The GS301s came to me via an eBay auction where they were listed as ‘spares or repairs’ for £20 + £15 P&P. A quick query to the seller ascertained that they were in fact working, although they were described as being ‘spares or repair’ and in need of new foam surrounds.
Upon collecting them (thereby saving myself £15 on the P&P), the description proved accurate in terms of the outward appearance. To my surprise though they also included a 7m length of Naim Audio NAC A4 speaker cable. Considering that I had been considering buying a length of much cheaper speaker cable to replace the 2-core flex that was doubling up for it in our bedroom, and would have probably paid at least that for it, it sweetened the deal considerably.
Visually, the cabs were variously scratched, split and generally faded, and as such I think they will need a bit more than a bit of polish to make them acceptable. The metal grilles (which I am reliably informed improves the functionality of the tweeters!) are in reasonable condition, although the Allen bolts and spacers that secure them are all rusted. I suspect that the grilles will need a coat of paint, and that the bolts and spacers will need the same if they cannot be replaced. The woofers initially looked very sorry for themselves, but on closer inspection after a clean are probably not as worn as I at first suspected. They look quite faded and I am pondering doping them with some black dope to stiffen them up a little and improve their appearance. The tweeters look in good condition.
From an audio perspective they appear to be fully functional, despite the imminent demise of the foam surrounds. I was warned to expect a step or two down in quality from the Gale GS401Cs, and that was certainly the case, although there was something there worth saving so I will persevere with them, if only to ensure that I have a half-decent set of spares should the 401s ever need to be repaired.
Refoaming The Bass Drivers
1. Remove the grilles
- Simply undo the six hex bolts with an Allen and lift the grille away.
2. Remove the drivers (applies to bass and treble)
- Undo the screws
- De-solder the wires (having noted that the purple wire attaches to the terminal with the red spot)
- Lift out the drivers
3. Remove the old foam surrounds
- remove the foam in the gap between the cone and the metal framework
- gently pick away the foam on the cone
- scrape away the foam from the rim of the basket
- rub away the glue from the rim of the basket*
* the original glue would appear to be Satan’s own special brand, designed for repairing the gates of hell, and removing it is no easy task that doesn’t appear to be aided by tools or solvents.
At this point you may want to consider undertaking any cosmetic work that you need to do on the cabinets, as there is less chance of damaging your drivers while they are being re-foamed. Similarly, if the crossovers are likely need your attention, now is probably the time to do it.
In my case this involved the following:
- Sanding back the original paint
- Removing the rust from the bolts, screws and spacers
- Repainting the grilles with Hammerite gloss black spray paint
- Repainting the cabinets with Dulux satin black paint
4. Attach the replacement foam surrounds
Attach foam surrounds to cone:
- Position your new foam surrounds on the cones to get an appreciation of how much PVA glue you will need to firmly attach them to the cone
- Spread the glue evenly around the outside edge of the cone with a child’s paintbrush or similar; in my case a band approximately 6mm wide was needed.
- Place the surround over the cone, positioning it as centrally to the the cone as is possible.
- Gently go around the inner edge of the surround and press it down on to the cone (don’t worry about the excess glue – it dries clear)
- Allow to dry over night.
Attach foam surrounds to basket:
- Lift the edge of the surround and apply a strip of glue around the rim of the basket
- Using a child’s paintbrush, spread the glue so that it extends from the inner rim of the basket to the outer edge of the surround
- Gently bounce the bass driver up and down, using even spaced fingers to ensure that the voice coil is not rubbing
- If that’s the case (no rubbing) go around the outer edge of the surround and gently push it down onto the basket
- If you do encounter a rub you will need to gently pull the surround across to the opposite side of where it is encountered, peg it down and then test again to ensure that the position is rub-free before letting it set.
5. Replace the drivers
- Make sure the gaskets are in position!
- Clean up the solder on the tabs and wires
- Re-solder the wires back on to the tabs
- Carefully reposition the drivers and screw/bolt them back into place
6. Replace the grilles.