Subwoofer Lifespan? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 28 Old 09-03-2008, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone know how long subwoofers are designed to last, provided you don't abuse them (i.e. bottom out driver, play at absurd listening levels, etc)?

Does anyone have experience with REL, Velodyne, or Sunfire Subwoofers in this regard? I recently purchased a brand new Velodyne D10, and just wanted to see how long I can expect to have it last.
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post #2 of 28 Old 09-03-2008, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kioko12 View Post

Does anyone know how long subwoofers are designed to last, provided you don't abuse them (i.e. bottom out driver, play at absurd listening levels, etc)?

Does anyone have experience with REL, Velodyne, or Sunfire Subwoofers in this regard? I recently purchased a brand new Velodyne D10, and just wanted to see how long I can expect to have it last.

Years. Unless like some people on this forum, you try to kill it.


Ian
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post #3 of 28 Old 09-03-2008, 05:57 PM
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No idea. But FWIW, I've used a Paradigm sub for the last 10 years and it still works just fine.
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post #4 of 28 Old 09-03-2008, 06:22 PM
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I've got a pair of old Velodyne CT-150's that are about 8yrs old (I think). Both are still fine.
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post #5 of 28 Old 09-03-2008, 07:51 PM
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10-15 years

deeper than the deepest ocean
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post #6 of 28 Old 09-04-2008, 04:52 PM
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I have a 20 year old Velodyne ULD-15 sub-woofer. I had the feedback cable come loose (it has an external amplifier) while it was playing (about 4 years after I bought it), which caused some damage. Velodyne fixed it (and upgraded it at the same time) for free. It's been working ever since and still is doing a great job.

NOTE: The ULD-15 replacement (equivalent) is the newer DD-15.

- Claus {non-Santa model}
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post #7 of 28 Old 09-04-2008, 06:02 PM
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I got 10 years out of a Velodyne HGS, I'm actually sending it in for repair as it has a bad amp but the driver is OK. I replaced it about 6 months ago with a REL but will continue to use the Velodyne for the LFE channel.
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post #8 of 28 Old 09-04-2008, 08:22 PM
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If it's a budget JBL sub, don't hold your breath!


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post #9 of 28 Old 09-04-2008, 08:30 PM
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Around 20 years give or take a few yesrs,depending on use and even as important what conditions it has to endure.

If the sub is placed in a room where temps are maintained around 18-20 Celcius with normal humidity...over 20 years should be the norm.Of course ...humane livfe...not blasting Transformers III and Mickey Mouse VS Batman IV at near Xmech. To satisfy curious AVSer's who want to see if the " Stoopid" Loud Barrier can be pushed and impress the kiddies.


On the side.

Drivers with compressed foam sourrounds should be treated(the sourround part IMO),drivers with rubber sourround have in general a linger life span as the sourround cannot dry rott like foam.It will dry,but it takes much longer.

Ask yourself mortal , do you have as much displacement as me ? The answer is no unless you have a Windmere fan sub.
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post #10 of 28 Old 09-05-2008, 08:55 AM
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Actual designed to last?

Average MTF on most electronics these days is 5 years by design. The engineers have sort of settled in on this one as the cost -vs- real life span number.

That means some fail from on first use and some last 10, 15, or even 20 years.

PS: I am hard a can be on my subs. I've blown more than a few over the past decade and a half.
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post #11 of 28 Old 09-05-2008, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEAR View Post

Drivers with compressed foam sourrounds should be treated(the sourround part IMO),drivers with rubber sourround have in general a linger life span as the sourround cannot dry rott like foam.It will dry,but it takes much longer.

Foam surrounds these days are now specially treated to resist dry rot. They will last much longer.



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post #12 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 01:14 AM
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Im late but I'm here. I got a cheap 12" Canton Plus C sub from 1987, which makes it a veteran at 30 years now.

It's passive and sealed.
I removed the passive crossovers and hijacked 150w amp from audioengine s8 sub, which is worth less than its own amplifier.

Doesn't pressurize the room but its 2x50w plays very very nice and there is no doubt it does the 22-23hz it's specced to.
Upper regions sound tight as hell which makes bombs and cannons hella fun.

Maximum volume is kindof low as I haven't tried a better amp, but the sound quality is 100%.
Looking to get another one, it would cover all my needs
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post #13 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 02:28 AM
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High Quality "Pro" Speakers are designed for longevity and hard use, such as most [pricey] JBL's.

