Does volume level matter during speaker or amp break-in?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Legairre, Nov 21, 2001.

  1. Legairre

    Legairre Supporting Actor

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    I'm sitting here at work with a couple of buddies and we started wondering if the decibel level has an effect on how long a speaker or amp takes to break-in.

    For instance: If the break-in period for a particular amp or speaker was 100 hours and the decibel level played through it was 50 decibels. Will the amp or speaker still sound the same, as the same amp or speaker with 90 decibels played through it for 100 hours.

    I'm looking for replies from the people who believe that amps and speakers do sound different after a break-in period. I don't want to start a war between those who do, and those who do not believe in a break-in period.

    Thanks

    Legairre
     
  2. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

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    In my experience, loudspeakers, tube preamps, and tube power amps require the most break-in time. The amount of time varies with each product, but often 30+ hours are needed. Sometimes considerably more.

    My break-in method is to play an FM station at a moderate volume level. I do this particularly when I am at work, or out on a weekend day. It has been consistently recommended to me by various manufacturers to use a moderate volume.

    If you listen to a component carefully when first hooked up (using a CD with which you're very familiar), then break in the component for a few days without listening to it, then return for a critical audition, the change in sonics can be very dramatic.

    I almost returned a pair of Dahlquist Prelude loudspeakers a few years ago because the lower treble was still hard and edgy after 10 days or so of run-in time. The manufacturer urged me to wait about another week for a major change in sound quality. He wasn't kidding--the tweeter improved to a drastic degree, becoming smooth and sweet.

    My only problem with breaking in a component is finding enough patience!

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
     
  3. AndrewJ

    AndrewJ Auditioning

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    The decibel level for break in has a profound effect. If too loud then after 100 hours you are deaf and so cannot tell whether it sounds better or not [​IMG].
    Seriously, I don't want to get into the debate of the merits of break in, but would like to offer some practical advice. When breaking in, do it in pairs, and place the speakers face to face as close as practical. Feed identical signals to each speaker but wire them in opposite polarity. This will significantly reduce the sound level in the room while maximising the speaker workout, and help preserve domestic harmony.
     
  4. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Speakers do need time to break in, as do tubes. I have not observed break-in of solid-state components. In general, it is advised that speakers be broken in at moderate volume levels. The owner's manual for my Totem Arros states this explicitly and I have read it elsewhere. The idea here is that tweeters and drivers are mechanical devices that stretch, if you will, with the music, and listening to music at high volumes during the break-in stage could put too much strain on them. Now, I have never blown a new speaker from listening at higher volumes, but this is what I have read, and it makes sense to me.
     
  5. Legairre

    Legairre Supporting Actor

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    Guys thanks for the replies. It sounds like the best volume level is a modest one.

    Thanks

    Legairre
     
  6. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    Good question and I was interested in these answers. That's a question I've had recently has well.

    Thanks for the great responses.
     
  7. Marc H

    Marc H Second Unit

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    The use of FM hiss has been a traditional method of breaking in speakers.

    I have always wondered though if bandwidth was an issue for break-in. I would think as wide bandwidth as possible would be best. FM radio is fairly narrow bandwidth with a 15K upper limit if I'm not mistaken. Even CD is limited from 20 to 20K. Records would have the widest bandwidth or SACD too I suppose. Opinions?

    Alex - I know exactly what you mean; long break-ins can be deceiving (frustrating too!). Two pairs of balanced cables I bought were just awful out of the package. Nothin' worse than that feeling you get when you spend alot of money on something you thought was well respected but it's horrible once home.

    I called Don at the Canadian distributor for Kimber for advice and he say's he knows exactly what I mean. He said to wait it out; wait three weeks and if I didn't like them then, I could return them. He was bang on - after three weeks of continuous use I could not part with them.

    Longest break-in period I have ever encountered are my current main speakers. Almost nine months of agony and almost giving in and disposing of them but, on the advice of a friend, who's opinion I value, I hung in there. It paid off but that's just too long.

    Why can't manufacturers of speakers run in the drivers at the factory first using sweep tones? Maybe some do that I don't know of. I realize it would not be viable for midfi speaker companies but I would think it would easy for the high end brands, with smaller production runs, to run the speakers for three weeks or whatever they deem necessary to make them sound proper out of the box. Helps avoid that nasty feeling described above of initial regret of a major purchase.
     
  8. Steve Gazi

    Steve Gazi Stunt Coordinator

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    What is considered a "modest" volume?
     

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