Understanding Subwoofer Performance and Preventing Damage: A Comprehensive Guide

“Why Does My Subwoofer Sound Distorted?”

Understand how subwoofers work and how you can prevent damage from occurring by following this comprehensive guide on understanding subwoofer performance and preventing damage.

1. Overpowering Your Subwoofer:

Providing your subwoofer with too much power can lead to distorted sound quality and potential equipment damage. When a subwoofer is overpowered, the cone moves beyond its intended limits, causing issues such as tearing of the cone, spider, and surround.

a. If the incoming signal instructs the cone to move too far forward, it exceeds the subwoofer's maximum ratings. This can cause severe damage, ultimately destroying the subwoofer.

b. The opposite problem arises when the signal instructs the voice coil to move too far backward, which may cause it to crash into the back plate of the magnet assembly, resulting in damage to the coil and former.


To avoid overpowering your subwoofer, it is crucial to accurately match the RMS power ratings of your subwoofer and amplifier. Additionally, correctly setting the amplifier's gain helps prevent distortion and excessive power delivery.

By maintaining the appropriate power balance, you'll be able to enjoy high-quality sound and protect your equipment from damage. So, make sure to match the RMS power ratings of your subwoofer and amplifier accurately, and adjust the amplifier's gain to prevent distortion and excessive power delivery. With this simple step, you can elevate your sound experience while ensuring your equipment's longevity.

2. Underpowering Your Subwoofer:

Underpowering a subwoofer itself is not harmful, but it can lead to issues when the power is supplied by an amplifier that sends out a clipped signal. Signal clipping occurs when the volume of the source signal exceeds the electronic capability of a circuit, resulting in distortion.

a. A clipped signal tries to move the cone too quickly, causing the subwoofer to attempt rapid and excessive movements. This can lead to damage or jamming of the voice coil.

b. This will also instruct the voice coil to hold still for extended periods, causing it to heat up. This can result in coil overheating, deformation, and damage to the subwoofer's voice coil.

To avoid these issues and protect your subwoofer from damage, it's crucial to ensure that your amplifier is not overworked and sending out a clipped signal. Matching the RMS power ratings of your subwoofer and amplifier accurately is essential to avoid distortion and protect the subwoofer. Additionally, setting the subsonic crossover correctly ensures that only the desired sound frequencies are sent to your subwoofer, preventing unwanted distortion.

3. Avoiding Over Excursion:

Over-excursion is a term used to describe the act of pushing a subwoofer beyond its mechanical limits. Subwoofers are especially vulnerable to over-excursion due to their need for significant cone movement to produce low frequencies. Here are some measures you can take to ensure that your subwoofers do not suffer from over-excursion:

a. Allow for Proper Suspension Break-In: Follow the recommended break-in period to give your subwoofer's suspension time to stabilize. This ensures that suspension components, such as spiders and surrounds, have adequate control and longevity.

b. Proper Enclosure Tuning: Consider frequency tuning when designing or selecting an enclosure. Matching the enclosure's tuning to your preferred music style maintains proper suspension control. A well-matched enclosure acts as a restorative force and prevents excessive excursion, thereby extending the subwoofer's life.

c. Use Subsonic Crossover Correctly: Limit over-excursion by setting the subsonic crossover frequency correctly. Determine the crossover point where it audibly affects the subwoofer's output using your ears. Doing so helps control excursion and optimizes power usage.

In conclusion, achieving the best audio experience and ensuring the longevity of your subwoofer requires an understanding of its performance and taking the necessary steps to prevent damage. It's critical to avoid both overpowering and underpowering your subwoofer, as they can both lead to distortion and potential damage.

To prevent over-excursion, it's essential to implement proper suspension break-in, enclosure tuning, and subsonic crossover usage. Adhering to these guidelines helps maintain proper suspension control, prevent excessive excursion, and optimize power usage. Additionally, paying attention to proper power matching and distortion avoidance is essential for maintaining your subwoofer's performance.

10" 700 Watt (RMS) MC1 Series Peak Power Car Subwoofer (700 Watts RMS/1,200 Watts Max)

$139.00
Add to Cart

12" 1,000 Watt (RMS) DC2 Series Peak Power Car Subwoofer (1,000 Watts RMS/1,500 Watts Max)

$240.00
Add to Cart

10" 1,000 Watt (RMS) DC2 Series Peak Power Car Subwoofer (1,000 Watts RMS/1,500 Watts Max)

$219.00
Add to Cart

10" 400 Watt Space Series Low-Profile Subwoofer | 2-OHM & 4-OHM

Sold out
Sold out

12" 400 Watt Space Series Low-Profile Subwoofer | 2-OHM & 4-OHM

$229.00
Add to Cart

AudioControl Spike Series 12" 500 Watt (RMS) Single High-Performance Subwoofer | 2-OHM or 4-OHM (500 Watt RMS/700 Watt Max)

$229.00
Add to Cart

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published