no you should leave them alone. if the manufactor would have wanted to do something else to them they would have.
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Absolutely...periodically I treat my woofers by playing some AC DC..."Back in Black" works best. I crank the volume up until I achieve about 1 inch cone travel. This maintenance procedure works like gang-busters to remove dust and gets those Dunlavy surround back to black in no time. Then, I play some Beatles "Rubber Soul" at a moderate level to settle them back in. BTW - please do not use Armor All as our trusted friend Sam T. has done in the past - it's a real reputation buster.
You mention not to use Armorall, but Ty from Tyler Acoustics told me that using Armorall every so often is OK for the surrounds. I haven't used Armorall, but if I was going to treat the surrounds I would use 303 Aerospace Protectant. It's mainly used on a boats vinyl to keep it like new. It won't degrade in the sun, or make the vinyl brittle. I have used this product for 11 years on my boats and I would be comfortable using this on my surrounds; what you use is strictly up to you.
I'd write your speaker manufacturer and ask. Then I'd suggest you follow their instructions.
Virtually all flexible plastic and rubber compounds will stiffen and harden with age as the volatile organic compounds slowly evaporate. That is just a sad fact of life.
The catch is that applying compounds to protect the speaker's surround may not have the effect you intended. It might help preserve the surround. It might do nothing, or it could even accelerate deterioration.
If you get 14 years of life out of the driver before it fails when applying compound, would have that been 10 years without or 20 years? Short of applying the compound and seeing the speaker surround dissolve before your eyes you'll probably never know.
However, the real immediate danger is that applying a compound changes the compliance of the suspension and affects the sound of your driver. At that point, the driver that the designer so carefully selected to fit in that particular cabinet with that particular crossover is no longer the same. Your expensively acquired speaker no longer sounds as intended. That's probably the real reason to not apply anything to a driver unless you clear it with the speaker maker first.
I apply a coat of Vinylex (sp?) annually. It is a vinyl and plastic treatment made for automobiles by Lexol. The label says it helps replenish the plasticisers that are removed from sunlight and oxidation. You know, that funky film that builds up on the inside of your windshield. That's the plasticisers evaporating out of the dashboard. Plasticisers are also what gives your auto that pleasurable new car smell. Despite the fact they're bad for your health. Been treating the rubber surrounds for about 4 years now with no ill effects.
If there are rubber surrounds what about a "Rubber Rejuevenator" (spelling)?
In the Printing industry the ink is transfered from a metal plate to a rubber "Blanket", these Blankets are treated with a liguid wipe on Rubber Rejuevenator to extend the life of the blanket, I am in no way saying this is a good idea for speakers just asking a what if question.
There are so many different kinds of rubber and rubber like material. Different chemicals will interact with different materials differently. So don't blindly apply chemical to your speaker just because other people use that on a different speaker and they like it. Always talk to the manufacturer first.
Hey Ehaller and Cytocycle:,
Right On! I discovered 303 Protectant a few years ago (at a sailing shop) and use it on my vintage '98 993 Porsche Carrera dash and the Carrera is definitely worth more than my HiFi rig, so I definitely have had great success with it. I have not tried it on my speaker surrounds since I have MG 20Rs and thus no surrounds.
I would say don't put anything on foam. Rubber however can dry out and crack due to environment and age. I see nothing wrong with treating rubber surrounds with something that will protect, lubricate and repel moisture and dirt. Sounds like this 303 may be worth a shot. After all our skin likes to be well lubricated to maintain its elasticity.
Must admit I've not considered treating rubber speaker surrounds. But since I'm restoring a pair of classic A-25s for the den maybe I should.
I have used a treatment called Rubber Renue by MG Chemicals on rubber belts for turntables, CD drawers, and tape decks and that seems to be beneficial. I feel safe with that since it is formulated for rubber applications.