Are you looking for ways to fix a subwoofer that is rattling? Subwoofers have become an essential component of a home theater setup in recent years, with their deep cataclysm rumbling and powerful bass. It perfectly creates the low-frequency sound effect and musical notes found in a movie’s soundtrack, delivering full, rich sound and a genuine cinematic experience.
It isn’t just the movies, though. It’s also exciting to stream live concerts at home with the bass addition; you can experience the ambiance as if you’ve been there. But there’s one not-so-exciting reason you might encounter: rattling. So what do you do when your subwoofer starts rattling?
It can be a very annoying problem, and it can ruin your listening experience. However, there are a few things you can do to fix it.
What Is a Subwoofer?
A subwoofer is a loudspeaker that reproduces low-pitched audio frequencies known as bass. The primary function of a subwoofer is to supplement the lows from the other speakers in a sound system, which are typically designed to handle midrange and high frequencies.
Subwoofers come in two types: passive and powered.
- Passive subwoofers don’t have a built-in amplifier, requiring an external amplifier to function.
- Powered subwoofers are the most popular type as they are easier to set up and don’t require as much maintenance.
Subwoofer Features That You Should Consider
Since you are convinced how great addition subwoofers can be in your home theater, you might be asking how to buy one. Here are some of the features that you should consider:
A subwoofer’s size is measured in cubic feet, and it ranges from about 0.50 cu ft to as large as 30 cu ft or more. The larger the sub, the more powerful it will be. However, you need to consider your room size and how much space you have for the sub.
If you are looking for a powerful subwoofer, then you will need an amplifier that can deliver enough power to the sub. The amplifier should have at least 50 watts of power.
The frequency range is how low or high the subwoofer can play frequencies. Most subs have a frequency range of 20 to 200 Hz, but there are some that go as low as 15 Hz and as high as 250 Hz.
There are three types of enclosures: sealed, ported, and bandpass. Sealed enclosures are the most popular type because they deliver tight and accurate bass. Ported enclosures are better for larger rooms as they produce more bass than sealed enclosures. Bandpass enclosures are only suitable for small spaces and should not be used in a large room.
Ensure that the subwoofer you buy has the right inputs and outputs for your system. The most common input is a line-level input, which you will find on most receivers. At the same time, the most common output is a speaker-level output, which you will find on most amplifiers.
The price of a subwoofer can range from as low as $50 to as high as $2000 or more. It all depends on how much power you need and how big a subwoofer you want.
These are just some things you should consider when buying a subwoofer. Now, let’s look at how a subwoofer works to understand how it produces sound.
How Does a Subwoofer Work?
Before we go any further, you should at least have a basic understanding of the different parts of a sub and how they work. This information may be beneficial in the future because it can help you make a more informed decision. The components of a typical subwoofer are as follows: Surround, Spider, Voice coil, Cone, Backplate, amplifier. Let’s take a closer look at each component to know how it works.
- Surround: The surround is a ring-like component made of flexible materials. It is attached to the cone and allows it to move back and forth, creating sound waves.
- Spider: The spider is a central support piece that helps keep the voice coil aligned in the magnetic field.
- Voice coil: The voice coil is a long, thin wire wrapped around the spider. When electricity flows through the voice coil, it creates a magnetic field.
- Cone: The cone is attached to the surround and voice coil. As the voice coil moves back and forth, it causes the cone to move, producing sound waves.
- Backplate: The backplate is a metal plate attached to the magnet. It helps to keep the voice coil in place and provides a surface for the amplifier to be mounted on.
- Amplifier: The amplifier is a device that amplifies the signal from the audio source and sends it to the subwoofer.
So for the subwoofer to work, the amplifier takes the signal from the audio source and sends it to the voice coil. The electricity flowing through the voice coil creates a magnetic field, which interacts with the permanent magnet. This interaction causes the voice coil and cone to move back and forth, producing sound waves. The voltage value determines its movement, and these motions allow the subwoofer to push air and generate low-frequency sound.
What Causes a Subwoofer That Is Rattling
Have you noticed how your subwoofer starts rattling after a while? There can be a reason for this, and it’s usually something you can fix. Here are some of the most common causes:
❕ Wooden Cabinets
If the subwoofer is placed in a wooden cabinet, the vibrations can cause the cabinet to rattle. It is especially true if the cabinet is not securely fastened to the wall.
❕ Loose Components
If any of the components in the subwoofer are loose, it can cause the woofer to rattle. The most common culprit is a loose voice coil. If the voice coil is not fastened adequately to the spider, it can move around and cause the woofer to rattle.
