I just finished my refoam project and the glue is drying on the speakers as I type.
When I first played my Acoustic Research Rock Partner speakers I noticed they were underwhelming in the bass dept. Upon inspection of the speaker surrounds I found tears in the flimsy material big enough to poke a finger through. They were pretty disintegrated even though just looking at them they seemed fine. When I took the speakers out of the cabinets they looked like the originals and therefore at least 20 years old.
These cabinets have to be airtight – they are not ported – to generate a bass sound and the bad surrounds were killing them.
I researched doing the refoam myself and here’s some things I learned along the way. First, get the right foams surrounds – not just the cheapest ones. The angle of the paper speaker cone is important to consider – is it a flat mating surface or sloped?
This guy – Rick Cobb has a eBay store though he strongly prefers you contact him directly and pay through PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org – He has the good stuff at a good price.
Second, use decent glue. You do not have to get the $10 or $20 glue from online – as I found out by reading forums Aleena’s Tacky ($3 Wallmart) is great for this job. Third, dissolve the old surround foam off of the old cone with isopropyl alcohol and a Q tip, this way you don’t hurt the paper cone when cleaning and preparing the speaker cone for the new surround.
This was a set of 8 inch speakers so I made the decision of refoaming without removing the dust cap and shimming the voice coil – I used a free 30 Hz sample of the web and played it on a loop while I check the cone for rubbing against the frame. If you glue the surround to the frame off center you will ruin the speaker by allowing it to rub and destroy itself. Larger speakers are probably more difficult.
Take the speakers out of the cabinet. Peel off the old surrounds. First speaker I did this on I tried rubbing and scraping the old surround material off the cone with my thumb (as per youtube tutorials) but found this was a little harsh on the paper of the cone. I used the alcohol and a Q tip on the second and it made a cleaner job. Next I cleaned off the frame aka the basket – I did this with a screw driver and more thumb rubbing and alcohol swabbing. Next I went down the street to my old house where PayPal told the supplier to deliver the surrounds, they were under a block to keep them from getting blown away by the wind which was thoughtful of the deliveryman. Then I glued the underside of the inside edge of the surround and the paper cone and held them to the speaker until tacky. After letting the glue dry I glued the metal frame and did the same thing while intermittently checking the speaker for correct position by touching the speaker wires from my amp to the leads on the speaker – volume set to low. If out of position it will make a clacking sound.
God this is long. I’m going to drink a little tea.
Then after it was all put back together and sounding healthy I glued the cosmetic fascia foam pieces back on.
Not that tricky, but I was pretty careful the entire time. Looking forward to install and test in a couple hours.
Put some new life back into these old speakers and looking forward to hearing them.