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How long can/should we expect a well-built pair of speakers to last? Beyond destroying the actual driver cones, is there a point at which you will no longer be able to fix them up in such a way that they will sound like themselves?

I ask, because I just picked up a set of B&W Matrix 802 Series 3 (no bass alignment filter, yet), and I am in love. This isn't the first time I've been enamored with a speaker initially, but these are special in enough ways that I'd really like to hang on to them for, well, a while. I do not know their history beyond the guy I bought them from also purchased them used, but they are in excellent physical condition, and they are performing well enough that I can't imagine there's any dire wrong with the drivers or crossovers.

When a car goes without an oil change long enough, you risk damaging components. Is there anything similar in longer-lived speakers that should be changed or tuned up before something else pays the price? From my understanding the actual drivers are no longer available so I'd very much like to take care of them.
 

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My Monitor Audio GS speakers are still going strong after 11 years and are used every day.

Besides dusting them now and then they are left untouched.
 

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I had my Polk SDA CRS+ speakers for 30 years and then sold them. Worked as good as day I bought them.
 
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Decades. I've had some Dynaduio's in daily use for over 15 years and they look and sound great. If they have foam surrounds, the surrounds tend to rot, but you can have them fixed. Most higher end speakers don't use foam surrounds though.
 
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When a car goes without an oil change long enough, you risk damaging components. Is there anything similar in longer-lived speakers that should be changed or tuned up before something else pays the price? From my understanding the actual drivers are no longer available so I'd very much like to take care of them.
I'd say the equivalent of the oil change is simply to keep them in reasonable environmental conditions (temperature/humidity/particulates). Avoid the idea of actively "tuning up" anything that isn't broken, crossover capacitors being the only possible exception I can think of, but even then unless you have a model with a known capacitor issue it's probably best not to try to mess with them preventatively.
 

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I just sold my Polk Monitor 10B's after 33 years. They were in mint condition, not a nick, scratch, or gouge on them. I didn't do a lick of repair work to them. I ended up selling them for only $309 less than I paid for them in 1987. Thirty-three years of usage for $309. Not too shabby.

Man, I am going to miss those speakers.
 

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My Kef R105/3 I bought in 1990 needed foam surrounds replaced almost as soon as I bought them, so I took them to a shop that replaced the foam with a rubber surround and I wailed on those speakers daily for 25 years! 100-110 db hard rock and while sometimes I'd get a headache the speakers still sounded like new when I sold them.
 
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This is an amazing thread to open up when I came here to do some searching on if I should use my M&K MKII's that I bought in 1997 for a new theater! Since they haven't been used in 8 years but stored indoors looks like I have no reason to buy new LCR's... yet.
 

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Electrical components in crossovers may fail or values may drift after 15-20 years. Mechanical failures of drivers can occur due to normal wear and tear or abuse and age. I wonder if a 20 year old speaker sounds the same as it did when new or if it meets the specs it's supposed to have? We get used to the sound of a speaker even though it may change slowly over the course of time. Manufacturers have "end of life" dates for products and parts may become impossible to get.

Make sure all the bolts that hold the drivers in are tight (but not too tight) on your "new" speakers. It's good to check that once a year or so due to the mechanical vibration that may loosen them.

I was a recording and live sound engineer for 34 years. I would use a sine wave oscillator and do a slow sweep from 20 Hz to 20 kHz to find problems that may be more difficult to hear with music. I once found some PA cabinets that were literally falling apart at the seams; the cabinets were not tight and the drivers were loose (bolts not tight). I knew they didn't sound good with music playing through them, but the sine wave sweep showed they had major problems. Close visual inspection revealed the sources of the issues.

You might want to find some test tones to check things out. I have CD's with pink noise, band limited pink noise, full range sweeps, single frequency tones etc. I test my speakers now and then to verify all is well (or not).

 

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1978 - still going strong. In virtually Pristine condition. Use them every day.

That's 42 Years.

The Key is to not get foam surround rings. Though they have improved, at some point they are likely to disintegrate.

My Bass Drivers have Butyl Rubber surround rings with out so must as a hint of deterioration.

My Mid/High are Horns, so surround deterioration is not a problem.

Though if the Foam Rings deteriorate, just the Rings can be replaced. That should bring the drivers back to new.

The next aspect to keeping speakers in good working order is to NOT let your kids or your drunken idiot friends near your equipment.

Just so we are clear - Surround Rings - are those soft circular rings that connect the Driver Cone to the Frame.

Getting 10 or 20 years should be easy enough for just about any quality speaker.

To preserve your speakers, primarily don't expose them to environmental extremes. Neither extremes of temperature nor extremes of humidity. I would also add keep accumulated Dust off the speaker cones. You can dust them with a soft paint brush, or one of those fluffy dusters, just be careful not to damage the Domes in the center of the drivers.

Use them, but don't abuse them. Have some reasonable sense of the limits of your speakers and stay under those limits.

Steve/bluewizard
 

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Speakers last forever. As far as electronics go, they are the most future proof product around.
 
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Speakers last forever. As far as electronics go, they are the most future proof product around.
And the technology for the most part doesn't change much. Different types of tweeters yeah, different types of woofers yeah sometimes but really speakers don't change all that much.

Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
 

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Hrm,

Even some totally low end speakers will work for 30+ years as long as they're not completely abused and left in high humidity or become home to rodents/pests.

I have plenty of Polks in several rooms that are over 15 years old now, just as good as they were new from a box. *Shrug*

I have headphones from the 80's and 90's still working great.

I wouldn't sweat it.

Very best,
 

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My Energy speakers are at least 15 years old and I hope to get many more out of them.
 

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I have, and still use, a pair of ESS Heil AMT1b's (floor models) that I bought in '78. I have had to replace the foam surround on the active/passive woofers once. Aside from that, I've had no problems. And, I still am impressed by the AMT speaker. The mids/highs are simply effortless and a joy to listen to on my stereo system.
 

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I've owned older speakers that had foam woofer surround rot (replaced them myself).

In one pair I own, the rubber woofer surrounds became unglued from the poly cone in spots. The speakers were were about 20 years old and the manufacturer actually rebuilt the woofers free of charge - pretty amazing that they would do that.

Electrolytic capacitors in crossovers typically have a finite life. They can dry out and drift in value vs. stock.

As a rule of thumb, I replace the electrolytics in speakers that I pick up that are over 20 years old (if the speakers are worth it). At the same time, I'll sometimes upgrade any film caps that are there, although film caps don't fail or drift, IME. I like doing crossover work, so this is an excuse to tinker and heat up the soldering iron.

-
 

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I've had my Avid 103's since 1977 (43 years) with no problems at all. Even the post-and-rubber-grommet grilles hold on just fine. As someone mentioned above, maybe the crossover component values have drifted, but they still sound fine to me.
 
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