❕ Loosen Subwoofer Feet
If the feet of the subwoofer is loose, it can cause the woofer to wobble and rattle. If you notice that your sub is rattling, check to see if the feet are loose and tighten them up if necessary.
❕ Improper Speaker Placement
It is among the most common causes of subwoofer rattling. When you place the speaker too close to a wall or any other object, it can cause the sound waves to bounce off and create vibrations. It will not only make the woofer rattle but also distort the sound.
❕ Overpowered Subwoofer
An overpowered subwoofer can also cause the woofer to rattle. When the amplifier sends too much power to the sub, it can overwhelm the woofer and cause it to vibrate and rattle. When the amplifier cannot handle the power, it will send a distorted signal to the woofer, causing it to vibrate.
❕ Damaged Internal Components
If there is any damage to the internal components of the subwoofer, it can cause the woofer to rattle. It could be a result of age, misuse, or accidental damage.
Now that you know how a subwoofer works and what can cause it to rattle, you can take steps to prevent it from happening.
How to Fix a Subwoofer That Is Rattling
The first thing you need to do is find the source of the problem. It can be a daunting task, especially if you’re unfamiliar with how a subwoofer works. In order to determine what’s causing your subwoofer to rattle, you’ll need to take it apart and inspect each component. So check the outlined causes above and see if you can identify the problem.
Once you’ve found the source of the problem, you can take steps to fix it.
You can quickly troubleshoot if the problem is caused by cone padding issues, cone damage, voice coil alignment, and woofer cabinet issues.
- Padding Issues: If the padding is not sticking to the cone, it can cause the woofer to rattle. You can try using a glue gun or contact cement to fix the problem. All you need to do is apply a small amount of glue around the edge of the cone and then press the padding into place.
- Cone Damage: If the cone is damaged, it will need to be replaced. You can purchase a replacement cone from an electronics store or online.
- Voice Coil Alignment: If the voice coil is not aligned properly, it can cause the subwoofer to rattle. You can try realigning it yourself or taking it to a professional to have it done.
- Woofer Cabinet Issues: If the cabinet is not fastened securely to the wall, it can cause the subwoofer to rattle. You can try tightening the screws or using a stronger adhesive to fix the problem.
🗸Fixing Loose Components
It is one of the most common causes of rattling and is usually an easy fix. There are components in the subwoofer that can become loose over time, causing the woofer to rattle. It includes a voice gap, outer cabin, backplate, surround, and voice coil.
To fix this, here’s what you need to do:
- Level the Sub: If you have unbalanced subwoofers, it will cause them to vibrate and rattle. To fix this, you need to level the subwoofers. You can do this by using a leveler or by adjusting the feet of the subwoofer. You can turn the feet clockwise or counterclockwise to adjust the height.
- Secure Cables: You should also check the components to see if they’re appropriately fastened. You can also use zip ties or electrical tape to secure the cables.
- Check loose screws: The screws that hold the subwoofer together can also become loose over time. You should check all of the screws and tighten them if necessary. If it’s in a custom enclosure, make sure that if properly mounted.
- Disassemble and Reassemble: If you’re still having trouble finding the source of the problem, you can try disassembling and reassembling the subwoofer. It will help you to identify any components that may be loose. However, you should only do this if you’re familiar with the subwoofers components and how they work.
🗸Fixing Overpowered Subwoofers
If you’re having trouble with an overpowered subwoofer, the first thing you need to do is reduce the power. Check the wattage of the subwoofer and make sure it’s not more than what the receiver can handle. If you have a powerful amplifier, you can also attenuate the signal. It will reduce the power and may help to fix the problem. If you’re still having trouble, you can try using a subwoofer filter.
A subwoofer filter is a device that limits the amount of bass output from the subwoofer. It can improve the sound quality of the subwoofer and prevent distortion. You can purchase a subwoofer filter online or at an electronics store.
🗸Damaged Internal Components
If damaged internal components cause the problem, you will need to replace them. It can be due to various reasons, including damage to the subwoofer, underpower and overpower.
Here are common internal components issues and how to fix them:
- Coil’s movement isn’t parallel to the magnet: the coil should be parallel to the magnet. If it’s not, it needs realignment, as it can cause issues with how the speaker functions.
- Unstable magnet housing: the magnet housing should be stable and not move. It can cause the coil to move and create rattling noises if it’s unstable.
- Broken spider below the cone: if you have a broken spider , it will need to replace. You can purchase a replacement spider from an electronics store or online.
- Worn surrounds: if the surrounds are worn, they will need to replace.
