Common Causes Of PA Speaker Damage

A good PA system setup is a pricey investment. The last thing you want to do is completely ruin your PA by using it in a way that it wasn't meant to operate. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of the top causes of PA speaker damage below.




Too Much Hard Feedback

If the feedback squeal coming from your speakers is harsh enough to make you want to cover your ears in pain, your system is probably hurting just as bad. Furthermore, using the speakers after they have more than likely been damaged will only make things worse.


Bad Bi-Amplification

If you set the crossover too low or the tweeter amp too high, you’re going to have a bad time. You should always check the proper specs on your speaker to find the best crossover points when bi-amping.


Using An Indoor System For Outdoor Gigs

In order to properly output enough sound for an outdoor gig, you need at least 12 decibels of output – that’s 16 times more than what’s needed for indoors. And if you really want to do it right, 20 decibels is more like it (about 100 times more output). As you can tell, an indoor system will not cut it.


Too Much EQ

Using EQ to boost your signal excessively can spell damage for your speakers. When in doubt, use EQ to attenuate a signal instead of boosting it. For example, if you need more highs, try to reduce the bass instead; if you need more lows, cut the highs.


Improper Use Of Limiters/Compressors

Excessive use of limiting and compression will not only take the life out of your tone but will probably do the same to your speakers in the long run.


Lack Of Headroom

Clipping occurs when your amp doesn’t have enough power (headroom) to handle the signal. As you can probably guess, this can easily spell bad news for your speakers.


Abrupt Transients While The Speakers Are Hot

Transients are sudden bursts of sonic energy that can be caused by abruptly plugging/unplugging mics, suddenly powering off your speakers, etc., which can damage speakers when they are hot.


Clipping The Signal Before It Hits The Power Amp

Usually caused by a line signal that’s too hot or bad mixer gain distribution.


Using Your Speakers After They Have Sustained Damage

Use your ears; if you notice any distortion from clean inputs, your speakers are probably damaged, either from the reasons above or consistently pushing your system over an extended period. Continued use with a damaged speaker can cause your entire system to fry. Therefore, it's important to make a habit of regularly having the crossover parts checked for any damage.


A PA system is a delicate piece of machinery. While manufacturers have built them with continued use in mind and supply them with all the necessary information needed for safe operation, it is up to the user to use their system correctly. By making sure you avoid the common problems above, you can ensure that your investment will give you plenty of use for years to come.

If you're in the market for a new PA system, loudspeakers or live sound accessories, check out the link below. For more questions or concerns regarding any purchase, feel free to chat with one of our knowledgeable PAL pros by using the Contact Us dialogue box below!

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Have you ever damaged your speakers by one of the causes listed above?

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