Treatment for rubber speaker surrounds?

Anyone use any type of treatment like silicone for their speaker surrounds to preserve them from getting hard and drying out. Does any company make a product meant for this purpose? I have heard of people using Armor All but IMO that is not the best choice because it also can cause drying and cracking.
See that's the problem with all these Mdf speaker enclosures with Dupont Automobile clear-coat finishes. First it starts with waxing, then moving to the trim with the Armor-All. Boy do I ever miss the good ol'e days of particle board with walnut contact paper. ;0)~

Seriously, I wouldn't use anything on the surrounds. Stop worring, & just enjoy your speakers. As the only issues I have heard of are during lack of use when in storage.
I second Audiobugged, use nothing especially not Armor All.
I third (is there such a thing) the motion above. Leave the surrounds alone -- or, dust them with a soft cloth or duster fm tie to time.
If you use the right kind of product on your speakers you can probably get the surrounds unglued from the cones.
You want some sort of Ozone protection if you want the rubber/foam surrounds to last longer.
One of the tire shine products advertises on the bottle that it has "no petrochemical products'
Petrochemicals are the problem stuff in Armour all.
So anything with no petroleum based stuff will be better.
I would use a silicon product if I had cones.
Elizabeth, Yes there Mequiar's Tire Gel with conditioning Jojoba Oil. (Whatever the Heck that is?)

Arnold, Watch as you posted this thread there's someone sitting on the sidelines thinking!

3 months from now a product for surrounds will hit the market?

It will be called something like "Surround Compound Hi-Rez Xtreme Cream", or something else captivating?

Anyone Drooling Yet?

Dozens of Audiophools will spend endless sleepless nights surfing the web hoping that someone posts a positive review of this new magic snakeoil!

As it's ad will make promises such as, "Take your Speakers to an Entirely Next Level", "Tighter, Faster, Able to Scale Large Buildings Bass Response", "Soundstage so Wide it will Spread onto the Sidewalk", etc.....

Was P. T. Barnum a Audio Dealer, Maybe?

How many times have you read of a new CD Enhancement Liquid Spray with special applicator pads, at $80.00 an ounce, being the new Hot Fad Tweak-4-Twits?

Ever think that there's a Fellow sitting in his Living Room with a $35.00 a Gallon Commercial Acrylic Cleaner-n-Haze Remover, funneling it into these Magical little 1 once bottles?

A Bubblin' Crude Oil, Black Gold, Texas Tea. Next thing you know the Fellow is a Millionaire, left his Empty Gallon Bottles in his Old Living Room, & moved to Beverly!

Like a Drug Czar cutting down an 8 Ball with Baking Soda into Dime Bags for Distribution?

Just a Different type of Dealer, with a Different type of Drug, for a Different type of Addict!

"There's a Sucker Born Every Minute", a 130+ years later P.T.'s statement may still hold true?

Don't Believe the Hype!
NON silicon would, in fact, be better.

Audiobugged: the product would be the
"Impedance Enhancer": enhance your spkrs drivers' coupling to the surrounding air...(blurb)... at only 199,99 (1 oz) with special "applicator" brush. The special properties of this fluid (result of 10 yrs confidential research for the Navy, Joint C of Staff, Nasa, my Uncle, & Joe Bloggs) allows it lower or raise the drivers' Q according to the music being played....
"...I could never believe the amount of extra performance weaned out of my trusty reference spkrs! In these dire times of snake-oil and voodoo, the question asked is, "should I again jump on the latest tweak in fashion"? The answer is a resounding YES!
I repeat, you don't know what your drivers are capable of until you use this simple fluid..
...Magic? No -- just basic science (confidential for now). Magical? YES!...."

