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Do speakers wear out over time?

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  • Do speakers wear out over time?

    I've never heard that speakers wear out over time.

    If anything.... I've heard that their tone improves with age and use.

    I've always assumed that, if treated well, speakers could pretty much last forever...... or at least a lifetime.

    But on page 106 of the new Guitar World (the one with Chickenfoot on the cover) there's an article where the author Anthony "Big Tony" Lucas states:

    "Let's start by considering some reasons why you might want or need to change the existing speaker in your amp. Perhaps you have an older amp that doesn't produce the tone it used to. The speakers may just be spent. Speakers have a life span and can wear out over time. Replacing them with stock components can revive your sound."

    I've never heard this before and I'm curious if anyone else has.

    Of course............ it's not like I need to worry about it. By the time the speakers in my Marshall 1960AV cab "wear out" I'm gonna be too old to play gigs anyway.
    "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans..."
    - John Lennon
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  • #2
    Are you serious?

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    • #3
      I guess I'm serious....... I'm just asking a question.

      I've never heard that speakers wear out. Now I see an article in the new Guitar World where the guy says speakers wear out.

      I'm posting to see if anyone else has ever heard this.
      "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans..."
      - John Lennon
      Videos of me playing guitar!

      My original music


      Stupid, meaningless HC clubs I'm a PROUD member of:
      Epiphone Empire
      F-Holes (Semi-Hollow and Hollowbody owners)
      Marshall Circle of Tone
      SG ARMY

      Comment


      • #4
        They just mellow out with time. Magnets do this also (speakers have magnets in them, after all), but it's over decades if not centuries. I've heard people say the wood in cabinets get better tones from being vibrated for years and years. I have no idea whether or not I think that REALLY makes any sense. but this sounds like jargon to sell speakers to me.
        Move along people, nothing to see here.

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        • #5
          I have a 35+ year old cab with original speakers and it is the best sounding cab i have.
          amps
          Engl fireball
          ht-20 combo
          blackstar HT-5
          Peavey Classic 50H
          Baez 100 something
          cabs
          engl slant (V30 one)
          marshall 1960a
          classic 4x12 tweed
          E-tone 1x12
          Baez 4x12
          guitars
          Shecter Blackjack 08
          Schecter Classic Blue
          Schecter Elite vintage white
          LTD M-302 natural finish
          my vids of shred
          http://www.youtube.com/user/gtjumper

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          • #6
            Makes sense to me that they would wear out. Why not? Everything else does.. strings, frets, tubes, cables, guitar finish...etc It realy just depends on how you use and abuse em. Jumper is righ though i had some 30yr old speakers in an old 4x12 that sounded pretty sweet.
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            • #7
              Of course.

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              • #8
                I think they can/do wear out, but that's generally either from abuse or takes longer than the technology we mostly use has been around. I mean what're the oldest loud speakers people actually use? 1960's?

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                • #9
                  It's cardboard and glue, yes, they will eventually wear out and need reconed. Old glue gets brittle, old cardboard starts to decompose over time. If you keep your amps in a fairly warm and dry (~50% humidity) environment they will last longer, cold and/or high humidity is not so great for them. Rule of thumb is not to store your amps anywhere you wouldn't be comfortable sleeping,temperature and humidity-wise.
                  "I swear I'm not a drinkin' man. But there he was, plain as day. Big friendly eyes, repeated everything ya said, didn't know what milk was. A Real Square Little Fellow, Not From Around Here"

                  -Sheriff Luger Axehandle
                  Heater County, California

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                  • #10
                    Makes sense to me that they would wear out. Why not? Everything else does.. strings, frets, tubes, cables, guitar finish...etc It realy just depends on how you use and abuse em. Jumper is righ though i had some 30yr old speakers in an old 4x12 that sounded pretty sweet.


                    Everything you listed gets some kind of physical use. Frets get hammered, strings stretched cables get tossed around guitar finishes get scratched and buckled. And though there is MOVEMENT in a speaker...it's almost magic movement, as in "floating" magnetics.

                    I would think that with "normal" usage, a speaker can last at LEAST a lifetime. There's still old radios that work perfectly.

                    Have you ever seen inside a fried speaker? Or seen a recone? There's not much to it.

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                    • #11
                      Everything wears out over time... especially when used by humans.

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                      • #12
                        I don't know. Do they change with time and lots of use? Yes, absolutely.
                        Does that count as 'wearing out'? I don't know. Not to my ears.

                        The best sounding speaker I've used is a 35 year old Celestion G12H-30. It sounds very different to new G12H-30's and to my ears it's nicer. YMMV.
                        Originally Posted by Uma Floresta


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                        Originally Posted by Tralfaz



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                        • #13
                          Personally I think speakers sort of peak in sound ...then get worse. The paper cone gets all weak and flabby. The sound kind of gets mushy and it loses high end. The clean sounds suffer. When a speaker is brand new, there is a short time where the sound will improve as the cone and other components settle into the job of reproducing guitar sounds....and then there will be years of good service. But after years you might want to get a recone or newer speaker to get that "pillow stuffed in your amp" sound out.

                          But I'm not one of those guys who thinks a 50 year old speaker is tone heaven and willing to spend huge $$$ for that.
                          "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

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                          • #14
                            Personally I think speakers sort of peak in sound ...then get worse. The paper cone gets all weak and flabby. The sound kind of gets mushy and it loses high end. The clean sounds suffer. When a speaker is brand new, there is a short time where the sound will improve as the cone and other components settle into the job of reproducing guitar sounds....and then there will be years of good service. But after years you might want to get a recone or newer speaker to get that "pillow stuffed in your amp" sound out.

                            But I'm not one of those guys who thinks a 50 year old speaker is tone heaven and willing to spend huge $$$ for that.


                            +1

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                            • #15
                              some materials they used for older speakers wear out. my hifi speakers are from the early 70s and i had to replace the rotted foam that attaches the cones to the frame, not sure if they ever used that stuff for guitar speakers.

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