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How old are your speakers?? Read this!!

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by maddogmcq, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. maddogmcq

    maddogmcq
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    10 years ago I had a 28" waist and £800. I walked into Practical Hi-Fi in Bolton and came away with a new pair of B&W P5 speakers. Now, 10 years on, I have a 36" waist and a pair of B&W P5 speakers :laugh:

    Over those ten years, I've loved my speakers to pieces and have never felt the need to change them despite being the sort of person who does constantly upgrade.

    And then.......... I had an accident with one of the tweeters (physical damage) and had to order replacements. I was staggered by the difference in sound!!! Just like you don't notice your kids changing over the years, neither do you notice the fall-off in performance of your speakers. The new tweeters simply knocked me off my feet!! It was like someone unblocked my ears!

    Speaking to other hi-fi nuts, it seemed to be a popular misconception that speakers don't really age, but that's not true. Any mechanical device will tire. Just consider the voice-coils for a start - they're a mechanical device which cause the speaker cone to move backwards and forwards hundreds of thousands of times of the years. Eventually, those movements will not be as quick. Effectively, they'll be tired and will give a lack-lustre performance compared to what they were like when new.

    So if you have a fabulous pair of (old) speakers that are dear to your heart, consider buying some new drive units from the manufacturer before its too late. Fortunately, B&W carry decent stocks for discontinued models.
     
  2. thekingbeyond

    thekingbeyond
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    Practical Hi-Fi in Bolton are they still there? where they accross from the market hall (mind gets fuzzy with age), brings back memories as I bought my first cd player from them and could only find about a dozen cd`s to choose from :thumbsup:
     
  3. severnsource

    severnsource
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    What process do you suggest for this dagradation in sound quality? Unlike car engines (the usual analogy when claiming that hi-fi equipment ages / needs running in) there should be no contact between moving and stationary parts and therefore no wear due to friction.

    A new speaker could well sound better than an old one due to improvements in component and system design, aging per se is unlikely to cause a deterioration in sound.
     
  4. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    seversource

    I'm no engineer but surely any piston that's asked to move in an out rapidly on and off for ten years will show some wear.

    Add in a coil that's likely to have been overheated a few times plus rubber or foam driver surrounds that will perish in UV, crack due to central heating and adhesives that come unstuck etc etc

    Driver units wear out - ask any Castle loudspeaker owners who's been left with rather moth eaten looking foam surrounds :)

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  5. Adrenochrome

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    Argh I've just bought some 5 year old Castle Kendals from ebay now i'm panicking :(
     
  6. Flimber

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    Somebody with a 30-year old pair of Tannoy Westminsters should come and knock yer heads together :)

    Mike.
     
  7. Ian J

    Ian J
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    And presumably worse if they have been kept in a smoking environment
     
  8. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    They will be fine

    THis is going back to the 1980s

    Castle remanufacture the drivers
     
  9. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello Martin

    As you say the more recent drivers don't suffer this problem - it was fun at the time trying to keep a straight face when folk walked into the shop with rather tatty looking loudspeakers.

    Most put it down to moths!!!

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS Ian J - I'm sure your correct re nicotine.

    PPS Flimber - they have to work for 30 years; once you install the buggers and put your doors and door frames back in your house your never moving them again :)
     
  10. lowrider

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    The woofers of my surround speakers "broke", while waiting for new ones, I am using a pair of B&W DM100 that are about 20 years old, actually I sit very close to the right surround when I use the PC, and it sounds like new, or like a new speaker, I should say...

    I also keep a pair of 20 year old KEF 104/2 in my ex´s house, and they also sound very good, now a pair of Marantz almost 30 years old that where at my parents had the foam suspensions rotten, so I threw them away, they still played though... :eek:
     
  11. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    Castle will remanufacture these drivers quite cheaply.

    That is service

    Anyway they stopped using foam in the 1980s
     
  12. Falp

    Falp
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    I have a pair of 12 years old Celestion 3 MKII and they sound as new...
    Last year I had to buy a new woofer and after the break-in period both speakers sound exactly the same...

    An old pair of speakers at my ex's parents also had the foam suspensions rotten...
     
  13. pjclark1

    pjclark1
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    MY B&W 220s have got to be 20 years old now.
    Sound fine, tho acoustic cloth is a bit frayed
     
  14. eviljohn2

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    Rather than replacing the drive units entirely, just tightening up the retaining screws can produce a surprising difference. I did this last week and it made a significant difference to my 3 year old Mission speakers. I've read in a couple of places that it's worth doing this almost annually and I can believe it.

