How to Fix a Blown Speaker

by Julien Gandelin

When you’re winding down a hectic day with your favourite playlist or TV show, nothing quickly snuffs out the fun like a blown-out speaker. The audio may play with a continuous hissing noise that accentuates every tone or shut off entirely. Having poor sound quality with your audio system evokes just as much frustration as no sound.

This frequently happens with car speakers. Driving in a car can sometimes be loud and cranking the volume in your car will result in a blown car speaker – this is one of the most common causes of car audio issues.

Fortunately, behind every problem lies a viable solution so read on as we delve into how to fix a blown speaker.

How Do You Know If Your Speaker Is Blown?

Most speakers include a metal basket that houses the rest of its components. At the base, you’ll notice a magnet with a voice coil suspended above it. Resultantly, the voice coil is suspended above it and held by a disc that permits it to move up and down as it gets negative and positive charges. Furthermore, let’s discuss the external components of a speaker.

A Dust Cap

A dust cap doesn’t impact the speaker’s sound, whether it’s a tower speaker, bookshelf speaker, or speaker selector. Instead, the main purpose of the protruding bubble that sits in the middle is to curb dust and dirt from entering the voice coil.

A Diaphragm

It’s typically made of fibre, paper, metal, plastic, and other stiff materials. The angled cone is the component that encompasses the dust cap and is connected to the voice coil. It moves up and down when the speakers are in use.

A Rubber Foam Suspension

It encompasses the cone. The flexible ring attached to the cone on the basket is referred to as the surround. It’s soft and allows the cone to vibrate.

When people talk about blown speakers, they mean the physical damage to one of these components. It might be a tear in the soft foam or a rip in the stiff cone. Nevertheless, the damage can also be followed by malfunctions in one of the hidden components of the speaker.

Let’s discuss the symptoms of a blown speaker.

A Buzzing or Hissing Sound

If you’re dealing with a blown speaker, you might notice a hissing or buzzing noise even though your speaker is still working. That might be due to a loose voice coil. If you’re present when your speaker blows then the hissing noise might turn into a unique popping sound. Additionally, if one of the components has become loose, you may notice a rattling noise.

Inconsistent Power Surges

These may result in the bass blowing your speakers. In turn, the voice coils overheat and damage the wires. When that occurs, your speakers malfunction, and it’s time to invest in a replacement driver or new speakers.

A Non-Vibrating Cone

Gently feel the cone for vibrations. The lack thereof means that it’s disconnected from the coil. Additionally, the absence of other sound dimensions implies that a particular frequency range is gone, and the damage might be more severe than you thought.

A Step-by-Step Process of How to Fix a Blown Speaker

Polk Audio T50 150 Watt Home Theater Floor Standing Tower Speaker (Single, Black) - Hi-Res Audio with Deep Bass Response | Dolby and DTS Surround

Source: Amazon

To get started, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Locate the Blown Speaker

Start by determining the speaker that’s emitting the most noise. If you have a standard home set, you can easily pinpoint the speaker that requires repairs. Nevertheless, if the speakers have a grille or cover, avoid removing it unless need be and opt for other ways. For instance, you can disconnect each speaker from the subwoofer at a go. In the end, you’ll find the culprit by listening to the symptoms mentioned earlier.

If disconnecting your speaker set is an uphill battle, say, if it’s in your car, you can rely on the equalizer. You’ll need to discover the balance control feature. Therefore, if you suspect that one of your speakers has blown, shift the balance from the left-side speakers to the right to know where the noise is stemming from.

Granted, you have free rein to increase the volume slightly to check whether the noise will become worse. However, tread carefully as the last thing you need is to blow the other speaker. As you conduct this test, play tunes you’re familiar with. Doing so will pave the way for you to notice discrepancies triggered by the speaker’s damages.

Step 2: Discover the Problem

Once you have a viable suspect, you’ll want to double-check and ensure that it’s the blown speaker. If you can’t inspect the cone due to a faceplate, use a screwdriver to unscrew it carefully. Some speakers have fabric covers that require loosening without ripping them.

