Breaking in new speakers

 

New member
Username: Garo

LondonUK

Post Number: 5
Registered: Aug-05
I've just bought a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 speakers, i'm new to HiFi and i'm unsure whether i can use them normally straight away or if they need a period of running in much like an amp would. If so, what process of running in would anyone suggest?
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 782
Registered: Sep-04
Gary

You can use 9.1s normally straight away. They do benefit from running in which simply means putting them on repeat or the radio all day.

If you want to accelerate the running in period, you can wire them up outof phase (so one speaker's connections are the wrong way around) and then use a CD with a mono signal or if your amp has a mono switch, switch that on. Choose a CD with lots of output, not solo piano but some rock or pop. Make the speakers face very close to each other but not so close that they touch. Raise the volume to the level on the amp that you would normally be listening to the system as room-filling sound. So if the volume control is usually 10 o'clock on the dial when you listen to music, set the volume to that. They will not sound loud since they are cancelling each other out but you will be working them more than usual. Do that for a weekend and they should be close to run in after that.

Regards,
Frank.
Others - Diamond 9.1s are easy to run in and easy to drive., If you have speakers that take longer to run in, the technique above will help reduce that quite a bit, especially if you do it over 3 weekends or more.
 

Silver Member
Username: Shahrukhd

Mumbai, Maharashtra India

Post Number: 114
Registered: Nov-04
Diamond 9.1s use a Kevlar woofer. Kevlar takes approximately 100 hours to break in.
 

Silver Member
Username: Thx_3417

Post Number: 981
Registered: May-05
Virgin loudspeakers, well mine are defiantly broken in, and still able to perform well, is this an average 100 hours, for any loudspeaker?
 

Silver Member
Username: Shahrukhd

Mumbai, Maharashtra India

Post Number: 115
Registered: Nov-04
Paper cones take very little time to break in. Metallic cones take longer.
 

New member
Username: Garo

LondonUK

Post Number: 8
Registered: Aug-05
OK,

Thanx gents, i'll take on board what you've said!
 

Silver Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY

Post Number: 443
Registered: May-05
Would it start a huge arguement if I said the whole break-in or run-in thing is highly over rated and over done?

Speakers need a few hours to break-in. A night or two of listening should do it. These audio burn-in cd's go into the same category as exotic speaker cables and exotic interconnects in my opinion.

Paul Barton from PSB has proven through research at the NRC in Canada that burn-in on speakers is very over rated and over done. I can't remember the article, but if I can find it while this thread is active I'll post a link to it. He found that there are very few differences in speakers that have been played for lengths of time vs new. There are differences, but he found that a night or two at normal listening levels should be more than sufficient.
 

Silver Member
Username: Twebbz

Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Post Number: 232
Registered: Apr-04
Oh...I don't know about that...After about a couple of weeks my speakers were definitely fuller, richer and sweeter. I think the speaker suspensions become just a tad more flexible in time...enough to make a noticeable difference.

 

Silver Member
Username: Shahrukhd

Mumbai, Maharashtra India

Post Number: 116
Registered: Nov-04
Gotta agree with Rick there. I noticed quite a difference in my Diamonds after about a month of listening at moderate listening. Bass became better, vocals sweeter etc.
 

Silver Member
Username: Cheapskate

Post Number: 263
Registered: Mar-04
actually... you DON'T break the cones in. cones are supposed to be rigid.

what you are trying to break in is the driver's suspensions... namely the surrounds and the spiders.

just like a pair of shoes... the parts in a speaker that are designed to move are stiff at first... the more you excercise these moving parts, the more relaxed they will become.

if a speaker cone itself were to "break in" you'd have a crappy speaker. the whole point behind exotic cone materials is to STOP cone distortions without added weight. some cones are made out of aluminum because the material is light and rigid.

once you break a speaker in, the softer surrounds and spiders will allow your cone to move easier and faster.

would you run a marathon in a new pair of leather shoes? no. would you ever give up that well worn pair of shoes that are super comfortable? probably not.

really ANY mechanical device can be improved by breaking it in. that's why many professional contractors run their drills etc. for an hour or so with no load to break the bearings in and get them seated.

sorry shahrukh d... someone gave you improper info. cones would actually sound BETTER if they DIDN'T break in. with cones... stiffer is better. that's why there was an invention of honeycomb cones at one point.
 

