Its (not "it's"=it is) life expectation is infinite -- within scientific limits of error.
Assuming the speaker has been well treated up till now, that is: check the drive units, their surrounds, the sound (is there homogeneity between the two spkrs); if possible, get someone to check the dc resistance of the drivers, just in case. Regards
Good tips mentioned . I also think you should do a gut check and get a feel of who you are dealing with and the honesty and true info you get from the buyer is real important..Anything can happen down the road,but in most cases a 10 year old speaker ( under normal conditions ) is not a problem.........Simply because the speaker has lasted 10 years has to say something for the quality built in.......
The main issue is if any of the speaker parts have been replaced. If so, was it done by the manufacturer, and are the new parts matched to the old.
Second is if the woofer surrounds are rotting. Rubber surrounds usually last well beyond 10 years. Foam surrounds last around seven. Both types can be replaced.
And yeah, speakers can last a very long time. Plenty of folks still use 40/50 year old speakers.
I've got a pair of 23-year-old Ohm Walsh 5's that sound
as good as new.
Just like with 10 year old cars, you have to take it on a case by case basis. One owner is a good sign. There are forty year old speakers that have been in the same room their entire lives and three year old units that have shipped cross country 4 times already.
The best advice above is to consider the seller as a strong indicator of what you are buying.
What are you looking at?
Many speakers can be easily damaged by being overdriven - and it does not always result in catastrophic failure but could mean you have a tweeter that sounds like there is "sand" in it - some have been blown up and may have been repaired incorrectly.
Provided the previous owner was careful then you should be ok. 10 years is roughly half its useful life (they can and do last much longer than 20 years). Eventually dings and scratches make the cabinet unacceptable. When you have a failure it may make it more difficult to find parts if you have an old model- so choose something popular or a speaker for which parts are still being made or a speaker that is still made (so drivers are available)! Avoid manufacturers with dozens of models and new designs with different drivers every two years...I mean you have to ask yourself why they change designs all the time or why last years model was so bad that it is now replaced with a super amazing incredibly 10x better model. (These speakers are more like fashionable clothing - since everything is outsourced - they change designs not because they need to - but because they depend on new models for sales)
Despite every new model that comes out being the new "cat's whiskers" the reality is that careful selection of an older classic speaker can get you tremendous sound for much better value - in many cases it can get you better sound than the current "hyped" model which is soon to be yesterdays experiment.
Replacement drivers are my only worry when I buy old speakers.
My speakers are 16 years old, and I know they will need some amount of repair some day...but the parts are there, so I don't worry about it.
My JSE's are from 1986 and still perform flawlessly, I think if the tweets aren't damaged and the surrounds are OK, you are fine buying old speakers.
Dave is right. Parts are key, considering many higher end designs (especially over the last 10-15 years) were designed with proprietary drivers. If these companies fail accessing the oem parts is a crap shoot at best.
...more My Speakers are...
My kef 104s were new in 1978. i replaced the tweeters in 1989.
My rogers studio ones were purchased in london in 1986.
They look brand new and sound like a well aged martin guitar.
there's tons of good advice here, but here's my two cents worth.
If the maker is around see if they support the model that interests you. Some stop support at five years out of production... some further. BW Nautilus went out 10 years after production... other BW models went only 5.
Check to see.
If the company isnn't around let's hope the drivers & xover parts still are and you're handy with a soldering iron and so forth.
If neither of the above are in force.... I'm pretty sure I'll pass on the whole deal.
My Phase tech two ways are 30 this year, but were 100% refitted two years ago at the Phase Tech plant. they were a gift in the first place... but I called the maker to see about the aspect of support, anyhow. two weeks of playing and one speaker died.
Professor Gregm, a very brief edit of some of your previous literary works has yielded some rather elementary errors: (i.e.: from your posts: favourite & placementt). Good call on its though!
I have had many vintage speakers from B&W, JBL and Klipsch. All capacitors (in the crossovers) wear out in about 20 years, even if the speakers are not being used. They are very easy to replace if you know how to solder. However, some speaker manufacturers make it impossible to replace capacitors.
Sonus Faber encases their entire crossover network in a hard casing so the entire network needs to be replaced.
Some speakers have problems with the drivers wearing out. Klipsch drivers (relatively cheap drivers made by EV and othe rmanufacturers) will last forever. The drivers do not move much and they just last. If they ever go out they are very easy to replace and inexpensive (about $130 for new woofers).
Vintage JBL are notorious for speaker surrounds wearing out. They need to be refoamed about every 15 years.
My vintage B&W's had their surrounds become unglued. It was an easy fix to reglue them.
Some speakers will have the spider wear out on the woofer (the thing that holds the back of the woofer suspension) and sometimes very old magnets get demagnetized.
The finish is a personal thing. If they were cared for they will stay in good shape. I had a 20 year old pair of JBL's that I bought new. I oiled them every few years and when I sold them they looked like they were brand new.
The Watt Puppy's that you are interested in should stay in good shape. Maid's are known for hitting speakers with the vacuum so check the bottoms for marks. The drivers on Watt Puppy's are not that difficult to obtain. I think that they hide their crossovers to make sure that you can repalce the capacitors.
In your price range take a good look at B&W N802's and Eggleston Andra I's. Each is very servicable. The Andra I should be very easy to drive too (a few hundred watts) so amplifier choice can be budget minded. I think the Andra I's had problems with the woofer surrounds wearing out but that is an easy fix and not very expensive.
Find out where you can get those speakers repaired if necessary. And If they're over 50 lbs., figure out the cost of moving/schlepping them for repair if necessary.
I had a set of B&W M802's; one started failing. Not sure if it was a crossover, or a driver, or both, etc. The cost to have them picked up & redelivered was @$70 each way I think. Plus the cost of repairs.They were killers to schlep, even with 2 people, & I sold them as-is & (Happily) moved on.
Components that are light enough to ship, & with a mfg. that does affordable repairs, are a different matter.....
"up till now..."
So, the speakers were buried in a corn field? It's not "till", it's properly spelled "until". If you're going to be pedantic, it's best you be correct in your postings, too...