For example;I have had my JBL 4340's since 1974 and they are as new as the day I purchased them.
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Actually if your speakers have foam surrounds they could have rotted by now. You should inspect them because if you run them without the surround much you can damage the voice coils. New surrounds are cheap and easy to replace. Once done the speaker is as good as new. I'm presently listening to a pair of Dynaco A 25's that were made in the early seventies. Rubber surrounds so no rot. They work fine and sound pretty good too.
As was stated above it depends mainly on the surrounds. If foam then less than 10 years same for butyl rubber and the like. I inherited some 1959 JBLs which work fine, however they use fabric surrounds and compression horns. You need to take that sock off unless some one knows what type of surrounds you have. Most used foam or rubber by then. Therefore I would recommend getting them remounted.
The older a speaker is that much better it will sound, but Capacitors and surrounds will deteriorate in time, if they are good rubber surrounds on the woof's this will not be a problem really, but would still suggest replacing caps for another level of performance, not really because they are necessarily failing, although they do, but newer caps are far more advanced and better material, (with musical results not just scientific results) now available than anytime 10-20 years ago. Beyond that if you do not toast a voice coil or damage them they could last more than a lifetime as long as the glue on the cabinet don't let go, or the wiring does not corrode to some crazy point.
Rich, I thought the table you referred to was very interesting. Mainly, I was surprised to see such relatively short lifespans for materials that I thought lasted much longer (like silicone rubber and neoprene.)
Might be a good reason to get new cables and speakers every 10 years??
I drive a 33 year old MB that my dad bought new in '72. I now have visions of walking out one morning and discovering all the electrical insulation has turned to dust over night -- yikes!!
Luckily I don't have any rubber parts (so far!) but now I think I understand why some women are concerned over them ;~))