How old is old?

gava

Well-known Member
If buying used speakers instead of new - how old is old?

Would 7 years be a problem?

I have my eye on a pair of KEF Refrence 5s which look pristine, but what can age on a speaker and how long does it take?
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
If buying used speakers instead of new - how old is old?

Would 7 years be a problem?

I have my eye on a pair of KEF Refrence 5s which look pristine, but what can age on a speaker and how long does it take?
So.. what can age on speakers.. Timescale.. you cant really give one as there are too many factors at play but.. i can at least show what "can" age .. and where to look / listen at

The cone surrounds are a prime example.. not so much these days with modern materials.. but older speakers.. eg.. my old B&O Beolabs have foam surrounds and these disintegrate over the years through motion, light and mositure. Newer speakers surrounds can suffer with glue softening or becoming brittle and coming loose

What else... the motor assembly.. the voice coils.. every time a cone moves, there may be some scraping as perfect alignment is almost impossible.. over time the insulation on the coils can get worn and then they do not work properly or end up scraping in the basket.. Also if overdriven.. the coils can get burnt out.. (you may have seen YT vids where people lightly push with 2 fingers either side of a cone to see if it scrapes, moves smoothly, or bounces back evenly when tapped.. this is what they are looking for)

What else can go wrong.. The crossover.. Resistors can burn out (overdriven etc) .. i did this once on my old B&W 330i's .. they had a pair of big ass 10W ceramic resistors in the crossover and i cracked them through too much current going into them via my old Harmon Karden amp lol
Capacitors can swell and break ...

That pretty much sums up what can go wrong really lol..

If it's electrical or moves :D

This is why firms like Falcon and Wilmslow offer services like re-cones, and crossover rebuilds.. and speaker services
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
If buying used speakers instead of new - how old is old?

Would 7 years be a problem?

I have my eye on a pair of KEF Refrence 5s which look pristine, but what can age on a speaker and how long does it take?

Just speaking from personal experience rather than a technical point of view, I would have no concerns buying a well looked after 7 year old pair of speakers. Currently I have 4 pairs of MA GR's, 4 GRLCR and 4 GRFX on the go, all working just fine and they stopped selling them 16 years ago so they are at least that old. Also still using a pair of Mission 753's from the 90's that have never been repaired and still doing fine although they get litte use.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Bought a pair of Rogers LS 4a speakers recently and despite the couriers best efforts to destroy them, I managed to get them working again (the veneer and cabinet will need some work though). These speakers are about 33 years old, and actually sound great. Still working nicely.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
My KEF R Series are now over seven years old, used almost every day in that time. Still play perfectly. The Reference 5s were an expensive speaker, beautifully made. I doubt that someone who could afford those would abuse them.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
If buying used speakers instead of new - how old is old?

Would 7 years be a problem?

I have my eye on a pair of KEF Refrence 5s which look pristine, but what can age on a speaker and how long does it take?

A pair of Kef reference speakers that young will still last twice as long. As will most modern speakers.

Abuse is what kills speakers more than time.

In twenty plus years you may be hearing slightly less than initial tolerance speakers. But that will still be likely enjoyable.

Keep them out of bright sunlight in summer and don’t smash the dial ever onwards every day. All will be fine indeed.
 

Flobs

Active Member
If buying used speakers instead of new - how old is old?

Would 7 years be a problem?

I have my eye on a pair of KEF Refrence 5s which look pristine, but what can age on a speaker and how long does it take?
I have Celsetion DL4's 1980's still going strong, Mordaunt short MS 3.50 1991 still the best speakers I've heard (my opinion of course and my ears), Davis DK170's 1996 still magic a pumping out rock. Some technics from late 1980's not my cup of tea but still in good working order.
'Rubber' parts can deteriorate and become brittle particularly if exposed to sunlight.
The stuff which mainy goes though is acoustic linings, they have a tendancy to slag, lose their volume and in some speakers this could be very important in others not a problem at all as they haven't got any.
So as far as I am concerned there's not much that can go wrong with a speaker that is kept within it's limits.
 

musicphil

Active Member
My MC 21 speakers are as old and still sound like they had just been run in.
7 years is nothing as long as they haven't been thrown around and abused .
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
Whats the saying? It isnt the age, its the miles.

Well looked after and in a good environment and not abused or full of spiders, then probably fine.

But a year in a cold damp garage, or a poor environment (smoker, open plan with kitchen in the same area can be bad as people often have at least one smokey moment or just a typical urban dusty environment etc).
 

Flobs

Active Member
Whats the saying? It isnt the age, its the miles.

Well looked after and in a good environment and not abused or full of spiders, then probably fine.

