When your subwoofer goes on the blink, there are a few things that will let you know. Once you know how to diagnose your speaker problems, you can move forward with fixing or replacing them. So what are three signs your home theater subwoofer is blown?

Nothing ruins a movie night like a blown subwoofer in your home theater. There could be weird sounds, or the speaker could not function. Don’t let that stop you from having quality time with your family! Read on and learn three signs that your home theater subwoofer is blown.

Ways to Tell if Your Home Theater Subwoofer is Blown

Diagnosing your blown home theater subwoofer is simple once you know what to look for. The critical thing to remember is that when a subwoofer is blown, it is often easier to replace than fix. Therefore, you must learn to adjust once it is blown while you await your replacement.

The ways your tell if your home theater subwoofer is blown are:

  • No Sound
  • No Movement
  • Low Voltage

When your sub goes out, there’s little debate about what is wrong. The sounds coming from it, or lack of sound, could mean something has overheated internally. Once a speaker gets too much power, it functions erratically or stops.

No Sound Coming from the Subwoofer is a Sign it has Blown

The easiest way to tell if a speaker is blown is if there is low to no sound. If you have cranked the knob and tried selecting a few different channels with no change in the sound, you can bet that the speaker has blown.

The steps to diagnosing your subwoofer isn’t making sound are as follows:

  • Crank the Knob – The first step is turning the knob up and down to see if the sound has glitched. In addition, moving the volume knob could lower the levels of the additional speakers and prevent them from taking on too much power.
  • Check the Plug – The next thing to look for is the subwoofer plug. There are instances when your sub could become unplugged from the rest of the home theater or the electrical socket. Ensure all the attachments are tight and nothing is loose or frayed.
  • Check the Rest – The last thing to check out is the rest of the speakers in the home theater system. Again, you have a blown subwoofer if all the others are in working order with no distorted sounds.

The sound is a great way to determine if your speaker is blown. If you go through the steps and nothing changes, then there’s a good chance you have a blown subwoofer. Lack of sound is an advanced problem; some things happen before it goes out you can look for.

Movement is Another Sign You Have a Blown Subwoofer

Movement in the speaker is imperative for it to function correctly. If no activity occurs, the speaker is blown. You can determine whether the speaker is blown by checking the subwoofer for weird or no movement patterns.

The steps to check the movement of your home theater subwoofer are as follows:

  • Remove the Screen – The first thing to do is remove the screen covering the speaker if there is one. Some home theater systems will have protective screens that keep things around the home from bumping into the sensitive cone.
  • Two Fingers – Once the screen is removed, you should take two fingers and gently place them on the speaker’s cone. Adjust the volume as needed and feel for vibrations with your two fingers. If the speaker continues working, but the sounds are distorted, you could have a blown speaker.

Checking the movement of your subwoofer is an excellent way to test its functionality. If there are erratic movements and distorted sounds, chances are the speaker is having issues. On the other hand, if there is no movement, then it is sure to bet your speaker is blown.

Checking the Voltage is the Final Sign

Sometimes checking the electrical components is the best option to tell you about the status of your subwoofer. For example, using a multimeter, you can check the positive and negative connections on the sub and determine if you have a power issue.

The steps to check the power on your home theater subwoofer are as follows:

  • Remove the Sub – The first thing you should do is remove the speaker from the home theater. Allowing it to operate after you think it is blown is a colossal mistake. Instead, remove it from the power and prepare to take it out of the box. The sub is screwed into the box with six to eight screws that should come out quickly.
  • Use the Multimeter – Now that the speaker is out of the box and disconnected, you can use the multimeter to check the terminals. The color-coded attachments on the multimeter are labeled positive and negative. Attach them to the corresponding terminal on the battery and note the charge level produced on the multimeter.

The multimeter is a handy piece of hardware that will let you know if the power makes it to the speaker and if that power can be used. Once a speaker has been blown, there are ways to fix it, but it could take an expert and cost tons of money.

How can a Home Theater Subwoofer Blow?

Modern technology is made to withstand more usage than other models. People tend to leave their televisions as babysitters for animals or to ward off intruders. When a subwoofer blows, there are several reasons, and tracking them down will allow you to see if your warranty can cover the problem.

Overpowering is the Most Common Way Subwoofers Blow

When the speaker consumes too much power, it will begin to overheat. Once this happens, your speaker may start to show signs of blowing. You should check for an erratic cone movement or a lack of noise.

