View Full Version : Treating Cloth Speaker Surrounds


energyandair
02-10-2007, 02:21 PM
The cloth surrounds on my Leak 2060 speakers are both stiff and porous. The original sealant now looks like thin dry golden varnish and you can see areas where it does not seal the cloth.

I want to restore flexibility and seal without risking damage to the speakers. (The cones are sandwich construction with a Styrofoam core between aluminum facings)

What might the original sealant be?
What would restore it best?
If restoring flexibility does not restore the seal, what should I apply to provide a seal and where should I get it?

Thanks for any help.

David

joelongwood
02-10-2007, 02:43 PM
I've had good success using a thinned mixture of water and siliconized latex caulk. The stuff I use (ACE Hardware brand) goes on white and dries clear. I've used it on AR and KLH cloth surrounds.
Others have reported success with rubber cement, and yet others say that two coats of Armorall a day apart is the way to go.
Hope this helps. :D

energyandair
02-10-2007, 03:28 PM
I've had good success using a thinned mixture of water and siliconized latex caulk. The stuff I use (ACE Hardware brand) goes on white and dries clear. I've used it on AR and KLH cloth surrounds.
Others have reported success with rubber cement, and yet others say that two coats of Armorall a day apart is the way to go.
Hope this helps. :D
What is the original cloth sealant like on the AR and KLH cloth surrounds? While I've had both, its been a while and I can't recall if it looked similar to what I see on the Leak.
Other issues are:
Will it soften the existing sealant as well as resealing the cloth? I gather that the problem is often just one of resealing rather than also dealing with a hardened existing sealer.
It is likely to be compatible with the styrafoam or do I have to worry about it eating the cone?
David

joelongwood
02-10-2007, 03:41 PM
The KLH sealant seems to be similar to what you describe.....it can be rather hard and brittle. The AR stuff seems softer and more compliant. I'm not sure whether these differences I've noted are due to the sealant used or the material used to make the surround. In either case, the thinned latex did the trick and sealed the porous surrounds....without any damage (yet) to the cones, although I was very careful not to get any on the cone. In both cases, the improvement in bass response was clearly audible.
In the surrounds I've used it on, the latex caulk did not soften the hardened sealer. There is a former AR employee over on the Classic Speaker site that recommends Armorall for resealing cloth surrounds.....this, in fact, may sofetn the hardened sealer. I've never tried it, so I can't say for sure. I do know, however, that the thinned latex caulk I've been using will not harm foam, because I've used it to prolong the life of foam surrounds as well. I've never had a problem..............at least not yet.
Sometimes it may appear that the surrounds need resealing because you can see through them, but this is not always the case. Taking the woofer out and blowing through the surround and feeling for air coming through is actually a better test. Also, if you push gently on the cone and it comes back to rest slowly, that is another indication that you have a good seal already.
Again, I hope I've been of some help. :D :D

energyandair
02-10-2007, 04:13 PM
The KLH sealant seems to be similar to what you describe.....it can be rather hard and brittle. The AR stuff seems softer and more compliant. I'm not sure whether these differences I've noted are due to the sealant used or the material used to make the surround. In either case, the thinned latex did the trick and sealed the porous surrounds....without any damage (yet) to the cones, although I was very careful not to get any on the cone. In both cases, the improvement in bass response was clearly audible.
In the surrounds I've used it on, the latex caulk did not soften the hardened sealer. There is a former AR employee over on the Classic Speaker site that recommends Armorall for resealing cloth surrounds.....this, in fact, may sofetn the hardened sealer. I've never tried it, so I can't say for sure. I do know, however, that the thinned latex caulk I've been using will not harm foam, because I've used it to prolong the life of foam surrounds as well. I've never had a problem..............at least not yet.
Sometimes it may appear that the surrounds need resealing because you can see through them, but this is not always the case. Taking the woofer out and blowing through the surround and feeling for air coming through is actually a better test. Also, if you push gently on the cone and it comes back to rest slowly, that is another indication that you have a good seal already.
Again, I hope I've been of some help. :D :D
Thanks, that is helpful.
I'm pretty sure that the surrounds are leaking. When I push the cone in and release it, it moves straight back out, not the slow movement you normally see with a sealed enclosure.
Maybe I'll try asking on Classic Speaker Pages.
David

joelongwood
02-10-2007, 04:21 PM
Maybe I'll try asking on Classic Speaker Pages.
David

