Distortion spins me right round
July 30, 2012 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Recently I received an old hifi (stereo receiver with aux and phono inputs) and two EPI speakers from a family member. The system is quite old, but headphones sound great, as does one of the two speakers. The other sounds blown. What are my options in New York City?

So: I know very little about audio equipment. To me, though, it sounds like the woofer on the speaker (currently connected to the right channel) is heavily distorted. If I turn down the bass it definitely reduces the distortion, so that's what I've been doing in the short term.

I still need to double check that it's the speaker, not the receiver's output, that's the problem; when I get home tonight I plan on switching them.

I'd prefer to get the speaker repaired versus just going out and buying new ones--after all, there's a reason I grabbed this from my aunt instead of buying a new system.

Assuming it is the speaker, my questions are these.
--If I had the woofer repaired/replaced, would I also need to have the woofer in the other speaker fixed as well to ensure tone matching?
--What sort of price can I expect to pay per speaker?
--Do you have any recommendations for where to have this done in New York City? (I'd rather not ship them anywhere if possible.)

Thanks in advance. If you need more info I'll check in later today.
posted by thecaddy to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You're on the right track. Swapping the speakers will tell you if the speaker or the amp is a problem.

If the speaker is bad, you could probably replace the woofer yourself. Measure it, if it's a common size you might be able to get a replacement at Radio Shack or Crutchfield. You didn't mention which model you have, but I found a wiring diagram here (you may have to use the Wayback Machine, the site had a problem the second time I tried to see it.)

If the buzz coming out of the amp... you're past my level of knowledge. You may find someone who can fix it. But at least you'll have two good speakers.
posted by Marky at 3:42 PM on July 30, 2012

Best answer: Quite often, the only problem with the woofer is that the foam edges have decayed. You can usually see this if you remove the speaker grill.
If so, this isn't a very difficult DIY repair. Wooferrepair.com sells re-edging kits that come with an instructional DVD.
posted by zombiedance at 3:48 PM on July 30, 2012

Response by poster: A couple more facts:

1. The speakers are EPI T/E 100s.

2. It's definitely the speaker, not the amp.

3. The foam has cracked on both speakers.

4. Despite that, I think the foam is the issue. If I lightly touch the foam on the distorted speaker (yes, I know, I probably shouldn't do that) the distortion goes away.

I think my next step is to buy new foam whatsits for both speakers. Thanks y'all!
posted by thecaddy at 5:44 PM on July 30, 2012

Response by poster: Actually, bonus question--am I putting anything at risk if I use the speakers (at fairly low volume) for the next week or so until the kit comes and I have time to do the repair?
posted by thecaddy at 6:01 PM on July 30, 2012

Yeah, there is a risk. If the surround is in really bad shape to the point where it's not supporting the cone well, the voice coil could start dragging. Too much of that and you've ruined he voice coil, which is still fixable but more involved and maybe not a first time speaker repair.

I would not use the speaker until I fixed it. If you still want to, keep the volume low like you are. You could also try gently moving the cone in and out to feel or hear if there is any rubbing or dragging or other undesirable friction of the voice coil. If there are any of those signs discontinue use immediately.
posted by 6550 at 9:11 PM on July 31, 2012

Response by poster: I replaced the foam on the woofer and it works great; I'm saving the other for a rainy day this fall (it sounds fine but it's quieter now than the repaired one).

Thanks y'all!
posted by thecaddy at 2:54 PM on September 5, 2012

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