The longevity of PS Audio speakers

January 10, 2023
 by Paul McGowan

8 comments on “The longevity of PS Audio speakers”

  1. Speaker longevity has been on my mind this past year. I had my 35-year old KEF 107 speakers refurbed last summer. Two of the three things the shop did worked out great: the refoam of the woofers restored my long lost bass and replacing all the caps was probably responsible for restoring ‘punch’ (and maybe improved coherence between the speakers?). But the tweeter replacement was unsatisfactory: some of the treble voices are weaker than before, there’s a thin reediness at a certain frequency range and, worst, I occasionally hear a distortion something like clipping at certain frequencies. I’m not to the bottom of it yet, but I wonder if the crossover required adjustment which the shop couldn’t do to accommodate the new tweeters – maybe the midrange and tweeter are both covering the troublesome frequency range, with ill effect. (Fwiw, one of the old tweeters was destroyed while removing the dried-out ferrofluid lubricant, which I had been warned would be risky. I was assured and reassured that the inexpensive replacement tweeters, which the shop had used on many KEF restorations, would be satisfactory.)

  2. @Sirdodo,
    Excellent speaker! I sold many in the mid-80s.

    I had Ref 103.3s in my smaller space for years – another sweet sounding model.

    Best of luck with your continuing restoration.

  3. I owned two pairs of Celestion – ‘Ditton 66’ floorstanders (Made in England)
    The older of the pair were manufactured in 1977 (I bought them second-hand in 1989) & when I sold them in December 2018 the butyl-rubber surrounds were still in virtually new condition, however, I did use a liquid butyl-rubber conditioner (ArmorAll) in the last six years that I owned them.
    When I sold them, they worked & sounded as if they were still brand-new, probably better…all original parts, even in the cross-overs…I did rewire them earlier.
    I couldn’t even see any micro-cracking in the surrounds after 41 years of service.

    Back in the day, American loudspeakers almost exclusively used to use foam-rubber (mainly foam) surrounds that would generally completely disintegrate after 15 years of service.

  4. DIY I built speakers with KEF chassis around 1975 the woofer cone sourrounding was somekind of black rubber which lasts almost forever until I sold these after 30 years. Some good companies used later foam for this and after 20 years all was gone. Sad times for the owners. Especially when original chassis were not available anymore. For tweeters and some midrange fabric domes were used which seem to keep standing the times. But there sometimes the small wire to the voicecoil breaks which I had on some of them. Luckily my current speakers from 1986 are still working perfect. No foam.

  5. Another speaker longevity issue is situational. Grandkids and cats. The latter ripped three holes in the foam an my ANE/Lexus speaker. Got it repaired and picking it up today. The perp was one of two cats, neither are “ratting” out. The new cover look nice. Happy to have tunes again.

  6. It’s one thing to put your money on proven technology, either on its own, or as a basis for developing new hybrids, but you’re still stepping out on an unknowable limb when you adopt or develop something completely new. One example that comes to mind is the finish material on the satellites in Henry Kloss’s old Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble system. It was some new wonder material called (if memory serves) “Nextel.” It had a very nice matte finish, and a cool suede-like hand, but within 10-15 years in a normal home environment it turned into a sticky, adhesive mess. You couldn’t touch it without your fingers coming away with a dark gray sludge you’d have to scrub off your skin. I’m sure it never occurred to them that the quality most affecting the longevity of their product was the material they chose to finish the enclosure.

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