Whether you are a gamer, movie addict, or music lover, a powerful subwoofer adds life to what you do, giving you more reasons to put up your own home theater.
But when you start raising the volume, you hear a rattling sound. What could be wrong?
Did you bust your speakers? How loud did you increase the volume?
Subwoofers produce gigantic sounds where you can feel all the vibration when you start turning up the volume. And if that rattling sound annoys you, we have an intelligent solution for that!
What Causes Vibrations and Rattling?
Subwoofers rattle depending on the loudness or softness of their volume. But your sub will rattle more when there is a loose screw or loose components inside.
That is why it is essential to understand the build of your subwoofer before scratching your head and wondering what’s happening.
Vibrations, Sound Waves, and Resonance Explained
To understand where the noise of your subwoofer is coming from, it is important to have a little knowledge about sound waves.
When there are vibrations, there are sound waves. How?
Sound waves are mechanical waves produced by interacting particles in the air, solid, and liquid phase of matter, hence, the vibrating effect. As simple as that.
On the other hand, resonance refers to the “quality” of the sound that results from the vibration.
The mechanics behind subwoofers is explained in acoustics.
Simple speaker systems for your home theater or car audio system have low frequencies that subwoofers can surpass. That’s why your subwoofers resonate with a thumping sound.
The rear deck and car speakers attached with subwoofers enhance your listening experience. And the rear deck rattle noise is another disruption from an enjoyable ride.
In other words, a subwoofer is a sound enhancer that blends in with a pair of surround stereo speakers, adding heavy bass and thumping sound that elevates your experience while enjoying and feeling all the surround space.
Subwoofer Everyday Noises and Reason
Subwoofer rattles on certain songs
If you notice, your subwoofer rattles when you put the volume up or on selected songs, especially songs enhanced with bass boost. This is because the speaker cone foam gets too much stimulation from the voice coil. The surrounding foam or rubber, serving as insulation against loud noise, could already be worn out.
Subwoofer Rattle at Low Frequency
Low-frequency sound equates to heavy bass. As you go lower in the frequency scale, your subs’ bass will get deeper. But the rattling sound during low frequency could mean there is a loose component in your subwoofer.
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Trap the rattle noise by doing the same thing with the cone or tighten the screws that fix the cone to its place and see if the rattle goes away.
Subwoofer Rattle at High Frequency
This is the opposite of the above issue. Typically, your subwoofer will rattle at high frequency because there could be a tear in the cone.
Check a ripped cone, as this will distort the sound quality of your speaker. Also, check if the spider still holds the cone intact. For small tears, you can apply glue or rubber cement. Make sure the cone doesn’t hit the speaker walls.
Pro tip: The subwoofer driver is the transporter of audio signals, converting electrical energy to mechanical energy to create sound.
How to Fix a Rattling Subwoofer
Tighten screws, spider, voice coil.
Overpowered and Underpowered Subwoofer
Make sure you get the correct wattage for your subwoofer. A subwoofer has the potential to break when its amplifier can’t handle more than its capacity.
Underpower woofer means when your amplifier’s watts are lower than what your speakers can handle.
Amplifier problems can point to a blown fuse or damaged cord.
Whatever the source of the problem, sometimes your speaker won’t turn on or will create a whining noise.
Be sure to use the exact amperage when replacing fuses.
Use Sound Deadener
Most audio enthusiasts know the importance of sound deadeners. They not only dampen the sound but enhance the sound quality of your speakers.
A sound-deadening material does have different types of sheets. You can also add acoustic sheets along the subwoofer enclosure.
If you are converting your room into an audio room or recording studio, use any of the following sound-deadening materials:
- Thick carpets or rugs
- Egg cartons
- Acoustic window film
- Sound-absorbing curtains or blankets
- Heavy but soft furniture
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Use an Anti-Vibration Pad
For a subwoofer vibration noise, place an anti-vibration pad under the subwoofer to eliminate the vibration.
A vibration pad is specially designed to absorb sound and spread vibration evenly on the pad, reducing the effect of a resounding noise that can cause damage to your equipment.
Subwoofer Making Noise When Turned on
It is common for subwoofers to make noise when turned on.
Aside from their purpose of pumping out sound for sound waves to have a significant impact in your room, it is natural for it to make noise once it receives electrical energy from the power source.
The electrical charge automatically flows toward the subwoofer’s resonant circuit.
The cone will instantly pick the transformed energy coming from the driver.
Subwoofer Making a Vibrating Noise
As in a subwoofer making rattling noise, vibration can result from loose components, screws, hardware issues, or faulty electrical loop.
To fix this, find the source of the pulse, the part on the subwoofer where vibration is most robust.
Tighten loose components, change bass frequency settings, or apply a sound deadener.
Subwoofer Buzzing at High Volume
A humming or buzzing sound when your subwoofer is set to a high volume means there is something wrong in the plug connection, causing a polarity change in sound transfer.
Another cause could be a ground loop issue. For extremely high volume sound, you will have a subwoofer rumbling noise.
Pro tip: Upgrade your car with Dynamat sheets for automotive soundproofing while enjoying your music in your car audio system and protecting the windshield from increasing the noise level.
How to fix Ground Loop:
- Use a single-wall socket outlet for your audio devices.
- Remove unused or turned-off devices from the socket.
- Use a ground loop isolator.
- Use a ground lift plug to break a ground loop.
- Check ground points if rusted. Clean the rust buildup.
- Fix and check electromagnetic interferences. Such interference may come from your electrical home appliances such as an air conditioner, TV, or refrigerator.
- Move your audio system to a location where there is less interference.
- Check audio ports if you are connecting your subwoofer to a PC.
Pro tip: Before doing any electrical repair on your subwoofer, ensure that you disconnect all power to avoid electric shock. Better get the service of an experienced electrician if all grounding and changing of wires are new to you.
How to Stop Subwoofer from Rattling
Here are practical steps without seeking professional help to get rid of the subwoofer’s rattling noise:
- Tighten loose components
- Check overpowered and underpowered subwoofer
- Correct faulty amp
- Use sound deadener
- Effective in dampening sound attached to rear deck lid and door panel or car door
- Use anti-vibration pad
How do you know when a subwoofer is blown?
- Can you fix a blown speaker subwoofer?
- You can diagnose the problem, but the repair depends on what’s damaged. If you play too much sound, pushing the voice coil to the limit may cause a tear or fall apart from the cone.
- Either re-attaching the cone or replacing the cone part will solve the problem. Or lower your volume to take good care of the components.
Pro tip: Before doing any electrical repair on your subwoofer, ensure that you disconnect all power cables to avoid electric shock.
Better get the service of an experienced electrician if all grounding and changing speaker wire is new to you.
So if you want to fulfill your listening experience, having a subwoofer rich and full in sound, be wise on selecting the right sound system for your needs.
Many product reviews and reputable dealers abound, giving you unlimited choices to get the best one.
But, sometimes, getting the best deals from online options could lead you to wrong decisions. We suggest that you go to the shop and see and test the favored subwoofer to the test while in the store.
At least, you won’t go home regretting it.
Robert is an electronic engineer with more than five years of experience with a solid affinity for helping people reduce noise. He writes about these silent home appliances and easy soundproofing measures to help everyone avoid the negative effect of extended exposure to high noise levels.