What would cause my subwoofer to suddenly stop working? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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What would cause my subwoofer to suddenly stop working?

I owed the Boston Acoustics CSSUB10B subwoofer for about 9 years and was always happy with it. I live in an apartment, so it delivers enough bass for me in my small home theater. But the subwoofer seems to have stopped working recently.

The funny thing is, it still turns on and receives signal. I can tell because it has an auto on/off feature so it detects when a LFE signal comes in and turns on automatically. And it still does just that, but no bass comes out of the sub anymore. Nothing whatsoever, even tho I played with the volume dial.

How the heck can a subwoofer die like this suddenly? Now, I'm very concerned that maybe one of my Polk Audio speakers would just mysteriously die one day.
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 01:07 PM
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It’s 9 years old and you’re surprised it died just now?

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #3 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
It’s 9 years old and you’re surprised it died just now?

Shouldn't subwoofers last for many years? My parents have 30 year old Onkyo speakers that still work. They're big speakers with a tweeter and one big woofer. A subwoofer is literally just one big woofer. So, if my parent's woofer on their speakers still work, then it's quite embarrassing that the woofer on my sub just goes kaput after only 9 years!
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post #4 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 01:12 PM
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A subwoofer is one big woofer that goes under a lot more power and for much longer times.

Both the amp and driver put off heat adding to the degradation of the system over time.

If they were meant to last you’d see a half decent warranty on them.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #5 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
A subwoofer is one big woofer that goes under a lot more power and for much longer times.

Both the amp and driver put off heat adding to the degradation of the system over time.

If they were meant to last you’d see a half decent warranty on them.

That's concerning to hear since subwoofers aren't really that cheap. I always thought they were long term investments.


Maybe what I might do is invest in better front speakers that will deliver better bass instead of replacing the sub. For an apartment, I don't really need something that will shake the ground too much or else, I could potentially get some complaints from neighbors.
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post #6 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 01:24 PM
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Bass is bass, doesn’t matter where it comes from whether it’s a speaker or a sub.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #7 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post
I owed the Boston Acoustics CSSUB10B subwoofer for about 9 years and was always happy with it. I live in an apartment, so it delivers enough bass for me in my small home theater. But the subwoofer seems to have stopped working recently.

The funny thing is, it still turns on and receives signal. I can tell because it has an auto on/off feature so it detects when a LFE signal comes in and turns on automatically. And it still does just that, but no bass comes out of the sub anymore. Nothing whatsoever, even tho I played with the volume dial.

How the heck can a subwoofer die like this suddenly? Now, I'm very concerned that maybe one of my Polk Audio speakers would just mysteriously die one day.

1: Power supply failed
2: voice coil failed
3: Bad connection
4: Alien probing
5: Age




Sorry, I couldn't resist. The reality is it could be many things. Get your meter out and start troubleshooting. Might be real simple, might not. I can promise you though, that none of us can see it from our house Nothing lasts forever no matter what we think or feel. 9 years is a bit of time. I hate the stuff that fails 2 months out of warranty. The end result is normally the same. You need a new one.
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post #8 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 03:48 PM
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A few things to try,

Turn off the sub, remove the RCA cable from your receiver and place you finger across the pin and outer ring. Turn on the sub, it should turn on and create a really pissed off humming sound from your finger. You can tap across it with your finger to a good rythm you can dance to if you like. If it is still silent, turn off the sub and do this.

With the sub off, place your fingers around the cone of the sub and lightly press inward. Do you hear any scratching, crunchy sounds or is the cone "frozen" in position. If it is anything listed above--you roasted your subwoofer. If it moves back and forth quietly, generally speaking you should be OK unless the internal connection to the voice coil failed.

Most likely, if it just ups and dies one day--it is usually related to the amplifier or the output from the receiver. The "finger trick" usually works well enough to turn it on and make humming sounds if the receiver has a subwoofer out failure. You can also connect a 1/8th inch to dual RCA cable to your phone and wire it into the sub to see if it turns on and plays something (more accurate than your finger!) If it plays from your phone, your receiver output is toast. If it does nothing, you have an amplifier problem.

