Do loudspeakers need to be Refurbished?

My speakers, a 4 way unit were built by a high end manufacturer in Belgium in 1983. Speakers are still great. However, as I read all the new reviews of great speakers I was thinking two things.
Do I need a new speaker? How much progress has speakers made in 15 years.
Do I need to replave some of the speaker units? Do speakers get old over time? I guess so. Maybe woofers, midranges, or tweeters go faster.
I have no expereince in this area and have never read about anyone talking about.
In the eighteen years since you bought those speakers there has been quite a bit of technology put into the design and construction of speakers. This technology includes both the drivers and cabinets. A great deal of this technology is based on the use of cpmputers for research, design and manfacture. In the end however, the top manfacturers still "design by ear". This is something that has not changed in eighteen years. The question of weather to buy new speakers is a personl choice. Certainly, new speakers will sound different and in some cases will perform certan aspect of music reproduction better. Additionally, some performance aspects may not be better. If you are happy with the sound of the speakers and they still satisfy your listening requirements then perhaps new speakers are not in order. The best way to determine weather new speakers are in order is to listen, but you already know this. In the event you choose to explore new speakers keep one thing in mind sounding different does not necesserily mean sounding better. You have a product you have grown very accostumed to listening to. A new apeaker will sound different, but is it better? Is it something you want to listen to for another eighteen years? Audiogon members will provide many recommendations on which speakers to try/listen to/buy. This is a great place to start by asking that qustion. You can also look back at some recent threads asking that question and get a good start there. As far as speakers getting old goes, they do age. The first thing to do is remove the grills and look at the surrounds. This is a rubber or foam piece that wraps around the drivers near the edge of the cone and attaches the cone to the frame. If it is crumbling or dried out and cracked then driver replacement is in order. Look at the cone for the same thing. I suspect that replacing the drivers with new quality high end drivers will be cheaper than new speakers, but trying to match the drivers to the cabinets may be a rather large challenge, it may be fun too though. If you choose this route you should probably change the crossover as well. I believe Dynaudio sells drivers, check their website There are also several magazines devoted to speaker building that you could try and several books on speaker building have been published. Good Luck, Doug
All speakers (drivers), regardless of brand name, fatigue with age. That is, the voice coils on the drivers sag which affects the sound quality. This will occur in virtually every driver (speaker) that is 10 to 20 years old. The obvious remedy is to replace the drivers (the least expensive method) with ones of the same size and impedence.
You will notice a difference in sound, and the new drivers will more closely approximate the sound of the speakers when they were new. There are lots of websites and retailers who can supply the new drivers, perhaps even better quality than the ones you have now. Here is one place to start:
I have noticed that in just the last 5-6 years speakers have made a tremendous leap in price/performance. Especially in mid/upper drivers. I listened to a set of $5000 quad usa monitors the other day. As usual, their midrange was excellent. It used to be that nothing could touch a quad for midrange. It struck me that now there are quite a few speakers that accomplish a similar quality midrange. Speakers with conventional drivers ! Go shopping and see what you like.
Is it possible to store drivers so they will stay 'fresh' in order to replace your speakers' drivers years from now?
The things that change the most in speakers would be their suspension and capacitors in the crossover. Inductors (coils) should remain constant unless something drastic has happened to them. I do agree that the biggest breakthroughs in "modern" speakers has been primarily in midrange performance along with spacial characteristics. Other than replacing drivers and altering cabinet design, i don't know of any way to "keep up" with modern designs. In terms of keeping your speakers as fresh as possible without major surgery, someone i know that took measurements of speakers over a long period of time suggested the following to me. Since most of what fatigues the actual drivers in the speaker is physical and due to both aging and gravity, try "helping" it along 50% of the way. Since you can't reverse aging, all we can do is minimize it's effects. He suggested rotating the drivers on the baffle 45* every year or so. This will help to keep the voice coil centered while also changing the stress points on the suspension. While this would primarily effect the spider, the surround could only benefit from this little trick. The only "kink" to this trick is that not all drivers have symetrical mounting holes, so you might have to rotate them by 180* or so. His contention was that this was still better than nothing and would show benefits down the road compared to if you left the driver as it was from the factory. Of course the obvious consideration of sealing the driver and wearing out the threaded holes need to be taking into consideration any time this it done. Once you've made a complete rotation, you could simply rotate the speaker in the opposite direction. This would keep the internal wiring from wrapping around itself inside the cabinet. Hope this is "food for thought" for some of you. Sean

I think Sean has a great idea (wish I'd thought of it). Another bit of information: there are companies out there that are able to replace the surround (and the spider I imagine) of various drivers. I've not tried any of these services before. Perhaps others at AudiogoN have? That said, it seems that this would be cheaper than replacing the drivers in your speakers and help retain more of the sound that you've enjoyed for so many years.
Thanks, everyone for your responses. My base reflex speakers were called by one review - the best speaker in the world in 1984. If I can replace old drivers for $ 1,000 I get away a lot cheaper than the cost of buying a new pair. My speakers were $ 5000 in 1984. I am guessing the same quality would be twice that today.
Since speakers are furniture, more so than the rest of the stereo system I would like to keep the cabinets. The elements in my speakers are Audax (tweeter), KEF woofer etc. I can probably find replacement units. I would also buy new components for the crossover.
I will keep all of you posted on my progress in refurbish land.