#1
Hello UG,

I'd like to know how old, or for how long can you typically use a guitar amplifier speaker? Any amount of hours as a standard? Or in years with daily playing, so I can get an idea. Lifetime maybe?

Then if it breaks or gets old (do they?), I guess you could recone it, considering the magnet is still in good shape right? It'll change its sound?


Thanks!
#3
Right! I just want an idea though. Should I expect 5 years,10 or maybe 20 years of good services?
#4
There's probably some 60's/70's amps out there with original speakers.
Probably Jensens. Those are well built.
How long they will last depends on how well they are built and how well they were taken care of (like don't get them wet, throw beer bottles at them, etc.)

If it dies after 10 years and was well taken care of, then its probably poorly built.
Last edited by CodeMonk at Oct 31, 2014,
#6
Yeah, really good quality speakers can last for 20 years or more. But there are a lot of factors. Atmosphere is a big one, particularly humidity. And as I said, how hard you push them. If you're driving them into speaker breakup regularly they won't last as long, obviously.
What speakers are we talking about?
#7
I was trying to figure out if it's worth to spend the extra 150$ for something like the Alnico Gold.

On 15 years it's 20$ a year. That also gave me an idea of resale value.

Edit: I might pick it up used as well. Or something else too, I'm not set yet.
Last edited by Taz9 at Oct 31, 2014,
#8
A good quality speaker will outlive you if you don't treat it bad.

Treating it bad means hitting it, making it experience consistent temperature changes, and/or using it to do things that are over its specs.

If the speaker's built good, making it work as hard as its spec'd will not harm it in any way.
Last edited by Spambot_2 at Oct 31, 2014,
#9
What sort of sound are you chasing and what amp? I'm guessing an AC30, yes?
#10
I have an amp has had the same Celestions in it since the 80s and they still play perfectly. The only amp I've ever seen in person with a dead speaker was a 70s Yamaha solid state that had just come apart.

That said, I'm certain pushing speakers over their specs and/or having them live in a poor environment would cause them to die out prematurely, but even then you're going to get quite a few years in first.
#11
If the speaker's built good, making it work as hard as its spec'd will not harm it in any way.


I have an amp has had the same Celestions in it since the 80s and they still play perfectly


Great to hear!

What sort of sound are you chasing and what amp? I'm guessing an AC30, yes?


Fender blues deluxe. I like the Alnico Blue sound but the blues deluxe is 40w. That's why I lean toward the Gold. Not looking for a typical british sound though. Otherwise I would have picked another amp.

I'm chasing a more open sound on cleans and less muddy OD (OD channel on FBD is not very good). I guess round up the high could be interesting too, but the TS kinda makes it happen already.

I'm reading about the Jensen P12N right now. Still hesitant, since I know very little about speakers (yet).
Last edited by Taz9 at Oct 31, 2014,
#12
I have bought speakers older than me on a couple occasions (so from the 80s ). They were fine. I have heard that like pickups, the magnet can weaken in a speaker over time which changes the sound a bit, whether that is true or noticeable I can't say.

My advice for trying out speakers would be to definitely be adventurous. I have found some great sounds using combos that most wouldn't think were immediately a good match. I personally like taking Brit or Brit-based amps and running them with American flavored speakers. A lot of the time it gets that perfect balance of deep and thick with punchy and aggressive.
#13
Quote by dementiacaptain
I have heard that like pickups, the magnet can weaken in a speaker over time which changes the sound a bit, whether that is true or noticeable I can't say.


Magnets in pickups and/or speakers don't weaken to any noticeable degree by themselves.
This is largely something initiated by a couple of random pickup winders to justify your spending money on new pickups. As with other internet myths, people who don't know "whether that is true or noticeable" pick it up and re-broadcast it and give it new life. The science doesn't support it.
#14
I have Altec-Lansing 418-8A's in a 1971 Carvin cabinet that are still going strong. Same speakers in a pair of Altec A7's, and a set of 604e's (all of these are 15" speakers, btw) from the same general time period.

If the recone materials are the same as the original speaker materials, there should be no sound difference. Worth noting, however, that it's the moving parts that most affect the characteristic sound of a speaker, and that new speakers can be a bit stiffer than those that have been broken in (listen to the differences between a new Celestion Vintage 30, for example and one that's been broken in).

There's no way to predict how long a speaker will last, since that very much depends on a lot of factors. I did, however, have a pair of Infinity Monitor 1's that had absolutely miserable 12" woofers. They were built with a foam surround, and that foam was completely rotted out right around 12-15 years after the speaker was born. If you had the speakers long enough, you got to replace them with regularity.
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 31, 2014,
#15
My advice for trying out speakers would be to definitely be adventurous.


Yea I would totally do it, but it adds up quickly.

Magnets in pickups and/or speakers don't weaken to any noticeable degree by themselves. If the recone materials are the same as the original speaker materials, there should be no sound difference. Worth noting, however, that it's the moving parts that most affect the characteristic sound of a speaker.


Thank you dspellman! Very informative, that is another thing I was wondering about.
#16
Taz, check out the Fluxtone speaker site. You'll probably learn more about speakers than you care to, and if you email them they'll answer questions for you.