If your sub is ported, take a sniff at the port and try to get a wiff of burnt electronics--very distinctive. That is a very bad sign if it has the burnt smell and it might be something easier if it smell normal. IF it smells normal, unplug the thing for a few hours and remove the amp from the back of the box. Some of them have a cover over the amp module others don't--if you have a cover, remove it. Now look for burned up components, they tend to be black, smell bad etc. find any? No? Good! Look for fuses, some amps use components that don't look like fuses--because they don't want end users messing with them. Don't yell at the messenger! Now, if it smells good, no burned up parts--check for fuses. If you are really lucky, they might have a amp schematic online and you can look at it for fuses--they are generally labeled as F1, F2 and so on. If the schematic lists several of them, if you can't obviously see one--have a friend that does electronics look at the thing which will cost you a six pack of their favorite beer (just sayin')

Since you have the amp out, might as well throw an ohm meter across the subwoofer--expect to see anywhere from 3 to 8 ohms depending on the subwoofer design. If it is below 1 ohm--that usually means the voice coil is partially melted which can short the coils together which will drop the impedance and burn up the outputs of the amplifier. Not very common but it happens. Normally, since it abruptly stopped and you are in an apartment--generally the amp would be the most likely failure point. You can check to see if the two wires going to the sub are still connected because weird things happen.

If your amp has failed, you can either ask the company if they have spare amps (highly unlikely) or you can replace the amp with another plate amp of the same power and filtration (if required) Other options is to seal up the back of the sub, install some terminals like on the back of your speakers and program an outboard amplifier to be your new sub amp. You can use pro sound amps that have programmable limiters and DSP to get it correct. Cost for that? You can get 100 watt plate amps from Parts Express on sale for $50 to $100 and PA amps with DSP start at around $350 so just quoting options. Since it is so old, rather small...the PA amp would be overkill but this is AVS!

No worries about your speakers "suddenly failing"... some of those speakers in malls have been playing annoying music for decades without failure. Generally speaking, they are quite reliable as long as you don't overdrive them, start them on fire etc. Speakers can last 20 to 50 years and usually just don't stop working out of the blue--no matter what teenagers say. Now if you overpower them or drive them with really low bass that the cones mechanically can't do--then you damage them that way. I doubt in an apartment you'll normally go into rockstar mode so..l. your mileage will vary.

Personally, I own three plate amps with one of them being 21 years old and the two others at 6 years old. Audio amplifiers fail also, I have an Onkyo make it 17 years, a Pioneer that was given to me that made it 33 years, a Carver amp made it 24 years and a very expensive amp blew the output tansistors 6 months out of warranty. It happens! The output transistor failure was coased by alien anal probes so Deaf Forever understands.

Sorry to hear of your sub troubles--that is what makes audio so much fun! You can either find out if a new amp is available, use a different plate amp or get a new subwoofer is generally your options. Good luck and may your next sub outlive you!
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post #9 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18Hurts View Post
and a very expensive amp blew the output tansistors 6 months out of warranty. It happens! The output transistor failure was coased by alien anal probes so Deaf Forever understands.

Sorry to hear of your sub troubles--that is what makes audio so much fun! You can either find out if a new amp is available, use a different plate amp or get a new subwoofer is generally your options. Good luck and may your next sub outlive you!





I just blew my pbr across the room. I don't care if that was a shot at me, it was a damn good one! Thanks for the giggle @18Hurts


And this concludes the PSA about alien probing. Its real and does cause damage to electronics. Beware.
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post #10 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 04:15 PM
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post #11 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaf-Forever View Post
1: Power supply failed
2: voice coil failed
3: Bad connection
4: Alien probing
5: Age

Sorry, I couldn't resist. The reality is it could be many things. Get your meter out and start troubleshooting. Might be real simple, might not. I can promise you though, that none of us can see it from our house Nothing lasts forever no matter what we think or feel. 9 years is a bit of time. I hate the stuff that fails 2 months out of warranty. The end result is normally the same. You need a new one.
And 6: A blow out Fuse
And LOL about #4

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post
That's concerning to hear since subwoofers aren't really that cheap. I always thought they were long term investments.

