What happens to speakers over time?

Do they get better with age like some instruments

Do they get older/weaker like some people
worse if anything. Capacitors eventually lose their charge holding abilities and foam speaker surrounds always eventually rot and need refoamed
Klipschorns seem to get better with age, or at least don't degrade much over many years.
with the introduction of butyl rubber surrounds, it will be interesting to see if speakers need to be "re-foamed" anymore. My guess is probably not.
Well, the veneer starts to sag, spots start showing up, they lose thier shine, and no matter what music you play all you hear is them sing about the old days and how newer speakers have no respect.
The shelf life of butyl rubber is 10 years as per MIL-HDBK-76? (Age Control Of Elastomers). Sure enough after 11-12 years of purchasing my AR-11's back in 1975 the woofers had to be replaced.
Wazzup All!

I've owned my Spendor S100's for 15 yrs and they still sound fantastic! My question is this; for the past 6-7 yrs I've lived in an apartment and really haven't been crankin' it up at all, do you think this might factor into their longevity?
I would like to say that I recently discovered all too well that not only do butyl rubber surrounds break down, they do so with very little in the way of being obvious. While there are those who say that it will not, I am on the other side of the fence. Nor do I agree with those who list 10 - 12 years as the replacement time.

The Seas P21 Excel midwoofers in my Coincident Digital Masters were totally shot. The speakers were built by Coincident in 1997. From all outward appearances, they looked PRISTINE. I mean perfect! However, once we rebuilt the drivers, the butyl surrounds were in such bad condition that I can not even begin to explain it to you. The entire surrounds were covered with two stages beyond microcracking. Add to this, they were totally dried out and stiff (which is why they were cracked), and the improvement in sound once the surrounds were rebuilt was utterly astonishing.

The midrange instantly became totally natural. The punch of both the midrange and bass took several steps forward. To the point where my midwoofer was now putting out better bass in my subwoofer - which only told me that I now need to do those drivers.

On a more controversial point, my drivers were rebuilt using foam surrounds. My speaker guru is of the opinion that its weight and compliance(this must be chosen carefully) add up to better sound in all ways. The driver is faster, punchier, more natural. It is simply a pleasure to hear. The sound just plain opens up. Of course, after perhaps 8 years, it is time to redo it, but that doesn't seem any worse than the butyl I started with.
They get boring and you feel this urgent need to get rid of them and buy newer ones.