Some of the ways you can overpower your home theater subwoofer are:

  • Volume – Having the volume turned to the max is the best and fastest way to kill your subwoofer. You should begin to back off the volume knob when distortion or clipping happens during operation. Clipping is only hearing snippets of the song as the rest is silent.
  • Levels – Like the volume, you should learn to keep the levels low or risk overpowering the sub and losing it. By keeping the bass and dB levels lower, you can protect your sub against overpowering while still getting powerful bass notes and deep tones.
  • Consistent Usage – If you have a home theater dedicated to around-the-clock operation or have one you use in your storefront for ambiance, you could see the subwoofer blow quickly. Home theaters can be powerful; never giving it rest is an excellent way to see the subwoofer blown.

Overpowering is a phenomenon that can be defended against. Keeping your levels and volume low prevents excess power from reaching the delicate electronics in the subwoofer and forcing it to stop working. In addition, by giving the system rest time, you can extend the life of all the components.

Signal Problems are another Way to Blow a Subwoofer

Sometimes the speaker can have problems because of the signal it receives. If there’s a problem with the signal, it could force the speaker to work overtime and short out due to the pace or type of signal.

A few of the types of signals that can overpower and blow a subwoofer are:

  • Erratic – If a signal moves wildly from high to low frequency, it has a good chance of blowing your subwoofer. Unreliable signals can come from intercepted electronics in the neighborhood or low-flying planes.
  • High-Pitched – Another signal that can ruin your speaker is high-pitched. High-pitched sounds that are constant could force the magnet in the subwoofer to overheat and fail to conduct the proper amount of electricity needed to function.
  • Low-Frequency – Low-frequency tones can vibrate things all over the house. They can also destroy a speaker if they run unchecked. Low-frequency vibrations cause a subwoofer to shake constantly and burn out the wiring.

Signals can be hard on the speaker. They can force the sub to vibrate wildly or take a high-pitched tone, forcing them to lose power. The best way to prevent signals from harming your home theater subwoofer is by keeping the levels checked. Fuzzy radio stations and bad connections to video are repaired and replaced.

Underpowered Subwoofers Often Blow

On the flip side of the power issue, sometimes, when a speaker doesn’t get enough power, it could stop working. In addition, underpowered subwoofers are often turned down because of different things, like location, that could be as harmful as using them at full volume.

Some of the reasons that subwoofers could be underpowered are as follows:

  • Usage – Some home theaters might be used that often, and if they aren’t, there could be lingering problems that were not diagnosed, or sudden jumps in volume or time of use could cause the coil to short. In addition, home theaters that don’t deal with bass are more susceptible to blowing if they are out of practice.
  • Location – The location of the home theater subwoofer is another reason it could be underpowered. If the sub is located in an area that doesn’t require loads of bass or deals primarily with announcements or talk radio, it will be underpowered and could show problems if pressed.
  • Levels – If the levels on a home theater force it to remain at a low volume level, it has a good chance of losing its functionality. The levels on the home theater receiver should be adjusted appropriately for low and high-power situations.

An underpowered subwoofer could become stale after sitting for long periods and crash when needed. By keeping the levels set and pushing your home theater through its paces regularly, you can prevent it from blowing and having to shop for a replacement.

Options for when your Home Theater Subwoofer Blows

You might not think there are options besides repair or replacement, which is true in most instances. However, if you are handy or know someone who is, there are in-depth ways to repair parts of the speaker. Remember that some of these techniques could take tools and training beyond the price of a new subwoofer.

A Repair is an Expensive Option for Subwoofers

It is a good intention to try and repair something over replacement. But the bad news is that no matter your skill level or amount of tools, some subwoofers can’t be fixed. The easiest thing to tackle is the cosmetic issues, but there are ways to rewire a speaker that could bring them back to life.

Some of the pieces of a subwoofer that can be repaired are as follows:

  • Voice Coil – The coil is what makes everything work. It creates a magnetic field that allows the vibrations to be transferred to the speakers. Test the coil with a multimeter; if it isn’t working, you only need to replace the wire to restore current. Voice coils are often the primary problem, and the process is easy once you know.
  • The Cone – The cone is the subwoofer’s most prominent and visible part. It is an extensive material covering the wiring and support structure beneath. It can come apart and, using your glue of choice, can be placed back together.
  • Full Repair – For the most tech-savvy among us, there are ways to remove the broken pieces with a soldering iron and replace them with new parts. These jobs are in-depth and not 100% guaranteed to bring the speaker back to working order.