Special introductory offer, 20% OFF for purchases of 2000 bottles or more!!!
Alright, enough frivolity!! Surrounds come in two basic materials (not counting the really early rubber-impregnated cloth and the corrugated paper types):

1.) Closed-cell, expanded polystyrene foam -- very common, but an older technology, and
2.) Neoprene rubber

What destroyed the first kind was primarily chemicals in (urban) air -- hydrocarbons, ozone, but also UV rays, especially in automotive installations. For years, there was a huge cottage industry that repaired deteriorated foam surrounds (primarily Altecs and JBL's) This material has been much improved and is still in use in less expensive transducers. A good practice with these is to gently wipe them occasionally with a dampened piece of turkish towelling and then spray a little automotive aerosol silicon onto another piece of dampened turkish towelling and wipe the surrounds (and cones if they're not paper.) I've been doing this for years with no ill effect.

The second kind is more resilient; and more resistant to contaminants and UV. 35 years ago it was a relatively expensive material. It became popular at first in long-throw woofers when foam just wouldn't hold its shape in the large widths needed to make long-throw cones. And the price came down when automotive tire makers began using it to combat the cracking in rubber tires due to increasing smog! It also has better mechanical damping characteristics and better sealing for acoustic suspension design. With zero care, it will eventually stiffen up, but it does take a few years. The cleaning/treating method I described above done every two or three years will definitely extend their life and make them look pretty too.

Nix on the ArmorAll -- Elizabeth is right about the petrochemicals -- which are particularly hard on most neoprene adhesives; whereas silicone is a natural component of neoprene rubber and vinyl. I think it must be the "active" ingredient in Last Record Preservative -- just WAY "watered-down"!
Nsgarch..."enough frivolity"? You must be on the wrong website!

But if you insist...the "really early rubber-impregnated cloth and the corrugated paper types" actually work very well for drivers that do not require large excursion, or low free air resonant frequency, and, in my experience, seem to last forever. I have never had a problem with anything other than foam.
Eldartford -- OK, you win the frivolity run-offs!
And I agree, there's nothing wrong with the older designs. In fact a lot of dome tweeters simply mold the dome and "surround" out of the same material for exactly the reasons you mention.

The problem with foam is it's not very resistant to the elements. It's fine when protected. for example, when you remove a speaker from the cabinet, the foam compression gasket is always in good shape. I have a friend in Hawaii who had to replace the foam surrounds on his JBL's every 30 months on a regular basis. They just rotted away in the heat and humidity!
Some drive units use treated paper, too. Nsgarch, I assume you don't recommend using tap water (or is this immaterial)? Cheers
I hope I didn't imply that one should get anything wet. A barely damp piece of towelling with some nap is all you need to remove dust, and will not harm paper cones. It doesn't hurt to blow them off first with compressed air like DustOff. Sometimes that's enough. Just make sure you keep the nozzle at least a foot away.
Here is what you want. I used to rebuild and restore inflatable boats - and this is the ONLY product to use on rubber. You can get samples from the company absolutely free. No kidding:
I actually contacted Albert Von Schweikert about what I should use on the surrounds of my Von Schweikert VR-5 HSE speaker surrounds, and this is what he wrote back:

Hello Juan,


All of the VR-5 HSE speaker components use Kurt Mueller rubber surrounds that have a twenty year warranty. The Germans know how to make good parts! The Audax midrange and SEAS woofers use these special rubber compounds for a very long life, estimated to be more than 30 years. If you treat all of the butyl rubber edges, they will not crack or dry out for an estimated 50 years!


Buy the liquid made by CAIG from Parts Express; we use it to protect the foam rubber surrounds of the VR-5SE and VR-5 Anniversary models, as well as the VR-9SE Mk2 and VR-11SE Mk2. It works very well!




Albert Von Schweikert

President, Chief Design Engineer

Just purchased a set of used Thiel Powerplanes. They use Thiel’s proprietary coax drivers - have a rubber surround that I believe is butyl but could be natural rubber?? From extensive reading it is plasticizer that needs replenished. Armorall and 303 (which are essentially the same thing at different water dilution) merely surface protect against further damage but do little to re-plasticize. This Caig stuff has limonene which I believe acts as a plasticizer. It is also found in GooGone. Anyone know what plasticizer is actually used in butyl rubber?