Do vintage speakers degrade?

January 29, 2019
 by Paul McGowan

11 comments on “Do vintage speakers degrade?”

    1. No need to worry about the cross overs.
      The power supply of amplifiers utilise elco's (electrolytic caps), because of their ultra high capacity. But, these are not suitable for use in cross over. They are sensitive to polarity, meaning they cannot deal wit reverse voltages like AC signals that feed your speakers. The caps used in cross overs are typically foil dielectric caps. Elco's use a chemical substance that has a certain humidity as dielectric between the electrically conductive surfaces. When the substance drys out, which is a process over decades, rather than years, they need to be replaced. Foil does not so easily loose it's dielectric properties, if it looses it at all (depending on the material).

      1. I think many crossovers use bipolar electrolytic capacitors, which do degrade over time with very audible consequences. A 're-cap' of an aging crossover is one of the best ways to revitalize an aging speaker.

  1. While some don't leave the supplied speaker screens off because it might influence the sound they produce or they cosier looking at the drivers is attractive, these actually protect the drivers from their worst enemy: UV light, the bead, or flexible rim is typically made from very soft rubber and probable the most stressed and wearing part if the drivers. UV light for any material breaks down the weak makers that are a vital part of soft rubber, ie. it makes it brittle. Of course at which point the material is capable of handling the movement and stress anymore and breaks. It's not humidity, not necessarily temperature, UV light is the biggest contribution, obviously temperature and humidity variations are catalysts of the nasty ageing process. Rubber says in best condition when treated with talcum powder, yes the same stuff that you put on you beloved babies behind and off corse with the covers on the speaker preventing as much exposure to UV light as possible.

  2. I've heard a lot of hifi systems (including IRS in Hong Kong), and my current vintage gear aces all but the multi-tens of thousand dollars systems. My Yamaha NS1000 speakers come from the 1970s which makes them forty+ years old. I'm driving them right now with hyper-new Chord Qutest DAC and old as your grandfather Spectral pre- and power amps. And I just LOVE everything about them -- dynamics, presence, tone.
    Some fans of the Yammys (and there are many) have upgraded components of the crossovers and reported not much improvement.

  3. Hi Paul,
    you talked abut that also spiders deteriorate over time.
    That is why I asked a long time ago why these pises are still used in drivers en at a time when producion precision has moved to a degree where these thing should normally be obsolete to prevent the coils to get in contact with the magnet and he deflection of the cone is controlled by excellent amplifiers.
    What do you think?

    1. auto-correction is annoying 😉
      Hi Paul,
      you talked about the fact that also spiders deteriorate over time.
      That is why I asked a long time ago why these pieces are still used in drivers at a time when production precision has moved to a degree where these thing should normally be obsolete to prevent the coils to get in contact with the magnet and the deflection of the cone is controlled by excellent amplifiers.
      What do you think?

      1. I cannot imagine how the end of the cone would be kept in place without the spider. Maybe I am just being dense this morning but it seems to me there would be nothing to center the voice coil in the gap without it. What am I missing?

Leave a Reply

Stop by for a tour:
Mon-Fri, 8:30am-5pm MST

4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301
1-800-PSAUDIO

Join the hi-fi family

Stop by for a tour:
4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

Join the hi-fi family

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram