Do you have a subwoofer that isn’t working, but your speakers are? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. This is a common problem, and it can be tricky to troubleshoot. In this article, we will walk you through the steps to take to determine why your subwoofer isn’t working, and how to fix it.
The article is structured in a systematic and logical way. It would be silly to take apart your subwoofer and check the wires without first checking the configuration of your setup.
Often times it’s a matter of changing a setting on your receiver or a control knob on your subwoofer rather than a faulty cable or wire. Either way, there is a solution for fixing your subwoofer, especially if everything else such as your speakers are working.
What if you know your amp has power?
If you know your amp has power, there are a few things you can do that don’t require messing with anything technical.
Check your control knobs
If you’re not sure whether your subwoofer is working, there are a few things you can check on the unit itself. The first is to make sure the bass, volume, and gain knobs are turned up.
Many amplifiers and subwoofers have a built-in limiter that prevents the unit from being overdriven. If the volume or gain knob is turned up too high, it can cause the signal to clip and distort.
Another thing worth checking is the phase switch on the back of the subwoofer.
When the phase switch is set to 0 degrees, it ensures that the signals from the subwoofer and the speakers are in sync.
When it’s set to 180 degrees, it causes the sound from the subwoofer and speakers to be out of sync by 1/2 a cycle. This can cause cancellation and make the sound seem weak.
When it’s set to 360 degrees, it causes the signal from the subwoofer and speakers to be in sync again.
If you’re not sure which setting is correct for your setup, try switching between them and see if any of them fixes your issue.
Resetting your receiver settings
First, look at your receiver’s manual and check how to reset your settings. You might need to hold a certain combination of buttons down for a couple of seconds, or others have a small reset button.
The next step is to unplug your receiver from the wall for 15-20 seconds and then plug it back in.
Once it’s plugged back in, you will need to configure your receiver settings again. This can be a little bit tricky, so I recommend following your receiver’s manual closely.
There is no one way to do this as everyone has different setups, so it really varies, unfortunately. If you’re new to the world of receivers and home theatre, I would recommend typing in your receiver model name into youtube and looking for setup videos.
Rerun the auto-calibration on your receiver
If you’re experiencing issues with your subwoofer, but your speakers are still working, you may need to rerun the auto-calibration on your receiver. This will help ensure that your receiver is properly configured to send audio to all of your speakers.
- To rerun the auto-calibration on your receiver, first make sure that it’s turned on.
- Then, press and hold the “Menu” or “Setup” button until the menu appears.
- Use the arrow buttons to select “Audio Settings” or “Speaker Setup,” then press the “Enter” or “OK” button.
- Finally, use the arrow buttons to select “Auto Calibration” and press the “Enter” or “OK”. button. Your receiver will then run the auto-calibration process.
If you’re still having issues with your subwoofer after rerunning the auto-calibration, there may be a problem with your receiver or speaker setup. In this case, it’s best to consult your receiver’s manual or contact the manufacturer for support.
If you’ve lost your manual, you can find a digital copy on the manufacturer’s website. Alternatively, you can find manuals for many receivers and other electronics devices at ManualsOnline.com.
Here is a video on how to do it for a Yamaha receiver. It’s more or less the same process for every receiver.
Blown fuse in your power strip or wall outlet
If you’re not sure if your subwoofer is working, the first thing you should do is check the fuse. To do this, locate the fuse in your power strip or wall outlet. If it’s blown, replace it with a new one and try turning on your subwoofer again.
How to check if a fuse is blown?
Checking if a fuse is broken is actually a pretty simple process. All you need to do is locate the fuse box and take a look at the fuses.
There should be a diagram on the inside of the fuse box that will show you which fuse corresponds to your subwoofer. Once you’ve identified the correct fuse, remove it and check if it’s broken.
Here are some general tips:
- If a fuse is blown, it will be visibly burnt
- There may be blackening or charring around the fuse
- The fuse may be melted or discolored
- If you’re not sure if a fuse is blown, you can test it by replacing it with another fuse of the same rating and see if that fixes the problem. If it does, then the first one was likely blown. If it doesn’t, then there’s probably another problem.
Checking lose wires or cables
If your subwoofer isn’t working, but your speakers are, the first thing you should do is check for loose wires or cables. This is a common problem, and it can be easy to fix.
Here’s what you will need:
- A screwdriver
- Wire cutters
- Soldering Iron
- Step ladder if your subwoofer is elevated (optional)
Here’s how to do it:
1. Turn off your subwoofer and speakers.
2. Unplug the power cord from the back of the subwoofer.
3. Open the back panel and look for any loose wires or cables around the subwoofer.
4. If you find any, solder the wire back to where it belongs, ensuring a secure clean connection.
5. Plug the power cord back into the subwoofer, and turn it on.
6. Test the sound.
7. If the sound is still not working, move on to the next step.
If you aren’t comfortable soldering or messing with wires, it’s understandable as it can be a daunting task. In that case, I recommend you bring it to a technician in your town who has more experience doing this.
If you’ve examined the inside of your sub thoroughly and don’t see anything out of place, it’s probably not the wires.
Checking wires using a multimeter
Previously we checked if there are any loose wires which are visibly easy to find as they will be out of place. Unfortunately, we can’t see inside the cable to check if it is faulty unless we have a multimeter.
If you have a multimeter, it’s very easy to test for sound at the subwoofer cable connections on both ends of the wire. Just follow these steps:
1. Disconnect the subwoofer from the receiver and amplifier.
2. Set the multimeter to continuity mode (should beep when probes are touched together).
3. Touch one probe to each connector at the end of the wire.
4. There should be a beep sound when the probes are touched together, indicating that there is continuity and that the wire is not broken.
If you don’t have a multimeter, then you’ll need to take the subwoofer to a technician to check if the wire is broken.
If there is no continuity at either connector (meaning the wire is broken), then you’ll need to replace the cable. If there is continuity, then it’s likely that one of the connectors is dirty or corroded and will need to be cleaned/replaced.
Here is a guide:
How to clean a dirty or corroded cable
A dirty or corroded cable can cause your subwoofer not to work. This is a guide on how to clean it.
If your subwoofer isn’t working, the first thing you should do is check the cables. Make sure they’re properly plugged in and that there’s no debris or corrosion blocking the connection.
If you see any dirt or corrosion on the cable, you can clean it using a toothbrush and some vinegar. Soak the toothbrush in vinegar and scrub the cable until it’s clean. Be careful not to damage the insulation on the cable.
Once the cable is clean, try plugging it back in and see if your subwoofer starts working.
I hope this article helped solve your subwoofer issues. It’s not the most uncommon thing that your subwoofers are not working but your speakers are, and often the fix is easier than it seems.
If you go through each step in this article, you have a good chance of fixing your issue.