Is your speaker broken? The DATS is often the answer

Was thinking about tools recently and I wanted to bring up a relatively inexpensive tool many of you don’t know exists. The Dayton Audio DATS. While it is a tool for DIY speaker builders and professionals it has one really huge feature for speaker owners, collectors and traders:


You can measure the entire speaker electrically all at once.


The way it works is that it does an impedance sweep from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. By comparing the speaker’s impedance plot against another known good speaker, or against published measurements (say from Stereophile) you can very quickly tell if an electrical problem has occurred anywhere in the entire speaker. If a speaker or cap have come disconnected or short it will show up immediately. I can’t tell you how often crossovers break in transit. A little vibration from a heavy coil on a very tight solder connection and snap, off it goes.

DATS won’t tell you exactly what went wrong this way but you’ll have a great start and as you disassemble the speaker you can measure each driver as well as the individual components to narrow your search.

You don’t have to buy DATS to do this by the way, if you are a little handy you can also use Room EQ Wizard with a home-made cable.

Of course, tools like this are absolutely essential for modders. They allow you to measure coils and caps with precision, including their effective DC components (DCR or ESR, respectively) making sure you have the total part picture before you attempt to rebuild.