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How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

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How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby Gone To Lunch » Thu May 23, 2019 10:21 pm

My main monitors are a pair of passive dual concentric front-ported Tannoy DMT 10s that are now 25 years old, in excellent condition, light home use only.

So I wonder how long could I expect them to last, and if there was a failure, would I be able to get a repair for something so old ?

And are modern active designs with curvy fronts better anyway ?
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby hannahjazzz » Thu May 23, 2019 10:22 pm

Gone To Lunch wrote:My main monitors are a pair of passive dual concentric front-ported Tannoy DMT 10s that are now 25 years old, in excellent condition, light home use only.

So I wonder how long could I expect them to last, and if there was a failure, would I be able to get a repair for something so old ?

And are modern active designs with curvy fronts better anyway ?
forever sure long as you
Don’t blast them too
Much and take care of them




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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu May 23, 2019 10:54 pm

I have a pair of B&W DM2A speakers that I bought in 1972 (cost £128) that are still in daily use. Hi-fi speakers admittedly, but great sounding ones and still sound superb. No inclination to change them.

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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu May 23, 2019 10:59 pm

No reason for them to fail or deteriorate if they are not abused. WRT repairs, I have equally venerable (42 year old) Kef 104ABs. They have had new drivers ('cos I wasn't sufficiently diligent at avoiding abuse) which are, apparently, sufficiently close to the Thiel Small parameters of the originals that they should perform as designed. They are still excellent monitors to my ears (and others have assured me that I will have to spend a lot to improve on them). I keep thinking of buying some KH120s but then decide that I should probably improve my listening skills (or my ears) first.......
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby James Perrett » Fri May 24, 2019 12:16 am

The Tannoys that I use are now over 40 years old. They have foam surrounds which rot after a while but spares are still available (or were last year). I've only had to replace them once since I've owned them (over 20 years). Hopefully this won't change now that The Music Group own Tannoy although there are also third party suppliers of suitable surrounds.

If your speakers don't use surrounds that deteriorate then I would expect them to last many more years provided they aren't abused.

Edit: - to answer your second question. Modern small speakers are better at the bottom end than older small speakers and there will have been slight improvements in bigger speakers over the years but I find it easier to hear into a mix with the Tannoys than many other speakers. If you are producing good sounding recordings with them then I wouldn't worry about changing them.
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby ef37a » Fri May 24, 2019 7:24 am

Bit moot?
I started a post here and at HR.com about active monitor reliability which has now been running just over a month. After a small flurry of failure stories I have heard nothing for 3 weeks or so but several people have commented on how they too have some very old hi fi speakers still going strong.

The active monitor has of course only been around for ten years or so? Nonetheless they too seem very reliable and long lived.

Even in the "whale ****" market, domestic radio and TV a failed speaker was almost unheard* of except a tiny sample where the VC went off centre and caused horrible distortion. If I did not have a replacement in the car, some judicious whacks with a meaty screwdriver would often shift the magnet the fraction of a mm needed. This fault was almost only ever found in valve TVs because they ran bloody hot!

Oh! One exception, guitar amps. A) because mnfctrs fit underated drive units and B) people blast the **** out of them!

*Well, you wouldn't would you?

Sorry, gots to say! This longevity both of reliability and consistent performance adds even more to my opinion that "running in" transducers is marketing bllx and ref the latest issue? If I were to spend six grand on a pair of monitors I would expect them to be "right" straight out of the box. IF they needed running in, the bloody MD should take them home and do 'em!

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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri May 24, 2019 9:33 am

Gone To Lunch wrote:So I wonder how long could I expect them to last, and if there was a failure, would I be able to get a repair for something so old ?

How long a speaker lasts depends on many factors, but if used with care it should be possible to get 40-50 years out of a good set of speakers and probably longer.

The main point of failure is usually the woofer surround, particularly if thrashed, although some types do naturally perish with age. Sunlight can damage the rubbers, so keep them well away from sunlight (probably not a problem in a dedicated studio, but quite likely in a domestic room), as can the sulphur fumes from volcanic activity!*.

Of course, there may well be suitable replacement drivers available should that be necessary -- either original models or something newer but still with compatible specs and fixings but, if not, there are companies that can fit new bespoke surrounds to many drivers.

The ferro-fluid used in some tweeters can also dry up over many years, but that is often also replaceable by specialists if necessary, or a new replacement tweeter may be installed.

