How to replace a bookshelf speaker Tweeter

You really like your bookshelf speakers. You've become accustomed to their sound and hey, they are almost part of the family. But sometimes tweeters blow out. Now what?

Diagnosing a faulty bookshelf speaker

If your sound is suddenly dull and lifeless because one of your tweeters has blown out, then it's time to grab a screwdriver and do some investigating. Here are a few things that could be wrong.
  1. The wires to the tweeter are somehow disconnected. (unlikely but hey...)
  2. Your buddy turned your system up to 11 and poof! (yep, this happened to me)
  3. Your crossover is faulty. (possible but unlikely)
  4. It just got old and died.


In any of these cases you'll need to pull out the speaker and check for item 1 first. Don't worry, this is pretty easy. You'll need a Phillips head screwdriver. (usually)
  • First remove the speaker grille from the cabinet. You can usually pry it off with your fingers. Avoid using tools.
  • Carefully, don't puncture the tweeter, remove the screws from the tweeter face plate.
  • Carefully lift the tweeter from the cabinet. If it is tight, use a small flat head screwdriver or putty knife to remove it. Be VERY careful not to scratch the cabinet. 
  • Check the wires to be sure they are fully connected to the speaker.
If all is well note any designations on the rear of the speaker. Take note of the impedance and diameter. Put it back in the cabinet for now. If you suspect it's the crossover you can test this by removing the tweeter from the other speaker and trying it in the malfunctioning cabinet. 

Buying a new Tweeter

This is the cheapest way to get back to listening to your jams but it does get a bit tricky. Here's what you need to do.
  • Note the correct impedance.
  • The size of the tweeter itself as well as material, aluminum, foam, silk etc.
  • The diameter and mounting (screw) configuration.
  • Depth of the cabinet. 
Once you do this you're ready to go shopping for a new tweeter.  

Important - If you're replacing a tweeter and it's not from the manufacturer of the speakers, you'll want to replace BOTH tweeters. Huh, why? No matter how carefully you think you're matching the speakers to the one you already have, the new tweeter WILL sound different than the original. Lots of folks might not notice the difference but chances are you will. 

Is it worth fixing the speakers vs buying a new set of bookshelf speakers? It depends on how old your speakers are, how attached to their sound you've become and of course, if you have the money.


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