Subwoofer Surround: Part of the suspension system Explained

It might be confusing while hunting for information related to the ‘surround’ of a subwoofer over the internet.

The majority of the pages divert people toward the information related to surround sound and so on.

However, we will be discussing a physical component of a subwoofer and speaker called a surround that you may want to know about.

Surround is actually a part of the suspension system of most subwoofer and speaker units.

Key Takeaways

  • A surround is a component available in most subwoofers and speakers that seals the basket and holds the cone in place.
  • It is typically made of treated foam and rubber including various additives and thus is flexible.
  • The edges of the cone are glued to the surround from one end and the other end of the surround is glued to the chassis or the frame of the subwoofer.
  • It prevents the cone from dislodging off the chassis that holds the subwoofer components together.
  • Repairing or replacing the surround in subwoofers and speakers is also referred to as re-foaming.

What is a surround in a subwoofer?

A surround is a ring-like component of a subwoofer and speaker that holds the cone in place during movement. A surround including the spider together make the suspension system of speakers and subwoofers.

When we talk about a surround it is usually made of flexible material such as rubber or treated foam including other additives.

It is fixed to the cone through its edges that is the perimeter and the basket or chassis (also called the frame) so that the cone does not fall off during movement.

Note: A basket is also known as the frame or chassis which holds the active parts of the subwoofer and speaker together.

What is subwoofer refoaming?

Re-foaming a subwoofer refers to the process of replacing the surrounding strip of the cone to improve the subwoofer’s sound quality. This is required in the event of damage caused to the cone’s surrounding strip (surround).

What does refoaming a subwoofer do?

Refoaming helps to maintain the efficiency of the subs and speakers because the surround is made of materials (foam and rubber) that can deteriorate over time. A damaged or poorly fitted surround will not be able to hold the cone to the basket and will have a diverse impact on the sound.

When should you refoam your subwoofers?

If the cone of your subwoofer is starting to lose its alignment or if the edges of the surround seem to be deteriorated which is impacting the sound, you should replace the ‘surround’ ring or refoam the unit.

Which glue should you use to refoam a subwoofer?

The most common glues used to re-foam a subwoofer are E6000, GOOP, and Go2. However, you can use glues of similar properties that can offer firm attachment and flexibility.

How to refoam a subwoofer? (Steps to replace the surround in a subwoofer)

If the surround which is the flexible ring that holds the cone in place of your subwoofer seems to be damaged or worn out then the replacement becomes necessary.

The process of replacing the surround (ring-like part) of the subwoofer is usually termed ‘refoaming’ a subwoofer or speaker.

All you need to have is the right tools and the replacement surround. Typically, to refoam a subwoofer or speaker you can buy a repair kit that can be easily available online or at local repair stores.

The repair kit includes most of the things you need to accomplish the task of replacing the surround.

The kit usually includes a replacement foam surround, adhesive applying tool, rubber sub/speaker glue (SSR grade), application brush, etc,.

Additionally, you might need a pair of screwdrivers, a razor or knife, a soft cotton rag or paper towel, rubbing alcohol, and cotton swabs.

Steps to refoam subwoofer

Step 1: Unplug the unit from power

The first step is to unplug the unit from power and any other attachments.

Step 2: Remove the subwoofer frame (chassis) from the mounting box

To detach the subwoofer frame from the mounting box, you can refer to the user manual of your sound system or you can follow a few available tutorials over the internet.

With the help of screwdrivers simply, unscrew the mounting box, and typically there are 4 or more screws that can help you separate the frame from the box.

Next, remove internal connections such as the leads of the voice coil that are connected to terminals.

Step 3: Remove the old surround

To remove the old foam and glue residues you will need to use a sharp object such as a razor knife.

Slowly and carefully cut the old surround from its edges to remove it from the frame, followed by the edges of the cone.

Note: You need to be very careful to avoid causing any damage to the cone, the frame gasket, the spider if applicable, and other connected parts of the subwoofer.

Step 4: Clean the edges

Make sure to clean the residual or the remains of old foam as much as possible.

You can apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the edges of the cone and frame and allow it to soak for a couple of minutes.

Next, carefully remove the residual remains from the edges using your nail or a sharp razor knife. Use a soft cloth to rub the affected areas in a gentle manner.

To offer a finishing touch repeat the step of applying rubbing alcohol and gently wiping the edges to clear the residual areas. This will help you to align and fix the new surround in place with ease.

Allow the frame and the cone to dry completely for about 10 minutes and in the meantime, you can get prepared for the replacement process.

Step 5: Check the alignment of the replacement surround

You can refer to the instructions that should be mentioned on the package of the surround replacement kit.

You can simply align the replacement surround to its place to make sure it is a good fit and aligns with the cone and the frame properly. It is always a good idea to check the alignments before applying adhesives.

Step 6: Follow the instructions and apply adhesive

Reconnect any internal leads or wires if required before applying the adhesives to fix the new surround.

You can go through the instructions available for the use of the adhesive and make sure to do this in a well-ventilated area.

Start by applying adhesive to the edges of the innermost lip of the surround and keep it aside.

Quickly apply a layer of adhesive to the edges of the frame and cone in an even manner.

Step 7: Fix the replacement surround

Carefully lift the surround align the tooth in the frame’s notch and fix it over the edges properly from both ends.

The surround will now start to stick to the frame and hence using your fingers gently press over the edges to ensure the surround sits properly in place.

Trace the edges to check if there’s any gap where adhesive needs to be applied. Leave it to dry as per the instructions available on the kit before fixing the wires and mounting box.

It should be somewhere around 30 mins to an hour before you fix the frame in the box.

To be on the safe side you can leave the subwoofer idle for a day or two before playing or testing your replacement surround.

Final Thoughts

The surround is part of the suspension system of a subwoofer and speaker that keeps the cone attached to the frame and prevents it from falling during movement.

These components are made from various materials and additives to offer elasticity such as paper cloth, rubber, and treated foam.

Over time there is a possibility that the surround may wear out can lead to deterioration in sound.

With a little know-how, you can get the surround replaced at home, however, if you are not confident enough, it is better to approach a professional.

Armed with a Diploma in electrical engineering and a remarkable 12 years of expertise, he excels in rejuvenating music systems, washing machines, dryers, and laundry-related appliances. Manish's profound insights and practical know-how establish him as a credible authority in appliance and music system repairs. Contact: manish.singh (at) subwooferblog.com. He's always ready to lend a helping hand!