My 45-yo Altec "Voice-Of-The-Theater" Speakers in a Wife Friendly "Flamenco" Cabinet were Re-purposed into Sub-Woofers and are STILL capable of more clean Bass then my Ears can stand. A buddy of mine also bought Altec VOTT at about same time...but different model number....still going strong....just like his even older JBL Bedroom Speakers. And my son reports that his Father-in-Law's KlipschHorns from same era are ALSO still running Strong.....and all Original 15-in Woofers. If anything goes on old speakers, it's usually the Tweeters....such as one of my 800+ Hz Horn Driver Diaphragm/Voice Coil Assemblies (replaced BOTH about 15-years ago) and as I recall, one of the Klipschhorn's Tweeters.

Foam Surround has SHORT life. Rubber is probably MEDIUM. And COMPOSITE (esp. Kevlar) Surround is built to last a LONG Time.

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post #14 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 02:29 AM
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My Velodyne DD-18 is at least a decade old and is holding up beautifully.

Far more subwoofers get swapped out for other reasons than die.
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post #15 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 02:41 AM
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I have been told by an truly expert speaker repair tech 3000-5000 hours on average. My Genelec just started to occasionally bottom out and I have had it for 11 years. Elasticity is lost over time.
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post #16 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 02:50 AM
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For the first 10-years, I was likely putting THAT many hours on my Altecs every couple years!!!! And THEN along came some KIDZZZZ.....
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post #17 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 02:51 AM
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I would say 10 years on average. i used my Atlantic 642e subs for 6 years and they were good as new on the day i sold them.

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post #18 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mailiang View Post
Quote: Originally Posted by kioko12

Years. Unless like some people on this forum, you try to kill it.


Ian
LOL, this is so true. "Lets run EoT about +10 over reference to see if your sub chuffs, and if it don't maybe we need to push it more so you can come onto AVS and brag about it!"

A sub, IMHO, should last at least 20 years if it is a good quality made brand. If you redline and race your car everywhere you go, then you will start to have issues earlier than you should, if you have sufficient headroom and you get plenty of power w/o redlining it, then it should last for quite awhile. This is another advantage of obtaining duals, is that it splits the load and keeps them running cool and reserved, yet they still rip your guts out and step on them when called upon.
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post #19 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by LFE Junkie View Post
LOL, this is so true. "Lets run EoT about +10 over reference to see if your sub chuffs, and if it don't maybe we need to push it more so you can come onto AVS and brag about it!"

"Let's keep turning it up… what's that 'thwack' sound?"
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post #20 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 05:21 AM
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I have been told by an truly expert speaker repair tech 3000-5000 hours on average.
For any speakers or just subs?

My stereo is on 24x7x365 - that's 8,760 hours/year.

My "new" speakers are nearing 43,000 hours and another pair has over 236,000 and counting…
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post #21 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kucharsk View Post
For any speakers or just subs?

My stereo is on 24x7x365 - that's 8,760 hours/year.

My "new" speakers are nearing 43,000 hours and another pair has over 236,000 and counting…
We were talking about subwoofers only. I would think that the excursion and stress on a sub driver is significantly greater than a midrange speaker.

Are you playing music 24/7? How loud do you normally listen? HT subs are getting pretty loud.
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post #22 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 07:07 AM
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Think of it this way

There are millions of speakers installed in ceilings in retail spaces that play music for 12 to 24 hours a day for 20 to 40 years without replacement. Plenty of classic cars out there with the stock speakers inside that are 40 years old, have put up with staggering heat in the summer, frigid cold in the winter and thousands of hours of use when driving the cars. The car might have 500,000 miles on it with the third engine and has been refurbed to the frame--but the speakers get a new deck every 10 years and keep plugging along. Go into many garages and see those old boomboxes with the coathanger to get radio stations, the cassette door broken off and the thing is covered with dirt and old paint splatter. Still chugging along in harsh conditions for decades.

The only issues I can see with subwoofers would be the same issues that would happen with any speaker. Since subs have heavy cones, you'll get suspension sag that can cause voice coil rub over time. If that is a concern, rotate the driver 180 degrees every 3 to 5 years. I have an 18" passive radiator in a sub with 2,300 grams of moving mass and rotate it every 3 years without issue (It is 7 years old) The surround life varies depending what it is made out of. Foam will fail, even when the salesmen states it won't...refoamed my inlaws JBLs as it was kept out of the sun with the grills on but failed after 14 years. Rubber or santropene surrounds last, much, much longer if you keep them out of the sun--I've seen 30 year old Polk Audio monitors running stock woofers.

The longest running speaker drivers I've seen run the folded accordion edge surrounds with cloth to strengthen them. You'll see that design in many professional speakers. I have a pair of Cerwin Vega 15's with that surround from a pair of 1990 PA speakers and they run perfectly without issue.

