When Testing Goes Wrong

subwoofer speaker

Long story short, we were cleaning out the basement, and purging clutter when I found a subwoofer that I forgot I had in storage. I packed it up when we moved house nearly three years ago. It was great when I had a dedicated media room in the basement with good acoustics. However, the new house has an open floor plan. Aside from adopting a more minimalist aesthetic with the new AV setup, there was no way to deploy this sub that wouldn’t make the entire main floor rumble, and not in a good way.

So, I stowed it and forgot about it. Then, much later, found it again. Not needing it, I decided to sell it online. I will admit that when I first listed it I only ran a cursory test on it: I plugged it into my AVR and ran a test tone through it. Satisfied, I boxed it up again. And, as the saying goes, now we wait.

Eventually, someone expressed interest in it. Local person, audio nerd like me, dog lover, really nice guy.
We messaged back and forth a bit, and he was going to come over.

Then I thought: you know, it’s a lot of money, he’s a nice guy and I really should test it more thoroughly before he gets here.

So I plugged it back in. Ran the test tone: good. Switched to music: (“Money”by The Warning, if you’re wondering) also good.

Cranked the stereo: BZZZT, then nothing.

That can’t be good.

Begin troubleshooting mode.

Diagnose: No sound.

Analyze: Driver only works when pressing down on it.

Conclusion: Blown tinsel on the voice coil.

I grabbed my tools, removed the screws on the driver, pulled it out of the enclosure, and yep: big rip right there.

Further analysis: I’m an idiot.

It’s academic whether I blew it up by not gradually warming it up, or its time had come naturally after ten years, three of which were in storage. It was probably the former. Not that it matters.

I’m just glad it croaked before money changed hands.

Anyway, I called him up before he was going to come over and told him the whole story. He was disappointed but glad that I didn’t mislead him. As I said, he was a nice guy.

I know I’m fond of saying “good judgment comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgment.” The lesson here is that no matter how much experience you have, there’s still plenty of opportunity to display bad judgment.