How to Test a Subwoofer

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Updated October 17, 2022

If you are new to the world of stereo system setups, you may wonder how to test a subwoofer. Many of the best speakers, after all, are subwoofers, and these speakers require adequate connections and a fair amount of testing to ensure optimal operation. So what are the various methods for testing the best subwoofers, and why should you conduct these tests? Keep reading to find out.


  • Your first step when testing a subwoofer is making sure that all of the various cables and connectors are in working order, including the negative terminal, the positive terminal, and the power source.
  • Next, power the subwoofer and the rest of your stereo system. Listen intently for the bass response and responses at all frequency ranges.
  • You can also use a multimeter to check whether the subwoofer is blown or experiencing electrical issues, and this works even with theater subwoofers.

Why Test a Subwoofer?

If you have ever wondered how to tell if a subwoofer is blown, conducting some simple tests is an easy way to get an answer. Subwoofers are often plug-and-play, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to learn some basics, such as how to tune a subwoofer. Testing is the best way to ensure your subwoofer and the rest of your components are working within normal parameters, even if you have just learned how to connect a subwoofer to an amplifier.

Insider Tip

Make sure to keep the subwoofers clean and away from debris and food items to ensure a decent lifespan.

Beyond that, it is a crucial maintenance step if you are learning how to wire a dual-voice coil sub.

How to Check if a Subwoofer is Working

There are a few things to do when testing to ensure your subwoofer is working as it should be. Here is how to get started.

Check the Connections

Before doing anything, check on the various connections to ensure everything is in working order. Cables often fail, so it is a good idea to have plenty of replacement options on hand for emergencies. If anything feels loose, tighten it up, including the power cable and any stereo wires within your system. After you are your connections are up to snuff, power everything in the order indicated by your stereo manufacturer.

Use Your Ears

The best way to test to see if a subwoofer is working is to simply use your ears. Play a preferred piece of music and get one to two feet away from the sub. Put the volume loud enough that you can hear the bass response from where you are sitting. Listen closely to the subwoofer to check to see if it is adding valuable bass frequencies. In the words of Duke Ellington, “If it sounds good, it is good.”

STAT: A subwoofer can be described as a Loudspeaker that produces Bass frequencies that are lower. The frequency is what makes a woofer different from a subwoofer. A subwoofer has a lower frequency or bass level than a woofer. (source)

Use a Multimeter

Using a digital multimeter can tell you exactly what your subwoofer is doing and whether or not it is blown or undergoing any other serious issue. Multimeters boast different designs, so follow the instructions.

Testing Subwoofer FAQs

How do I know when a subwoofer blows?

You can typically tell when you experience a low average subwoofer volume or subwoofer output. If you hear distorted sounds via the voice coil terminals, this is another tell-tale sign of poor subwoofer response.

How can I test a subwoofer without an amp?

Testing a theater subwoofer or any sub without an amp is similar. Use a multimeter, listen with your ears, and check the cables. The multimeter reading will tell you everything you need to know about a blown subwoofer.

What can cause a blown-out subwoofer?

The biggest reason is sending too much power over and over, as this strains the voice coils and lessens voice coil resistance. Try to keep an ear on your overall volume level to avoid this.
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