But a year in a cold damp garage, or a poor environment (smoker, open plan with kitchen in the same area can be bad as people often have at least one smokey moment or just a typical urban dusty environment etc).
I can assure you my spiders, geckos and smoking hasn't affected my speakers one bit, I don't even think my extremely dusty environment has either. Dusty shouldn't be a big problem in the UK as it rains so much. :laugh: but those damp environments could be a real bummer.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
My Martin Logan Spires are 11 years old, the Kef 104aB's in the office are 42 years old and playing as I write.

7 year old speakers will be fine if they have not been abused or maltreated, and should happily last a long time more.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
Some speakers have a worse reliability record than others. Suggest a Google to see if a disproportionate amount of problems have been reported by owners. Agree with others in that abuse/heavy use is the more likely cause of damage in a 7 year old speaker than the passing of time.
 

gava

Well-known Member
Yes, I've been looking closely at the pictures and there is clearly damage to one of the woofers, probably not enough to be audible, but it's a lot of money for a damaged speaker.
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
Yes, I've been looking closely at the pictures and there is clearly damage to one of the woofers, probably not enough to be audible, but it's a lot of money for a damaged speaker.

I would pass in that case.
 

Jason72

Active Member
Hi,
Although this might not be relevant to the thread it is however a true story. Just after I left School my father stood guarantor on a pair of speakers I decided to purchase. They were Cerwin Vega 211R's. I had them for many years before gifting them to my younger brother who eventually had to get re-coning kits for both speakers sent from America. He did the job himself and still has the speakers now. I'm now 66 which would make the speakers just under fifty years old.
Gregory
 

ShanePJ

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
I own a pair of Epos ES22's from 1996 (used daily), so depending upon what material the cones are made from and what level the speaker was, 7 years old shouldn't present an issue. You usually find that people who have spent that kind of money required on a pair Kef Reference will usually look after them (plus they'll have the toys to drive them correctly) making them a great second hand buy

My only concern is I look at replacing my Epos ES22 with the 203.2's and found them to be lacking in pace and dynamics which is why I still use them today as I've struggled to find a replacement which delivers everything I like about them
 

gava

Well-known Member
This is probably not going to have an audible effect, but I can't spend £7k on a speaker that looks like this. I would not be able to take my eyes off this.

1645712898895.png
 

T1berious

Member
I've got a pair of Castle Severn IT'S that I've had from 1999.

They've had a quiet life (initially my FR / FL in my AV setup and then into secondary systems, currently my study speakers) and at 23 years old still running fine (well, according to my ears).

I think if you look after them, you won't have much in the way of issues.

Of course, dry soldering may become an issue later down the line.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
This is probably not going to have an audible effect, but I can't spend £7k on a speaker that looks like this. I would not be able to take my eyes off this.

View attachment 1659153
£7K is about par for Reference 5's in good condition, which this isn't. What you could do is ask KEF what it would cost to replace the damaged drive, then make an offer that takes the repair cost into consideration.

I'd probably not pursue this path though. If the speaker has visible damage, I'd have no trust that there hasn't been further abuse. If I wanted to sell such a speaker, I'd likely get it repaired first, then sell it for this sort of cash.
 

harkpabst

Well-known Member
What else... the motor assembly.. the voice coils.. every time a cone moves, there may be some scraping as perfect alignment is almost impossible.. over time the insulation on the coils can get worn and then they do not work properly or end up scraping in the basket.
I disagree. Perfect and tumble-free alignment of voice coils is absolutely possible. I have build hundreds of woofers and midrange drivers with my own hands and I have inspected dozens and dozens of customer objections (different brands, there were almost no returns with the units me and my colleagues built). One thing that can cause damage is small metal splinters that went by unnoticed prior to charging the magnet (and that slipped QC). Apart from that in more than 99% of all cases overdriven voice coils have been the reason for failed drive units. Not covered by warranty, of course.

Another issue is humidity. Speakers made in Europe are often not suitable for use in tropical countries. I've seen steel parts of the magnet structure blooming to the extend where the efflorescence crystals would literally rub on the voice coil, indeed.

This is probably not going to have an audible effect, but I can't spend £7k on a speaker that looks like this. I would not be able to take my eyes off this.

View attachment 1659153
Did the seller have anything to say about it? Looking at the picture it seems unlikely this is just a photographic artefact, but well, just saying ...

Honestly, I couldn't live with that kind of blemish either.
 

RayP

Well-known Member
I bought my B&W CM4s and CMC back in 2000. No pets, no children and after driving them with an AVR for 20 years they’ve never sounded better since I bought a Naim XS3 two years ago.

One day I’ll advertise them here and someone will get a bargain.
 

tazzo1

Active Member
My speakers are 7 years old, and have been driven hard in the past. Before these I had a pair of Avondale Reference 1 speakers that were seventeen years old, no problem with the drivers. But there was only one very small capacitor in the crossover.

Might be an idea to check the capacitors over if buying speakers that are quite old.
 

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