- Bad wiring: If there’s bad wiring, you shoudl fix or replace it as it can cause several issues with the subwoofer.
- Coil stick in coil gaps: if the coil stick in the gaps, you must replace it. Likewise, clipped signals can cause this issue as well.
- Coil wires touch the cone below: If the coil wires touch the cone down, it will create a short and need to replace.
These issues with the internal components of the subwoofer can be difficult to fix on your own. If you’re not familiar with how the subwoofer works, it’s best to take it to a professional. They can identify the issue and replace the component if necessary.
How to Prevent a Subwoofer That Is Rattling
You can prevent the rattling issues with the proper care of your subwoofer. Here are some tips on how to avoid these problems:
✅Use Proper Power
Subwoofers can work with a certain amount of power. If you exceed the recommended wattage, it can damage the internal components of the subwoofer. So, to prevent any damage, like rattling, always make sure to use the appropriate power for your subwoofer.
✅Keep it Cool
Just like any other electronic device, you should keep your subwoofers in a cool condition. If they get too hot, it can damage the internal components and cause several issues, including rattling. So, make sure to keep your subwoofer in a cool, dry place.
Water and subwoofers don’t mix. If your subwoofer gets wet, it can damage the internal components and cause rattling. So, always make sure to keep your subwoofer away from water.
✅Use proper Cables
Using the wrong cables can also damage the subwoofer and cause rattling. Make sure to use the cables that the manufacturer recommends.
✅Clean it Regularly
Just like any other electronic device, you should also clean subwoofers regularly. Dust can build up and damage the internal components. So, make sure to clean your subwoofer on a regular basis.
✅Place it on a Stable Surface
You should place your subwoofers on a stable surface. If they’re not in a secure position, it can cause the internal components to move and create rattling noises. So, make sure to place your subwoofer on a solid surface that won’t move.
✅Use a Multimeter
A multimeter is a tool that can help you diagnose subwoofer problems. It can measure the voltage and current of the subwoofer. If there’s an issue with the subwoofer, the multimeter will be able to identify it. So, if you’re not sure if your subwoofer is working properly, you can use a multimeter to test it. It will help you identify any issues with the subwoofer and prevent further damage.
✅Set the Desired Volume Level
If you set the desired volume level and don’t exceed it, you can prevent your subwoofer from being overdriven. It will help protect the internal components and keep them in good condition.
✅Get Help from a Technician
If you believe your subwoofer is not working properly, have the expert examine it thoroughly and provide the required repairs. Don’t try to fix it on your own if you are unsure what to do, as you might end up causing more damage. It is better to take it to a professional who knows how to handle these types of repairs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How to know whether a subwoofer is working just fine?
A good working condition subwoofer produces clean and undistorted sound. If you notice any rattling noise or the sound quality is not up to the mark, then it indicates that your subwoofer is not working fine.
Q: How much power does a subwoofer need?
It depends on the model and makes of the subwoofer. You will find this information in the owner’s manual. Generally, the subwoofer needs more power than the main speakers in a stereo system.
Q: What causes my subwoofer to make crackling noises?
There can be many reasons for this. It might be due to a bad connection, loose wire, or a damaged speaker. Sometimes, the damaged subwoofer itself might need replacement. If you are not sure what is causing the problem, it is best to take it to a professional for help.
Q: Is it worthy of repairing a subwoofer?
It depends on the cost of repairs and how old the subwoofer is. If the subwoofer is very old or the repairs are costly, replacing it with a new one might be better. However, if the subwoofer is fairly new and the repairs are not too expensive, it is worth repairing it.
Q: How can you tell if a subwoofer has blown?
There are a few signs that indicate a blown subwoofer. These include distorted sound, crackling noise, and no sound at all. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is best to take the subwoofer to a professional for help.
Q: How to stop a subwoofer that is rattling?
You can do a few things to stop the subwoofer from rattling. These include cleaning it regularly, using proper cables, placing it on a stable surface, and setting the desired volume level. If you still experience rattling noises after doing all of these things, it might be best to take it to a technician for repairs or check for causes from the list above.
Subwoofers are a great addition to any sound system. But, like any other electronic device, they can have issues, and rattling is one of them. Thankfully, you can do a few things to identify and fix the problem. By following the tips above, you can get your subwoofer working properly again in no time.
So, don’t let a rattling subwoofer stop you from listening to your favorite music apps. Be sure to fix it as soon as possible; however, if you think the problem is beyond your repair capabilities, take it to a professional.
Have you ever had to fix a rattling subwoofer? What did you do? Let us know in the comments below!