Speaker Repair - How to Repair Your Speaker Foam Surround
Have your speakers sound quality deteriorated, or when played loud, the sound rattles around and just doesn't sound right? It could be that your speaker foam surround has started to fail and needs replacing?
The speaker foam or rubber holding the cone to the speaker frame can deteriorate with age and become perished. If this happens, the speaker, or speakers (if one is gone and you have another speaker of the same age and cone type) are probably about to fail and will need to refoamed, (if you want to prolong the speakers life and not buy a new pair?).
Speaker foam replacement is quite easy, but must be done properly - if you want the speakers sound quality to be maintained.
The list below are the steps needed for speaker foam replacement:
- Measure the size of the speaker and the foam or rubber surround.
- Order the new foam or rubber surrounds
- Remove the defective speaker from its housing.
- Remove the old foam or rubber surround.
- Glue the new foam or rubber surrounds in place.
- Replace the speaker in the cabinet.
Part 1 - Here is an example of a blown speaker where the speaker foam surround has perished.
How to Check Your Speaker Foam Surround
First off, remove the speaker grill. They can be attached by various methods:
Note - Don't go poking the speaker cones, especially the dome (dust cap) in the middle, as you could damage them.
- Little plug and sockets - which allow you to just pull off and push on (most common).
- Velcro - Just pull off, position and push on.
- Screws - Check the front and back of the speaker.
- The worst are speaker grills (normally metal) that have the edge turned over at right angles. This edge is recessed in a small groove around the outside of the speaker. To get the grill off, you have to gently lever the grill out (be careful, don't stab yourself with a screw driver!). Don't forget to check for screws!
When the cover is off, You will find a speaker, or speakers, maybe a tweeter and sometimes a hole (to allows air flow).
Part 2 - The video below shows a speaker being removed from its cabinet.
Check the rubber surrounds for damage. You can either play something and watch the speaker to see if the surrounding foam is damaged, or gently examine with your fingers (see the video) - Do not poke the dome in the middle with your fingers, as you may damage it!
Preparing for the Repair
Measure the size of the speaker foam surround.
The main measurement is across the outer edge of the speaker. Then it's the size of the speaker cone. You can measure the size of the bulge (that helps the foam surround flex). It's not essential, but if you have a choice of size when ordering, you may as well get the size that's closest.
Order the new foam or rubber surrounds.
There are various places online that you can order the parts, you just have to do a bit of searching to find the right part. eBay is a good place to look, as several suppliers already sell parts in their eBay stores.
Remove the defective speaker from its housing.
If you are happy to use a screwdriver, then you should be able to repair your speaker. Most are normally straight forward, with a few screws and a couple of cables to disconnect. Don't forget to make a note of which cable goes where, or your speakers will be out of phase on re-assembly, (see the video as an example).
Remove the old foam or rubber surround.
Using your fingers, remove what you can of the old foam surround from the speaker. This will leave behind parts of the foam that were glued. These will need to be carefully removed with a scraper. Be gentle, you don't want to damage the speaker, or poke your finger through the middle dome (dust cap).
Part 3 - The speaker refoam video below shows the speaker being repaired.
Glue the new replacement speaker foam or rubber surround in place
When glueing the new foam in place you need to ensure it is glued centrally, so do a trial fit before glueing. Different people swear by different types of glue, so use what you feel most comfortable with. Here are some suggestions in case your not sure?
- PVA adhesive, commonly used as wood glue, arts and crafts etc - I have seen several comments saying that this is what they normally use on speakers. It takes a while to set, but allows you to adjust things if necessary.
- Impact adhesive - Good if you want a fast result, but you have to make sure you position the foam surround in the right position first time.
Both the suggested glues are relatively flexible, which is good. Try and avoid glues that turn hard when dry, as they don't have much give.
Only glue one edge at a time. This will allow you to better position the foam surround and help to avoid kinks. Brush on the glue, or squeeze from the tube following the glue manufactures instructions. Position the new foam ring and gently run your finger around the ring to push out any air bubbles. Check the foam ring is correctly positioned before glueing the remaining edge. Leave to dry.
Part 4 - The video below shows a speaker being re-assembled.
Replace the speaker in the cabinet.
Put the speaker gasket in place (if fitted). Attach the speaker connections, ensuring they are the correct way round (or the speaker will be out of phase). Fix the speaker back into the cabinet.
Play some music, or a DVD and check for correct operation. Play different sounds, such as, quite, loud, speech, base, treble etc, and check they all sound OK.
Problems - See the next page for some solutions.
Part 5 - The speaker re-foam video shows a speaker being tested after the foam has been replaced.