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underpowered speakers go bad because they overheat.

the speaker's diaphragm is attached to a metal coil "voice coil" that is suspended inside of a magnet. alternating current pushes the coil in and out, transducing the electrical signal into sound waves.

since we're talking about an electrically charged magnet, we're talking about heat. the heat is dissipated by actually powering the woofer. keeping it in motion disperses the heat rather well. underpower the woofer, and your voice coil isn't moving as much. over time, the coil can get hot enough to snap.

it's perfectly healthy to overpower a subwoofer, if done right. it's actually quite safer than underpowering it. i'm sure we all know peak wattage ratings are nothing but marketing, so anywhere between 5 to 10 percent over the RMS rating should be fine.

people who blow their speakers and blame it on overpowering either gave them too much power, or just turned them up too damned loud.

always be good to your ears. you'll be glad you preserved your hearing when you get old
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