You might be looking for a great deal on a second speaker, or you might just want to know if your set of speakers still sounds as good as the day you bought them.
Many audiophiles and music lovers have been interested in how speakers break down or get worse for years.
As one of these people, it was up to me to do research and find a clear answer to this question. So, here’s what I found out.
Do speakers degrade over time? Yes, in a word. Over time, speakers do degrade. Some tweeters have parts that break down over time, like the surround, cone, crossover capacitor, and ferrofluid. This makes the speakers sound worse overall.
Some component speakers lose their sound more quickly than others. And as these parts break down, the speakers’ sound quality as a whole gets worse. So, in the sections that follow, we’ll look at the parts of a speaker that break down over time and then talk about the things that cause that to happen.
We’ll talk about where to get new parts for the worn-out speaker later on in the text. I’ll also tell you how to keep your speakers in good shape so they last for years. Let us begin.
What is the lifespan of a speaker crossover?
Putting on Speaker Parts
Most parts of a speaker wear out very slowly. Even if you use them for a few years, you probably won’t notice any big changes. However, some parts get worse over time. Even though there aren’t many of them, they make a big difference in how the speaker does. Let’s look at these old component speakers more closely.
Speakers All Around
The area around the cone of a speaker is called the “surround.” It is the thing that holds the cone of the speaker to the chassis. How far the speaker cones go is set by the speaker’s frame. Also, when the cone reaches its limit, it takes in the rest of the energy in the cone.
If you think this is all nonsense, you can read my short explanation of how a speaker works.
Most of the time, the surrounds are the first part of a speaker to break. Because they are out in the elements more than anything else on this list. The most common materials used to make surrounds are foam and butyl rubber.
Foam surrounds are the most likely to break down over time. They tend to get tougher over time. When they get hard, they get brittle and break.
Because of how butyl rubber is made, speaker surrounds made of it last much longer than those made of foam. First of all, it is much more flexible than foam, can be used in a wide range of temperatures, and can stand up to the sun, water, and many chemical reactions.
Even though butyl rubber has many benefits, it wears down over time. After years of use, they become dry and hard.
When the environment around the speaker starts to get worse, you will hear a difference in the sound quality. The first thing you’ll notice about the speaker is how messed up it sounds. Also, the way the speaker responds to different frequencies will change.
Sometimes the change in sound quality is so big that you’ll notice it right away. In other cases, the difference in sound will be small enough that you won’t notice it until you listen to speakers of the same model that are brand new.
Crossover Capacitor splits the audio signal into two or more frequency ranges so that each range can be sent to a speaker driver that is best for that frequency range. For example, the crossover will remove frequencies below 200Hz before sending them to the subwoofers and frequencies above 2kHz before sending them to the tweeters.
Crossovers use resistors, inductors, and, most importantly, capacitors to do this. On the other hand, capacitors get worse over time.
In a crossover, capacitors can break down for a number of reasons, such as age, material wear, and mechanical damage. This will happen eventually, so there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
When a crossover capacitor wears out, the way a speaker responds to different frequencies changes. It could also cause problems with the way the music is phased.
When a crossover capacitor fails, luckily, it doesn’t mean that your speaker is dead. That’s because you can buy kits with a new crossover capacitor to replace a worn-out one.
Tweeters with ferrofluid
In the early 1990s, almost all tweeters were made with ferrofluid. Even though they aren’t as common as they used to be, a few companies still use them. If you don’t know what a “ferrofluid” is, it’s just a liquid that has tiny magnetic particles mixed in it.
Ferrofluid is used in a tweeter to cut down on resonance and cool the voice coil. In general, it helps improve the sound quality and keeps the voice coil from getting too hot.
The bad thing about ferrofluid is that it dries out. After ten to twenty years, the ferrofluid in a tweeter will evaporate, leaving only the magnetic particles in the tweeter.
It can lead to a whole bunch of problems. The most common reason is that the magnetic particles left over after the fluid dries can get stuck in the tweeter’s voice coil and stop it from moving. This means that the tweeter will stop working, and when that happens, your speakers will start to sound dull. It can’t play all those high frequencies because it won’t be able to.
Paper, plastic, aramid fiber, and sometimes metal are used to make speaker cones. Even though these are strong materials, there are some things in the environment that could cause them to break down over time.
For example, aramid fiber cones don’t work well when it’s humid outside. Because they take in water from the air around them. They get weaker and worse as time goes on. Paper cones act the same way.
Sunlight’s UV rays could also hurt the speaker cones if they are exposed to them for a long time.
Factors Contributing to Speaker Degradation
There are two main things that cause speakers to break down over time. And you need to know about them. Let us begin.
1.The materials that are used to make component speakers
Not every speaker has the same parts. Each speaker maker decides what materials will be used to make the parts of the speaker. Most of the choices for what to use depend on how much money you have and how much the speakers will cost in the end.
