So you’re planning to buy yourself a new set of speakers, eh? Wondering which specifics one must pay attention to when buying the aforementioned piece of audio equipment? If that’s so, there’s a good chance you’ve asked yourself the following question: does subwoofer dust cap size actually matter?
Okay, so what’s the deal with the dust cap size? Does it really matter that much? We know what Freddy Mercury would say (nothing really matters), but is there an honest answer here that we can provide you with? You’ll be happy to know that there is, and you’re just about to see it!
Subwoofer dust cap size matters. However, that’s not the crucial factor that determines the sound. Anyway, smaller caps extend the response higher, medium caps won’t reach as high, but will provide a smoother broadband response, while large dust caps won’t extend the response higher, they’ll lower the driver resonance.
Reading just the snippet won’t do much. Therefore, you shouldn’t hesitate to give the whole thing a try!
Table of Contents
What is a subwoofer?
As tradition dictates, here at Music Gear Heads, before we venture deeper into our main subject field for today, let’s consider some of the basics first. For instance, we might want to provide you with a standard definition of the sine qua non of audio equipment known as the subwoofer. Okay, so what is a subwoofer?
You’ll want to know that a subwoofer (sometimes commonly called a sub) represents a loudspeaker meant to reproduce low-pitched frequencies. These frequencies are better known as bass and sub-bass. Also, keep in mind that the usual frequency range for a sub is around 20-200 Hz (for regular, consumer products), below 100 Hz (for professional live sound), and below 80 Hz (when we’re talking about THX-certified systems). Subwoofers can’t be used alone since they’re meant to enhance the low-frequency range of loudspeakers that handle the higher frequency bands.
All in all: subwoofers are the ones responsible for enhancing the bass and adding richness to whatever sound comes out of your speakers. Speaking of sound, here’s how you can make a Squier sound like a Fender. Now that we know what a subwoofer is, it’s good that we consider the other important term of today’s article: the dust cap.
What is the dust cap on a subwoofer?
First of all, you’ll want to hear that every subwoofer possesses a dust cap. Why’s that so, what’s the purpose of a subwoofer? Okay, a dust cap’s main purpose is to shut off the air gap in which the speaker coil is moving. That way, it guarantees that no dust & dirt find their way into the coil. Their only downside is that they’re pretty fragile. Speaking of delicate & fragile (or not-so-fragile) audio devices, here’s an article on whether amplifiers deteriorate with age.
Does dust affect subwoofer?
Don’t worry, as dust won’t do major damage to your subwoofer (if your dust cap’s alright). However, you’ll need to make sure that your subwoofer drivers (that circular part that folks also like to call subwoofers) aren’t exposed to direct sunlight since that might result in some major issues.
It seems that we’ve got another question we’d like to pose in this “essentials” section.
Does speaker dust cap affect sound?
As we’ve already noted, dust caps play a very important role in your speaker’s well-being. In other words, they do a good job at maintaining your speakers since they prevent dust from messing up the sound coming out of them. So, yeah, you could say that they affect the sound of your speakers (click here to see whether stainless steel frets will affect the sound of your guitar). However, is that all there’s to it?
For folks that don’t know, dust caps are made using a variety of materials, and all of these materials will, in fact, have an effect on the sound. Anyway, we’re able to differentiate between:
- Cloth dust caps. To be honest, these don’t have a significant effect on the sound. That’s because the tone you’re getting is created by the cone only. A cloth dust cap has little to do with it.
- Paper dust caps. Okay, so a paper dust cap is a whole different story. It’s much tougher & harder. Therefore, it enables high peaks and extensions.
- Felt dust caps. As we’re sure you can assume, Felt is responsible for a somewhat warmer sound. It will tame the response of a bright & peaky cone. Also, you’ll get a sound that has more mellows with highs and mids.
- Aluminum dust caps. Their effect on the sound mightn’t be liked by some folks (because of its harshness), but aluminum dust caps enable the highs to become pretty unique. Also, aluminum dust caps add some details to the sounds that are coming from the speakers.
All in all: by preventing dust from coming into your subwoofers and being made from various materials, dust caps will have some influence on the sound you’re getting. We’ll take a guess and say that’s pretty much it for the introductory section. Let’s consider the main question: “does subwoofer dust cap size matter?”.
