How To Fix (Almost) Any Set of Audio Speakers

How To Fix (Almost) Any Set of Audio Speakers

Feb 5, 2010

A multi-part series, today we are going to show you how to breathe new life into an old pair of speakers. It is a commonly held belief that the newer speakers and audio equipment get, the better they are. This is not always the case and sometimes, even when your speakers are damaged, there is sonic power left in them that modern equipment can't match…

From time to time we show you something antique that still competes with today's technology. Today we restore an old pair of Bose 301's that we picked up at a thrift store for $5 or so. The reason for the unreal price? A tear in the surround of the left speaker and some seriously poor "redecorating" of the cabinets. Ok, they're also old.

Did you know that they make repair kits for those surrounds? Didya? Didya? We have mentioned Parts Express as a great resource for all things audio in the past and they have come through once again by supplying a specific kit for the repair of the Bose 301 speaker.

What You Need

Here is everything that comes in the kit.

Uggh! Paint all over everything...we won't even try to get rid of it.


1. The first thing you will do is take out your woofer- we just removed the bezel because, as it turns out, the speaker cabinet makes for a good workspace. The wiring on most Bose speakers is kind of complicated, so removing the woofers is not really worth the trouble. Make sure you don't let anything get inside the speaker, though.

2. We started by peeling back the old surround and, wow, was it brittle! Even if you don't have a tear in your surrounds you might want to do this anyway. It felt like dry cardboard.

Just remember that it was attached with glue in the first place, so no biggie to glue it back yourself.

3. The next thing ya do is remove all the crud from the frame- this is easier to do than you might think, but it takes a while. They suggest using a utility knife but we just used our calcium enriched fingernails.

4. After removing the glue we turned our attention to the foam still stuck to the paper cone. This needs to be removed, but it is not essential that you get it all off… doing so may lead to tears (both meanings of the word.). We used a bit of 150 grit sandpaper to get the surface even, but be VERY careful if you try this yourself.

5. Next up, removal of the dust cap. We didn't want to do this at all, but then we realized that the cone cannot be properly aligned without removal of the dust cap. The shims that come in the kit are specifically designed to fit in between the voice coil former and the center pole piece and hold the cone rigidly in place while you do all your gluing. We vacuumed before taking off the dust cap to prevent any debris from getting inside the voice coil. Then we just cut an "X" in the cap and started peeling it back.

Next time we'll show you how those shims fit and actual gluing up of the foam surrounds. More to come next week!

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(Images: Peter Treadway)

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