How to Fix Speakers That Only Play From Tweeters

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Speakers that only play through the tweeters have blown woofers. Many speakers have woofers in them that were manufactured with plastic foam surrounds. A surround is the flexible portion of the speaker between the cone and the outer basket rim: it suspends the cone without impeding its in and out movement. Foam surrounds last at most 10 years under the best conditions, then fall apart. You will have to remove the woofers and send them off to be reconed. Replacing woofers is ill-advised because unless you get direct replacements, they will sound different: probably worse.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Allen wrench set
  • Torx (star bit) set
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Gently pull the grille off the front of the speaker, exposing the woofer: Most grilles are press-fitted. Some have plastic posts that fit into plastic pockets on the front baffle. If the grilles are not removable, the speakers are probably not worth fixing.

  • Place the speaker on its back. Inspect the screws holding in the woofer and choose the correct driver to remove them. Back out the screws and save them in a close-able container.

  • Pull the woofer out, prying up one side to loosen the sealant or foam, then lifting it out gently. Save the sealant still attached to the woofer as you will need it later.

  • If the woofer's wire leads are attached with slip-on terminals, pull them off with needle-nose pliers, noting which wire goes where on the woofer -- when you reinstall it, reattaching the connections correctly will be critical. If the terminals are soldered on, use a soldering iron to heat each terminal, pulling gently on the wire to remove it.

  • Place the container of screws inside the speaker for safekeeping.

  • Search "Reconing speakers" on the Internet and send your woofers to a reconer who can fix your brand of woofers.

  • Reverse Steps 1-5 to reinstall your fixed woofers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Request direct cone replacements to make the speakers sound as they were designed to sound.
  • After reinstalling your woofers, they will need a break-in period to make the suspension supple enough to produce bass as the designers intended. This should take about a week to a month, depending on how loudly and often you play them.
  • If you get no bass with both speakers playing, but you do with one or the other playing, the woofer leads on one speaker are incorrectly wired. Find out which one and reverse the leads.

References

  • Photo Credit speaker tweeter woofer bass boom box sound waves image by david hughes from Fotolia.com
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