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Speaker damage question!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MistaMarko, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. MistaMarko

    MistaMarko Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2006
    Few questions about speakers here:

    1) Is there any gray area to blowing/damaging a speaker? Meaning...can a speaker be sort of worn out or damaged, or is it either the speaker is working perfectly or the speaker is completely blown. Basically, does a speaker in an amp wear out over time?

    2) What's the main cause to blowing/damaging a speaker?

    3) Can tweeters be damaged, if so, how?

    4) What's the best way to tell if any of the above questions have happened?
  2. 1. speakers will wear over time, they are mechanical. a speaker's burnt voice coil is usually the culprit to a blown speaker, it can be 'partially blown', but is essentially blown.

    2. physical abuse, too much power for too long. speakers' ratings in watts tells you squat. that is a thermal (heat) rating. some 300 watt speakers can fart/distort/blow at 100 watts. a lot depends on the enclosure.

    3. a tweeter is a speaker, yes.

    4. no sound, distorted sound, slight scraping when GENTLY pushing in speaker cone.
  3. I see several people have looked but no takers, so... this topic is a fairly common one and much, much information on speaker damage/wear has already been posted. You may find what you are looking for in TB 'search'. It has worked well for me personally.
  4. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    1) Yes, but it doesn't last very long. I have had speakers begin to sound degraded, a little fuzzy and rough, etc. But they always get very much worse very quickly - like in a matter of minutes or hours at the most - until you are absolutely sure you have blown a speaker - no doubt about it.

    2) Too much power - aka too many watts.

    3) See 2). It takes exponentially more energy to produce low-frequency sounds of the same apparent volume as high-frequency sounds, which is why crossovers cut the low-frequency sounds out of the signal to the tweeter. Tweeters usually can't handle as much power as woofers, which is fine because it takes less power to produce high-frequency sounds. If something is wired up wrong and you send higher-power, lower-frequency signals to the tweeter, it's goodbye, tweeter.

    4) Hook up a CD player to your system through the amp and keep turning up the volume. Do this when no one else is around. Bad woofers are pretty obvious right away - the entire sound will be garbled. Bad tweeters are usually just dead - not functioning at all. You may not notice this at all when you are playing bass, but when playing a CD through your speakers you should be able to tell if the "sizzle" is missing from the cymbals.
  5. MistaMarko

    MistaMarko Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2006
    Thanks guys. I'll have to try the CD player one. My main thing was..like..will you for sure know it if your speaker is damaged in anyway?
  6. yea, when it sounds like garbage
  7. jimbilly


    Apr 19, 2006
    Really old speakers can start to sound bad if/when the glue that holds the voice coils in place breaks down. I've got a '65 that I think is starting to do that.

    What happens is: you put too much electricity through the wires that are the voice coil, they get hot, they might get way too hot in a hurry and burn out in one spot for a catastrophic failure (it won't work at all). Or they might get hot enough to burn a little bit and maybe even go slightly oval, so that they scrape inside the groove they should be clear of (and sounds really awful). You could just barely burn them and it still sounds fine, or it sounds like maybe it might be scraping a little tiny bit, but you just can't be sure. You can burn your voice coil anywhere from 0 to 100%.
  8. MistaMarko

    MistaMarko Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2006
    Gotcha. Thanks guys.
  9. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    just a bit more info pls. If you burn the tweeter out, can you continue the gig with it burned out or will it be distorting out. Could you just turn the attenuator off and keep playing. I heard a cab awhile back with a blown tweeter and the guy had to stop using the cab cause it sounded so bad, forget the brand but there was not attenuator built in. And say in a 410 cab if one driver goes could you just unplug the bad one and continue. Just asking for emergencies where you have to continue a gig if this problem occurs. I guess this could be cab brand specific, all my cabs have attenuators and the tweeters are always only about 10%-15% on, does this protect them any?.

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