Repairing a Classic Woofer: Can I Replace a Rotted Foam Surround with Rubber?

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Q The foam surround on my Velodyne f-1200 subwoofer has disintegrated. I wanted to have it repaired with a rubber surround, but the guy at the speaker repair shop advised against that. Is there any benefit to using foam instead of a rubber surround when repairing a subwoofer driver? —Pete Gibson / via e-mail

A Not really. While a rubber surround ultimately might be more durable, from a sound quality perspective, it would be better to stick with the same material used in your sub’s original driver design. The response of a repaired driver will never be identical to that of the original, so using replacement parts as close as possible to what the designer intended is usually best.

Such repairs are fairly common for older speaker/subwoofer drivers, and replacement surrounds are available for a wide range of brands extending back several decades. Also, it’s likely that the replacement surround will be comprised of a newer foam formulation that will be more UV resistant and last substantially longer than the original one, making longevity a nonissue.

notabadname's picture

I had the exact Sub, and the Exact thing happened to it. I never though about a repair, since it had been so long since I had bought it. But it/s cost/year of ownership was still a good value to me

schalliol's picture

My old MK MX-90 sub had a similar issue, and a few years ago MK told me I could just buy a newer better set of woofers (mine has 2 12") and I did that for a reasonable price. MK specified which units would work well with the amp. It was an easy replacement and pretty reasonable.

kimi's picture