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Do Subwoofer Cables Go Bad Over Time?

Subwoofers are speakers that are used to transmit lower frequencies on the frequency spectrum, particularly what are called sub-bass frequencies. A subwoofer allows you to feel the sound which is something that most musicians and music listeners love. When you buy a pair of subwoofers, you will notice it comes with cables and may want to learn more about them, including whether or not they go bad over time.

Most of the time, subwoofer cables don’t go bad or burn out. However, you will need to maintain your cables to keep residue from building up. If residue builds over your subwoofer cables, it can cause some interference.

Like most cables in a sound system, subwoofer cables are essential for it to actually work because you have to actually connect everything to the main hub, whether it be a home theater system or even just speaker monitors sitting on a desk. Anyone who has ever used a subwoofer knows they contribute greatly to the sound of the music, movies, and every other sound. Subwoofers are one of the best pieces of sound equipment if you’re a music and movie lover for a couple of different reasons that we’ll explore below.

What Type of Cables Do Subwoofers Use?

Subwoofer RCA Cable

When you see subwoofers, you will notice that they do not have normal plugs as you would see on tv or a lamp. They have something called RCA connecters made by Radio Corporation of America. They are specifically used to carry audio from one end to the other, or even video signals. Many of the newer TVs do not need them because we mostly use smart TVs. In some cases, speakers also use speaker cables that feature a 1/4″ input, although, RCA is more common for subs, and its the connection method we recommend above wireless or other options.

However, if you want to connect a video going from one device to your TV, you would use RCA cables. It’s the most common for subwoofers to use RCA cables that can connect from the speaker to your car, tv, computer, or anything else that has a receiver or similar input and outputs. They will help enhance the sound and upgrade the quality of the vibrations you hear and feel, moreover, it allows the smaller speakers to handle the mid-range and high frequencies that they’re meant for. A large part of how it works is through the RCA cables like these ones (on Amazon).

How to Tell if Subwoofer/RCA Cable Connectors Need to Be Cleaned

The wire of the RCA cables may never go bad. However, you should inspect the ends of the RCA connectors regularly to ensure they are well maintained. If there is dirt or dust that you can visibly see at the ends, film, or reside, it’s time to clean them out. You can easily clean out the ends by using q-tips or using a tissue to wipe it out. This does not have to be cleaned often; twice a year will be sufficient. If you see any fingerprints, you can take a damp microfiber cloth and wipe it clean. You should never drench the cables in water, this will ruin them.

Another important aspect that might even be more significant than cleaning the cables is to ensure you’ve wound them and unwound them properly. For example, you don’t want to tie knots or put undue stress on a cable ever – not if you want it to last over time, at least. In fact, a great way to make a good impression at a recording studio is to understand how to properly wrap a microphone cable (or any cable for that matter). If you know how to wrap a cable without damaging it when it’s not being used, you’ve already made a great impression.

How to Maintain Subwoofer/RCA Cables

If you notice your subwoofer not working as well as it used to, chances are it needs to be cleaned or repaired. Most of the time, repairs can be done at home unless the damage is extensive. Then you will have to take it to a professional or buy a new one. Here are some ways you can maintain your subwoofers and RCA cables. Take it out. Your subwoofer will be connected to your TV, sounds system, or car. You need to unplug it and remove it from its home before cleaning it.

  • Keep it clear- If you notice any debris on the subwoofer, you need to wipe it clean with a damp washcloth. This will also help the sounds and volume of your subwoofer. Never use any form of alcohol or bleach on your subwoofers.
  • Use a brush- If you have a tiny brush to clean the cables, this can be one of the best alternative ways to clean your cables. You can get the bristles in hard-to-reach places and allow them to pick up any residue that may be there.
  • No soap- One of the first things people think of when they want to clean something is to use soap. In this case, you mustn’t use soap. It will not help you maintain your subwoofers. It can damage the equipment.
  • Get to know your subwoofer- With every subwoofer you buy, there will be a booklet teaching you about the subwoofer parts. There are cables, cones, and grills; you will need to learn how to clean each part properly to maintain your subwoofers for a long time.

Can You Leave Your Subwoofers On All of the Time?

Leaving your subwoofers on all the time is up to your personal preference. It is okay to leave them on all the time, but it may cost you extra money. It draws out power whenever it is on, and this is what becomes expensive over time. With that said, it’s generally good practice to turn off electronic equipment when it’s not being used and this is also the case with speaker systems. If you want your sound system to last as long as you possibly can, it’s wise to turn it off, especially if you’re going to go a long amount of time without using it, which brings us to the next point.

How Long do Subwoofers Last?

A decent, well-maintained subwoofer will last for up to twenty years. Though, a lot of things can impact the lifespan of a subwoofer. For example, temperature, placement, and maintenance can impact the life of your subwoofer. One way of ensuring it lasts is to not play something so loud that the subwoofer can no longer handle it. Blown speakers are a real thing, and it’s not uncommon for people to need whole new speakers when this happens. If you want something to be very loud, just make sure your system can handle it.

And when your subwoofer does fail (which you can check using this guide), just know that if it’s because you blew the thing, we have an article on how to fix a blown subwoofer yourself if you’d like to try!

Why is My Subwoofer Not Working?

The first thing you will want to check if your subwoofer is not working is if it is properly plugged in. If it is plugged incorrectly, then you will inspect the cable and clean it. If that is not working, you will need to inspect what it is plugged into. It may not be compatible (more on proper subwoofer placement in our guide).

Final Thoughts

Buying subwoofers is one of the best ways to turn up the volume and experience your surroundings differently. They can make a movie ten times more detailed when you can feel the explosions shake your couch. Subwoofers can allow you to feel the beat of the song through the seats in your car. It can be one of the best investments of your life, but you have to take care of them. If you notice any dust, debris, residue, or film on your cables, you need to clean it out with a q-tip or brush.

Never use bleach or alcohol anywhere on your subwoofers, including the cables. Your subwoofers won’t go bad, but you will need to maintain them. That means cleaning them once or twice throughout the year. Furthermore, it’s worth knowing more about them, including how they compare to your regular speakers (our tutorial), that way you’re as informed as possible in the case that something malfunctions or there is some other decision point along the way.