Subwoofer distortion can occur at low volumes and negatively impact your listening experience.
When there’s distortion, the bass won’t sound as deep and straightforward as you’d like it to. Instead, it’ll sound muddled and crackly.
In this post, let’s dive deeper into why subwoofer distortion occurs at low volume levels, plus some ways to fix and prevent it.
How to Identify Subwoofer Distortion?
Before I get to the causes of subwoofer distortion at low volumes, it’s important to make sure that it’s the subwoofer distortion you’re dealing with and not something else.
A distorted sound can be heard right away, but you need a sharp ear to hear it at a high volume. That’s because it differs significantly from the intended original sound.
To check if your subwoofer is distorted, play a song that you’re quite familiar with and listen closely to the sound. Your subwoofer is distorted if the sound isn’t what you expected. Fuzzing, static, and hissing can also be present in distorted sound.
Why Subwoofer Distortion Occurs At Low Volumes
The last thing you want when listening to music is to hear distracting sounds emanating from the speakers because it ruins your listening experience.
Here are the main reasons that subwoofer distortion occurs at low volume levels:
Strained Speaker Cone
Distortion may occur if your audio suffers from a mechanical issue due to being too loud. It happens when a speaker is stressed beyond what it can handle.
Extremely high volume stresses out the cone material of the subwoofer by pushing it far above its intended limits. You’ll observe that the subwoofer is distorted as a consequence.
In the worst-case scenario, a strained speaker cone may come off which means that your speaker is essentially broken.
Use of Equalizer Settings
Using the equalization controls on your amp or receiver is another crucial aspect of the bass quality you experience at low volumes. This configures the subwoofer’s frequency response.
Even though your subwoofer has a reasonable frequency response and a sufficient power output, it may still create a distorted sound if the EQ settings are off.
Amplifier Gain Setting
Subwoofer distortion at low volumes can also be caused by the gain setting in your amplifiers.
How your subwoofers sound can depend on the power generated by your amplifier. If you use the correct settings, your subwoofers can create clear and distortion-free sounds.
You will need a more robust amp if your current one isn’t strong enough to drive your subwoofers without causing distortion.
If you’re using a high-powered amplifier, typically 350 watts or more, the gain setting may need to be reduced. This is to prevent overdriving and distortion when producing low frequencies at low volume levels.
Voice Coil Melting
Distortion can also occur in subwoofers if the voice coil has melted. Voice coils are quite brittle and can easily break under extremely loud volumes.
They could also melt when exposed to scorching temperatures, resulting in a blown coil. The cords might also burn out, which means that your speaker would need a new coil for it to work properly again.
Bad Audio Source
Another common cause of distortion in subwoofers is a bad audio source. This is why you always have to check your audio sources.
Downloading music files from unknown sources and unreliable websites can result in poor-quality sounds. So make sure to always double-check your sources before downloading any content from them.
Poor Quality Components
There will always be issues with cheap wiring, amps, subs, and other audio parts, which include subwoofer distortion at low volumes.
In addition, poor-quality wires cannot maintain secure links between your devices, which causes audio distortion and noise interference.
Subwoofers can acquire dirt and dust over time, which can cause distortion. Another cause is moisture that can get inside your audio components, which results in bad-sounding audio.
How to Fix Subwoofer Distortion at Low Volumes
Now that you know the causes of the distortion in subwoofers at low volumes, it’ll be easier for you to troubleshoot it on your own.
Here are 4 ways to fix subwoofer distortion:
1. Avoid driving the subwoofer too hard.
When the subwoofer is overdriven, the amplifier delivers more power than it can manage. This can result in distortion.
This is just a simple fix. Keep the volume and gain at ideal levels to avoid driving your subwoofers too hard to prevent distortion.
2. Don’t overheat the subwoofer.
Like all electronic devices, subwoofers can overheat. This is why you have to make sure that there’s adequate ventilation to prevent subwoofer distortion at low volumes.
Proper ventilation can prevent your subwoofers from overheating. For extra ventilation, you can buy a tiny fan to put close to the subwoofer.
3. Use a subwoofer equalizer to alter the bass.
The bass in a film or music may sound different depending on where you’re seated and how near you are to the speakers.
By using a graphic subwoofer equalizer, you can boost or lower frequencies to adjust the bass and prevent subwoofer distortion.
4. Purchase good quality components.
When getting components for your speakers, make sure to purchase durable and high-quality ones from reliable brands and manufacturers.
They may be pricier but they last longer and also make for a great listening experience.
5. Keep the dust, dirt, and moisture away from the subwoofer.
Since dirt and moisture can cause distortion in subwoofers, make sure to always keep your equipment clean.
Frequently wipe down your subwoofers with a clean microfiber towel to prevent dust and dirt from building up. Do not use a cloth that’s been dampened with water when cleaning your equipment. Use a proper cleaning solution for your device.
Maintaining your subwoofer is an excellent way to prevent distortion at low volumes. Most subwoofer problems are caused by poor maintenance and incorrect settings.
If none of these fixes work, you may have to consider getting them checked by an expert because it may be a more serious issue. The worst-case scenario is that may have to just buy a new one.
A passion for writing and ongoing research projects gives Catherine an incredibly broad knowledge of all things. She has authored an incredible number of articles and can be found in the wilderness when not attached to technology or listening to podcasts.