How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

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How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby user33331 » 2018-2-14 @ 05:24

Hello
I have a speaker set mfg=around 2000:
4.1 Cambridge Soundworks FPS1600 (Black color). Bought new and costed around 50-60€ back then.

So these are 18 years old speakers...
- How to know if it is time to buy a new set of speakers ? Have these worn out ?
- Do they sell THX, EAX speakers anymore ?

What would be a good modern upgrade for these speakers preferred 4.1 or 5.1 ?
- One which has a better sound quality.
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-2-14 @ 09:17

Find other Cambridge audio stuff if you like your old ones. I prefer HI-FI 2.1 Stereo with x2 speakers and one Amp with high end audio card..
If you are talking about using this system for old games and systems, what is the idea then, or you are talking about upgrade to your main one ?
As is the older the audio system, the more quality it will have, as the old systems are build like in Japan, Germany and other places, new ones are all China and quality is way worser..
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby user33331 » 2018-2-14 @ 10:08

I have owned these old 4.1 speakers for almost 2 decades because of my limited funds... Now when I have some extra income I wonder if anything modern and better ones exist ?

Like what modern 4.1 or 5.1 speakers people use here ?
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby derSammler » 2018-2-14 @ 10:09

user33331 wrote:- How to know if it is time to buy a new set of speakers ? Have these worn out ?

Do they still sound good? That's all that matters, isn't it? I use cheap 2.1 speakers which are way older and they still sound good enough.
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby user33331 » 2018-2-14 @ 11:11

That is the point. I don't really know if they sound "good". I guess they don't sound broken but I'm not musician so I thought if newer ones would sound like night to day when compared ? I don't know if modern ones have made any advances or such during these 2 decades...

Are speakers supposed to last like 20 years without any deteriorating ?
Tempted to buy newer ones if they will be amazingly better.
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-2-14 @ 14:19

You will not find good sounding new audio for normal prices, it will cost you like 10-20 times or even more of what did you pay for these ones back then...

But if you want go to some stores and listen to a new audio systems, there you can see how things did change.
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby derSammler » 2018-2-14 @ 14:37

I wonder what hardware will actually drive the speakers. Connecting modern, high-quality speakers to e.g. a Sound Blaster 2.0 will give you worse sound than with old speakers, as you'll hear any hiss, noise, and whatnot.
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-2-14 @ 14:53

Well he need as minimum X-Fi chip on some Creative, or Auzentech, or even ASUS Xonar Essence, that will do the job..
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-2-14 @ 16:31

user33331 wrote:Are speakers supposed to last like 20 years without any deteriorating ?


Yes, they easily can. The biggest issue with speakers aging are (1) rubber surrounds degrading and (2) crossover capacitors aging and going out of spec.
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby badmojo » 2018-2-14 @ 23:04

I had this same bee in my bonnet a couple of years ago and bought some relatively expensive Audioengine multimedia speakers to replace the 2.1 Cambridge Soundworks speakers I've been using for ~15 years. The Audioengines are fine and got great reviews but I still think my old set sounded better, so I switched back within a week.
If it's broke, then fix it!
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby Shponglefan » 2018-2-14 @ 23:23

user33331 wrote:I have owned these old 4.1 speakers for almost 2 decades because of my limited funds... Now when I have some extra income I wonder if anything modern and better ones exist ?

Like what modern 4.1 or 5.1 speakers people use here ?


In all honesty, I've found that computer speaker quality kind of hit a wall about a couple decades back. A big part seems to be the proliferation of gamer-oriented headsets which a lot of people seem to use in lieu of speakers. Plus, there's only so large a set of desktop speakers can be so not a lot of wiggle room there.

Personally I'm still using Klipsch ProMedia 4.1's that I bought when they originally came out almost 2 decades ago. I have a second, newer set of ProMedia 2.1's I use on a secondary PC.

I also have the AudioEngine 5+ I use at work. They're nice because no separate subwoofer, although they do take up more desk space.

Beyond that if you're trying to get into higher end audio then you'd need to go home audio/theater speakers with a separate amp. There are also powered studio monitor speakers used for music production, but those aren't really geared towards casual listening. And certainly overkill for most desktop applications.
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby r.cade » 2018-2-15 @ 01:43

Paper cones can go bad from poor storage conditions and foam surrounds just go bad over time. Both can be replaced, and you can find some great sounding old speakers for cheap and a couple hours of work and a few dollars in parts.

I am using a set of 80's Advent Tower II's that I put new foam surrounds on and they are an awesome midrange speaker.
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Re: How to know when old speakers are worn out ?

Postby Woolie Wool » 2018-2-18 @ 18:36

Radical Vision wrote:Well he need as minimum X-Fi chip on some Creative, or Auzentech, or even ASUS Xonar Essence, that will do the job..

This is not true. For speakers that are not ludicrously expensive, the motherboard's built-in codec is a perfectly adequate solution on modern computers. For audiophile purposes, a dedicated external DAC like the Schiit Modi 2 is superior to any sound card, but to actually make an external DAC worth buying (with typical computer speakers you'll never tell the difference) you're talking either a headphones and amp setup that costs hundreds, or a full-on stereo system with discrete amp and bookshelf speakers that costs even more. The motherboard on a modern computer is good enough. Modern sound cards are mostly a waste of money. And if you want to put an X-Fi in your retro computer, well, good luck finding Windows 9x or DOS drivers!

P.S. self-powered computer speakers have always, always sucked. I was there. My family eventually bought expensive Monsoon planar speakers and some brand of "XPS" speakers endorsed by Von Schweikert (a maker of very, very expensive audiophile loudspeakers), and none of them were great. Personally I would recommend headphones over speakers unless you're willing to spend thousands of dollars. And don't buy "gamer" shit either, buy from a reputable manufacturer of hi-fi headphones like Sennheiser, Grado, or Beyerdynamic.

So, OP, I think if you want good sound quality for a reasonable price, you should try either the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro (closed back, blocks outside noise but has slightly lower sound quality) or the HD 559 or 579 (open back, works best in a quiet room but has higher sound quality). All three are $100 on Amazon currently, but the 579s are probably on sale and will go back up in price soon. They do not need an amp and produce excellent sound for the money.
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