How To Test a Speaker With a Multimeter (Explained For Beginners)

When you own quality audio equipment, it is ever so important that you keep it in prime condition. This means that if you detect something is wrong with your speakers, you are going to need to test them. Perhaps one of the best ways to test your speakers is to pull out a multimeter.

On this page, we are going to tell you exactly how to test a speaker with a multimeter. We are also going to describe how to test a broken tweeter because the process is ever so slightly different.

how to test a speaker with a multimeter

How To Test a Speaker With a Multimeter

To test a speaker, you are going to need to start by switching your multimeter to read resistance (you will notice an ohms symbol on the multimeter) After that, you just need to touch the speaker terminals with the two cables coming from your multimeter. It doesn’t really matter which one of the terminals you touch when testing with a multimeter.

You want the resistance on the multimeter to be a little bit below the resistance rating for the speaker. This means that you don’t really want it to be more than 2-3 ohms below the resistance of the speaker.

If the resistance is drastically low or there is no resistance, it means the speaker is blown.

How To Test a Speaker With a 9V Battery

If you don’t have a multimeter, then you can also test the speaker with a battery. However, do bear in mind that you aren’t really going to be getting an accurate reading this way. If you aren’t careful, then you also run the risk of blowing the speaker.

To test a speaker with a battery, you are going to need the following:

  • 1 x 9V battery (partially discharged)
  • 1 x battery clip (should be a few cents from your local electrical component store)

Attach the battery to the battery clip.

Now, very quickly, touch the positive cable from the battery clip to the positive terminal on the speaker. Attach the negative cable to the negative terminal. When we say quick, it really does need to be quick. The battery should only be touching those terminals for a fraction of a second.

If the speaker is working, then you should hear a small pop come out of the speaker. If you hear nothing, then you know that the speaker is likely broken. 

Why It Is Important To Check Whether a Speaker Is Blown Using a Multimeter

You probably aren’t going to need to check whether your speaker is blown if there is absolutely no sound coming from it. We are sure that you are sensible enough to test another speaker on your system.

However, if you are suffering from any of the following issues, then checking whether your speaker has resistance issues will help to diagnose the problem. It will basically tell you whether the problem is with your speaker or another part of your setup:

  • If you can barely turn your speaker up before you start to encounter distortion issues, then you know that you are likely dealing with a poor speaker. Test the resistance with your multimeter.
  • When you touch your speaker while it is pumping out music, you will feel it vibrate. If your speaker isn’t vibrating as much as it did before, this could indicate issues with the speaker.
  • Popping is one of the most common issues with speakers, particularly when they are first starting to die. Although, of course, popping can also be caused by other issues with your system e.g. exposed cables.
  • If it doesn’t seem as if you have the full range of frequencies on your speaker (no mids or highs, for instance), then this could indicate a problem that needs to be tested.

How To Test a Tweeter

The methods discussed on this page are only going to work if you plan to test an actual speaker. If you have a tweeter instead, then you won’t be able to test them with a multimeter. Well, you could. However, the multimeter is likely to give you inconsistent readings due to the way in which a tweeter works.

The only real way to test whether a tweeter is blown is by playing a sound through it. You want the sound to be as quiet as possible, while still being audible. So, turn that volume up slowly until you hear something.

If you do not hear a sound coming through the tweeter, even if you have an audio source flowing into it, then the tweeter is completely blown and is going to need to be replaced. However, thankfully, replacing a blown tweeter is as simple as replacing a blown speaker. You can switch the blown tweeter out for a similar one. You just need to have a bit of skill when it comes to your soldering.

Conclusion – How To Test a Speaker With a Multimeter

It is incredibly easy to test a speaker with a multimeter. All you need to do is switch the multimeter to test resistance and place the multimeter prongs on the speaker terminals.

You want the ohms reading to be as close as possible to the resistance rating for the speaker. If it is too low (or non-existent), then you know that you are dealing with a broken speaker.

If the resistance rating on your speaker seems to be fine, then this could indicate other issues with your audio set-up. This could be issues related to the cabling, broken wires inside of your speaker cabinet, or even something wrong with your amp. The whole reason why you are testing with your multimeter is to remove issues with the speaker from the equation. After all, most of the time, it is likely going to be a problem with the speaker.

You don’t really need the best multimeter that you can afford for this job. However, we do suggest that you try and pick up a digital multimeter. It is going to be easier for you to read the resistance levels.

Thank you for reading our article on How To Test a Speaker With a Multimeter!


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