Replacing a blown out speaker

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

Diagnosing a faulty bookshelf speaker

If your sound is suddenly tinny because one of your woofers 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 woofer are somehow disconnected. (unlikely but hey...)
  2. Your buddy turned your system up to 11 and poof!  Yes, we've had this happen. 
  3. Your crossover is faulty. (possible but unlikely)
  4. Rot, yes, speakers get old too.
In any of these cases you'll need to pull out the speaker and check for item 1 first. Don't worry, removing a woofer for inspection 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, remove the screws from the woofer being careful not to puncture the cone.
  • Carefully lift the woofer from the cabinet. If it is tight, use a small flat head screwdriver or putty knife to remove it.
  • 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 think it's the crossover you can test this by removing the woofer from the other speaker and trying it in the malfunctioning cabinet. If it works there then you could be having a problem with the crossover.

Buying a new woofer

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

Important - If you're replacing a woofer and it's not from the manufacturer of the speakers, you'll want to replace the woofer in both cabinets. Why? No matter how carefully you think you're matching the speakers to the one you already have, the new one 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. But if you have a little bit of DYI in you and some time to spare, you can do it.

What speakers are good for bass?

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Many factors contribute to how much bass a speaker delivers including: the size of the speaker driver, the frequency specifications of the crossover, the design of the speaker driver and the design of the speaker cabinet.

Speakers with larger than 5 inch woofers generally will deliver better bass than those with smaller drivers.  But that is not the only option for creating reasonable bass as mentioned above. The following speaker designs can fool you into hearing more bass. Some work well, some, not so much.


  • A ported speaker where the design has a hole in the back or front of the speaker cabinet can, in some instances, deliver greater bass response to the ear. These are referred to as bass reflex speakers. The general premise is the port allows for more air to be forced out of the enclosure to create more low end sound. The caveat here is that these ports are usually "tuned" to a specific low end frequency (like when you blow into a bottle). This is a cheap and effective way of delivering more bass at the expense of accuracy of bass frequencies. 
  • Crossover's are devices that sit inside your bookshelf, tower or even bluetooth speaker that decide which speaker in a multi-driver cabinet is getting what frequencies. They can even limit the low end frequencies from reaching the speaker to either avoid overdriving the speaker or creating a sound preferred by the engineer. 
Many bluetooth speakers use ported designs to give greater bass response to their design. Bose does this quite effectively in their soundlink mini and other products.

Are there any general guidelines to finding speakers with good bass response?

Not really. At one time some European speaker manufacturers produced speakers with less bass response do to regional tastes. This is no longer the case. 

Continued after break...



The best way to decide is to get the speakers in your home and listen to them. If all other things are equal you can always EQ the bass to your taste. The next best path would be to read forums to see what others think about bass response of different systems. The challenge here is it's difficult to tell by descriptors whether what they like is what you'll like.

As always, your ears are your best tool for choosing audio products. Note to readers, this blog helps keep us being able to not buy screw top wine. Clicking on links and purchase products my result us getting a small commission. Thanks if you do!


Why are my Outdoor Speakers so Quiet?

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Of all the reasons your outdoor speakers don't sound as loud as your indoor ones, the Speaker Wire you're using is not one of them. Why when your receiver is on volume 55 are your indoor bookshelves loud but when you switch to zone 2 or speaker B, (depending on your receiver) which are your outdoor speakers do the speakers not sound as loud?

It all comes down to volume. No, not the volume of the receiver, but the volume of the air the speakers are trying to move. In an enclosed room speakers have a relatively "bounded" amount of air to move. This reduces dispersion, and the amount of pressure they exert when they reach your ears.

Once outside, soundwaves have a greater amount of air to move and can disperse more quickly, appearing to create less volume.

Other reasons your outdoor speakers have less volume.


  • Different impedance than the indoor speakers
  • Different size speaker drivers
  • Your volume on the zone you have them on is less than the speakers inside


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