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Foam vs. rubber surround


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I bought secondhand AR speakers whose 12" woofers were already refoamed. This foam seems quite thicker than the original and it feels noticeably stiffer when touched.

How is this influencung sound coming from these speakers?

I'm thinking of maybe refoaming them again.

I also have a pair of ARs that I also bought refoamed, or more precisely "rerubberized" with rubber surrounds istead of original foam. This time, rubber is very soft and thin.

What is the story behind foam vs. rubber surrounds?

If I decide to refoam again, can I use rubber this time?

Is soft and thin rubber going to be equally good as foam?

Its advantage is that it will last longer than foam...

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Guest palomar

I don't know the pros and cons of the different thickness of foam surrounds, although I might hazard a guess that a thicker surround might possibly be a bit stiffer, raising the resonance of the woofer a bit. But that's just a guess.

While I don't have any experience with AR woofers and rubber surrounds (although I don't recall any AR woofers with rubber surrounds), I did have a pair of EPI 100s, and it turned out one had foam, and the other rubber. (EPI switched from rubber to foam at some point, and somehow I happened to get one of each.)

The foam surround speaker had a noticeably fuller midrange. It wasn't earth shaking by any means, but side-by-side you could definitely notice it. Of course I don't know if they had made other changes to the woofer as well.

The rubber surrounds, however, hold up much better over time (I don't know if they ever need to be replaced), so if the rubber-surround ARs sound good, I'd be tempted to leave them that way.


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For a while, I was toying with the idea of using vinyl for surrounds. Vinyl like children’s inflatable pool toys are made from. This would be great, because it moves like the cloth surround, it is flexible, stays flexible for a long time and does not deteriorate as fast as foam or rubber.

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