Once you remove the fabric, if your suspicions are accurate, that’s your cue to take out the speaker from its case regardless of whether it’s the car door or a simple box. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that you should unplug the speaker from the power outlet to avoid the likelihood of electrocution.

Before you remove the driver from its case, you’ll need to detach two wires. They’ll be black, red, and similarly labelled on the driver. If they are not, remember to mark the direction of each wire. If you cross them later, the speaker will emit a strange sound, to say the least.

With the driver in the palm of your hand, start by sniffing it. If the coil is melted or overheated, you’ll notice a smell. If you notice a burnt odour, you might require ordering a new driver or cone.

Step 3: Prepare the Area and Order Replacements

Once you examine the speaker you’ve removed, it’s time to clean it as it likely has months or years of accumulated dirt and dust. However, a quick wipe-down with cotton swabs and wipes dabbed with alcohol will get the job done.

When your speaker is spick and span, you can assess the level of damage. If the surround is torn, you’ll require ordering a new one. Speakers usually come in a standard size, so you should be able to find the component you need. Before you search anywhere else, confirm that your respective manufacturer sells replacement components.

Step 4: Install the New Surround

When you get your new surround, you’ll need to replace it with the old one. You can use a razor or scalpel to scrape off the foam residue before you soak the basket edges and cone with 70% isopropyl alcohol to eliminate any traces of the glue. Once the surface is spotless, you can lather adhesive on the inner lip of the new surround and connect it to the outer edge of the cone. Once that’s done, you’ll need to connect the basket to the outer lip of the surround while keeping the coil intact.

Step 5: Patch the Cone

If you have a tear in your paper cone, paper can come in handy to repair it. It’s the perfect quick fix for various-sized rips. However, it’s not a permanent solution if peak performance is the endgame. Furthermore, if you want to give it a try, you’ll require a paper tissue coupled with Elmer’s glue. To tear it to your preferred dimension, separate the layer of tissue. You’ll notice that ripping beats cutting as it allows the paper to mesh well with the cone assembly.

While holding the paper in your hand, soak it with the glue until it’s mushy and nice. Next, apply the tear in the cone. If you can, do the same to the base of the cone. Once it dries, you can layer it with a matte or flat black spray or leave it as it is if the haphazard appearance doesn’t concern you.

If you opt not to use the tissue, you can dilute the glue with warm water and apply the mixture to the cone using a paintbrush. Once it dries, the cone should be stiffer. Additionally, small tears must be fused. Nevertheless, this method is ineffective on bigger rips.

Step 6: Recone Your Driver

The most invasive thing you can do to repair your blown speaker is re-coning. Therefore, you’ll need to slice out the coil, spider, and cone before you install new ones and top it all off with a new surround. It’s a viable solution if more than one of those components is damaged. However, before you order replacements for the damaged parts, it’s essential to factor in the cost.

If you’re attempting to salvage pricey HiFi speakers, sending them to a speaker repair shop or installing new components might be more affordable than investing in new ones. It paves the way for you to skirt the cost of the speaker box, metal basket, and magnet. If the replacement is pricier than the speakers, buying a new set is the smarter move.

Step 7: Conduct a Speaker Test and Reinstall the Driver

Lastly, before you reinstall the driver into the speaker box, it’s important to perform the last test. Once you’ve confirmed that the driver is working as it should, that’s your cue to reinstall it, ensuring you hook the wires into the ideal connectors.

Conclusion

Even though it’s seemingly beyond repair, there are various ways to fix distorted sound on a sound system or amplifier. Once you do, ensure it doesn’t blow out again by doing the following:

  • Avoid high volume – play your music on low volume or with low treble
  • Invest in a repair kit for your stereo system
  • Have some replacement parts handy in case something does happen
  • Avoid playing for long periods of time and overheating
  • Invest in a subwoofer for a richer sound while easing the pressure

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