Question Subwoofer 'Breaking in' ?

Atomcom

Standard Member
Does anyone still believe in 'breaking in' speakers, especially subwoofer anymore?

I remember by dad telling me in the earlier 80s that all speakers needed to be slowly broke in before properly using
 

shotokan101

Suspended
Yes :)

...don't know about the "slowly" though......
 

Steve356

Distinguished Member
I went through a break in period with my ATC speakers and my M&K X10 sub, but I wouldn't say it was a big deal or an inconvenience. I simply played Massive Attack and Bob Marley CDs over a period of about 20-25 hours at reasonable volume. I heard a noticeable improvement with the sub, but not so much difference with the ATCs much to my surprise. It doesn't have to be a torture breaking in speakers or subs unless you want it to be IMHO. :)
 

John7

Well-known Member
Just use it! It will run-in by itself if used frequently. After a few weeks/months of use, run the AVR calibration sequence again.
 

Liammonty123

Well-known Member
If you want to break in your speakers, a few seconds of some low frequency sine waves should do it, enough to get the cones moving a fair amount.
 

DodgeTheViper

Moderator

Steve356

Distinguished Member
I certainly didn't get any 10dB increase on my sub. All I noticed was the response smoothed out a bit and REW measurements confirmed it. Not a massive difference, but a noticeable one. :)
 

DodgeTheViper

Moderator
The so called ‘breaking in period’ has as much to do with room temperature and allowing the speaker and cabinet to adjust to it as it does with getting the components moving and fluid. What it won’t do is increase their output by 10db or so as a result of that process.
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
The subs used for my BOSS build had about 2min of free air 'burn-in' time. It released a sort of burnt smell.

Enclosed subs and speakers may require a little extra time to reach their full potential but doubt it takes weeks or months as some manufacturers suggest.
 

DodgeTheViper

Moderator
Manufacturers very rarely suggest weeks or months, more like a number of hours. The usual number of hours is something like 50hrs or so, maybe more. That’s approximately the amount of time it takes the cabinet and components to adjust to the temperature of the room.
 

shotokan101

Suspended
Out of curiosity do some manufacturers have a break-in period during the QA process?

Jim
 

Steve356

Distinguished Member
Manufacturers very rarely suggest weeks or months, more like a number of hours. The usual number of hours is something like 50hrs or so, maybe more. That’s approximately the amount of time it takes the cabinet and components to adjust to the temperature of the room.

Agreed that they normally suggest a number of hours rather than weeks or months, but I think manufacturers intend by their suggestion that the subwoofer (or speakers) are actually being used for that "breaking in period", not just sitting in the room coming up to room temperature.
 

DodgeTheViper

Moderator
I don’t do that. I open up the boxes, take the speakers out and put them in place. I then leave them there for a couple of days or so. After that I play them for a little and calibrate. Do they miraculously change into something else later on, no.
 

Steve356

Distinguished Member
I don’t do that. I open up the boxes, take the speakers out and put them in place. I then leave them there for a couple of days or so. After that I play them for a little and calibrate. Do they miraculously change into something else later on, no.

That was my point, my sub did change after about 20-25 hours of playing bass heavy music. I heard it and measured it. Was it a massive difference? No. It was just a smoother response to my ear. Some of that can of course be the ear getting used to the sound, but I could also see it on a REW trace.

Now I expect your next question will be can you show me the REW trace. I'm going to look for it, but I don't think I have it any longer as I was running out of memory on my Mac, so ditched the stuff I didn't need any more, including a lot of Dirac based tests I did in the distant past.
 

Steve356

Distinguished Member
Before I forget, I actually had a well run in MK X10 on loan for a month before I bought mine. I did a number of REW measurements while I had the loaner. When I got my new one, I could hear that it didn't sound as good as the loaner, so I measured it. I could see the slight differences between the measurements. After a week or so of running it in, it sounded better, so I measured it again. Guess what -- my new one now measured virtually the same as the loaner one.

Maybe I'm deluding myself, but I know what I measured and more importantly, what I heard.
 

DodgeTheViper

Moderator
It sounds like the tone may have changed to you but not the output. And certainly not by any of the levels as suggested previously.

Don’t be concerned about the graphs, they wouldn’t measure a 10db difference just by some breaking in. That 10db difference though was someone mentioning Surround speakers.
 

Steve356

Distinguished Member
It sounds like the tone may have changed to you but not the output. And certainly not by any of the levels as suggested previously.

Don’t be concerned about the graphs, they wouldn’t measure a 10db difference just by some breaking in. That 10db difference though was someone mentioning Surround speakers.

As I previously stated, I didn't see anything like a 10dB change. Not sure I'd even want that.

It was more that that levels smoothed out a bit throughout the sub frequency band and it extended a touch lower. Subtle, but noticeable and of course, this mostly impacts "tone" as you say.
 

Liammonty123

Well-known Member
There seems to be lots of info saying yes and also lots saying no, a short break in of a few-minutes as suggested above will probably loosen up potential stiff suspensions beyond that I can't see any benefit.

A 10db difference is crazy and obviously not at all accurate.
 

Conrad.

Moderator
I guess there's two questions here:
1. Does a speaker's output change over time (from new)
2. Do you need to do anything specific to bring about that change.

1. Maybe, but I would expect it to be marginal at best, and that time to be incredibly short. I'd be very interested to see those REW measurements if you have them @Steve356. I don't doubt you at all, I'm just curious.
2. No, I don't think you do. Some manufacturers say start loud, some say start quiet and build up, and some say wire out of phase and face each other with a blanket over! Given that they all use the same tech I reckon it's a case of "whatever works for you".

I haven't seen a speaker manufacturer that has any serious warnings or won't honour a warranty if they're not run in correctly though, so I don't think it's essential.
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Manufacturers very rarely suggest weeks or months, more like a number of hours. The usual number of hours is something like 50hrs or so, maybe more. That’s approximately the amount of time it takes the cabinet and components to adjust to the temperature of the room.

You're right about manufacturers specifying in hours generally, I should have been more specific that under 'normal' usage could take weeks or even months.

Interesting angle regarding temperature, is the inference then the recommended hours are provided so the speakers normalise to room temperature in addition to the loosening up of moving parts?

How long would the hours suggested be if the speakers are already room temperature normalised?

To clarify I think speakers do benefit from loosening up, just not convinced it takes the length of time they normally suggest.

Before I forget, I actually had a well run in MK X10 on loan for a month before I bought mine. I did a number of REW measurements while I had the loaner. When I got my new one, I could hear that it didn't sound as good as the loaner, so I measured it. I could see the slight differences between the measurements. After a week or so of running it in, it sounded better, so I measured it again. Guess what -- my new one now measured virtually the same as the loaner one.

Maybe I'm deluding myself, but I know what I measured and more importantly, what I heard.

As to whether it makes any actual difference with speakers and subs, can't say I've noticed anything of note since a significant part of its sound signature is present from the moment its powered up. There are probably subtle changes and it might vary from speaker to speaker however its difficult to quantify due to working off memory and the inability to go back and forth.

Like you, out of curiosity I'd be interested to take notes and a few measurements the next time I acquire new speakers to see if it provides further insight. Just need to remind myself to have everything ready and not get so excited with those shiny new speakers!
 

steve sph

Well-known Member
I'd certainly say some speakers need a decent run-in time, (Dynaudio are notorious for it), but I'd say any 'improvement' or decibel gain with subwoofers is minimal.
Over time they may produce a more 'rounded' or 'full-bodied' sound, but I can't say I've ever experienced much of a volume difference.
 

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