What Does A Blown Subwoofer Sound Like?

Subwoofers, a type of loudspeaker designed to reproduce low-pitched audio frequencies known as bass, are crucial components in any distinguished ...

By Dewayne

Subwoofers, a type of loudspeaker designed to reproduce low-pitched audio frequencies known as bass, are crucial components in any distinguished sound system. They greatly enhance the overall listening experience by delivering those deep, resonant tones that standard speakers may struggle to reproduce. However, subwoofers are not immune to damage, and, as with other electronic devices, issues can arise that affect their performance.

One of the prevalent issues that subwoofers face is “blowing out,” which refers to the result of pushing a subwoofer beyond its limits, causing damage to its components. The sound of a blown subwoofer is characterized by a range of symptoms such as muffled or distorted sounds, rattling and popping noises, or even total loss of sound.

This article endeavours to help you understand what a blown subwoofer sounds like. We will delve into the different auditory and physical symptoms you should look for to determine whether your subwoofer is blown. This guide will allow you to recognize these signs and understand their implications, enabling you to take appropriate action when necessary.

Understanding the Sound of a Blown Subwoofer

When a subwoofer is blown, it would no longer function as it was intended to, producing a series of noises quite distinct from its original output. The effect of a blown subwoofer on sound quality could be disastrous and perplexing.

The blown subwoofer would produce sound that is distorted, lacking clarity and quality. This is because the damage within the subwoofer affects its ability to reproduce sound as accurately as it should.

The sound could also be significantly quieter than usual. This might lead you to turn up the volume more than you had to before, which could risk damaging other components in your sound system.

Sometimes, the sound coming from a blown subwoofer can be inconsistent. It could cut in and out unexpectedly, disturbing the rhythm of the audio playing.

In other instances, a blown subwoofer may not produce any sound at all. This indicates severe damage and suggests that immediate corrective action is required.

Recognizing the Symptoms of a Blown Subwoofer

Detecting a blown subwoofer requires a keen ear and a sharp eye, as it involves identifying both audio and visual symptoms. Being aware of these symptoms will help you diagnose the problem earlier and potentially save your subwoofer from further damage.

The primary symptom is a pronounced distortion in the sound that the subwoofer produces. A healthy subwoofer should produce sound that is of excellent quality and clarity, but when it is blown, the sound could be fuzzy or unclear.

Another noticeable symptom is a considerable reduction in the overall volume of the subwoofer. The volume might fluctuate unexpectedly or it might be low all the time, unable to reach the level it once could.

Physical inspection may also reveal clear signs of damage. This could include rattling within the subwoofer when it’s turned on, or visible damages to the cone or surrounding areas.

If you suspect your subwoofer is blown but can’t identify any evident symptoms, a professional examination might be necessary. Some damages can only be identified internally and may not be apparent to the untrained eye.

Distorted or Muffled Sound

When a subwoofer has been blown, one of the most noticeable symptoms is a distorted or muffled sound. This occurs due to damage to the cone, voice coil, or surrounding areas that work together to create the subwoofer’s sound.

Any distortion or muffling of the sound is a clear indication that your subwoofer’s performance is compromised. Instead of the clear, deep bass you’re accustomed to, the sound might appear fuzzy or unclear.

The sound could also lack detail, becoming simplistic and shallow. This is caused by the inability of the damaged components to create the nuanced tones that a healthy subwoofer would be able to produce.

Additionally, you may notice that certain frequencies are entirely missing from the sound. This is another symptom indicative of a blown speaker and should be evaluated immediately.

It is crucial to remember that while distorted or muffled sound is a common symptom of a blown subwoofer, it can also be a sign of other issues such as a loose wire or improper subwoofer-placement.

Rattling or Popping Noises

The presence of rattling or popping noises from a subwoofer is another obvious symptom that it is blown. This usually signals an issue with the subwoofer’s components, and they are struggling to function as they are designed.

Rattling noises are typically due to something loose within the speaker. This could be a blown voice coil, a torn cone, or a damaged suspension system.

Popping sounds, on the other hand, might occur when the subwoofer is trying to handle more power than it can manage. This causes tension across the components, leading them to produce snapping or popping noises.

However, rattling or popping sounds can also occur even in undamaged subwoofers due to improper installation. Therefore, you need to double-check whether the noises are due to a blown subwoofer or just poor installation.

Loss of Speaker Performance

A noticeable loss of speaker performance could be indicative of a blown subwoofer. If the sound produced by your subwoofer isn’t as impressive as it once was, it could mean the subwoofer’s performance has degraded.

Drastic reduction in volume, even when the power is turned up, is a clear sign of performance loss. This could be frustrating and annoying as it disrupts the overall audio experience.

Some frequencies might be missing or unnoticeable. This happens when certain components of the subwoofer are blown, hampering their ability to reproduce specific frequencies.

Additionally, you might notice an overall lack of bass. Bass is the primary feature of a subwoofer, and not being able to produce it efficiently points to a potential problem.

This loss might not be drastic initially, but as the damage progresses, the performance deterioration may become more pronounced.

Identifying Physical Damages

Physical damages are often a clear indicator of a blown subwoofer. In some cases, you may be able to see indicators of damage even without turning the subwoofer on.

Obvious signs of physical damage could include torn or damaged parts. The cone, for instance, might be torn or punctured, which would directly affect the subwoofer’s ability to reproduce sound accurately.

The surround or suspension system of the subwoofer might also be visibly damaged. Signs like these are generally unmistakable and should prompt immediate action.

If visible damages are not apparent, yet the sound produced is still not desirable, further inspection might be required. You might need to disassemble the subwoofer to view the internal components.

However, it’s worthwhile to point out that attempting to disassemble your subwoofer yourself can create further damages if not done correctly. Therefore, if you’re unsure, it’s safer to bring the subwoofer to a professional.

Impedance and Electrical Issues

Impedance mismatch and electrical malfunctions can also indicate a blown subwoofer. These issues could be a result of a blown voice coil, which is an integral part of the subwoofer’s functionality.

An impedance mismatch can hamper the power distribution to the subwoofer, affecting its performance. Therefore, checking the subwoofer’s impedance could help identify if it’s blown.

Electrical issues might include the wiring and connections of the subwoofer. Damages to these could limit the subwoofer’s ability to function at its full capacity.

While these are indeed signs of a blown subwoofer, they can also represent other problems unrelated to the subwoofer being blown. As a result, further observations or professional opinions may be necessary.


Understanding what a blown subwoofer sounds like can save your sound system from further damage and extend its lifespan. Pay careful attention to the sound quality, volume level, any unusual noises, and visible signs of damage. It’s always better to consult a professional if you’re unsure about the state of your subwoofer. With knowledge and preventive measures, you can ensure your subwoofer performs at its best and delivers the powerful sound experience you desire.

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