Your subwoofer is meant to play low-frequency sounds also known as bass, so when it sounds distorted it can ruin the immersion of movies, and make music sound really bad.
Basically, your subwoofer is pretty much a speaker, and speakers are subject to distortions for a few reasons. One of the main reasons is if your subwoofer is too loud, but there’s many more. Read below to find out.
What Causes Subwoofer Distortion
In order to fix subwoofer distortion, you must first find out why your subwoofer is distorting. Some of the most common reasons for subwoofer distortions are poor volume settings and hardware failure.
Incorrect Volume Settings
High volumes can actually cause the speakers to distort in your subwoofer. This is because the subwoofer is being pushed beyond its capabilities. Moreover, your subwoofer is trying to reproduce sounds that are way too loud for it.
A simple fix for this problem would be to turn the volume down on the subwoofer. The correct way to find the best volume for a subwoofer is to continuously change it to find what sounds the best, don’t just turn it up to the max and expect it to sound good.
Also, it’s important to ensure that your subwoofer has an amplifier that is well-compatible with it. Mismatching components, and having an amplifier that is way too powerful for your subwoofer can cause distortions.
Secondly, even if the volume is too low, it can cause the subwoofer to distort, and not produce the sound in the correct way. In this case, it’s important to ensure that your subwoofer is in good condition.
Poor Crossover Frequency
Your subwoofer’s crossover frequency is one of the most important settings, it determines what the subwoofer considers bass notes, and starts playing low frequencies. In general, the crossover frequency shouldn’t be too high, but it depends on the sound system.
The crossover frequency can cause distortions if it’s set way too high, this is because the subwoofer will begin to play frequencies that are way too high for it. A good crossover frequency for a subwoofer is around 80 Hz, or if you want it higher, 120 Hz is a good point.
Additionally, if the crossover frequency is way too low, it can also cause the subwoofer to distort, and potentially overload it. This is because it’s playing frequencies that are way too low for it to handle.
Voice Coils Are Damaged
A damaged voice coil will cause the subwoofer to sound distorted because the voice coil is one of the most important components for the subwoofer. If it’s damaged it cannot convert electrical energy into mechanical energy correctly.
The mechanical energy is responsible for the sound being produced, and if the voice coil is damaged, it won’t be able to move as well as it should, and it will sound off, distorted, and weak.
Overloading the subwoofer is one of the primary reasons for a damaged voice coil, and this is usually done by having incorrect amplifier settings. Also, playing the subwoofer on max volume for way too long can cause mechanical shock.
Low impedance is another common reason for a subwoofer sounding distorted, this is because if the impedance is too low, it can cause the subwoofer to draw more power from the amplifier.
Now the amplifier is working excessively hard just to produce the same amount of power which will cause it to clip and distort the sound. Not only will this potentially damage the subwoofer, but it will also damage the amplifier.
How To Fix Subwoofer Distortion
Hopefully, the tips I recommend will ultimately help you fix your distorting subwoofer as it helped me and my friends. Ultimately, if you’re sure that your subwoofer doesn’t have any damage, these tips should work without you having to replace your sub.
Tip 1: Configure Amp Gains Correctly
Ensure that you are using your amplifier correctly by setting up the amp gains properly. This is because the amp gains are responsible for the amount of power being sent to the subwoofer, if it’s set too high, it can cause the subwoofer to distort the sound.
The easiest way to fix this is to configure your amp gains to a lower setting, and slowly turn it down gradually until you find the sweet spot of your soundbar.
Tip 2: Adjust Subwoofer Volume
We’ve stated that having your volume too high or too low can cause the subwoofer to distort. Well, it’s important that you use your subwoofer at the correct volume setting.
The best way to find the right volume for your subwoofer is to gradually increase the volume and listen carefully to see how the bass sounds. If the bass is too loud or quiet, you will need to adjust your subwoofer accordingly.
Continue adjusting the volume of the subwoofer until the bass is balanced with the rest of your sound system’s sound. Once everything sounds balanced, you’ve successfully found the sweet spot for your subwoofer.
Tip 3: Use The Correct Crossover Settings
We’ve also stated that your crossover frequency for your subwoofer is one of the most important settings for your subwoofer. If the crossover frequency for the subwoofer is too high or low, it can cause distortion.
Well, the easiest way to fix this is to set the crossover frequency to the most common frequency recommended by THX which is around 80 Hz. If you want it higher, slowly increase it till you find a setting you’re happy with.
Tip 4: Get A Bigger Subwoofer
The cause of your distortion may be simply because your subwoofer is too small for the room you’re trying to fill up with bass. Smaller subwoofers are more inefficient at producing bass, this is because larger drivers produce lower frequencies better.
The bigger your subwoofer is, the better it is for filling up a room, many subwoofers such as 8 inch subwoofers aren’t sufficient enough for handling large rooms like a home theater, in this case, you will require at least a 12 inch subwoofer.
Bigger subwoofers are also able to get louder without losing sound quality, they also move more amounts of air without having to overdrive and distort the signal meaning you can maintain an immersive bass-felt experience.
Why Distortion Is Bad For Subwoofers
When your subwoofer is distorting too much, you will experience a clipped signal which will try to move the cone too fast which can cause a popping sound. This will damage the subwoofer over time if not fixed.
Over time, the lifespan of your subwoofer will decrease due to the subwoofer being overdriven. This excessive strain will deform and weaken the cone resulting in bad sound quality over time, and eventual failure.
In conclusion, I hope that I’ve been able to help you with your subwoofer distortion issues. It’s imperative that you fix it as soon as possible so you get the desired listening experience for your home theater or music system.
Subwoofer distortion sounds horrible, and it can ruin your subwoofer over time due to clipping. It will cause an annoying popping sound which can sound quite cringy.