What Is Subwoofer Clipping? (Inadequate RMS)

A subwoofer is an integral part of any home audio setup, but it’s essential to ensure that the subwoofer is appropriately set up and configured.

One thing that you should be aware of is subwoofer clipping.

However, clipping is one of the most common problems in subwoofers.

This problem is caused by an excessive amount of power being delivered to the driver, damaging or blowing the subwoofer.

Ever wonder what happens when your speakers or subwoofer goes out?

In sound systems, sometimes the amplifier does not produce crystal clear sound, and you may want to consider replacing it with something new in audio systems.

If you have been in any of these situations, then you are in the right place.

This article will explore what clipping is, what is subwoofer clipping? how subwoofer clipping affects both sound quality and speaker performance, and what you can do about it.

What Does Clipping Mean On A Subwoofer?

Subwoofer clipping is when sound waves from the subwoofer are too strong and cause distortion.

It can happen when your bass volume is turned up too high on a music track or movie or if you’re listening to something with heavy bass. 

Clipping is a distortion that can be heard when an amplifier is pushed too hard. I

t’s created when the peaks of the signal hit the ceiling of the amplifier’s power supply, and it can cause a lot of damage to your audio equipment. 

In technical terms, the sine output signal of your amplifier is now a straight line with no rounded peaks or troughs.

If a subwoofer is too loud, it can clip the lowest frequencies of sound waves or “cut” them.

This process makes lower notes disappear from your listening experience and leaves you with only highs.

With most audio systems, this clipping stage is only temporary and is only reached when your amplifier experiences several consecutive peak input signals.

Is Sub Clipping Bad?

It’s no secret that clipping your subwoofer can have a severe impact on sound quality.

Not only does it distort the bass frequencies, but it can also damage your equipment.

Clipping is easy to avoid, however, and if you are careful about how much power you’re sending to your subwoofer, then the chances are that it won’t happen.

What Are The Dangers Of Clipping A Subwoofer?

There are a few dangers of clipping a subwoofer. The first is that it can damage the speaker.

If the amplifier pushes more power to the speaker than it can handle, it will send that power to protect itself.

In this case, it turns the extra energy into heat, and in some cases, this can cause the voice coil to burn out.

Also Read: What Causes Sub Pulsing

The other danger is that it puts a strain on your amplifier. Some amplifiers have a protection circuit that turns the amp off when it senses clipping.

If this happens, it will turn the amplifier off, and you may end up with a dead amp.

Clipping can be easy to avoid, and if you pay attention to your amplifier, you won’t experience this problem.

How A Subwoofer Performs In A Normal Circumstance

A sine wave is an excellent representation of an amplifier because it shows precisely how power flows through the subwoofer.

The vertical axis represents voltage, while time goes as horizontal lines advance past one another in sequence (or cycles).

As illustrated below, you should see a perfect sine waveform when there’s a good balance of music and no clipping.

The amplifier will tell the subwoofer’s voice coil to go back and forth.

It means the voice coil moves forward when it sends it +V1, and the voice coil is at point A.

Then it tells it to go back to zero, position C. The amplifier will send +V2 when the voice coil is at point B.

When a subwoofer clips, it no longer follows this perfect sine wave.

It will do what it can to protect itself, which will create a square waveform.

What Causes A Subwoofer To Clip?

When a subwoofer is being pushed too hard, it could damage the internal components of your amplifier.

Also, the bass frequencies your subwoofer is generating are now “dirty” or distorted. If you listen to music with a lot of basses, and your subwoofer is clipping, you may not even realize it.

The sound will likely be distorted, and you may hear a lot of noise.

If you’re not sure whether your subwoofer is clipping or not, there are a few things you can do to test it.

Before we talk about what makes a subwoofer clip, let’s start by discussing the various components of a subwoofer so that everything is clear.

Voice Coil Gap: This is where you place the magnetic field. The voice coil in a subwoofer is attached to the cone, and when electricity passes through it, the voice coil heats up and moves the cone.

Voice Coil and Former: The wire wraps around the voice coil. It’s a high-temperature resistant conductor of electricity and can respond quickly to electrical impulses.

Spider: This is the component that holds the voice coil in place. It also helps to distribute the spider’s forces evenly on the cone, frame, and suspension.

Surround: This is the ring that the spider attaches to. It helps to center the voice coil and keep it in place. It can move when you play deep bass tones. 

This concludes our discussion about how subwoofer clipping occurs.

It will be much easier to learn how subwoofer clipping works and what components are damaged with that knowledge.

Also Read: How To Clean A Subwoofer

Overpowering Your Subwoofer

One of the most common reasons for a subwoofer clip is overpowered.

When an amplifier is too powerful for a subwoofer, it can cause the speaker to clip.

This happens when the amplifier sends more power to the subwoofer than it can handle.

