Loudspeaker degradation takes on various forms. Almost all speaker designs fall victim to some kind of change with age. In the case of the ProAc Response 2's, look for the following: 1).- The Scan-Speak silk-dome tweeters could eventually lose their stiffness as they are exposed to humidity. As these become softer, their response could change. 2).- The ATC drivers (woofer-mid), if they have a foam surrounds, they will eventually get dry-rot and disintegrate. If the surrounds are of buytl rubber, this material increases in stiffness over time, which changes the response, and eventually will tear under excursion. Buytl surrounds, being difficult to attach to polymer/plastic cones, sometimes detach from the cone as the glue, much like contact cement, dries out. Some manufacturers prevent this by sewing their buytl surrounds to the cones. Lifespan? It could be easily twenty years. However, loudspeaker technology is not one of quantum leaps but of small refinements, which with the passing years means much better loudspeakers in general. The trick is to keep listening to what's available and judge whether it is "better or worse" than what you have. After nine years with the same speakers, this listener recently went looking for something "better" and found it. Nontheless, although better, the new speakers were not strikingly different from the old, just more "refined".
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Depending on your budget and changing tastes,there is a great alternative to expensive future replacement of your component speakers.There is a process called reconing as where you remove your old speakers from the cabinet and send them to a reputable company.Proper reconing will make component speakers sound brand new again ,will have the life of any top level speaker,is the same exact speaker that came with your cabinet,and will be alot less expensive than a manufacturers'replacement.Try this site more info. www.nauticom.net/www/speakers
If you have foam surrounds on the cones, expect them to rot away eventually. Check periodically. It can be repaired. If you drive them hard with amp clipping, expect to cook a voice coil or have the coil former start to rub and buzz. A balance between amp power and speaker rating can reduce that chance. Read the instructions for your speakers. Quality speakers last for decades if used within their comfort zone. Maybe you should consider some kind of high output/efficiency speakers for just rock.
7 years is just barely broken in! Seriously, unless your drivers have foam surrounds, speakers should last a long, long time. My Spendors have 15 years and should continue for many more. The vintage drivers in my high-efficiency speakers date from the 1960s and 1970s, and they still sound great. The woofers from the '60's were reconed a few years ago with NOS paper cones, but other than that everything is stock.
I am greatly enjoying a pair of Acoustic Research 2ax (circa 1969, made in Cambridge, MA) that I bought at a local used electronics/audio shop here in Eugene, OR. I refurbished the cloth woofer surrounds with new doping compound, and replaced the crossover capacitors and L-pads. I also had to replace one of the super tweeters and replaced both after finding an original used pair. So far so good. They sound absolutely wonderful in my small, hopefully temporary, living space. Not bad for about 47 years of solid audio service.
If one treasures cabinetry this is also an area to be aware of, as veneers, if not properly glued/pressed, can detach from the particle board (or the more rarely used plywood) over the gears, as can joints, and solid wood, if not properly dried, can "work" itself to create cracks or otherwise bend out of shape. Cross-over parts such as electrolytic capacitors dry out after some years. As already mentioned different surround materials deteriorate over years, some more rapidly than others, also depending on atmospheric conditions such as humidity and shift in temperatures, and direct sunlight is never a friend of most any driver. It seems treated cloth surrounds lasts for decades, and where used in horns and hidden away are often regarded as mint-condition young drivers even after 25 years. True heirloom speakers that combine excellent cabinetry and overall craftsmanship with quality drivers and cross-over components, and that are used carefully under "normal" conditions, should last many decades without sound degradation, as I'm sure quality speakers that do not aspire to "heirloom"-status should easily last 25 years or more, if properly treated.
Quality speakers are made to quality standards and can last for decades.
I have a pristine pair of ADS L-520's that I bought new in 1980. They are currently used in a secondary system. They have been well taken care of, not exposed to temperatures extremes, driven with only quality electronics and their woofers use butyl rubber surrounds that will last forever. So I see no reason that I can't get another 36 years out of them.
I expect my Silverline Preludes to really last as they have magnesium/aluminum drivers and rubber surrounds. The crossover caps may die before the drivers, but I’ll likely get bored and replace the speakers with something else due to boredom or curiosity well before any of that. Note that I use my trusty old Boston Acoustics A60IIs in my TV system and have replaced the woofers once (foam degradation). years ago…they still kick a--, so to speak (from 1988 or something?). I assume the ferrofluid will dry up eventually in the tweeters but so far they work fine.
The RMa's don't use foam surrounds, so I would investigate using a high quality rubber preservative on the butyl every 2 or 3 yrs or so to keep the butyl from drying out (micro cracking) and will help keep them pliable...there won't be any change in sound or performance when you apply it or anything, but it's a worthwhile investment for what little it costs. Be sure to keep your speakers out of the sunlight, even through glass. Not only will it begin to mar the finish over a decade or two, but if you leave your grills off it will slowly degrade driver materials and surrounds as well, IME.
If you're worried or just want to know what your fall-back options might be, give Lou Hinkley a shout and see what he offers in the way of refurbishment (or what drivers or materials he'd likely be able to send you, if you can do that sort of thing yourself)...it might be well cheaper than replacement if push came to shove.
Ivan, Thanks, that's helpful. Unfortunately my speakers are the wrong side of the pond, in the UK. Transport there and back is pretty costly. Lou has been anxious to get my speakers the V2 upgrade, or switch to Athenas. I would need to sell mine first and have had no interest in trying to sell in Europe. The name is'nt known here, much to Europe's loss.
mshan How long do high quality speakers "last"First off you have, one of the nicest sounding semi bookshelf's in the Response 2. And they still demand good money even today.
Foam roll surrounds are the best, but do rot and should only be replaced with exact same ones. As the "compliance" of the roll surround is part of the Thiel & Small parameters that has dictated your box and port size to that base driver.
I would also every 5 or so years, rotate the bass driver 180 degrees, as the cone/roll surround will sag unevenly and could eventually cause what's called "polling", this is where the voice coil is no longer in exact center of the magnet gap and starts to touch/scrape it.