Silver Member
Username: Twebbz

Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Post Number: 236
Registered: Apr-04
Yep...I really don't understand how some guys will argue the point that break-in does not exsist. Of course, something that is designed to flex will be stiffer when new and will become more flexible as time goes by. In the case of a speaker, the driver will move more freely as time passes.
 

Silver Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY

Post Number: 446
Registered: May-05
I can't find the article I was getting the information from. I honestly didn't make it up. I never said that speakers don't benefit from a break-in period. I mean that people over do it. I've heard people talk about running their speakers constantly for a week or two before critical listening. This is absurd. There is no magic formula for breaking in speakers. Let them play for a few hours, and they should be fine. I believe Paul Barton said something along the lines of 'people are burning-in their ears and brain' meaning that a lot of it is psychological. He said they were measurable differences within the first few hours, but after that they were below the hearing threshold.
 

Silver Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 220
Registered: Dec-04
I've seen one or two articles where measurements were taken of drive units when being broken in. This is the only link I can find -
http://groups.google.com/group/aus.hi-fi/msg/b5f738acd22d9374?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8 &oe=UTF-8&rnum=17

I suspect that different drive units require different amounts of time.
My Castle speakers seemed quite rough sounding when I first got them and took a couple of weeks to start soundng good.

I once heard about some Italian speakers which the makers suggested had a break-in period of several thousands hours - i.e. a few years of normal use!
 

Silver Member
Username: Cheapskate

Post Number: 270
Registered: Mar-04
i've seen more than one MANUFACTURER recommendation for breaking gear in for at least a week.

the same thing applies to phono cartridges. freshly molded rubber is stiff. it needs to flex to soften up.

i'm not saying that you "made it up" but the premise was wrong.

ideally,
speaker cones should be as rigid as possible. that's probably why the $2600 EACH tweeters that some consider to be "the best in the world" are made out of brittle diamond.

it's the parts that are designed to flex, surrounds and spiders, that need to loosen up. in a perfect world, THOSE are the only parts of a speaker that should change their shape.

a speaker cone that flexes alot probably sounds like crap. that's why manufacturers have used honeycomb aluminum and carbon fiber. those are two of the lightest weight yet rigid materials available without a NASA budget, but i'm pretty sure nasa uses carbon fiber sometimes anyways.

you'd get better sound if you glued a cone that's designed to break in to a suspension that's already broken in as the cone would be stiffer then, like it should be.

in fact... that's why speakers are cone shaped to begin with. cones are more rigid than flat surfaces. a flat driver would definately be lighter than a cone AND time align better with one's tweeters, but it would also distort like ripples on a pond.

if you could get a surface that stays flat and NEVER flexes and is light as air, then you'd see flat woofers.

that's surely why tweeters aren't flat either. flat is the ideal shape if it could just STAY flat. maintaining geometry WITHOUT flexing is more important than being 100% time coherent with flex induced distortions.

otherwise, woofers wouldn't even have surrounds, they'd just be sheets of rubber attached to voice coils.

it's a balancing act. if you make a driver that's totally inert and doesn't flex at all, it will be too heavy and slow. that's why no-one sells inch thick solid steel woofers.

if you ever see "the ideal" flat shaped driver, you can bet that it's probably a honeycomb structure designed to stay rigid, but the cost of that "perfect piston" design is that it's heavier than the tried and true cone.

how flexible is a piece of paper? how rigid is the same piece of paper when you turn it into a cone? if you shake a piece of paper, you WILL hear it distorting... shake a cone, and you probably won't hear anything.
 

Silver Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 222
Registered: Dec-04
Dear budget minded,
When you say "i'm not saying that you "made it up" but the premise was wrong.", were you referring to the previous post, i.e. mine?

If so, I assume that you mean my reference to the thousands of hours break-in time for the Italian speaker. I found it hard to believe myself when I read the review. I seem to remember it from the high-end TNT Audio site but cannot find any reference there now.

