How To Fix Subwoofer Distortion? (Reasons And Solutions!)

How to fix subwoofer distortion the right way?

Well, the first step is to find out the reason behind it.

Distortion in your subwoofers can badly affect the sound quality of the bass.

As a result, the bass will sound muffled and crackly instead of being deep and clear like you’d want it to.

A powerful signal originating from the car’s audio source is the most common cause of distortion.

However, the reason for this signal can be different.

It could be the amplifier or the car audio speaker itself. It all depends on how you set up the audio system in your car.

Here Is Best Subwoofers Without Distortion

7 Reasons Behind Car Subwoofer Distortion

To fix subwoofer distortion, you must first identify the factor causing it.

In case you aren’t aware of the potential problems, we’ve got you covered.

Here are some of the most common causes of car subwoofer distortion.

Aside from helping you find out the exact cause behind the distortion in your subwoofer, this article also walks you through several methods of fixing this distortion.

  1. The Speaker Cone May be Strained

If your car audio has a mechanical malfunction owing to excessive loudness, it may result in distortion. This occurs when a speaker is subjected to a higher level than it is capable of managing.

It pushes the subwoofer cone well beyond its designed limitations, inflicting strain on the cone material.

As a result, you’ll notice that the subwoofer is distorted.

In the worst-case situation, the speaker could be completely destroyed if the components break loose.

  1.  The Cone of the Car Speakers Melts

When a speaker is subjected to a higher volume than it can handle, it may experience thermal failure, resulting in distortion.

Overpowering a speaker causes a lot of heat to build upon its internal components.

The glue that holds the cone together begins to melt when the temperature rises above a certain degree, and the speakers produce distorted sounds as a result.

For example, let’s say you overdrive the car audio system for a long time. As a result, you may end up with fully-blown speakers.

Also Read: How To Setup A Shallow Car Subwoofer
  1. Voice Coil Melting

Excessive loudness may potentially cause the wires in the voice coil to melt.

These wires are extremely brittle and prone to breaking.

Exposure to high temperatures may cause them to melt, resulting in a blown coil.

The cables may even burn out, indicating that your speaker has been damaged and needs a new coil.

  1. Insufficient Gain and Boost Control

The gain and boost settings also have a considerable impact on your car subwoofer.

If they are set higher than the subwoofer’s capacity, it can result in mechanical and thermal failure. Consequently, it will lead to distortion or possibly a blown subwoofer.

Thus, try adjusting the volume, gain, and bass settings to prevent irreparable damage whenever you detect distortion in your speaker.

  1. Incorrectly Using a Crossover

Suppose you set the volume too high and misconfigured the crossover.

Your car’s subwoofers would cause distortion and may be destroyed.

Additionally, if you disconnect the subwoofer, an inappropriate load may shift to the speakers. In that case, too, raising the volume will lead to distortion. 

  1. Incorrect Cabinets Size for Your Car Subwoofers

Prepare to bear the consequences if you housed the subwoofer in the incorrect cabinet size. It causes the speaker to distort at higher sound levels.

For example, suppose the cabinet is bigger than the speaker such that the device doesn’t touch the cabinet walls.

Its suspension system will be compromised in that case, resulting in distortion or irreversible damage.

Also Read: How To Setup Car Subwoofer
  1. The Source is Overburdened

It’s critical to understand the maximum amount of power that a speaker can handle.

Undoubtedly, overwhelmed audio sources produce a distorted signal.

For example, suppose a mic detects a high volume that exceeds its capability.

In that case, you will ultimately hear sound distorted from the speaker since the mic will transmit distorted signals.

Similarly, any musical instrument that produces highly amplified signals may exceed the capacity of the speakers, resulting in distorted sounds.

All in all, subjecting your speakers and subwoofers to volumes higher than they can handle will ultimately cause distortion.

That’s exactly what happens during many live performances. Users expose equipment to excessively higher sound levels, pushing it past its capacity, which results in distorted audio.

The peak or maximum ratings may still be sufficient to drown out your speakers, but it is advised to follow the RMS ratings.

11 Ways to Fix Subwoofer Distortion

Needless to say, a blown subwoofer or a defective speaker cannot provide the audio quality you want. It may distort due to its inability to process sound correctly.

Although it may not be noticeable at lower volumes, it becomes quite prominent as the volume increases.

For you to easily identify and solve this problem, it is beneficial to have an understanding of standard stereo systems. 

But, if you don’t have much knowledge about them, we are here to help.

Follow the steps given below to troubleshoot your subwoofer and get rid of the distortion. 

11 Proven Ways to Fix Subwoofer Distortion
  1. Set Up Your Amp Gains

The common misconception is that amp gain controls affect the volume level and that turning the volume up results in significantly distorted sound from the speakers.

The reality is that gain settings allow you to fine-tune the amplifier’s input signal.

If you tune the sound too loud, you will inevitably encounter unpleasant distortion and a blown subwoofer.

The most effective technique is to set the receiver’s volume midway or three-quarters and then increase the amp strength until there is no distortion.

The car amplifiers always provide clean sound at low and high volumes without distortion from the vehicle speakers.

Also Read: How To Tell If Subwoofer Is Blown
  1. Make Sure You Are Not Overwhelming the Car Subwoofers 

Suppose you use a 1000-watt car amp with a 500-watt sub.

Then, the voice coil and other mechanical soft components will not withstand too much power. They are simply not made for it.

Therefore, you should verify the specifications of both the subwoofer and the amplifier to ensure that you don’t overburden the speaker.

