Old audio equipment that was made in the early stages of audio technology is always being sought after by both collectors and audio producers that understand their value.
For example vintage tape recording machines are in high demand because of their ability to record audio clearly.
Not only analog machines are in demand, vintage speakers are another thing that is sought after by most…this then brings up the question of whether speakers get better with age or not…..
This post will therefore discuss this..
Without wasting too much time,
Do speakers get better with age?
Speakers don’t get better with age. They sound the best at their peak which is after running them in after you purchase them.
But you’ll most likely be able to notice when they begin to sound wrong.
Speaker quality may deteriorate over time depending on a number of things.
You can however expect years of good music from your speakers. Some components of the speakers may need periodic maintenance while other parts may generally last for decades.
Speakers wear out over an extended period of usage.
Speaker parts such as the surround, cone, capacitor in the crossover, and ferrofluid in some tweeters degrade over time, and this reduces the overall sound quality which is why speaker’s don’t really age well or get better with time.
With that said, let’s into some of these components.
The surround is basically the part that is found on the edge of the speaker’s cone.
It makes up the material that attaches the cone to the chassis of a speaker. The surround is the determinant of how far the speaker cones travel.
The surround basically absorbs the energy left over in the cone when it reaches its limit.
Being the part that is most exposed to elements, the surround is usually the first speaker part to wear out. This part is made from materials like foam, rubber and butyl.
The crossover’s responsibility inside a speaker is to function as a tool that splits audio into two or more ranges of frequency so that it is sent to the speaker driver designed to play those specific frequencies.
It is quite a crucial component.
For example, the crossover will filter out audio frequencies below 200Hz, which will then be sent to the subwoofer because it is responsible for handling low frequencies….the crossover will additionally filter out frequencies above 2kHz, which will be sent to the tweeters which are designated to handle high frequencies.
Crossovers achieve this with the help of resistors, inductors, and, capacitors.
However, capacitors wear out over time.
Capacitors in a crossover may deteriorate due to a number of reasons, including aging, materials wearing out, or even mechanical damage. There’s really no way to hold this off because it’s going to happen eventually.
Ferrofluid is not as popular today but it was used in almost all tweeters made in the early 90s…However some manufacturers still use them today.
Incase you’re wondering what ferrofluid is, it is simply a fluid that has magnetic particles colloidally suspended through it.
It is used in tweeters as a means to dampen the resonance and cool the voice coil.
Ferrofluid is also responsible for improving the quality of sound.
After a while ferrofluid dries up and only leaves magnetic particles in the tweeter. Which in turn causes a lot of problems.
Like choking the tweeter’s voice coil and preventing it from moving. This in turn kills the tweeters and the speaker output becomes bad.
Speaker cones are usually made of light material like paper, plastic, aramid fiber, and sometimes metal.
These materials don’t easily wear out but exposure to certain conditions in the environment can weaken them over time.
Factors that affect speaker quality over time
Below are the main factors that have a huge impact on the quality of a speaker.
The materials used to make the speaker have a number of effects on both the life span of the speaker and the quality over time.
A speaker will easily lose its sound quality over time and may even fail mechanically unless the material used in it’s construction are of high quality.
There are different speakers made to perform different functions.
For example… Speakers meant for audiophiles like sound engineers will last you a long time with good care and maintenance.
Such flat frequency speakers are literally engineered to provide you a consistent sound over an extended period of time.
You can’t really expect them to sound better over time.
However, improving the acoustics of the room in which they’re used can improve the overall sound quality of the speakers.