If this happens, the voice coil will move forward and backward very quickly, which can cause permanent damage to the speaker.

overpowering subwoofer

In the diagram above, you can see how +V1 and –V1 are the maximum power ratings of this subwoofer.

If you deliver more power to the subwoofer, it will cause the voltage to move the voice coil to forward point C (+V2) and backward point D (-V2), as illustrated.

As a result, the voice coil will take more load than control and eventually smash on the backplate.

Furthermore, this can tear the spider, blow the cone, and cause other damage to the speaker.

Underpowering Your Subwoofer

Now, if you look at it in a layman’s language, underpowering your subwoofer doesn’t seem to be dangerous because, after all, lack of enough power means weak music.

But, using an overworked amplifier that’s sending a clipped signal to your subwoofer can be dangerous.

underpowering subwoofer

Look at the diagram. If your amplifier can’t go over +V1 or -V1, it is not working well.

When you try to make the sound louder, but the amplifier cannot produce enough volts, the amplifier can make a signal sound funny, such as forming squares.

If it happens, your subwoofer will get a not proper signal. The voice coil will back and forth quickly from point E to point F.

This can make the voice coil gets too hot, and then it will be deformed, and finally, the coil will break.

How Do I Stop My Subwoofer Clipping?

Clipping can damage your sound system; however, you can avoid clipping if you do it right.

Firstly, you can buy a good sound system like a subwoofer or amplifier.

Modern subwoofers have the character to handle clippers and are better than old speakers.

If you have a subwoofer, it might sound not good if the power rating is too high. If you want to fix this problem at a low cost, then make your audio system’s RMS power ratings the same.

The best way to solve this problem is by limiting the volume of sound coming out of the speaker.

There are many ways you can do this, including using an equalizer on your receiver or amplifier, turning down the volume on your receiver/amplifier, changing modes to limit the volume, or using an automatic limiter.

What is Subwoofer Clipping Sound?

Subwoofer clipping sound is a distortion of the audio signal that is caused by the amplifier reaching its maximum output. When the amplifier is pushed beyond its limits, the waveforms become compressed and create a harsh, buzzing sound.

This can damage the loudspeakers and cause them to produce less bass than intended. To avoid clipping, make sure that your amplifier is not too powerful for your subwoofer. You can also use a limiter to prevent the signal from going over a certain level.

Why Are My Subs Clipping?

When it comes to audio, clipping is bad news. Clipping can occur when an audio signal exceeds the maximum voltage or current that a device can handle. This can cause distortion in the sound, and can potentially damage your speakers.

There are a few things you can do to avoid clipping your subwoofers. First, make sure you’re using an amplifier that’s powerful enough for your subs.

Second, make sure you’re not pushing the subs too hard – they should only be playing as loud as necessary to achieve the desired effect. Finally, make sure your wiring is up to par and can handle the power of the amplifier.

What Causes Subwoofer Clipping?

Subwoofer clipping is a problem that can occur when too much power is sent to a subwoofer, causing the sound to become distorted.

This problem can be caused by a number of factors, including the wiring of the system, the amplifier, and the subwoofer itself.

When too much power is sent to the subwoofer, it can cause the voice coil to heat up and eventually fail. In addition, clipping can damage the speaker drivers and cause them to prematurely fail.

Subwoofer Clipping at High Volume:

Clipping is a distortion that can occur when an amplifier is driven beyond its power limit. This happens when the audio signal is too powerful for the amplifier to handle, causing the sound wave to be cut off or severely distorted.

Clipping can occur with any type of amplifier, but is especially common with subwoofers. When a subwoofer is driven too hard, the amplifier can clip, causing the sound to become distorted and harsh.

This can be a problem when listening to music or watching movies at high volumes, as it can damage your ears and speakers.

There are a few ways to avoid clipping with your subwoofer. The first is to make sure you’re using an amplifier that’s powerful enough for your subwoofer. If you’re not sure how much power your sub needs, consult the manufacturer’s specifications.

What Does Clipping Sound Like on a Subwoofer?

Clipping is a distortion that can be heard when an amplifier is trying to produce a signal that is too loud for the amplifier or speaker.

This type of distortion is usually described as a “harsh” sound and can be heard when the volume is turned up high on either an amplifier or speaker.

Clipping is most common with subwoofers because they are designed to handle low frequencies which require more power to produce.

When an amplifier or speaker tries to produce a low frequency that is too loud, clipping can occur which will distort the sound.

Also Read: How To Tell If A Sub Is Blown

Take Away

Subwoofer clipping is when the sound waves are so powerful that they interfere with other frequencies.

This can happen if you have a high-powered bass and little or no control over the volume of your amplifier, but it may also be due to faulty wiring in your speaker system.

Subwoofers should never clip as this will cause distortion and ultimately ruin listening enjoyment for those nearby.

If you notice that one side of your speakers has more bass than the other, try reversing them around to solve the problem.

Otherwise, contact an audio professional who can help identify what exactly needs fixing.


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