How to Tell if a Subwoofer is Blown

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Updated October 17, 2022

If you are new to the world of stereo systems, you may wonder how to tell if a subwoofer is blown. Many of the best speakers, after all, are subwoofers, and these speakers tend to blow at a higher rate than traditional speakers. So what are the various ways to tell if the best subwoofers are blown, and what can you do about it? Keep reading to find out.


  • Nobody likes a blown subwoofer speaker cone, as it can ruin just about any listening experience.
  • A blown subwoofer creates a hum, crackling, scratching sound, distorted signal, or an audio signal that goes in and out. Additionally, bass frequencies are lessened.
  • Prevent a blown speaker by taming the volume output or adding a compressor to the signal chain.

How Can You Tell if a Subwoofer is Blown

If you are wondering why your subwoofer is making noise when turned on, it could be blown. Blown subwoofers tend to make crackling noises during use, even if you have learned how to test a subwoofer. They also hum and make other unwanted noises as they are used, which may lead you to wonder why your Bluetooth speaker keeps cutting out.

Insider Tip

Make sure to power down the subwoofer when not in use, as leaving it on for days on end could lead to issues.

More than anything else, however, a blown subwoofer will emit a drastically reduced frequency range with low volumes, leading some to wonder how to hook up two subwoofers. When it comes to this issue, if it sounds blown, it probably is blown.

How to Prevent a Blown Subwoofer

There are many preventative steps to take to ensure your subwoofers remain pristine and do not blow out. Here are a few common-sense tips.

Keep a Handle on the Volume

The easiest way to ensure your subwoofer stays in proper working order is to tame the volume a little bit. If you regularly push your subwoofer’s voice coils with higher-than-average volumes, it could lead to a blown speaker after a while. Nip this in the bud by finding the perfect volume for your set. Choose something that is loud enough to enjoy but soft enough to keep the load off of the subwoofer.

Insert a Compressor

Compressors work to limit high volumes. This is often used in audio recording but is also useful for stereo systems. Some receivers have built-in compressors, but there are many standalone compressors out there to choose from. Just throw the compressor between the sub and the receiver and let it do the rest.

STAT: Subwoofers can be damaged by excessive power or distorted signals. (source)

Swap out Cables

Faulty cables can cause ground loops or massive spikes in volume, which can blow a subwoofer (or any speaker.) Test your cables regularly and have plenty of replacement options available when necessary. This includes speaker wires, connection cables, and power source cables.

Blown Subwoofer FAQs

How do you tell if a home theater subwoofer is blown?

The same way you can tell a stereo subwoofer is blown. Listen for scratching noises, signs of damage, bad sound, or a weak bass sound.

How do you measure the electrical resistance of your subwoofer?

Use a multimeter for this task and measure the signal terminating from the negative terminals and the speaker cone. You are looking for continuous power here, as excessive power is just as bad as a limited power rating.

How and why does clipping occur?

Clipping occurs when you are throwing too much signal from the speaker to the receiver, particularly with digital receivers. This impacts audio playback and the overall sound quality, resulting in a distorted sound or the sound of clipped signals.
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