Why Do Speakers Vibrate When They Are Playing Music?

The nature of sound is something very fascinating. Back in the early days a speaker was an invention in this day and age its just a thing we use to play music.

If you ever spent time around speakers especially big ones you have obviously come across a speaker vibrating when music plays through it.

This is something common especially when playing songs with very pronounced low-end like heavy 808s or bass.

This post will cover the reason why speakers vibrate when playing music because it’s a question I usually encounter from those just getting into music production…

With that said, Why do speakers vibrate when their playing music?

Speakers vibrate when playing music because of the vibration of their components. Generally, a speaker vibrates due to the mechanical force produced by the voice coil.

The coil moves in the field of a permanent magnet, which is usually shaped to produce maximum force on the coil.

The current passing through the coil interacts with the magnetic field created with the help of the permanent magnet which is concentrated at the pole pieces to form what is effectively a linear motor with small range.

Sometimes a speaker may vibrate as a result of where its placed and how it is placed which is why you have to make sure that you check everything that could possibly be causing the vibration.

Below are some ways you can minimise or completely get rid of speaker vibrations.

Decouple your speakers from the floor

The first solution you could try when looking to reduce vibrations from reaching your audio components is to decouple your speakers and subwoofer from the floor.  

(Decoupling is simply separating or disengaging your speakers from the floor).

Most high quality speakers and speaker stands have steel spikes you can install under them. 

If you install these spikes and put metal discs or pucks under each spike it will immensely help you reduce the speaker vibrations from reaching the floor, which could, in turn, reach your audio components.

A great way to reduce subwoofer vibrations is by placing your subwoofer onto a sturdy platform. 

This platform can be as simple as a dense piece of tile or could be something more complex such as a specially designed subwoofer stand that helps isolate it from vibrating the floor.

Subwoofers are more susceptible to vibrations because they are meant to express lower sub frequencies.

Use Absorption material

The second thing that you can do to avoid or get rid of speaker vibrations is to place some form of absorption material under your audio components like speakers or subs. 

Absorption material is great because it will absorb energy and convert it which can lessen things like vibrations and unwanted sound reflections.

Rubber is a great material to use under your speakers because it will greatly reduce the chances of vibrations impacting it. 

 Using absorption material can help you  ensure that your audio components operate at their best, and that vibrations don’t take away from your audio experience.

Balance

You can also diagnose which speaker is creating the vibration easily…by experimenting with the balance and fade settings of your audio system.

Test each individual speaker separately by adjusting sound to only come out of one speaker at a time

 This way, you can easily determine which speaker is contributing to the vibration problem.

When you experience the speaker vibration one thing you have to do is to check the audio settings first before you start moving things around because sometimes vibration can occur if the settings have been messed with.

External factors

Another thing you can do when you experience speaker vibrations is to check for any external factors that may be contributing the speakers vibrating.

It could be the wall e.g. a poorly mounted fixture.

Another good practice is to Hold your hand on the speaker and determine if the vibrating stops.

If the vibrations stop you’re probably dealing with something loose inside the speaker…tighten any loose screws or bolts, and exchange any faulty assemblies for better hardware.

Switch places

Sometimes a simple change in placement of your speakers can stop the vibrations. Therefore you should try and move them around and figure out whether it helps or not.

A good rule of thumb or practice is elevating your speakers to lift them off the ground and see how they perform.

Dampening materials

You can also add some dampening materials inside the speaker by removing the speaker covers to expose the insides.

(If you’re not sure how to do this or haven’t done it before then I recommend taking it to an expert and explaining the specifications you need in dampening the insides of the speaker.)

If you’re up to the task however, You can simply, measure the inside of the speaker with a tape measure, and then cut pieces of Styrofoam to match the measurements.

Dampening material has to be placed strategically , such as behind the internal speaker cone and on the sides.

Test if this actually makes a difference.

High pass filter

An easy way to stop your speakers from vibrating is probably dealing with the low end setting..

You can adjust the low frequency parameter to a moderate setting that gets rid of the vibration.