Go Back   Home > Forums > >
Home Forums Rules Articles diyAudio Store Blogs Gallery Wiki Register Donations FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Speaker Cones
Speaker Cones
Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Ads on/off / Custom Title / More PMs / More album space / Advanced printing & mass image saving
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 7th August 2004, 01:03 AM   #1
the_wonderchild is offline the_wonderchild  Australia
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Default Speaker Cones

What type of material is best suited for a speaker cone, as i have read of different materials such as carbon fibre, paper and polypropelene being used.

Which material is the best for a speaker cone and which is probably the worst?

Also does the material used for the cone make a difference in the sound produced by the speaker and what type of material should surround the cone (is rubber better than foam etc.)

"The 15 year old wonderchild in audio"
  Reply With Quote
Old 7th August 2004, 06:11 AM   #2
454Casull is online now 454Casull  Canada
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Default Re: Speaker Cones

You will never have 100% of the audio population agree on one best material, either in general or for specific types of drivers (i.e. tweeters or subwoofers).

I'll skip over the best/worst choices for cones, because you can check out this site: http://ldsg.snippets.org/appdx-b.php3 which will give you an overview of the different cone materials available. However, I think that crystalline diamond is the best tweeter diaphragm material currently available...

As for the surround, rubber lasts much longer than foam, and I think both can be engineered for any level of damping/stiffness. No idea about the different sound they impart.
  Reply With Quote
Old 7th August 2004, 12:21 PM   #3
kelticwizard is offline kelticwizard  United States
Wizard of Kelts
diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Connecticut, The Nutmeg State
Speaker Cones
I think foam has theoretical advantages, but it rots over time.

I disagree with many people about how long it takes to rot-I have seen foam speakers last near 20 years in good shape.

I think a lot depends on whether the speaker is placed near heat, or in the sun.

By comparison, rubber is forever, usually.

There are so many highly rated speakers which use rubber surrounds, that I would say that sonically, there is little difference.

Foam came out at a time when the normal speaker surround material was woven cloth. The "phenolic" treatment of this cloth, to prevent leaks, was similar to Elmer's Carpenter's glue! Those woven surrounds were known to be leaky. Foam is not leaky, so that was a big advantage at the time.

The rubber surrounds came out later. They are not leaky and have much of the flexibility of foam. But some manufacturers still prefer to go for the best combo of flexibility and airtightness, which is foam.

I lean toward rubber, if the driver is available. But I wouldn't reject foam categorically.
"A friend will help you move. A really good friend will help you move a body."
  Reply With Quote
Old 7th August 2004, 02:05 PM   #4
noodle_snacks is offline noodle_snacks  Australia
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Hobart, Tasmania
Send a message via MSN to noodle_snacks
I seem to remember adire mentioning in one of their white papers that they used a foam surround on the shiva or tempest because they couldn't get a rubber surround with the right compliance and size to work or something
  Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2004, 07:19 AM   #5
Steven Kephart is offline Steven Kephart  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Seattle Washington
For cones, in general paper offers the best stiffness to weight ratio, especially when also considering price. But speaker building is a game of compromises. So it might be best in a design to compromise on one aspect to gain in another by using a more exotic material.

As for the surrounds, foam seems to be the best choice for subwoofers. This is because of a much better stiffness to weight ratio. Rubber has a problem of puckering, and to get rid of this you have to make it thick. This means added weight. Also, with modern treatments foam lasts much longer than rubber. This is because rubber tends to stiffen up over time, thereby effecting the performance of the driver.

Again, this is all general. The actual better choice for a given design will depend on the design goals. That is why you can never have a "best in all situations" answer.

Steven Kephart
Adire Audio
  Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2004, 10:11 AM   #6
Brushpilot is offline Brushpilot  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: New England
So is it safe to assume that most foam surrounds currently produced by the top speaker manufacturers are using this new technology and that rotting foam is a thing of the past?
  Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2004, 10:30 AM   #7
Pan is offline Pan  Sweden
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
"rubber tends to stiffen up over time,"

Are you saying that new modern synthetic/semi synthetic rubber gets old like natural rubber?

  Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2004, 11:11 AM   #8
Magura is offline Magura  Denmark
diyAudio Member
Magura's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Denmark, Viborg
Originally posted by Pan
"rubber tends to stiffen up over time,"

Are you saying that new modern synthetic/semi synthetic rubber gets old like natural rubber?


Theese days synthetic rubber is a very reliable product. I would believe that even under the worst thinkable circumstances (heat and sunlight), such a material would not change any during 25 years. The carbon percentage used today is so high that you can allmost dismiss the uv issue.

Everything is possible....to do the impossible just takes a little while longer.
  Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2004, 03:55 PM   #9
Kittle is offline Kittle  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: KC
Just for the record,
my drivers with rubber surrounds are still going strong after 10 years of steady use and 5 trips in moving vans.
  Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2004, 04:35 PM   #10
Bull is offline Bull  United Kingdom
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: ...........
Default reply

How about cloth[plasticised linen cloth sometimes] surrounds as used on pa speakers.
These are very tough.Although someone gave me some old Gauss pa speakers with white die cast aluminium frame and cloth surround;where both the cloth surround and cone had fallen apart due to years of use in direct sunlight.

I got them reconed now are are lovely pa speakers!

And a pic of the lovely Gauss too!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg gauss.jpg (26.1 KB, 820 views)
  Reply With Quote


Speaker ConesHide this!Advertise here!
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How to make paper speaker cones? Xylenz Multi-Way 13 4th January 2014 01:55 PM
how to refurbish speaker cones angeloitacare Multi-Way 3 24th August 2009 11:24 AM
Let's talk speaker cones... 300Z Multi-Way 9 16th December 2007 01:12 PM
Stuff to paint on speaker cones ?? andrew01 Multi-Way 82 28th May 2005 09:55 PM

New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 02:09 AM.

Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Resources saved on this page: MySQL 15.79%
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright ©1999-2018 diyAudio