Amplifiers are a crap shoot, my 1999 AR 120 watt sub plate amp still works. Used the subwoofer for 13 years then built a new sub box and it has driven it for the past 5 years. Can't complain about a basic plate amp running for 18 years but it will be retired at 20 years and replaced with SpeakerPower plate amps. My other subwoofer amplifier is a Crown XTi PA amplifier in in the capacity of a sub amp in a home is actually easy street considered what it is designed to do.

I do find it amusing to think that kids build subwoofer boxes poorly, they are sorta sealed in little boxes baking in the hot sun and vertically mounted to maximize cone sag. They blast the heck out of them at a thousand watts playing Bass I love you and do so for many years--but speakers only last 3,000 to 5,000 hours. My clock radio plays an hour a day and has done so for 20 years--doing the math, that would be 3,650 hours per day so over 70,000 hours without issues or failure. The in ceiling speakers in malls, hospitals and cafes easily go to 6 digits so maybe the answer is to avoid "audiophile" speakers ... or, just use the speakers within their design specs, don't drive the amps to clipping, keep your equipment cool and it will last for several decades or more.

In summation, it depends
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post #23 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveN View Post
We were talking about subwoofers only. I would think that the excursion and stress on a sub driver is significantly greater than a midrange speaker.

Are you playing music 24/7? How loud do you normally listen? HT subs are getting pretty loud.
Not exceptionally loud.

My amps, preamp and tuner are only shut off during power failures; my CD player doesn't even really have a power switch. :-)
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post #24 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LFE Junkie View Post
LOL, this is so true. "Lets run EoT about +10 over reference to see if your sub chuffs, and if it don't maybe we need to push it more so you can come onto AVS and brag about it!"

A sub, IMHO, should last at least 20 years if it is a good quality made brand. If you redline and race your car everywhere you go, then you will start to have issues earlier than you should, if you have sufficient headroom and you get plenty of power w/o redlining it, then it should last for quite awhile. This is another advantage of obtaining duals, is that it splits the load and keeps them running cool and reserved, yet they still rip your guts out and step on them when called upon.
Boy, is that an old post you quoted! My two Velos are 10 and 15 years old respectively, and they still perform like new. Both are balanced and are in the same room. With two subs you not only get smoother room response, but each sub has to do less work since you are reducing their load.

Ian
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post #25 of 28 Old 07-29-2017, 08:08 AM
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Any driver with a foam surround, treated or not, will have a shorter lifespan. Take a foam cup and gently squeeze the same spot over and over, and you'll notice small fractures and deformities. The same type of thing can happen to foam drivers (also dry rot) over time. Rubber can dry and crack, but a high quality butyl surround will last decades before that happens. The highest quality treated foam will still have a much shorter lifespan. A butyl foam driver is a compromise. The amp in your sub will be far more likely to fail first, but consistent dry temps can go a long way. I have old subs (17+ years) that are still perfectly fine. Biggest thing for old subs that are still functional is cheap, cost cutting foam surrounds like the old Velodynes had.
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post #26 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 06:37 AM
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I had an M&K MX200 for 19 years and recently replaced it with a pair of Deep Sea Sound Mariana 18's. I gave it to my brother and it continues to get daily use. The only repair was to replace the volume and crossover potentiometers as they began to perform poorly (crack, snap and pop when turned).


The sub served me well and received countless hours of play with PLENTY of abuse. The speaker foam is still intact and she still digs as deep as she can when pushed to her limits.


Grady
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post #27 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kioko12 View Post
Does anyone know how long subwoofers are designed to last, provided you don't abuse them (i.e. bottom out driver, play at absurd listening levels, etc)?

Does anyone have experience with REL, Velodyne, or Sunfire Subwoofers in this regard? I recently purchased a brand new Velodyne D10, and just wanted to see how long I can expect to have it last.
As long as you don't abuse them they should generally last plenty long.
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post #28 of 28 Old 09-08-2017, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kioko12 View Post
Does anyone know how long subwoofers are designed to last, provided you don't abuse them (i.e. bottom out driver, play at absurd listening levels, etc)?

Does anyone have experience with REL, Velodyne, or Sunfire Subwoofers in this regard? I recently purchased a brand new Velodyne D10, and just wanted to see how long I can expect to have it last.
I had two Sunfire True Mkii's from around 2000. The first one blew out a driver a couple years ago, and anyone who has one knows the driver isn't replaceable unless you can find an original. The 2nd one, which didn't get as much use (because it's in the home theater and not the family room) just had a failure of some kind on the board/amp. So that's on its way to EBC to be checked out. For ~$200 it's worth fixing IMO.

So in my case they both have gone 15+ years, which is amazing these days.
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