Fluxtone is an interesting company -- they make speakers that have variable electromagnets rather than standard metal stuff. By varying the strength of the electromagnet, they can vary the efficiency of the speaker by as much as 25 dB. For the folks using tube amps, these are a godsend (though an expensive one). They work better than attenuators but will make your 100W amp sound like a 1/2W (or less), while giving you every bit of the completely cranked sound you might be outputting through your favorite amp head.
#17
Thanks once again. Also those Fluxtone look like really nice products. Unfortunately pricy

Maybe I'll go the "less efficient" speaker route so I can crank the amp more, or go with something like the Gold and add an attenuator in between considering what it implies tone wise. Don't know.
#18
Quote by dspellman
Magnets in pickups and/or speakers don't weaken to any noticeable degree by themselves.
This is largely something initiated by a couple of random pickup winders to justify your spending money on new pickups. As with other internet myths, people who don't know "whether that is true or noticeable" pick it up and re-broadcast it and give it new life. The science doesn't support it.



You live up to your name sir. I wasn't sure as I figured that without some outside magnetic force or a serious drop or pummel, the field should hold, but I didn't know if there was something I was missing.
#19
Quote by dspellman
Taz, check out the Fluxtone speaker site. You'll probably learn more about speakers than you care to, and if you email them they'll answer questions for you.

Fluxtone is an interesting company -- they make speakers that have variable electromagnets rather than standard metal stuff. By varying the strength of the electromagnet, they can vary the efficiency of the speaker by as much as 25 dB. For the folks using tube amps, these are a godsend (though an expensive one). They work better than attenuators but will make your 100W amp sound like a 1/2W (or less), while giving you every bit of the completely cranked sound you might be outputting through your favorite amp head.

So, what about the Fender CS PUs hand-wound by Ybarra (now retired) or her apprentice, Campos? Is this Marketing?
#20
I'd be leaning towards Jensens too, going from what you said. Maybe check out WGS, they have a few Jensen clones.
#21
Quote by Ippon
So, what about the Fender CS PUs hand-wound by Ybarra (now retired) or her apprentice, Campos? Is this Marketing?


Absolutely. I've met them both, BTW (small event at the Fender Museum in Corona).

It's almost as if the old dishwasher at the Biltmore suddenly got famous because J Lo would ONLY eat off dishes he washed.

And BTW, "hand wound" means that she put them on the machine (and took them off again) by hand <G>.
#22
So the machine is more than a lathe? If you get my drift. The wire feeding is automated as well? Handwound pickups means that the operator directed the lay of the wire AFAIK. It's not the same thing?

I'm not having a go at you here. I'm actually curious, because it sounded like bunk to me too. Every voicecoil I've ever pulled out of a speaker looked like it was laid 100% by machine. No scatter winding sorta thing on any I've seen.


Taz, you're not in Australia are you?
Last edited by Cathbard at Oct 31, 2014,
#23
Quote by dspellman
Absolutely. I've met them both, BTW (small event at the Fender Museum in Corona).

It's almost as if the old dishwasher at the Biltmore suddenly got famous because J Lo would ONLY eat off dishes he washed.

And BTW, "hand wound" means that she put them on the machine (and took them off again) by hand <G>.

I haven't opened up any of those scatter-wound PUs. Any pics if they're the same as the regulars?
#25
Predicting the life expectancy of a speaker is impossible, but they can last a very long time.

My 1973 Fender Super Reverb is still running on the original CTS speakers. I got it from a relative who bought it new in 73. I also have a pair of Emminence 12's that were reconed in about 1990, in a 1967 Kustom 2x12 cabinet, I ran them plugged into a 130 watt Peavey MX ever since the day I bought them from the reconing shop in Houston. Someone had them reconed and never picked them up...

The best thing you can do to prolong speaker life is to always transport them face up or face down, not in a standing position. That way when you hit a bump, the speaker cone moves in the same direction it does in normal operation, and doesn't slam the voice coil against the housing. I suspect a friend here blew a PA speaker that way a few months ago. A 15 inch Black Widow is $150 new...I always carry my amps face down, I don't like buying new speakers and I do like the way my old ones sound...I've never lost a speaker yet, except the pair in a Peavey 2x12 amp that got shorted out one night...
#26
Quote by Paleo Pete

The best thing you can do to prolong speaker life is to always transport them face up or face down, not in a standing position. That way when you hit a bump, the speaker cone moves in the same direction it does in normal operation, and doesn't slam the voice coil against the housing.



good tip
#27
Direct sunlight is a killer too. Never leave an uncovered speaker cone in direct sunlight. It's just paper; anything that would **** paper will **** your speaker.
#30
Quote by Cathbard
So the machine is more than a lathe? If you get my drift. The wire feeding is automated as well? Handwound pickups means that the operator directed the lay of the wire AFAIK. It's not the same thing?


Nah -- I'm not sure what "handwound" really means, since you've often got 5000 or more winds on a pickup and you're not going to do production with someone guiding the wire by hand. I do know there are some guys who do this:



but not when there are more than a few pickups to be made at a time. Even then, the winds aren't hand-directed.

Gibson, Fender and most other manufacturers use this kind of setup:



but in the early days of Fender, for example, they were individual machines.