It’s pretty easy to make fundamental errors resulting in speaker distortion at both positive and negative values.

Worse, many individuals invest thousands of dollars in sophisticated sound systems, yet they fail to provide crisp, clear output. This may be due to system malfunctions or the car stereo itself.

  1. Use Low-pass Filters To Avoid Distorted Sound

When installing a sound system in your vehicle, we recommend putting high pass filters on the front and back speakers.

The filters control the bass sound that is sent to the door speakers, thus preventing distortion. Take note that the majority of automobile doors are not built for bass.

This is because the inside of your vehicle door has a cone shape, which causes it to deform more quickly.

When you activate the high pass filter, it blocks bass and loudness frequencies of more than 80Hz.

This reduces distortion and results in clean sound output from your subwoofer.

  1. Decrease the Bass Booster Setting on the Car Radio and Amplifier 

Distortion happens when your subwoofer alters the original signal into something else. To prevent that, the bass controls the high volume of your subwoofer.

It obliterates the external signal to imitate the home theater system.

Reducing the bass volume can provide you with more headroom to crank up your car audio without experiencing any distortion.

Additionally, you can use extra bass sounds for the optimum experience.

  1. Reduce the Bass When the Volume Is High and Increase It in Low Volume

At low volume, +10 bass and approximately -5 treble provide a reasonably clean sound. However, distortion becomes an issue at higher volumes.

If distortion persists despite your attempts to minimize it, you may decrease the bass in the settings.

However, this may result in such an awful sound. Consequently, in most cases, people give up and switch out the whole sound system.

You may improve the clarity of the sound by lowering the bass level in the audio settings.

Moreover, with front and rear speakers for pure sound, you can add a new subwoofer for bass. This enables you to fine-tune your way to crystal-clear music free of distorted signals.

  1. Avoid Music With Increased Bass

Bass-boosted music is widely available and reasonably priced. However, it is created via software that produces distorted sound at both high and low levels.

Now, consider playing bass-boosted music on an amplifier.

You’d definitely end up with distortion regardless of how excellent your system is.

This may also decrease the power of the speakers. As a solution, you can enjoy music from the original CDs.   

  1. Use a Signal Processor or Equalizer

Modifying your car’s interior is essential to enjoy optimal acoustics. While plastic and glass surfaces reflect sound, carpeting and seat coverings absorb it.

When combined with improperly positioned speakers, this combination produces poor sound quality at high volumes.

To resolve the problem, you must install equalizers (often with more than 13 bands of equalization) to match the maximum voltage.

Typically, automobile receivers have treble, midrange, and bass settings that address several issues but not the underlying problem.

This is why an equalizer is required to zero in and eliminate the peaks. You can place it on either the receiver or the dashboard.

The external equalization allows you to tailor the frequency response to the volume level.

Additionally, you may add a parametric equalizer to adjust each EQ band’s center point and breadth to eliminate distortion entirely.

The last touch would be a sound processor that would decrease the frequency response while increasing the speakers’ bass response.

  1. Use a Car Amplifier

Many people don’t know the difference in output between a stock vehicle radio and a car amplifier.

In comparison to a vehicle radio, an outboard amplifier produces cleaner power and sound. It’s because an amplifier provides better quality sound and maximized output.

You may turn the stereo volume to the lowest and the amplifier volume to the highest.

This should bring you to nirvana: the point where your amplifier finally produces the gold-standard sound you’ve been missing.

Also Read: How Much Does It Cost To Install A Suwoofer And Amp In A Car
  1. Try To Use a Crossover That Can Reduce Distortion

Modern receivers include frequency filters that work well with preamp speakers, reducing distortion at low and high volumes.

We highly recommend using high pass filters on the subwoofers to eliminate distortion and low bass.

This allows the system to produce a clear and pure sound.

You can also experiment with reducing the crossover point for the low pass filters that bring the bass up and front, creating the most refined sound possible.

  1. Use High-quality Music Files

If you’re going to save music, you should invest in high-quality compressors.

Compressed music is often associated with free-flowing high- and low-frequency music.

You can easily notice distortion generated at low or high volumes in your car’s sound system.

Thus, bad files do not go unrecognized. Particularly, if you have an amplifier, it will magnify every little detail in your music file.

To avoid this distortion, you must utilize a high-quality music source.

  1. Replace Your Car Speakers

At times, you may notice strong distortion, even on a new subwoofer. If this happens, it is clear that the speaker cone is wearing out and losing its effectiveness.

This is your cue to update the subwoofer cone and get one compatible with your amplifier’s power range to ensure quality sound.

Also Read: Are Underseat Subwoofers Worth It

Final Thoughts

Subwoofers, in general, are a must-have to produce an effect similar to the home cinema.

On the other side, a blown subwoofer may detract from the desired acoustic experience. But, fortunately, a blown subwoofer is repairable.

A damaged voice coil gap, on the other hand, will be tough to repair.

Identify the degree of the damage first, and then determine whether to replace the set or attempt repair.

Generally, it is preferable to replace your current one with a new subwoofer.

Particularly, if your speaker cone starts to produce a clipped signal and partial sound, you should try to exchange it for a new one.

Apart from that, you must grasp the fundamentals and adjust the settings as per your requirements.

Try to get the optimal setting for both low and high volumes.

Lastly, you can try to surround your subwoofers with sound-deadening materials to minimize vibration and noise.

This helps to create an atmosphere conducive to the car stereo producing clean, distortion-free music.

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