My Castle speakers have carbon fibre cones, which, as you say, are very rigid for their weight. But I assure you that they sounded better after a few days running.
Or were you referring to someone else?

Better to use names when replying - prevents confusion.

Regards, nonetheless,
diablo :-)
 

Silver Member
Username: Shahrukhd

Mumbai, Maharashtra India

Post Number: 117
Registered: Nov-04
Budget minded, while what you say does seem to make sense, why is it that speaker cones made of different materials take different time periods to break in? The surrounds of most of them are made of pretty much the same material - rubber. Shouldn't all speakers have similar break in periods?
 

Silver Member
Username: T_bomb25

Dayton, Ohio United States

Post Number: 776
Registered: Jun-05
I would have to dissagee with BG on speakers and this goes for electronics also.My Diamond 8.1s took about 250 hour before they really settled in Kevlar is a very stiff material various owners on this forum who have speakers with kevlar can attest to this,as Diablo said different materials different time spands.My Totem Arros took about 500 hrs until they really started singing,my Odyssey Epiphonys that i bought last month are recomended 200 hrs and just this past saturday did the bass start really gaining fullness and they still have a long way to go.Elecronics can take even longer than speakers,Breakin time is the most importanrt thing to do with your gear absolutely a must!!
 

Silver Member
Username: Shahrukhd

Mumbai, Maharashtra India

Post Number: 118
Registered: Nov-04
250 hrs is really long fo Diamond 8.1s Tawaun. My 8.1s started sounding good after 100 hrs. I kinda disagree that electronics need break in. Speakers, yes - they have moving parts. But not an amp or CDP.
 

Silver Member
Username: T_bomb25

Dayton, Ohio United States

Post Number: 777
Registered: Jun-05
I Cant agree with you SD that amps and cd players dont take a long time to break in, the Odyssey amps and preamps take 4-6 weeks of continuslly being on to open up.Electronics straight out of the box can sound cold and stearl,All audio gear needs breakend time cold, impatient world but good things come to those who wait.
 

Silver Member
Username: Shahrukhd

Mumbai, Maharashtra India

Post Number: 119
Registered: Nov-04
My question Tawaun, is why?
Why would electronics need break in? All they do (roughly speaking of course) is have current and signals passing through them. A few seconds, a minute, a few minutes to warm up maybe. But days weeks and months is a bit difficult to fathom.
 

Silver Member
Username: Audioholic

Post Number: 113
Registered: Apr-05
Stu Pitt, read the following:
http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/audioprinciples/loudspeakers/SpeakerBreakIn. php

 

Anonnnn
Unregistered guest
Shahrukh D,

You are right on the money, amps just need between 20-40 minutes to warm up and sound better,anyone who differs on this just does not have any clue.
There is not such a thing as "electronics break in" of course some "experts" here will say otherwise.....lol
 

Gold Member
Username: Thx_3417

Post Number: 1107
Registered: May-05
To all

They say when we sleep; we shrink just a little bit....

When we wake up and start moving around we stretch back to the same configuration of are original height....

So this theory about loudspeakers, will I guess there like a newborn baby, in point of fact yes they are and need time to mature, like a vintage wine?

Ashley
 

Silver Member
Username: Twebbz

Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Post Number: 237
Registered: Apr-04
...and no, driver cone or dome materials don't break-in. They are designed for maximum stiffness and remain that way, otherwise they would introduce distortion. Only the suspensions that are designed to flex can change.

 

Gold Member
Username: Thx_3417

Post Number: 1112
Registered: May-05
Rick,

That makes perfect sense.....I agree.

Ashley
 

Silver Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY

Post Number: 449
Registered: May-05
Just like everything else audio (and everything else for that matter), if you're looking for an 'expert' - in this case a designer or manufacturer - to say yes, you'll find quite a few. If you're looking for a no answer, you'll find just as many. I've even seen one article from a manufacturer that said that once you stop playing the speaker it goes right back to where it started, meaning that speakers should be warmed-up for a few minutes before being seriously listened to, and all the break-in time in the world isn't going to make a difference. Not that I agree with that... just saying that their are as many opinions as their are "experts."