Repairing the home theater subwoofer could be time-consuming and require tools and expertise you don’t have. If you don’t have someone to fix it, you should buy something new. New models could have higher power ratings and withstand any barrage you can throw at them.

Replacing the Subwoofer is an Easier Option

You could have an attachment to the blown subwoofer, which is fine and common. What is uncommon is how crowded the market is with replacement subwoofers that could perfectly match your home theater. Some things to look for will make your search more accessible and productive.

Things to consider when replacing your home theater subwoofer are:

  • Size – One of the most important things to consider is the size of the speaker you want to replace. It is wise to seek a replacement and not change sizes, but upgrading is always an option if you have a receiver that can handle the strain. In addition, keeping the same size reduces your chances of underpowering your new subwoofer.
  • Budget – Your budget is another essential consideration when replacing the subwoofer. If you are going to turn to a factory second, they are a cheap way to replace the pieces you lost while saving money.
  • Purpose – If you have a goal for the home theater besides regular movie watching, that should be a factor in your shopping. If you intend to use the home theater for a purpose besides movie watching, you might want a replacement sub with its power or an attachment for a microphone.
  • Home Theater – You should know the make and model of your home theater. In addition, you need to know the serial number to search for a factory model. If you don’t, there could be a trial and error phase that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

Choosing a replacement for your home theater subwoofer could be like threading a needle with the space shuttle. If you don’t know the model of your receiver, you could be in trouble as some parts will not work together. So take the time to get the information you need before jumping out and buying a new replacement.

Replacements for a Home Theater Subwoofer

Now that you know all the critical information you need to select a new subwoofer, it is time to go shopping. When shopping for a new subwoofer, you must consider all the steps from your research and squash them into a machine that fits all your requirements. The smartest thing to do is choose from the highest-rated models and buy the same subwoofer.

Some of the best replacement subwoofers available are as follows:

  • Klipsch – A suitable replacement subwoofer for home theater is the Klipsch R-12. It is highly rated and has a copper spun cone that allows the speaker to take a beating. Klipsch is a company on the rise, and its products have a rabid following online that will answer any questions you might have.
  • Polk – A standout name in home theater since the 1990s is Polk. Their home theater subwoofer line is filled with excellent models, like the PSW108, that are affordable and work with many different receivers. In addition, Polk has an awesome warranty program to protect against future blown speakers.
  • Sony – Another great replacement home theater subwoofer is the Sony SACS9. It is a ten-inch subwoofer that is powered and works great as a replacement or as the crown jewel of the Sony bookshelf home theater.
  • Acoustic AudioAcoustic Audio makes a replacement subwoofer that pairs well with several different types of receivers and provides quality sound at an affordable price. This model can come in 15-inch and be paired with a series of surround speakers that take it to the next level.
  • REL Acoustics – One of the most high-priced and highly-rated replacement subwoofers is made by REL Acoustics. They are known for making wireless and stylish speakers while outperforming other high-end models. REL is in demand; going directly to the manufacturer is your best bet to get the sub you need.

There are some fantastic options for a replacement subwoofer for your home theater. However, once you know what size subwoofer you need and what job it needs to perform, you have to sit back and scroll through search results.

A Warranty is a Life Saver for Blown Subwoofers

There is an option that saves you from jumping through all the shopping and repair hoops. If you choose a home theater with a warranty, you place yourself in a position to come out of a bad situation with a win. Remember that only some subwoofer comes with a warranty, and only by shopping can you find what you need.

Some of the types of warranties that are available with subwoofers are:

  • Total Replacement – One of the best warranties you can get is a full replacement. When your subwoofer blows or has a catastrophic meltdown, you only need to return it to the company with your warranty and information, and they will send you a new subwoofer.
  • Term Limit – A dangerous warranty is the term limit version. Term limits mean that it is only suitable for a predetermined period. For instance, once you register the product, you have a year before it runs out.

Always be sure to check your purchase for a warranty. If not, there could be a minefield of hoops to jump through and a headache that a hockey puck-sized Tylenol couldn’t take away. On the other hand, warranties are worth extra money; if forced, you should buy one.


The signs that your home theater subwoofer is blown are no sound, no movement, and distorted sounds from the speaker. If any of these happen to your sub, you should remove the power from it and thoroughly inspect the case and speaker itself. Removing the speaker from the box and testing the connections with a multimeter is an invasive final step.

If your speaker is blown, there are a few ways to make minor repairs and fix it, but they could take time and don’t guarantee that the speaker will return to normal function. By shopping for a subwoofer with a warranty compatible with your system, you can escape the headache of shopping for a new one.