Subwoofer replacement can be either simple or very complicated depending on the situation, though there are a few tips that can help the process go more smoothly. In home theater audio situations, subwoofer replacement typically just involves finding a speaker that is not too large for the receiver or amplifier to handle. Subwoofer replacement in car audio contexts can be more complicated, since it is necessary to locate a speaker that will physically fit into the old enclosure, or a finding a whole new enclosure that will fit into the vehicle. It is also important to consider whether the old subwoofer was powered or unpowered, since an unpowered subwoofer requires an amplifier to operate. Before replacing a subwoofer, it may also be worthwhile to attempt a temporary repair procedure such as taping a torn cone or rewinding the voice coil.
Home theater subwoofers are typically used for a low frequency effects (LFE) channel, so both music listening and movie viewing experiences can be negatively impacted when these speakers fail. In some cases it is possible to open a home theater subwoofer enclosure to replace the speaker, though these enclosures usually are not designed for that type of repair work. When replacing these subwoofers, one of the most important factors to remember is that the speaker should not be too large for the receiver or amplifier to handle. It can also be a good idea to select a powered subwoofer replacement so that the receiver or amplifier has more power available for the rest of the speakers.
Car audio subwoofer replacement can be more complicated due to the unique size restrictions. When replacing a factory subwoofer, it is important to locate a replacement speaker that will properly fit into the available space. Many car audio stores have special catalogs that show the exact dimensions available in each make and model, though it is also possible to remove the old unit to take measurements. It is also important to consider whether the old subwoofer was powered or unpowered. Unpowered subwoofers require amplifiers to work, which creates some additional concerns about not under- or overloading the amp.
Before replacing a subwoofer, it is sometimes worthwhile to examine the speaker and attempt a simple repair. Most subwoofer repairs are only temporary, but they can often allow the speaker to be used until a replacement can be obtained. If the paper cone component of a subwoofer tears, it is sometimes possible to tape or glue it back in place. In this case a strong, pliable tape or glue should be used in order to stand up the the flexing of the cone. Another component that can sometimes be repaired is the voice coil, either by rewinding it, or installing a replacement unit.