How to repair a blown speaker

July 29, 2015

Nothing can put a damper on your listening experience like a blown speaker, which usually announces itself with crackling and diminished sound quality. If you have an inexpensive speaker system, there's no harm in trying to repair it yourself. Here's how.

How to repair a blown speaker

Most speakers are blown by overloads resulting from excessive volume, but they can also be damaged by improper handling and even old age. If you have a high-end speaker system, it's usually best to have it repaired by a professional or the manufacturer. This will ensure that the speaker is properly balanced and tuned (although it may cost almost as much as a new speaker).

1. Make sure that the speaker is damaged

  • You can easily determine this by first swapping the speakers and then the wires to eliminate the possibility that the wires or the receiver is causing the problem.
  • To determine this, first switch the speaker wire connections in the back of the receiver.
  • If the problem changes from one to the other speaker, you know it is the wire or the receiver.
  • Now try disconnecting the wires and swapping them.
  • If the problem changes from one to another speaker again, you are in luck — it's just a faulty wire. Otherwise there's a problem with one of your receiver's channels.

2. Examine the speakers

  • Once you have determined the problem is in the speaker, pry off the cloth grille and examine how the drivers are mounted.
  • Lay the speaker on its back to loosen the fasteners, and lift out the damaged driver and the crossover network that's attached to the speakers.
  • Disconnect the wires by grasping the driver terminal with a pair of needle-nose pliers, and then use a second pair of small pliers to pull off the wire connectors.
  • If there's a small hole in a paper-type cone, you may be able to fix it by using some rubber cement and a kraft-paper patch (you may need to experiment with a few layers to achieve the right balance).
  • If it's a large hole, try to get a replacement speaker from your local electronics store. The store may even be able to custom-order a match for your system.
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