There’s no question that some materials last longer than others. For example, I’ve already said that butyl rubber is a much better material than foam for speaker surrounds. That’s because it will take a lot longer to get worse.
In the same way, some companies use cheap capacitors in their crossovers, which fail a lot faster than high-quality, expensive capacitors. Cheap capacitors will work well for a certain amount of time. The materials used to make expensive, high-quality capacitors make them much better made, and they lose their charge slowly.
This idea is not just about where the speakers and crossover capacitor are. It’s true for all the materials that are used to make the different parts of a speaker.
2.Speakers from the local area are kept.
How quickly the parts wear out depends a lot on where you store and use your speakers.
As I’ve already said, speakers don’t usually work well in direct sunlight. The sun’s UV rays can damage the cones or grill cloth on speakers over time.
Also, strong sunlight can heat the voice coil, which can cause it to overheat and catch fire while the speaker is in use. I think this article about why speakers get too hot will be interesting to you. Feel free to look through it.
I think you should check to see if your speakers are in the direct sunlight. You don’t want the sun to shine in through the windows and hit your speakers or other audio/video equipment. Also, storing your speakers in a place with a lot of moisture could speed up their wear and tear.
Moisture can damage not only the cones and the area around them, but also the metal parts of the speaker. Moisture could cause a short circuit, which could hurt the power amplifier or the speaker drivers. Read my post to find out how cold and wet weather affects speakers.
The use of heating radiators is another thing that can hurt speakers over time. Don’t get me wrong: putting speakers in a room with a radiator is not a bad idea. They should be fine as long as the radiator doesn’t give off too much heat.
But I found out that a lot of people put their speakers near heating radiators, which could be a problem. The most common problem is that the speaker cabinet, surround, or cones change shape over time, which hurts the sound quality.
How long do most speakers last?
Speakers can last anywhere from 10 to 50 years or even longer before they start to wear out. The main things that affect how long a speaker will last are the materials used to make it, the environment in which it is used, and the power amp that runs it.
It’s common knowledge that some speakers are better made and can withstand a wider range of outside conditions for a longer time than the speaker cabinet. In the same way, speakers made of cheap materials will stop working quickly when put in harsh conditions.
In the end, environmental factors have a big effect on how long a speaker’s performance lasts. But the materials used to make the speaker are a big part of how long it will last before it starts to break down.
Replace Speaker Parts That Have Been Used Up
Even if your speakers get worse, that doesn’t mean they’re done being useful. Every part of the speaker that wears out over time can be replaced with a new one. So, if you find that your speaker sounds terrible, don’t throw it away right away.
The surround is one of the easiest parts of a speaker to find when you need to replace it. Of course, this is because the speaker’s area usually gets worse the fastest and most often.
You can also buy a new crossover capacitor to replace the one that is breaking down. The high-quality capacitor in the OCR Electrolytic Capacitor Kit is perfect for any crossover.
Even though you’ll get a huge number of capacitors, you’ll eventually find one with the same rating as your old, broken one. When you switch out the old capacitor for the new one, you will hear a big difference in how well your speakers sound.
How to Take Care of Speakers
Here are some tips on how to keep your speakers in good shape for a long time. If you follow these tips, your speakers will sound like new for a long time before they start to break down.
- Keep speakers out of direct heat or sunlight.
- Keep the speakers somewhere dry and not humid.
- Keep the area around the speakers clean of dust.
- Make sure the speakers have enough airflow.
How Do I Keep My Speakers Dust-Free?
As was already said, dust is the biggest enemy of the speakers. Dust builds up in the connections between the wires, which makes it hard for electricity to move from the source to the speaker.
You have to clean them often and very carefully. The best tools for cleaning are dust pads, dry towels, and air canisters. But it is not a good idea to use drinks.
How Long Speakers: F.A.Q’s
Do crossovers for speakers degrade over time?
Yes, in a nutshell. Over time, speakers will lose their sound quality. Some parts of speakers, like the surround, cone, crossover capacitor, and ferrofluid in some tweeters, break down over time, causing the speakers to sound worse overall.
How should a crossover be fixed when it goes wrong?
If you are having trouble and want to get in touch with us or try to fix your system on your own, please start by opening CrossOver. After that, go to the Help menu and choose System Information. This will give you an instant report on what CrossOver sees on your system, including any problems that our diagnostic tool finds.
Can things go wrong with cross-overs?
Most of the time, it’s the capacitors that break, and you can usually tell because the housing gets bent in some way. Is it true that people who speak get better as they age?
The good news is that your speakers will definitely sound better after the initial break-in period. In fact, you might want to do this step right away if you want to get the most out of your speakers. Both types of music can sometimes push the listener to their limits.
The Bottom Line: How Long Do Speakers Last?
Most of the time, speakers get worse as they get older. Some parts of the speaker are not impossible to break. And as they get older, they change how well the speaker sounds. But just because a speaker says no, it doesn’t mean the end of their life. Almost every part of the speaker that has worn out has a replacement part.