Can Magnets Damage Speakers?

When you were still a kid, you probably played with two magnets and discovered that they have north and south poles. Opposite poles attract each other, while the same poles repulse each other. There is also no such thing as a magnet without these two poles. This is why scientists often call magnets magnetic dipole.

But can magnets damage speakers? Continue reading below to learn more about magnets and whether or not they can cause problems with your speakers.

Can Magnets Ruin Speakers?

While magnets may distort the sounds that your speakers produce, these shouldn’t have any permanent effect on the sound per se. It is because you can find two magnets within the speaker. Both of these speakers have a negative charge, or they repel, and this produces vibrations.

These vibrations then travel through the wires to the cone of the speaker where the sound comes out. This is why placing another magnet near the speaker will disrupt the charge of those two magnets found within the speaker, which distorts the sound it produces.

Why Do Some People Believe Magnets Damage Electronics?

Many people seem to believe that magnets can damage electronics. However, it is due to the technology that is no longer used in modern computers today.

During the 1980s, the main ways for computers to store data were through the use of floppy disks or cassette tapes. These tapes and disks were highly sensitive to magnets. This is why those people who were already familiar with computers from the 70s through the 90s grew up being told to keep magnets away from tapes and disks.

There were also urban legends about people who lost their work after they attached a disk with a magnet to the refrigerator so that they wouldn’t forget it the following morning. While there is no doubt that this is absolutely possible, most of you probably don’t know anyone who experienced it.

The stories were mostly secondhand. These urban legends, after all, can already travel and spread before the dawn of the internet. The only difference is that it was not as fast or as far back then.

The advice about keeping magnets away from electronics soon grew well beyond the tapes and disks alone. It also reached people who were already computer literate. There were even people who put labels on their magnetic screwdrivers and rebuffed the idea of using them on their computers, even when doing things such as disconnecting a monitor.

However, this precaution was not necessary. Through the years, many people have taken apart computers using magnetic screwdrivers, so they won’t drop and lose the screws.

Floppy disks were pushed to the side when most people can already afford USB flash drives. The magnetic tape continued to be something used for the purpose of long-term storage among large companies. However, large-capacity USB flash drives ousted the home use of tape backup drives more than several years ago. The hard drive was the last bastion of magnetic storage for home use.

However, people don’t forget easily. Younger users may be puzzled by the idea that magnets are bad for electronics but not for older users who used and carried floppy disks to work or school.

How Do Speakers Work?

Air is pushed around in waves to produce all sounds. The audio speaker is the mechanism that transforms the electrical waves into physical waves for air to move.

Magnetism and electricity are connected forces. Winding up wires repeatedly into a coil can, in fact, produce an electromagnet as long as there is a current that flows inside. The speaker functions on the principle of how permanent magnets repel and attract electromagnets.

How are Speakers Constructed?

There is a permanent magnet attached to the frame within the speaker. There is also an electromagnet fitted within the permanent magnet and this is attached to the diaphragm as well. This diaphragm is the speaker component that pushes air that usually resembles a cone in terms of appearance.

How Do Speakers Operate?

While the alternating electrical current is flowing through the coil within the permanent magnet, this is interchangeably repelled and attracted which causes it to move as it pushes the diaphragm.

The coil moves at frequencies that are also equivalent to those frequencies that the diaphragm is also moving. These frequencies are then equal to those frequencies that you hear.

The higher amount of current flowing through the coil leads to louder sounds and larger movements. Lower currents, on the other hand, result in more hushed sounds. The higher pitch is due to the higher frequencies while the lower pitch is courtesy of the lower frequencies.

What are the Effects of Other Nearby Magnets on Your Speakers?

Can you still remember back when you were in science class and iron filings were dropped on a piece of white paper on top of a magnet? These fillings trace the lines of the magnetic force. When you push another magnet nearby, this will change the lines of force.

This means that a powerful magnet close to your speaker will distort not only the lines of force but also the sound being produced. For this reason, you should ensure that you keep all your magnets away. If you do so, your speakers will just be fine, except if you have some very powerful magnets kept around your house.

The Bottom Line

While magnets may cause some changes in the sound of your speakers, you don’t have to worry because the good news is that these don’t necessarily damage your precious device.

However, since you wouldn’t want the sound to be distorted every time you are listening to your favorite songs or watching your anticipated movies, it might be wise to keep those magnets away from your speakers.

But again, unless you got some extremely powerful magnets kept around your home, you don’t have to be concerned about causing any serious damage to your speakers. You can continue using your speakers to the fullest with no worries about magnets ruining them.