How Do I Know My Subwoofer Is Blown?

Subwoofers give home theaters and hi-fi setups fantastic sound. There’s nothing like adding a subwoofer or two to lift your listening experience. But what happens when a subwoofer malfunctions? Is it ruined or fixed?

How do you tell if your subwoofer has blown? Subwoofers blow because they’ve received too much power or a distorted sound signal. If your subwoofer is blown, listen to the sound, review the woofer's movement, and use a multimeter to find out whether the coil is blown.

You can set it to low volume and listen to the sound to test if your subwoofer has blown. If it’s distorted, the subwoofer is partially blown. If there’s no sound at all, that means it has completely blown.

If your subwoofer is getting the signal via cable, check it for any breaks before jumping to conclusions.

You can also test the woofer. First, remove the cover and move the cone to assess the damage. If the subwoofer doesn't move, it’s blown. If it’s wobbly or you can hear scratching sounds, it’s slightly damaged.

Lastly, you can use a multimeter to check if your subwoofer’s coil has blown. A multimeter measures voltage, resistance, and current. If there’s no electrical resistance on the coil, that means it’s damaged.

Whether you’re experiencing scratching sounds or if the cone is wobbling too much, then it’s most likely your subwoofer is blown. Still, you’ll want to assess the situation thoroughly. You need to determine the damage's extent and determine what to do next.

What Happens When My Subwoofer Blows?

Smoking Subwoofer

So, you’re enjoying your favorite movie when suddenly something happens to your low-end sound. Maybe it’s a bit soft, or the sound output is distorted. Maybe there’s no low-end sound output, or it’s extra loud. 

Whatever makes you think your sub is blown can be pretty stressful since subs are a crucial component of any home theater system.

When your sub blows or is damaged, one of two things happens: It either receives too much power or too much signal. Clipped signals are one of the most common culprits of damaged subs. A close second is your sub receiving too much power.

What Happens When Your Subwoofer Receives A Clipped Or Distorted Signal


When you turn up a distorted signal to hear it better, you can damage your subwoofer. Distorted or clipped signals are incredibly bad for your sub. To make things even worse, you can’t even know if your signal is distorted until you turn up the volume. And when you figure out there’s something wrong with the signal, it’s already too late.

What Happens When Your Subwoofer Receives Too Much Power

Often subwoofers blow because they receive too much power. Although a lot of volume can be exciting, a subwoofer can only handle so much power. If you crank the volume too high, your sub can be forced to work beyond its limits, resulting in damage.

Although subs are built so they can withstand more power than their specified RMS ratings, it’s crucial you make sure the sound isn’t distorted at high volumes.

To ensure your subs don’t blow out due to too much power, we recommend you don’t feed them more power than their RMS rating.

What Should I Do If I Know My Subwoofer Is Blown?

Subwoofer repair

While damaging your sub can be stressful, you mustn’t do anything rash. If you panic, you can do more damage than good.

What you want to do first is to remove the subwoofer from your home theater or hi-fi system. Keeping it plugged into the system can damage other components, creating even more problems.

Next, you want to find an expert who can check your subwoofer's state. If you bought it recently, the warranty may still cover it. Before disassembling your sub, you must check the warranty.

It’s good you test the sub yourself, but it’s even better if you get someone who’s more experienced to assess the damage. In most cases, having a sound tech check your sub won’t cost you anything. If the damage is light, they could probably fix it.

If your sub is blown out completely, you need to consider your options. Do you have the budget for a new sub? Could you live without one until you save enough for a new one?

In most cases, buying a new sub is the way to go. Still, if the repair cost is less than a new sub, you should go for the latter.


Having your subwoofer blow can be pretty stressful. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean you need to buy a new one. If the warranty covers your sub, you can return it and get a new one in no time.

On the other hand, you can always take it to an electronics repair shop and see if they can fix it. In most cases, the repair will cost you less than buying a new subwoofer.

Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.

The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide! 

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