Does subwoofer dust cap size matter?
Now we know that the materials a subwoofer dust cap is made of are able to affect the sound that’s coming from your speakers. However, can we say the same about the subwoofer dust cap size? Does it really matter that much, or nothing at all, or maybe the answer’s somewhere in between? We’ve got no other options except to take a closer look at the issue!
As you’re probably aware, a dust cap’s able to work as a separate mid-range/high-frequency radiator.
Here’s the thing: smaller, lighter dust capes can extend the response higher. However, they’ll also make a so-called response hole between the low-frequency and high-frequency output of the dome. On the other hand, dust caps medium in size or mass caps won’t reach as high, but you can be sure they’ll give a smoother broadband response. Lastly, large dust caps that you’ll see on pure woofers won’t extend the response higher. Also, when we’re talking about large dust caps, the high cap mass will lower the driver resonance.
All of this being said, you should still keep in mind that size isn’t the factor that somehow neutralizes all of the others. The way your subwoofers will perform will depend on many variables and tradeoffs. We’re talking size (obviously), stiffness, mass, geometry, acoustical transparency, and so on. Also, don’t forget about its relationship with the voice coil bobbin attachment.
So that’s that on the subject. Let’s see if there are other questions concerning dust caps that we’d like to tackle in today’s text. Oh, and if you’re wondering whether colored guitar strings sound different, click right here.
Can a speaker work without a dustcap?
Imagine you somehow end up without a dust cap on your speaker, or a gaping hole appears on the dust cap. Will you still be able to use your speaker/subwoofer, even if such a thing was to happen? Let’s find out!
Okay, so a speaker will most definitely work without a properly-functioning dust cap (if all of its other components are alright). However, that answer shouldn’t really satisfy anyone. That’s because your speaker’s dust cap is the so-called “first line of defense” when it comes to protecting the speaker motor. Therefore, you’ll want to find a replacement dust cap for your faulty or missing dust cap ASAP and install it yourself or have an audio expert do it. All in all: dust and dirt won’t do any good to your speaker’s motor, and without installing a new dust cap – you’ll only contribute to the issue.
Since we mentioned replacing your not-so-trusty dust cap, let’s see how it’s done!
How to replace a dust cap?
Here we’ll introduce you to a little step-by-step guide on replacing a faulty dust cap. Without further ado, let’s begin!
#1 Gather the necessary items
First thing first, you’ll want to obtain the “ingredients” without which this kind of action wouldn’t be possible. That being said, you’ll need to find yourself the following items:
- some painting/masking tape.
- a special kind of glue designed for speaker dust cap repair.
- a strip of paper.
- a fresh dust cap.
- an ordinary ruler.
- a spatula (wooden).
- a sharp knife.
- a glass that has the same circumference as the new dust cap.
#2 Remove the old, faulty dust cap
The next thing you’ll do is remove the old dust cap. Of course, you’ll need to use a sharp knife to get the job done. Also, you’ll have to know from which side you should begin. The thing is that many speakers possess these so-called tinsel wires right under the dust cap. Start the dust cap removal process on the side opposite the tinsel wires, just so you don’t risk messing them up. Go from the outside towards the center.
#3 Do some measuring
Once the cap’s removed, you’ll want to utilize your ruler to measure the old dust cap size. Keep in mind that it’s totally fine to opt for a slightly bigger one.
#4 Figure out the glue zone
Place the new dust cap to figure out where you’ll need to apply glue. Once you’ve determined the circumference, apply the glue to the cone. Here’s a pro tip: use a small piece of masking tape to create a DIY mini-handle to ensure better dust cap placement. Afterward, apply some glue to the edge of the dust cap.
#5 Gently place the new dust cap
Simply fit the new dust cap on the cone in a gentle manner. Also, save some gentleness for the masking tape handle removal. Once the cap’s in place, press the edge with a wooden spatula. Now it’s time to use that glass we’ve mentioned at the beginning. In other words, add some weight to the freshly placed dust cap and let it sit & dry for the next 8-12 hours. And that’s it, you’ve replaced your faulty dust cap with a functioning one!
Final thoughts on the subject
Okay, so we’ve almost reached the southern margins of this article. That was all on the subject matter of subwoofer dust cap size. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this one as much as the last, and if you’re looking for more music-related tips, click right here.