Age. Foam surrounds are notorious for just falling apart at a certain point, regardless of how they're used. Some say ozone, but whatever, doesn't matter, point is not your fault they just fall apart. This is so well known and common you can get just about anything re-done with a rubber surround, as long as the driver wasn't played long enough/loud enough to have damaged the voice coil.
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I'll have to look into that. Might see how that turns out and if it's a fail then.... I had to get replacement tweeters for a friend from Paradigm 2 years ago for same age speakers. They had them in stock but only sold in a pair. Only 75 bucks. Even if they have these drivers still available, or ones that would work, I'm sure they'd be considerably more bucks, esp if sold in a pair.
Bringing this thread back to life with an update... having a 2 yr old put a hiatus on the fix. Removed the driver. Turns out the (forgive my lack of technical speak here) metal housing ’frame’ had completely broken away from the speaker portion. Thus the cantilevered weight of the magnet in the cabinet caused the foam surround to concave on itself. My guess is it was knocked over at some point, maybe in shipping, and then frame cracked. Then eventually broke proper.
For giggles, and knowing it wouldn’t sound perfect, I tried to jb weld it but the surface area of the metal was so thin and touching the foam that it was a failure before launch.
Called Paradigm and they still had 10 new old stock mid drivers. Picked one up for $275 including shipping. Now ideally I’d get a pair but by that point I’d be over my threshold/ on the way to a new pair of speaks.
Ran tunes through them 24/7 for 3.5 weeks straight to break it in. Sounds just like I remember. If there’s any difference between the pair I can’t pick it up.
Next time make sure you get speakers with butyl rubber surrounds. They last considerably longer. As far as the magnet separating from the basket is concerned it was most likely a defective weld. If a metal part cracked defective metallurgy would be to blame. I have never seen or heard of a sub woofer driver doing this never mind a much less stressed mid range driver. This driver was defective from the start. It just took a while for it to fail. I would not blame it on shipping. The weakest part of the speaker is the enclosure. A blow hard enough to do that to the mid range driver would surely damage the enclosure and the speaker would have been bad out of the box not years later.