We’re going to explain how we test and prepare a speaker before an event. There’s nothing worse than setting up at a venue only to discover a speaker doesn’t work or doesn’t sound right. Follow our speaker testing tips, and you’ll pick up any problems before it’s too late.

Quick Answer: Visually check the speaker for damage and test its frequency response using an oscillator to detect any blown components or other sound issues. 

How To Test a Speaker Before an Event

Mackie SRT210 Powered Speaker

Time needed: 5 minutes.

  1. Physically inspect the speaker
    Check for any visible signs of damage.
  2. Turn off all onboard speaker effects/signal processing
    High and low pass filters etc.
  3. Use an oscillator to test each input
    Connect the oscillator to one speaker input at a time and listen carefully to the speaker output. This can be a direct connection or routed via an audio mixer.

What Is An Oscillator?

An oscillator runs through the whole range of frequencies so that you can hear the difference between how speakers reproduce the sound.

You can use an oscillator app on your phone or a stand-alone oscillator device and connect them directly to a speaker or a mixer, depending on your setup and needs.

Hearing The Difference

There’s no point using an oscillator if you don’t pay attention to each speaker’s output. At the most basic level, the oscillator will show you that a speaker is working.

If the speaker is blown, you’ll hear gaps in the sound at certain frequencies. If the low end of the speaker is blown, you’ll hear a flappy, crackly sound, while the top end will sound really weak if the horn is blown.

On a more subtle level, as you train your ear, you’ll be able to notice when speakers are starting to lose their responsiveness. This is a skill that comes with time.

How To Test a Speaker Before an Event – Pricing of Equipment Shown

How To Test a Speaker Before an Event Topics

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 0:21 Speaker Inspection
  • 0:45 Oscillator
  • 0:53 XLR Input
  • 1:08 Hear the difference
  • 1:56 Testing with the oscillator
  • 2:13 Stereo 1/4 Input
  • 2:40 Stereo RCA Input
  • 3:27 Final Thoughts