This One Simple Trick Rehabilitates Scratchy Sounding Speakers

We’ve all picked up a radio and switched it on, only to hear an awful scratchy noise emitting from the speaker. [Richard Langer] is no stranger to this problem, and has identified a cheap and unusual solution—using toilet paper!

The cause of the scratchy sound is that when the speaker’s paper cone warps, it can cause the voice coil to rub up against the magnet assembly. In time, this wears out insulation on the coil’s turns, damaging the speaker. [Richard] found that realigning the coil to its proper place would rectify the issue. This can be achieved by stuffing a small amount of toilet paper in the back of the speaker, between the cone and the metal housing.

To identify the right spot to put the paper, one simply presses on the back of the speaker with a pen while listening out for the scratchy sound to stop. The paper can then be stuffed into this area to complete the fix. This can realign the cone and voice coil and stop the scratchy sound for good.

[Richard] notes that this method can be quite long-lasting in some cases. Failing that, it should serve long enough for you to order a replacement speaker. Video after the break.

13 thoughts on “This One Simple Trick Rehabilitates Scratchy Sounding Speakers

  1. It’s a good hack thanks. With larger speakers it’s common to remove the mounts to rotate the driver until gravity would bring the cone back into alignment. In this case that would mean the tissue paper fix be at the top of the case.

  2. For small speakers like this, I’ve always lightly pressed on the surround area of the speaker cone itself to dampen that side (and pull it away from the core of the magnet assembly. Once I found the location that I needed to move the cone towards, I just bent the metal frame a tiny bit to cause the whole cone assebmly to tilt away from that direction. Works great because the metal of the frames is normally pretty soft and easily bent the small amount necessary for the fix to work.

  3. haha i have learned the hard way a different hack. instead of repairing my old laptop speakers after the cone is pinned to the magnet with a bunch of iron filings from my damn workbench…i just put a strip of tape over their orifices before i even power up the laptop for the first time :)

  4. Keep all speakers, headphones, and cellphones off of any workbench. There is a magnet in the speaker slot. A pointed steel pin or scratcher probe tip will draw bits out through the grille. Whack off the bits and repeat till clean.

    TP makes a good repair binder to use with carpenters glue on classic paper cone speakers but not the bass pounders of today. Any speaker with a beefy magnet on a pressed metal basket can get out of alignment if dropped. Take the speaker out, drive with steady bass tone and flex the magnet while facing down on a solid surface. Feel around and and whack with a rubber mallet and it’s fixed. I ruined a pair lately not counting on a friend’s kids knocking the mini-monitors on the floor. Watch those falls.

  5. This is a good quick-n-dirty hack, and a lot faster than what we used to do.

    I used to work in a TV repair shop (back when people fixed things). Back then, if we couldn’t get a replacement speaker, we’d carefully cut the dust cover off the center of the cone. Then wedge a thin strip of paper as a shim between the coil and magnet to center it.

    Next, we used a solvent like acetone to dissolve the glue around the outside of the cone that bonds it to the basket (the metal frame). If we couldn’t dissolve the glue, we’d have to cut the cone free around the outside edge. This lets the cone re-center itself due to the paper shim in the center. Now re-glue the outside edges of the cone back to the basket. When the glue dries, remove the shim and glue the dust cover back on.

    We used to be able to buy replacement cones, to fix large expensive speakers. But the suppliers all gradually went away.

    1. “We used to be able to buy replacement cones, to fix large expensive speakers. But the suppliers all gradually went away.”

      A couple of years ago I was looking for someone to re-cone some KLH tweeters. But the only company I found was interested in fixing the large woofers used in automobiles.

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