Maybe what I might do is invest in better front speakers that will deliver better bass instead of replacing the sub. For an apartment, I don't really need something that will shake the ground too much or else, I could potentially get some complaints from neighbors.
Unfortunately, many sub plate do not last for ever. Unlike a Power Amp for Audio, that last for ever. Of my previous two subs, one did failed after 10 years. And the new owner, did replace both Plate Amp. You had 9 years of good service from your sub, and did it's time and paid it's full duty. Time to get a new one, since the subs evolution has change a lot since.
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post #12 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHT View Post
I owed the Boston Acoustics CSSUB10B subwoofer for about 9 years and was always happy with it. I live in an apartment, so it delivers enough bass for me in my small home theater. But the subwoofer seems to have stopped working recently.

The funny thing is, it still turns on and receives signal. I can tell because it has an auto on/off feature so it detects when a LFE signal comes in and turns on automatically. And it still does just that, but no bass comes out of the sub anymore. Nothing whatsoever, even tho I played with the volume dial.

How the heck can a subwoofer die like this suddenly? Now, I'm very concerned that maybe one of my Polk Audio speakers would just mysteriously die one day.
If you push on the cone, does the driver move freely or is it rigid with no movement?

Front: Polk S55
Center: Polk S30
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post #13 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by badtlc View Post
If you push on the cone, does the driver move freely or is it rigid with no movement?

It moves freely.
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post #14 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by MrHT View Post
It moves freely.

Then I would guess it to be something in the amp if you ruled out the audio source.
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Sub: P̶L̶-̶2̶0̶0̶I̶I̶ | (̶2̶)̶ ̶F̶V̶X̶1̶2̶ | V1812
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post #15 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 05:24 PM
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If you get it fixed by a tech it will cost you and that could go towards a new one.
The only problem is if you fix, because of age it might only last a very short time and you have spent that money on it. It's a gamble.
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post #16 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I tried to do more tests by playing something loud and turn the sub volume & crossover to MAX and I hear an ever-so-slight thumping on it. So there's still some life in it, but something is preventing it from booming like it used to. Something in there is not fully making the woofer do it's thumping.
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post #17 of 21 Old 05-30-2020, 09:18 PM
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Ok, so it might be alive. Maybe starving for signal....... Where do you go from here?

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post #18 of 21 Old 05-31-2020, 07:08 AM
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Nine years out of a powered $400 sub is a good run. The fact it had all of a 1-year warranty on the amp means you received your money's worth and more. You can now get something better at a similar price.
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post #19 of 21 Old 05-31-2020, 07:26 AM
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Yeah, I think 9 years is friggin' great out of a $400 sub! I'd definitely be looking for a new one. And since I went from a $125 to a $1600 sub, I think you can even one-up that! Might as well go End Game Sub, dude. Try a PSA TV4212 or a JTR Cap 4000ULF!

I'm kidding... kind of! But let me give you some good options to consider in the respective internet direct subwoofer AVS threads below...

Official Rythmik Audio Subwoofer Thread

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-s...er-thread.html


Official Power Sound Audio Subwoofer Thread

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-s...er-thread.html


Official JTR Speakers Subwoofer Thread

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-s...er-thread.html


Official Seaton Sound Subwoofer Thread

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-s...er-thread.html


Official HSU Owners/Support Thread

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-s...rt-thread.html
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post #20 of 21 Old 05-31-2020, 03:38 PM
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Before you do all that,
Since it is still coming on but no sound, are WE sure a setting didn't get changed on the AVR set up?
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post #21 of 21 Old 05-31-2020, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaf-Forever View Post
Ok, so it might be alive. Maybe starving for signal....... Where do you go from here?

Trash it. There's life in it, but extremely little that it's worthless.




Quote:
Originally Posted by altpensacola View Post
Before you do all that,
Since it is still coming on but no sound, are WE sure a setting didn't get changed on the AVR set up?

Yes, I'm 100% certain. I double checked.
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