    Just be careful not to overtighten the screws and strip the wood inside. :)
     
  15. severnsource

    severnsource
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    But there is no wear due to piston motion because there is no contact to create friction, unlike an i.c. engine where there must be contact in order to create a seal and wear will take place eventually.

    Coil overheating is abuse not aging.

    Yes, you're right about about surrounds being a potential problem, foam surrounds were notorious for disintegrating, however most other surround constructions seem to be pretty durable, and the problem becomes visible as well as audible.

    The other aging effect that I can think of is loss of magnetisation, but I think that is also pretty unlikely in practice and not likely to lead to a particularly noticeable change in the sound quality.

    Bill
     
  16. Mason @ B&M

    Mason @ B&M
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    Also worth considering new speakers take a small amount of time before their TS specs stabilise. So a new set of drivers may sound different to start with, but given a few hours run time should begin to sound the same as the older drivers.

    Unless they've been abused..
     
  17. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    I would firstly look at the crossover components for effects of ageing eg capacitors and inductors
     
  18. bob1

    bob1
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    I have some ten year old speakers,when i bought them i had a 28" waist and now i have a 32" waist , i think they still sound great ,maybe its all down to waist size :D .
     
  19. vizslaraner

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    House fire?
     
  20. Kefmad Rich

    Kefmad Rich
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    I,m still using my 11 year old Kef Q90 floorstanders ,but must admit I,d like a chance to try a newer pair with "hypertweeters".

    I have thought of upgrading the crossovers but it wouldn,t be cheap.

    I e-mailed Kef a few years ago about new drive units and they said they didn,t stock these any more :(.

    I don,t think I,ll part with them until they finally die.
     
  21. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    Why would changing the crossover be expensive
     
  22. alexs2

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    I've got an ancient set of Quad ESLs(the originals) as well as new(ish)B&W 805s....for their age,the Quads are still superb,although they have new treble panels.

    Luckily,panels for even the original ESLs are still available,albeit not via Quad in that case,but the others,as with B&W are still easy to obtain.
     
  23. maddogmcq

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    Changing the crossovers is relatively cheap. The tweeters for my B&W P5's were £25 each. For the immense difference in sound, I'd say that's a bargain!! And how some people can say that their speakers sound as good today as they did 10 years ago, is beyond me. How can they say that when they have no immediate reference point??
     
  24. severnsource

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    But equally how can you say that they have deteriorated?
     
  25. lowrider

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    Eheheheh... :rotfl:
     
  26. Nimby

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    It might be that new tweeters have been "upgraded" by the design department after complaints of a rather dull performance. (i.e. Not 'hifi' enough on quick shop demos) A new coating or slightly reduced impedance of the voice-coil or change of dome material might have occured. The efficiency has been increased slightly giving a treble lift.

    Some shops don't let you sit down to listen to speakers on demo. So you are listening well above the tweeter axis. It follows that the tweeter needs a bit more "sparkle" under those circumstances to sell itself. You should always ask for a chair to get you down close to the tweeter axis before shelling out large sums of money. Failing that sit bolt upright on the shop floor at a natural listening distance!

    Or it may simply be that some domes need to be run-in long enough for a natural break-up pattern to occur in the dome material, before they "settle-in" to the standard peformance level.

    Nimby
     
  27. Kefmad Rich

    Kefmad Rich
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    I looked on a site called Falcon Acoustics (I think!) a while ago.

    I,m sure for a pair it was over £200.

    I,m not sure if I,m capable of upgrading the crossovers component by component myself.
     
  28. Diamond

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    I also think that new tweeters are upgraded, no empirical exp tho. Everyone shouldn't upgrade them, they can be worse too.
     
  29. pragmatic

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    When i first got my second hand P5's i needed to get the tweeters replaced as they didn't work. I've also read that the P5 tweeters can suffer from some ageing, something about a gunk like material hardening. Hopefuly the replacement tweeters don't have this problem.

    Also you might just have made a better connection or the newer twetters could just be better, or the origional ones were not working to full spec (espectialy if the difference was as big as you say)
     
  30. the mechanic

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    Hi all,

    Recently I had to buy a replacement mid-bass driver for one of my mission 773e's (only the one BTW). I just e-mailed mission spares, and to my suprise they still stocked it (£32.08 inc vat AND delivery) :clap:
    After fitting it and having a listen, I could hear no difference (except there was no loud cracking noise now) :smashin:
    Another thing to think about is as we get older the human ear loses it ability to hear high frequency material. I seem to remember reading that at 30 years of age the hearing ability of an average male is about 14 to 16 Khz. Only teens usually can hear the full 20 Hz to 20 Khz range. Damn old age eh :laugh:

    All the best,

    I SAID ALL THE BEST ! ! to the over 30's out there :devil:

    Graham.
     

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