How to tell if your TV speakers are blown in 7 steps
- By: Ashley Saunders
- October 2021
After a hard day of work, you sit down in front of the television. You turn it on, but there’s no sound or at best a muffled rattle. Slowly, you realise that you must have blown your TV’s speakers. Don’t worry as here’s how to tell if your TV speakers are blown.
There are a few signs that indicate your TV’s speakers are on their way out. Once blown, there are a few steps you can check to verify the awful news. From there, you have a few solutions including using external speakers, headphones, installing new speakers or upgrading your TV.
Here is how to if your TV speakers are blown, step by step.
What is a blown speaker?
If a speaker doesn’t work as intended then we call it blown. A blown speaker produces an unpleasant (e.g. distorted/muffled), no sound at all or the cone is physically torn. These problems can worsen over time.
However, just because you hear no sound, doesn’t mean the speaker is blown as your TV could have an electrical issue.
What causes a speaker to break?
Most of the time, speakers blow due to sustained pressure. If you always turn the audio up to full and listen for hours at a time, you demand that the speakers handle more power than they were designed for. Over a long period of excess use, the speaker’s material starts to break down.
The same is true if you’re using an amplifier that is far more powerful than the speakers. The amp will push the speakers, shortening their lifespan. So it’s worth correctly matching your amp and speakers.
If something slightly tears a speaker’s cone, you’ll notice a change in the sound. Over time, the tear might grow, making the sound it produces even worse. In this situation, it’s best to change the speaker early to stop it from developing a massive tear.
Start with your TV’s audio menu
The best place to start troubleshooting your speakers is using your television audio menu as you should be able to adjust a range of settings. That said, there is a difference between a slight rattle and hearing massively distorted sound.
Hearing a rattle or buzz could indicate that a speaker is loose or a certain frequency is creating an unwanted resonance. You should be able to adjust the overall equalization (EQ) controls. Keeping the volume low, see if some experimentation solves the rattle.
If adjusting the settings doesn’t fix the issue, then you might need to remove the back panel and see if a speaker has come loose or there’s a lot of dust that needs removing.
You might hear a distorted sound, which could mean that the speakers are blown and need replacing.
No sound but volume on full
If you turn the volume control all the way up and have no sound or only a faint signal then you’ve probably blown your speakers. If you have some sound but it doesn’t feel as strong as before, then you might have blown a single speaker.
Massively distorted sound
Blown speakers will produce a massively distorted sound, even at low volumes. As the most obvious sign, it’s worth listening out for this. Again, you might find that only one speaker is blown.
How to check which speaker is blown
The easiest way to check if you have blown one or both speakers is by using the pan control on the audio menu. With the TV on, try panning the audio hard left. If you can’t hear anything or it sounds distorted then your left speaker is damaged and needs replacing.
However, if your left speaker sounds fine, then pan the audio hard right and test. If the right speaker sounds distorted or produces nothing, then it’s damaged and needs replacing.
If you don’t have a pan control, then you’ll need to silence the speaker using a pillow or cushion, as this will allow you to hear the other one.
4 Possible solutions
After conducting some basic tests, you conclude that at least one of your TV’s speakers are blown. All hope isn’t lost. Luckily, you have a few options.
Use external speakers or headphones
All televisions have an audio output of some description. These typically include an optical output and headphones socket. Using the correct cable, you can connect your TV to an old Hi-Fi, soundbar or surround sound system and use them instead of the TV’s built-in speakers.
We’d advise using external speakers as the standard TV speakers are poor sounding. Soundbars are a fantastic and affordable starting point.
Another option is to try headphones as you can enjoy TV without disturbing anyone.
Try Bluetooth speakers or headphones
Unless you’re using an ancient television, your set probably has Bluetooth built-in, allowing you to use a range of devices. You might have to assign audio to your Bluetooth setting. Once done, you can pair any Bluetooth headphones or speaker with your TV.
Replace the blown speaker(s)
One option is to replace the speaker yourself or take your TV to a repair shop and have them carry out the work. Be mindful that the cost of paying a company can be higher than buying a new TV. We’ll explain the steps involved in DIY in a moment.
It is possible to have speakers repaired but the cost of re-coning a speaker is expensive and best avoided. Re-coning means not only replacing the cone but the entire assembly including the voice coil, hence the cost and the reason it’s not advisable for TV speakers.
Upgrade your TV
As technology is rapidly changing, your TV might be slightly out of date. And who doesn’t deserve an upgrade to a brand new 50-inch TV?! So looking for a new television might save you money in the long run.
Replacing a blown speaker yourself
It’s possible to replace a blown speaker, but the process is quite involved. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Unplug your television and lay it flat on something soft
- Slowly remove all the screws from the back panel
- Carefully remove the back panel
- Identify the blown speaker
- Check that the specifications of your old speaker and the new one are the same
- Remove old speaker by unscrewing it and unplugging the cables
- Replace with the new speaker, plug-in cables and screw it in place
- Lay the back panel on the unit and replace the screws
- Plug the TV in and turn the volume to 0
- Gently increase the volume and check that the new speaker works
That’s how to tell if your TV speakers are blown
If you think your TV speakers are blown, you now know how to test them as well as a range of solutions. If you’re unsure, work with a professional to correctly diagnose the issue and allow them to suggest a solution.
That’s how to tell if your TV speakers are blown and how to fix any issues. Our favourite solution is to use a soundbar from the start and avoid using the poor sounding speakers that come built-in with modern TVs.