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!!!