the time, energy, and resources should be dedicated to your current or a new subwoofer.
Is it worth repairing a blown speaker?
While sentimental attachment might lead you to want to repair your blown subwoofer, it is not typically cost-effective or worth it to do so. The repair will require specific parts and skilled knowledge that could likely cost more than a new subwoofer. Plus, new subs would likely perform better.
It is totally understandable that you might not be ready to let go of your subwoofer. Especially if this is a new piece of audio equipment, or if you have had this subwoofer for years and finally wore it out. Still, it is not often worth it (financially) to repair a blown subwoofer.
Since you will be paying for the parts and labor, and since there are more updated pieces of equipment that can pair better with the rest of your sound equipment or your overall goals for your audio experience, it is likely best to reinvest in a new subwoofer.
There are so many amazing models of subwoofers available today, that it is at least worth looking into as you consider repairing or replacing a blown subwoofer.
Check out my top recommendations for subwoofers.