It can be really irritating as a music lover when you invest a lot in your sound system and as you turn it on, you realize the sound is not as rich as it used to be and there is something wrong with your subwoofer.
Generally the subwoofers give problems at high volume but it is also not uncommon for your subwoofers to turn off at low volumes.
These problems are usually associated with a faulty amplifier but there can be other reasons like bad cables, loose connections, RCA cable and capacitor malfunctions, bad solder joints etc. causing your subwoofers to turn off at low volume.
In this article, we will go over seven different reasons why your subwoofer turns off at a low volume, as well as the solutions.
7 Reasons Why Your Subwoofer Turns Off At Low Volume
Whenever you are having problems with your subwoofer (like turning off at low volume) it is most likely that the amplifier is the main reason behind this problem.
You can take it to a professional or a repairing company and after examination they will probably tell you to change the amplifier.
But there will be times when the amplifier will not be the problem. There might be several other easily fixable issues which you are overlooking that can cause your subwoofer to turn off at low volumes.
Following are the 7 main reasons which can make your subwoofer to turn off at low volume and also the ways you can fix those problems.
- Ground connection
- Loose connections and pinched cables
- RCA cable or capacitor problem
- Faulty solder joints
- Gain control adjustment
- Voice coil issue
- Amplifier problem
Having a good ground connection is the base for the longevity and error free operation of your electrical equipment. Same is the case with your subwoofer.
Whenever you have a bad ground connection it will result in patchy and fluctuating signals to your amplifier which can be a reason why your subwoofer stops working at lower volume.
The best way for grounding is to locate a metallic surface inside your car and connect the grounding wire to that area using a nut bolt and a washer so that it doesn’t become loose over time.
Remember to always buff the area clean off any paint or rust before connecting the grounding wire, and use a nut bolt instead of a screw because a screwed connection will become loose over time and give you problems.
2-Loose Connection Or Pinched Cables
This would seem like a simple thing to do but you might be surprised that how many times just tightening your loose connections and repairing and replacing the pinched cables might save you a trip to the repairing company and save you those extra bucks.
Loose connections and pinched cables will disturb the current flow to your subwoofers.
At high volumes the current flow might be strong enough to travel through these disturbance points but at low volumes the current flow will get hampered and activate the safety systems resulting in shutting off the amplifier and the subwoofer.
Always check the connection points and keep them properly tightened and if you have a slight doubt over a cable being damaged then it’s better to replace it sooner rather than later because it might end up giving you a bigger problem.
3-RCA Cable And Capacitor Problem
A bad RCA cable and a faulty capacitor can be reasons for your subwoofer malfunctioning at variable volumes.
Always use good quality RCA cables as they are responsible for transferring the audio signals.
Replace the RCA cable and the capacitor and check if the problem gets resolved before opting for a major repair.
4-Faulty Solder Joints
Faulty solder joints can be another reason for your sub shutting off at low volume. When you turn the volume high at higher voltages the current will be able to find its way through a bad solder joint but at low voltage the circuit might remain open and the current will not be able to flow properly thus causing your sub to turn off at lower volumes.
Check the solder joint at the point where the tinsel leads meet the voice coil leads of your subwoofer. If the solder joint is dull in color and looks flaky with holes in it then it means you have a bad solder joint.
A good solder joint has a shiny texture and a smooth finish to it with a minimum amount of solder. Apply a good solder joint at the connection point and Hopefully it will resolve the issue.
5-Gain Control Adjustment
Gain control system of your subwoofer assists you to match the bass levels of your subwoofers with the output produced by your speakers.
When you are using high power amplifiers you might have to lower down the gain settings so that your amplifier doesn’t go into overdrive and malfunction while operating at low frequencies at lower volumes.
Turn down the gain settings and adjust it by observing the minimum levels at which your subwoofer keeps producing clear sounds.
You will observe that below these settings your subwoofer will start producing distorted sounds. If you continue using your subwoofer below these settings regularly then it will eventually end up shutting down at these low sound levels.
6-Voice coil issue
Always check the voice coil if your subwoofer keeps turning off at low volume or you are experiencing any other kind of sound problem.
Make a thorough inspection of the voice coil. Check for any damage, tears etc. to your voice coil. It might be because the voice coil is not properly processing the sound.
Especially check for any corrosion damage to the voice coil. If there is some sort of rust on your voice coil then it is the reason why your voice coil is not processing low volume at lower currents and your subwoofer is cutting off.
You can clear the rust using anti rust agents available in the market. But it is better advised to change the voice coil as the damage will most probably keep giving you problems in the future.
As I had mentioned earlier that whenever there is a sound issue with your subwoofer, The problem will most probably be associated with your amplifier.
If none of the above mentioned remedies help you to rectify the issue then you have to look into the amplifier.
Most of the amplifiers come in with a protection or safety mode which operates when there is an issue with your sound system. The amplifier will shut down when the safety mode is activated and won’t turn on until the issue is resolved.
Your subwoofer will shut down at low volume if the amplifier is experiencing some issues at these sound levels and going into safety mode.
If you have installed a new amplifier and you are observing the problem the first time you have turned it on, then take out the manual and recheck the installation and operating instructions mentioned in the manual.
Then check all the connections and wires for any damage and clean them thoroughly. If the problem still remains then you have a bad amplifier or a subwoofer which needs replacement.
For isolating the problem between the amplifier and the subwoofer, first connect the amplifier to another subwoofer and observe whether you are still experiencing the same problem. If yes, then the problem lies with your amplifier and you need to replace it.
If not, then it’s an indication that your subwoofer is at fault and needs replacement or repair. The most efficient method of repairing your subwoofer is to Recon it, where you replace all the major moving parts of your subwoofer.
But it isn’t a cheap process and you need to decide whether you are better off buying a new subwoofer rather than using your money, time and energy on repair.
Tip: Here is a tip for you to use as a last resort if nothing else works out. A friend of mine had a similar problem with his car subwoofer where the sub kept turning off at low volume. He did everything possible to fix the problem from checking his cables, connections, grounding, replacing the RCA cables, re attaching the solder joints and inspecting his amplifier and the subwoofer thoroughly but nothing worked.
I met him after some time and asked about his subwoofer. He said that the sub is working fine now after he kept operating it constantly at high volume for some days and to his surprise When he turned it down at low volume, it has been working fine since.
It is not a technical solution and might not work out for you but who knows. Better to give it a try before making a trip to the repairing shop as it might save you the money.
Yes it is better to consult a professional if you are having a problem with your sub, but there might be some minor issues which you are overlooking that can save you a trip to the repair shop. Read the above mentioned guidelines properly and do a thorough inspection.
Start from minor details leading to the major parts and trying to rectify them as mentioned. Still, if nothing else works then It’s time to consult a professional.