High-fidelity or Hi-Fi speakers can faithfully reproduce sound as it was originally recorded, minimizing distortion and maximizing clarity. Hi-Fi systems are generally made up of two loudspeakers designed for listening to stereo sound or music. But are Hi-Fi speakers also designed to last long?
Hi-Fi speakers do wear out after using them for an extended period, like most other speakers. More specifically, certain parts of Hi-Fi speakers degrade over time, reducing the overall quality of the sound they reproduce. But compared to other speakers, Hi-Fi speakers last much longer.
This article will talk about what causes Hi-Fi speakers to wear out and the particular components prone to degradation. It will also share reasons why buying a Hi-Fi system is the better option and tips on taking care of these speakers.
What Is a Hi-Fi Speaker?
Hi-Fi speakers are designed to faithfully reproduce sound as it had been recorded originally. This concept was popularized in the 1950s for marketing purposes when technology made it possible for quality sound to reach consumers. And as the standards of recording and audio technology and equipment continue to improve through time, the concept of high fidelity also continues to evolve.
Regardless of the audio format you prefer, you should put a premium on flat and smooth frequency response when setting up a Hi-Fi system. Playback should not emphasize low-, mid-, or high-range frequencies. Instead, it should reproduce the recorded audio timbre accurately and allow listeners to hear the unique tone of every voice and instrument recorded.
Selecting a Hi-Fi Speaker
If you are looking to buy a Hi-Fi speaker for your home, it can become overwhelming because there’s a world of choices out there. So it is always best to do some research first.
Go for reliable Hi-Fi speaker brands and do some research. Find out more about them other than their price tag and whether they’re within your budget. Know the materials they’re using and the technology and engineering that went into manufacturing them. It’s also helpful to check out user reviews to know if they’re prone to wear and tear.
Knowing your speakers and their specs is the only way you’d know whether they’d be a perfect fit with your entertainment system and home audio setup.
You would also need to consider your space. If you have a large enough place, then you can go for any type of speaker you want. But if space is limited, you may want to go for bookshelf Hi-Fi speakers or a free-standing one.
Why Go for Hi-Fi Anyway?
There are several reasons why going for Hi-Fi speakers makes a lot more sense than getting other types of speakers. These include:
- Hi-Fi speakers sound better. Nothing can beat listening to music just the way it was made or recorded. Most of the time, it will mean a conventional separate system. One-box wireless speakers can never beat stereo systems in terms of sound quality.
- Hi-Fi speakers will work all the time. Hi-Fi systems are always reliable. Unlike other speakers that rely on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, for instance, Hi-Fi speakers can always play your favorite music any time from a wide variety of sources, whether from downloads, CDs, or vinyl.
- Hi-Fi can be upgraded. A Hi-Fi system has the capacity for an upgrade, which you can do over time. Because of its mostly separate system, Hi-Fi allows you to upgrade and add components, features, or new products, like a turntable, as you go along. Compared to wireless speakers, which go out of date real fast, Hi-Fi systems can last a long time.
- Hi-Fi supports physical music, which supports artists. Hi-Fi speakers and Hi-Fi systems, in general, can support physical music like CDs and vinyls, and this helps support bands, artists, and musicians way better than, say, digital downloads and streaming.
Hi-Fi: Lifespan and Wearing Out
According to a Cnet poll, Hi-Fi systems — including speakers, amplifiers, and turntables — last longer than other audio technology. Hi-Fi systems have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, which is pretty long, especially compared to other audio systems and gadgets.
So, putting your money into Hi-Fi makes a sound investment move. Your speakers, for instance, won’t become obsolete with technological innovation. Moreover, you can add to your investment and upgrade your system.
However, like any other speaker, a Hi-Fi speaker wears out over time after using it for an extended period. That means there will come a time when it will no longer sound as good as it used to, and speaker parts will degrade.
What Causes Hi-Fi Speakers to Wear Out?
While taking really good care of your speaker on the outside will ensure that it lasts for decades, its moving parts will still experience wear and tear. These parts include the foam surrounds, which tend to disintegrate after several years slowly. There are also the tweeters and the woofers, among others.
Moreover, you will need to factor in things like the climate conditions where you live, exposure to sunlight, and the dampness and humidity of the air around you. These things will contribute to your speaker wearing out quicker. There’s also dust and tiny particles and debris, which can easily get into the holes and crevices of your speaker and gather inside. The number of hours you play music on your speaker will affect, too.
Experts also explain that the electrolytic capacitors used in crossover circuits are yet another factor in a speaker’s aging. Many mass-produced speakers use electrolytic capacitors in low- and high-pass circuits, and these speakers have approximately 10 to 15 years before their specified value declines.
As such, upgrading the crossover circuit and switching from electrolytic capacitors to metalized film capacitors would help extend the speakers’ life, bringing the original sound quality back. A premium-quality film capacitor will likely outlive you.
How To Make Your Hi-Fi Speaker Last Longer
You can do certain things to take care of your Hi-Fi speakers and make sure they stay in good condition for a very long time. Here are a few tips:
- Keep your Hi-Fi speakers away from direct heat or sunlight. Make sure to position your speakers away from a window where sunlight pours in. You should also not place them on top of other appliances that generate too much heat, like a refrigerator. Direct heat and sunlight exposure will cause some parts of your speaker to deteriorate.
- Keep your Hi-Fi speakers in a dry room with no humidity. Place your speakers in a room where the air isn’t damp. Or you can just place a dehumidifier in the same room.
- Keep your Hi-Fi speakers in a well-ventilated space. Don’t place your speakers in a stuffy room where there are no windows or no means for the air to circulate.
- Keep your Hi-Fi speakers away from dust. Dust and small particles can get through the holes and the little crevices of your speakers, and once they’re there, it would be difficult to take them out. These specks of dust can accumulate inside and do eventual damage to the parts.
Hi-Fi speakers wear out over time. And even if you take very good care of them to ensure a much longer lifespan, you can only do so externally. Speakers have some moving components inside, and as long as you use your speakers, these parts are bound to degrade over time. There are, however, ways to make sure your speakers last a long time, such as avoiding exposure to heat and sunlight and avoiding humidity and dust.