Excellent idea.......just as on AK, there are some highly knowledgeable people over there. Can't hurt to get as many opinions as possible. :D

gogofast
02-10-2007, 05:25 PM
There is a former AR employee over on the Classic Speaker site that recommends Armorall for resealing cloth surrounds.....this, in fact, may sofetn :D :D
are you talking about the car care product?
which one? the one that give gloss or some other stuff?
i'm in search of right sealant also.

joelongwood
02-10-2007, 06:30 PM
are you talking about the car care product?
which one? the one that give gloss or some other stuff?
i'm in search of right sealant also.
Yes, that Armorall......the stuff you put on tires and vinyl dashboards to make them shine. This is what Tom Tyson, former AR employee had to say, over on the Classic Speaker pages:
There is a bit of a misunderstanding about the "seal" of acoustic-suspension speakers. Some believe (erroneously) that the "sealed" property of acoustic suspension means completely "air-tight." There is a subtle difference between an "acoustic" seal and an "air-tight" seal. In an a/s speaker, it is undesirable to have an air-tight seal -- the woofer cone would act like an aneroid barometer and move back and forth off center as barametric-pressure changes occurred in weather. The acoustic seal means that the enclosure is air-tight down to the lowest bass frequency the speaker is required to reproduce.

A slight air leak doesn't adversely affect acoustic-suspension performance anyway unless the leak is quite bad. If it is bad, such as air leaking badly around a mounting flange, the air leak will actually tend to attenuate (dampen, in this case) the speaker's low-frequency output somewhat, and cause the output to roll-off more rapidly.

I have used several things to try to seal the cloth surrounds of KLH and older AR speakers. I have had good success with Armor All Original Protectant, which is a special diluted silicone-rubber, water-based formula used to shine car tires and dashboards. I have painted it on AR speaker surrounds (usually 3 light coats with about a 30-min wait in between) and it works well in most, but not all, cases. It will eventually dry out, so it has to be done again. If the surround is badly leaking, Armor All may *not* be enough to stop or slow the air leak, and you might have to use something else such as diluted butyl-rubber compound or a water-based silicone that can be diluted to the proper consistency to seal the surround. The downside is that you have to be careful not to "stiffen" up the surround too much after applying the compound. Armor All will not affect the compliance.

Twenty20Man
02-10-2007, 06:46 PM
I used Aleene's Original Tacky glue, .80 at wal mart dries clear and flexible. worked great on my KLH surrounds

energyandair
02-10-2007, 07:26 PM
I used Aleene's Original Tacky glue, .80 at wal mart dries clear and flexible. worked great on my KLH surrounds
Did you dilute it with anything and how did you spread it?
Is it still tacky once its dry?

David

Twenty20Man
02-11-2007, 07:56 PM
I used a small fan brush and it dries clear and flexible but not tacky. its been months since I did my 6's and when you push the driver it moves as it should by all descriptions and of course sound wonderful since recapped and redoped. also I used it straight from the bottle.

Paul C
02-11-2007, 08:19 PM
Seal All works well, too. Just the right consistency to brush on. Seal All is Styrene Butadyene Rubber adhesive.

Automotive and hardware stores. Looks like this:

http://audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=22071&d=1154570661

energyandair
02-11-2007, 10:17 PM
Seal All works well, too. Just the right consistency to brush on. Seal All is Styrene Butadyene Rubber adhesive.

Automotive and hardware stores. Looks like this:
Might be a problem with my speakers as the surround is bonded to the polystyrene core of the cone.
David

energyandair
02-11-2007, 10:37 PM
I used a small fan brush and it dries clear and flexible but not tacky. its been months since I did my 6's and when you push the driver it moves as it should by all descriptions and of course sound wonderful since recapped and redoped. also I used it straight from the bottle.
It sounds as though it did well sealing your surrounds.
Did you also have a problem with the old sealant being stiff?
Someone else mentioned that they thought that the KLH's may use a different sealant from the Leaks.
David

madwing
02-12-2007, 01:48 AM
newbie question: how do you get the siliconized caulk to mix with water?

also, what about elmers white glue and water? i think i read that worked, too? i have to do my 4x's, and so am very interested in this question.

cheon57
05-18-2007, 12:33 PM
Great info on this subject. I have 8 sets of various brands with cloth surrounds so I guess I will be learning a bit about them as summer progresses. First up are 2 pairs of KLH 32's. :smoke: :smoke: :smoke: