During my phone call with Joe he mentioned that the switches were rated for 1,000,000 throws. I can't imagine that anyone, even when brand new and used by an audio engineer, would need to throw the switchs that many times during the life of the phones. So they should be functional for a long time to come. With the switches in the signal path it is possible over time for the signal to degrade as it passes through the switches. That said, some believe that the HP-2 theoretically would sound better than the HP-1. Whether that is measurable or audible I don't know but I think that's why Joe wanted them out of the signal path. But as I alluded to before I'd take theoretical degradation of the signal to have these phones as they were designed. Just my opinion though.