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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking at a set of B&W DM302 Speakers, look in pretty good shape, well taken care of. However, they are probably 17 years old or so. How durable are the electronics and speaker materials over time? How much degradation of sound quality can I expect?

I know amps for example have capacitors that can age. Anything similar in speakers?

Thanks for any assistance.
 

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Depends on what kind of environment they were in. But if well taken care of they will last a long time.

Some speaker models have been known to be problematic over time. IIRC I read about certain models of Infinity speakers literally rotting. Apogees are famous for needing a rebuild.

On the flip side my brother is running a pair of 30 year old missions that sound great. And my other brother has 30 year old ADS speakers that are also just fine.


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Speakers that are taken care of will last a very long time. You may need to refoam woofers if they dry out, but this is an inexpensive and easy fix. Internally, there isn't much to go wrong assuming they receive appropriate amplification.
 

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Emotiva XMC-2, Emotiva XPA-9 Gen3, JVC NX7, NHT VT-3/VC-3/VR-3, NHT iC4-ARC x4, HSU VTF-3 MK5 x2
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Looking at a set of B&W DM302 Speakers, look in pretty good shape, well taken care of. However, they are probably 17 years old or so. How durable are the electronics and speaker materials over time? How much degradation of sound quality can I expect?

I know amps for example have capacitors that can age. Anything similar in speakers?

Thanks for any assistance.
I just picked up a set of NHT VT-3s (with the VC-3 center and VR-3 surrounds) that are a good 14+ years old. Aside from a bit of peeling on the veneer, they're in great shape and sound terrific. (Interestingly, I bought them from a colleague who used to work for NHT and was the lead engineer on the sub controller unit that manages the bass on the VT-3. But that's another story.)

Anyway... I'm a strong believer that as long as they're well cared for and not often pushed to their limits, speakers can age extremely well. As with cars, etc., there's usually a certain correlation between initial quality and longevity, so I wouldn't expect a set of low-end speakers to go the distance as well as something that required a more substantial initial investment. That said, there's no reason to automatically shy away from a pair of nice, lovingly cared for speakers.
 

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I bought these- about 15 years old I'd say, nothing wrong with buying second hand speakers, but generally why would you buy 17 year old budget speakers?

Buying older speakers means you can buy high end speakers for little coin...no way would you get speakers like those for the price of new speakers in a store.
 

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In general, capacitors seem to have a lifespan of around 30 years before they start deteriorating. So the crossovers could need cap replacements some time in the future. The other problematic area is that of the surrounds which connect the cones to the driver frames. In the old days they used to use foam which deteriorated badly and rather quickly.


I think the speakers you are investigating are new enough not to have that problem. I would say If they sound good they will do so for another 15 to 20 years before they need any maintenance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies, general consensus that can't go too wrong as long as in good shape.

Regarding why would you buy 15 year old budget speakers ... as always depends on the definition of budget. I'm just looking for something to stream to for the bedroom, so really looking in the $50-100 range used. In that range I'm looking at speakers that may have originally retailed in the $200-$400 range (unless I get really lucky). So even new they might be in the 'budget' category depending on one's tolerance levels. If anybody spots anything really attractive out there on ebay, please feel free to post a link.

Thanks all.
 

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As counterpoint I have a pair of Wharfdale W100's that I bought new in 1969. I used them until the mid -1980's but then left them stored. Now they're small tables in one of my workshps here (they are large doublewide floor standers with sand filled walnut cabinets weighing 100 lbs. each.

A couple of years ago I thought to try them for a downstairs shop system and found neither tweeter playing and the overall sound muddy and bass heavy to my taste. I did invest in a pair of decent tweeters and a few capacitors and got them playing but don't much like their sound. They never were very detailed playing speakers and they'd likely be thought slow in todays vernacular, probably designed for those who enjoyed a large symphonic sound. Admittedly when I bought them classical music was my main love; now I have a much broader musical interest.

I'm saying all of this to say that an old speaker may be one made for a different musical environment. Although you might say something like "music is music - as long as a speaker can reproduce it accurately then all is good" I've come to not believe that.

Technological developments have brought speaker engineering to a point that a particular speaker for a particular type of sound or music is very much a reality. While it complicates choices tremendously it does enable us to find speakers which can be tailored to our ears and our musical tastes.

So the danger in shopping for deals in vintage/used components may lie in the possibility that even something once thought to be state of the art may not be so enjoyable in comparison to newer designs.

I have a pair of Klipsch Heresy's here that I bought three years ago. They stand mostly mute, as testimony to what I've just said while I prefer the sound of a little pair of NHT Super 2.1's coupled with a JBL 10in. sub and a Marantz networked receiver.

If you chose to ignore what I've said then at least look for used JBL speakers. The ES line are underappreciated, IMO, and thus make for good deals.
 

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JeffWired,

A pair of small speakers to stream in a bedroom at a killer deal if you hurry: http://www.jbl.com/estore/jbl/us/products/ES10/ES10_JBL_US?
skuId=ES10BK_JBL_US&searchMode=regularProductOnly&sCatId=cat480038

JBL puts their last line models out for sale at clearance prices and are usually sold out pretty quickly. I only made a quick lookse but it might be that these little surrounds are all that's left in there. But "surrounds" as a descriptive term in a sales promo should not deter - they are speakers - three way spekers in this case and JBL's got a pretty good reputation for making drivers and getting the crossover right.

Add a small sub. I've heard these and they can do something pretty wonderful for their size. They cut off at 65hz which is why I said small sub (and the little
 
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