Capacitors in passive crossovers can sometimes dry up and change value too, but are more easily replaceable...

But all these changes tend to happen so slowly that they typically pass unnoticed until a complete failure occurs!

And are modern active designs with curvy fronts better anyway ?

Curvy baffle edges make a big difference to the edge dispersion which, in turn, makes a big difference to the stereo imaging.

Speaker evolution is a slow process, and while the current state of the art does deliver better overall performance (lower distortion, wider bandwidth, better power handling, etc) and a better performance/cost ratio than models from yesteryear, the best speakers from the 80s and 90s (and in a few cases, the 70s too) can still hold their heads high in modern company.

*Volcanic degradation of monitors probably isn't a big problem in the UK, but it was apparently a serious issue at George Martin's Air Montserrat studios where replacement drivers had to be fitted every year as the rubbers dissolved!!!

H
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri May 24, 2019 11:01 am

*Volcanic degradation of monitors probably isn't a big problem in the UK, but it was apparently a serious issue at George Martin's Air Montserrat studios where replacement drivers had to be fitted every year as the rubbers dissolved!!!

Yes, I decided to keep my home studio based in Essex rather than move to an exotic Caribbean island, for this precise reason.
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri May 24, 2019 11:11 am

Smart thinking... :lol:
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri May 24, 2019 11:14 am

But you told me it was because you were hoping to appear on The Only Way Is Essex!

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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby georgeduke » Fri May 24, 2019 12:05 pm

I'm sure it's up to you how long they do last.
If you tend to blast the hell out of them, then of course they won't last long.

I had many Yamaha NS10s and with my usage after 7-8 years they died.
Now I have two Yamaha HS8M, and after 8 years they still work *fingers-crossed.

So it's really up to you. But if you tend to hear music a bit louder, it's safer to choose
more powerful speakers (more than 120watts)
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby John Willett » Fri May 24, 2019 12:21 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:But you told me it was because you were hoping to appear on The Only Way Is Essex!

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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby John Willett » Fri May 24, 2019 12:24 pm

My Harbeth Monitor 30As must be about 30 years old and are still going strong.

As has been said, the main area of deteriation woukld be the woofer surround and the foam ones were the worst for failing - they were fery flexible, but did tend to go quickly.

Other materials lasted much longer - and I have zero deteriation on my Harbeths. :thumbup:
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby Folderol » Fri May 24, 2019 2:29 pm

I've got a nice pair of Aurex speakers in my dining room. Really solid construction and seriously heavy. I've no idea how old they are - they were virtually a gift at £50 for the pair in the 1980s. They sound great.
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby Logarhythm » Fri May 24, 2019 2:42 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
*Volcanic degradation of monitors probably isn't a big problem in the UK, but it was apparently a serious issue at George Martin's Air Montserrat studios where replacement drivers had to be fitted every year as the rubbers dissolved!!!

H
Is this the backstory of a large proportion of Bond villains?
They've had a successful career, they've bought the dream studio in a hidden lair on a volcanic island, and they'd be wonderfully content with life. Except that accelerated degradation of the cone surrounds on their favourite monitors is causing such anger that they lash out at the world?


Also a happy owner of 30+ year old monitors, albeit not my primary monitors, but I know that I'm stuffed for spares if anything dies :?
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby blinddrew » Fri May 24, 2019 5:19 pm

I'm now feeling slightly vexed that I've got a 50% driver failure rate on my 20-year old Missions...

But it did give me the excuse to get my Neumanns! :mrgreen:
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby Logarhythm » Fri May 24, 2019 5:33 pm

blinddrew wrote:I'm now feeling slightly vexed that I've got a 50% driver failure rate on my 20-year old Missions...


Hmm, glad I'm not your neighbour :mrgreen:
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby blinddrew » Fri May 24, 2019 5:36 pm

Actually they've never been driven hard - I'm generally a very quiet listener. Which makes me doubly vexed! ;)
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Re: How long do speakers last, and are modern ones better ?

Postby James Perrett » Fri May 24, 2019 9:13 pm

georgeduke wrote:I had many Yamaha NS10s and with my usage after 7-8 years they died.

I have a 30 year old pair and they still work as expected (I hesitate to say fine because I'm not a big fan of their sound). They spent the first 10 years of their life as nearfields in a working studio and then the rest of the time as kitchen speakers.
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