How do I Know if my Speaker is Blown?

Handy Tips & Tricks to determine and solve this problem

Among the most frustrating things that can happen to your speaker is for it to blow out. Whether it’s a car speaker or the audio system in your home, a blown speaker produces an irritating sound that can suck the mood out of your living space.

If you suspect one of your speakers is blown, it is important to know how to diagnose the problem to find a viable solution. This is especially necessary before resorting to taking it for repairs or buying a new speaker.

But how can you tell that your speaker is blown? Below, I'll show you various things you can do to determine whether your speakers are blown or not.

There are numerous factors that should concern you about the state of your speakers. One of the easiest diagnoses is to simply listen to the sound output coming from your speakers. 

Signs of a blown Blown Speaker

Below are some notable causes for concern:

Sound Distortion

You should easily be in a position to distinguish if a speaker has got an issue from the sound it produces. Turn up the volume on your radio or audio system and listen for possible distortions in the sound quality, including a hissing sound.

For a blown speaker, the distortion tends to increase as you continue turning up the volume. The unmistakable fuzz” or “hiss” from a blown speaker will be hard to miss if you know what you are listening for.

It will be quite obvious that something should be done to remedy the state of your speakers. Fuzzy speakers are more often than not the consequence of loose or damaged voice coils.

Incomplete System Range

Another way to check your speaker system is to test its range. For this, you want to select one of your CDs or MP3 players with a full range of sounds, more so a strong bass. The next thing to do is play the CD at different sound frequencies and listen to the output from your speakers. 

If your speakers are whole, you should be able to properly hear the sound output from the highest to the lowest frequency. On the contrary, a blown speaker may not be able to produce any sound at high frequencies or a bass. 

This is a simple process that will take about five minutes to decipher the problem. 

Lack of Vibration

Vibration is a common thing that you can experience by placing your hand on the surface of a fully functional speaker. This is quite true for woofers and subwoofers. As a result, turning up the volume of your radio results in stronger vibrations on your speaker. 

One thing which indicates that your speakers might have blown out is that there are no vibrations, especially at higher volumes. The downside to this test is that it is only effective on larger speakers.  If you have a relatively smaller speaker setup, testing for vibrations with your palm may not work accurately. 

So, in such a case, you might want to experiment with the other methods mentioned earlier on. 

Also, when a speaker blows out, you are likely to notice the cone coming loose from its moorings. Eventually, when the speaker is completely broken, it may fail to produce the sound it once did when it was still brand new. 

Generally, bass speakers are the ones which usually blow out, although they may control other ranges. In such a situation, the thudding sound of the bass is replaced by a “rattling” noise or no sound completely.

Testing with a 9-volt Battery

testing a blowout speaker with 9v battery

This is another simple trick that will allow you to know the fate of your speakers in a matter of minutes. Simply disconnect your speaker by unscrewing it from its mount. Proceed to remove the wires from your audio system, and while still connected to the speaker, attach the wires to a 9-volt battery. 

You should be able to hear a “popping” noise coming from the speaker. This is an indication that the speaker is working just fine. However, if you don’t hear any sound, the speaker has probably blown out.

While conducting this test, be sure to practice safety when dealing with electrical equipment to prevent any possibility of injury. Don’t insert any tools into a speaker when it’s still connected to a power source. 

Resistance is Infinite

Another easy way of diagnosing your speaker’s performance problems is by checking its electrical response with the help of a standard multimeter. This way, you’ll be able to quickly determine whether your speaker’s voice coil or cone are busted. 

For a speaker that is functioning normally, its ohm reading on the device should be what it was rated at. But for a blown-out speaker, the observed resistance will essentially be infinite. Your speaker will also be blown if it has a reading of 2 ohms as opposed to the 4 ohms it is rated at.

Isolating the Affected Speaker

Finally, if you are having trouble figuring out which one among your speakers has issues, you can harness the fader system to isolate the various speakers. This will make it easy for you to detect the troubled speaker. 

You’ll also be able to tell whether it’s partly blown or completely blown. In both cases, you might have to consider replacing the speaker. If you don’t have a fader system you may need to have the speakers physically disconnected to test them. 

For this, you should seek the services of an auto service expert to handle the disconnection and reconnection of wires. 

How do I Know if my Speaker is Blown - Final Thoughts

The next time you suspect that your speakers might have blown out, the above tests provide an easy approach to diagnosing the fault in your stereo system. Remember that the sooner you realize what the problem is, the sooner you’ll arrive at a viable solution. 

The problem with continuing to use a faulty speaker for a long time is that it may end up degrading the performance of the whole audio system altogether. So use the above methods to know if it’s necessary to replace the faulty speaker.

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