Busted Tweeter
February 12, 2006 2:26 PM   Subscribe

Speaker Filter: I've just received a pair of M-Audio monitors that I'd sent back for repair. The right side, which was causing me problems previously, has been repaired and works great. But the left side appears to have been damaged during shipping. I'm not very happy with the company and don't really want to send them back again. Can I fix the problem myself?

The "tweeter" element appears to be compressed [image]. As a result the speaker sounds muddy and the treble is indistinct. When I isolate one monitor against the other, the difference in quality is remarkable.

It doesn't seem like it'd be too difficult to replace this part on my own. Where can I order a new one?

Or should I just suck it up and send it back to M-Audio again along with a sternly worded letter of complaint? The only reason I hesitate is because I have to pay shipping to send it back and would rather not be without speakers for another few weeks.
posted by aladfar to Technology (8 answers total)
You'll have a difficult time finding the part, so you might be best to send them back to M-Audio anyways. It is an easily replaceable part, but not one you can buy just anywhere.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 2:30 PM on February 12, 2006

You CAN bend a pin, at the tip, pierce the dome and hook it (The center part- It should be raised into a dome shape on your other speaker) in an attempt to pull it out and make improvements. You could improve it's throw (ability to move in-and-out) some, but it's never going to sound or look 'right' again. This is an 'As opposed to throwing it out' type of suggestion.

Like ChrisFromTheLC said - You CAN replace it, but finding the right part is going to be nontrivial. - before you read any farther, that style of speaker comes in around $30. That link is not a reccomendation - you want to match specs (Most important to least order: Ohms, power level, response range, sensitivity) - The original specs might be listed in your box/paperwork, on the back of your speaker cabinet, on the tweeter, or on various websites(Pull the tweeter and get a part number to search with.).

To be honest, I'd call the repair facility and ask them about it - If their shipping company is mangling things like this, they probably want to know.
posted by Orb2069 at 4:11 PM on February 12, 2006

I'd file a claim with the shipper is the box showed any damage, unless it was damaged by M-Audio.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 6:14 PM on February 12, 2006

Before you try the pinhole trick - try adhesive tape. Scotch, masking, electrical, etc. Just use a few inches of tape, gently stick it to the tweeter membrane, and pull off gently. It should pop back into shape. Start with the gentle adhesives and move up to the heavier stuff (duct tape) only if needed.
posted by Triode at 6:57 PM on February 12, 2006

Just looking at your pic, I'm thinking that this tweeter is busted beyond the ability of tape or pins to repair. If it were a crummy car stereo speaker and you just wanted basic functionality back, fair enough - but tweeters are kind of delicate, and this one looks kinked enough that it's never going to sound right even if you pop the dome back out.

If this were mine, I'd be on the phone to the repair company demanding that they fix it (and pay for shipping).

Unless, of course, there's some possibility that the damage occurred on the way TO them in the first place. You DID pack them securely, didn't you?

Just out of curiosity: if the right monitor was the only dodgy one to start with, why did you send both back?
posted by flabdablet at 8:43 PM on February 12, 2006

Response by poster: I packed the monitors securely in the packaging in which I purchased them. The same packaging that M-Audio then used to ship them back to me.

As the box and styrofoam inserts were designed to hold both monitors, I decided to send both. Otherwise things would be quite lopsided. I did not, obviously, send back the power cord, speaker wire, etc.

I've just sent a note to M-Audio along with the photograph linked above. I've asked that they ship me a new pair of monitors and pay for the shipping cost of getting this damaged pair back to them. We'll see how it goes.

Thanks all for the advice. I think I'm better off dealing directly with the company rather than taking matters into my own hands. Indeed, I might simply make things worse and run the risk of violating the warranty.
posted by aladfar at 9:13 PM on February 12, 2006

The standard studio trick is to use a hoover to suck the tweeter back out. The clarity and reproductive qualities will, quite suprisingly, not be afffected by this at all (whereas the pin trick mentioned above does run the risk of giving the speaker a "fizz" which you'll never get rid of again)...

Of course, in an ideal world this kinda thing should never happen and the shipping company should make good if it does, but this isn't an ideal world and this kinda thing happens all the time - break out the hoover!
posted by benzo8 at 1:34 AM on February 13, 2006

(I ought to say = "hoover"=>"vacuum cleaner", in case you don't speak English English...)
posted by benzo8 at 1:34 AM on February 13, 2006

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