2010-02-10

Repaired my speakers instead of buying new ones

The bad news - a big hole in my woofer

I've had this nice pair of Advent two-way speakers for years. They sound great, they're compact, and the look great.

But they recently broke.

I was listening to some music (at low volume!) the other day, and suddenly a painfully annoying buzz started to emanate from the right speaker. I took off the grill covering and there I found a huge hole in the woofer. The flexible foam cone surround broke down over time and finally gave way. Bummer.

Then I checked out the left speaker - its woofer's foam surround developed a substantial crack too - it just wasn't buzzing yet.

I went online and looked for replacement speakers. After some search, I realized that I'd have to spend over $200 to get some half-way decent speakers - a fairly depressing amount of money. And they likely weren't as soulful or as attractive as my old Advents.

So instead of replacing them, I decided to repair them.

Ordering Replacement Woofers

Since the woofers were beyond hope, I decided to replace them- and hopefully without cutting new holes in the cabinet. To find a suitable parts, I had to remove the old woofer and measure it.

I put the speaker cabinet on its back and removed the four screws holding the woofer in place. Then I extracted the old woofer from the cabinet.

I measured the hole in the cabinet, which was 5 and 5/8" in diamater. With this information, I could locate similarly sized parts. And since this wasn't a car speaker, I knew that I wanted an 8Ω (8 ohm) woofer.

Measuring the cabinet's woofer cutout

After looking at the reviews and weighing price, performance, and the risk that I might screw things up, I decided to go with the 6.5 inch Goldwood GW-206/8. I ordered two: one for the left cabinet, one for the right.

I considered ordering replacement tweeters and dampening material for the inside of the cabinet, but since it all looked healthy and sounded fine to me, I elected to keep them as-is.

A few days later a large box arrived at my door with two new woofers. Yay! I immediately got down to business.

A replacement woofer

Replacing the woofers

Replacing the woofers was an amazingly easy process:

1. I powered down my amp and disconnected the right speaker.

2. I laid the speaker cabinet on its back and removed the cloth-covered grill.

3. I removed the 4 screws that were holding the woofer in place.

Unscrewing the old broken woofer

4. I disconnected the wires from the back of the woofer, noting which wire was connected to the "+" terminal.

5. I attached the wires to spade connectors on the new woofer, + to +, - to -.

Note the (faint) polarity indicators!



6. I screwed the new woofer in place - a perfect fit - but I was VERY careful not to let the screw driver slip and put a hole in it. That would have stunk. And I made sure I didn't flex or distort the new woofer's metal cage.

The newly installed woofer

Testing


After completing woofer replacement in one speaker cabinet, I decided to give it a listen. After all, why open up the second woofer from its box if the first one sounded crappy? I wired it to my amp and powered things up. It sounded great.

I then shut down the amp and performed the same procedure on the left speaker.

Conclusion


Newly repaired speakers being tested - a success!

In all, I spent under $40 for the parts I needed to repair the two speakers - about $160 less than I would have spent on new speakers. And they sound great. I have no doubt that they'll stay in good service for another 15 years.

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