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Speaker Break in

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Holadem, Oct 14, 2001.

  1. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Has anyone actually heard two pairs of the same model, one brand new and the other a few weeks old and heard a difference? Actually a better test wouldbe to hear both of them new, then box one of them, then take it out after a few weeks.
    Has it been done? Just wondering if this is one of those myths audiophiles are so fond of. I really don't believe in the "they sounded better after a few days" thing, we are much more likely to adjust to the sound than anything else. But if someone performed the above test and heard a difference that was not there initially, that would make more sense.
    --
    Holadem - lets not get into receivers and cables... (CABLES!!!)
     
  2. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Holadem,
    I have no proof to back this up but I beleive that speakers
    do break in. Look at it this way, You can talk Frequency
    Response,VAS,Attenuation and a whole other slew of audio
    techo mumbo jumbo all day long. The simple awnser is that
    a speaker, any speaker... Is a motor.. It is an electro
    magneticaly driven device that generates sound by moving
    air. To cause this motion speakers use voice coils and
    magnets and surrounds and cones. These pieces all require
    break in to function smoothly. Overworking a driver right
    off the bat can cause the voice coil to overheat and this
    could cause the coil to distort and then you would not get
    efficient excursion of said drivers.
    Thats my $0.02
     
  3. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  4. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I believe in speaker breakin mainly because speaker cones are rigid until they are played enough(generally 100 hrs) and they loosen up.
     
  5. Scott H

    Scott H Supporting Actor

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    Speakers run-in just like any other wiring carrying a signal, principally due to dialectrics interacting with the conductor, storing and dissipating energy. And cables and such don't break-in [​IMG]
    Do a lot of people here dismiss this, or that it's audible? Yep. Do I think it is? With revealing equipment and good hearing, absolutely.
    ------------------
    My DVD Library
    Runaway production? No thanks. Where I've filmed, benefiting local economies: AL, CA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MN, MO, MT, NV, OH, OR, TX, WA, WY.
     
  6. Scott H

    Scott H Supporting Actor

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  7. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  8. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Saurav,
    I am in 100% agreement with that statement. Any time you
    have something that contains mechanics it's easy to see
    how physics play a part in the operation and it's also
    easier to grasp how they function and how they wear in.
    With cabling the whole argument of improvement over time
    or break in would be very hard to prove without very pricey
    equipment plus a lab capable of testing this equipment in
    an unbiased fashion.
    ------------------
    Brett DiMichele
    Certified Audio Nut
    My Home Theater Site!
    [email protected]
     
  9. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    When I decided to buy a pair of Mordaunt-Short 906's, the dealer didn't have the black finish I wanted, so I took home a pair of brand-new in box cherry finish to use until the black ones came in. I found the speakers to be a little too bright in the treble. After a couple of weeks of heavy use the treble tamed down a bit. When the black ones arrived and I replaced the ones I had been listening to I noticed the original brightness again. Now that they are a few weeks old, treble is back to "normal" once more.
    So, yes, I believe that speakers do indeed break in over time, though the difference is fairly subtle.
     
  10. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    I'm in my mid 40's and I have owned several brands and models of moderately priced speakers over the last 25+ years. I have never heard the break-in phenomena (a speaker change it's tonal character.) Even after hundreds and hundreds of hours usage.
    A few years ago, I was fortunate to visit Thiel's factory in Kentucky. The final stop for speakers that have been built (just before packing) is a frequency sweep test. The results of each sweep test is compared to THE original speaker that Jim Thiel designed for each model. Production models must conform virtually sonically identical to the original to be ready to ship. If break-in caused any kind of significant change to a speaker's sound, the original design model (which has been played probably thousands of hours) would surely not sound the same as a brand new, never played unit. Yet the new speaker does not ship unless they sound the same.
    My opinion on speaker break in is that it's an ear/brain break in, not the speaker. By that, I mean that we all become accustomed to what we hear on a regular basis. Some perceive "differences" as time wears on. Others don't...
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  11. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Chunck,
    I don't agree... I am not talking about sonic changes mind
    you, rather I am talking mechanical break in. I beleive that
    every speaker "seats" it's self in time. The voice coils
    warm up and contract, the surrounds break in and become more
    pliable.
    These may or may not effect sonic reproduction but I would
    be willing to be it effects transient times.
     
  12. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  13. John Desmond

    John Desmond Stunt Coordinator

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    I've heard it so many times I just assume it to be true. Whenever I get a new set of speakers I run them in hard for days before really sitting down to listen. I'm sure that we "get used" to a new sound. However, one of the things I've done is to hook up a new set and listen for a while. Then, I set them up to play fairly hard for 50+ hours. I do not listen to them, I am not even in the house. When I do listen to them again, they almost invariably sound better. Usually smoother and more refined.
     
  14. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    When I first started getting my cheap-ass HT together, I couldn't afford to buy all my speakers at once. So I bought a set of Polk R10's for the front and a CS175i center. The R10's were kinda' harsh in the highs for about two weeks, and then I noticed that they kinda' mellowed out a bit. At the time, I figured it was just because I was getting used to the way they sounded.
    So a month later, I picked up a second set of R10's to use as surrounds. When I hooked them up, I thought again that I could hear a harshness to the high frequencies. So I swapped the R10's that I'd had for a month to the back of the room and put the new ones up front... and the new ones were still noticably different in the highs. I ran the white noise panning on Avia to see if there was a noticable tonal difference between them, and it was pretty obvious. After about two weeks of pretty heavy usage, the new ones mellowed out. I ran the noise panning test again after a month, and this time there was a much better transition between channels and the harshness was all gone.
    So while I used to believe speaker break-in was a myth based on psychoacoustics and the individual growing accustomed to a speaker's sound, having heard it myself I believe there's something to it.
     
  15. JerryW

    JerryW Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Saurav (did I just say that? [​IMG]). I've listened to the break-in phenomenon first hand with a pair of Infinity IL10s, one pair I'd had for 4+ months and another that I'd just purchased. In A-B comparisons the newer pair was audibly weaker in bass extension and substantially more shrill in the high end. But, after a couple of weeks of regular usage both pairs were identical in every audible way (I'd placed the new pair in the front and moved my older pair to the back of my HT to be used as surrounds). As far as I'm concerned break-in for speakers (at least most kinds of spks) is fact, not fiction.
    Just don't get me started on interconnects and speaker wire... that's just a load of hooey. [​IMG]
    ------------------
    September 11, 2001
    "Those who died will always be remembered.
    Those who killed will never be forgotten.
    We who remain will not let it happen again."
     

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