I agree with Rick's last post - "Only the suspensions that are designed to flex can change."

Most suspensions are rubber (foam on earlier speakers). I don't believe it takes 100's of hours to break these in. Paul Barton's agruement was that it only takes a few hours for these parts to break in. After this time, the differences are less than audible.

Keep in mind that a speaker is always going to be breaking in. Every time the woofer moves, the surround deforms slightly, and at a microscopic level, doesn't ever recover 100%. After years and years, the speaker's charecteristics will change due to this micro deformity, and will eventually fail.

People do hear differences in speakers at different points of the break in process. People may hear differences between hour 20 and 40 for example. I think a large part of that is psychological.

I really didn't mean to start some heated debate about the process. I tend to believe Paul Barton's findings. While I've never measured speakers - and how many of us have in the same capacity as him or any one of his peers - I have found his claims to be true from personal experience. He is also one of the most respected speaker designers and manufacturers in the world, and works out of the NRC, which is one of the most respected research centers in the world. I don't think any expert in the field would write off what he says too easily; not that he's the be all, end all by any means.

Everyone's experiences are different though, so who is truly right? I guess we all are. If your speakers sound better to you after 2 weeks of burn-in using your preferred method, you're right. If my speakers don't sound any different to me after 4 hours of burn-in time compared to 400 hours, then I'm right. It's all in the ear and mind of the listener.
 

Silver Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY

Post Number: 450
Registered: May-05
Diablo - I believe the "I'm not saying you're making it up" reference from Budget Minded was toward me.

I didn't think anyone was accusing me of making up the article I was referring to. I just wish I could find it. Google and MSN didn't find it.
 

Gold Member
Username: Thx_3417

Post Number: 1129
Registered: May-05
Stu,

There are so many search engines, there are only two that I use and 99.999% I find a result Google &Yahoo, and (stuff jives)....

Ashley
 

Silver Member
Username: Cheapskate

Post Number: 277
Registered: Mar-04
yes, it was directed at you, but was REALLY directed at whatever not too bright author claimed that cones break in. you only repeated the WRONG info someone else told you.

cones are designed to AVOID flexing and distortions. that's why you've probable NEVER seen a woofer that's "soft". cones are hard because they're supposed to operate like perfect pistions.

the surrounds and spiders are the parts of speakers that are designed to let a cone IDEALLY move without restriction, but must ALSO keep it "in line". in other words, the surround and spider must keep the cone moving as close to perfectly straight forewards and backwards while also NOT interfering with the foreward backward movement.

these parts that are designed to move need to break in to let the cone move more easily. when a suspension is stiff, it FIGHTS the woofer from moving the way it should and makes speakers sound more "hard".

cones SHOULDN'T flex
suspensions SHOULDN'T stop a cone (or dome etc.) from moving forewards and back, but SHOULD keep them from moving up and down and side to side which would cause physical friction between the voice coil and the magnet.

think of suspensions as being kind of like the trenches that bowling balls return in. they have to let the ball return easily, but they also must keep the ball from wandering into other lanes.

cones absolutely DO flex (break up) but the LESS they do, the better. that's why speaker designers were so gung ho on laser interferometers for a while. they were measuring exactly how resistant to flexing drivers were at the microscopic level. cones are supposed to stay solid while suspensions are supposed to be the ONLY part of any speaker that actually changes shape, and as such, are the parts that need to break in.

why do some speakers need different break in periods? alot of reasons.
different surround materials
...rubber
...foam
...CLOTH
...accordion shaped paper
and so on. even withing the same materials, different surrounds have different thicknesses. obviously THICK rubber is more resistant to moving than thin rubber. that's where the thiele small parameter called COMPLIANCE comes in.

then there's EXCURSION. different woofers are designed to move forewards and backwards different amounts. if two drivers have the exact same surface area, the one with the higher excursion can move foreward and backwards more and thus play louder as it can move more air.

there are many other variables that affect exactly how a woofer moves too. magnet size/weight, voice coil diameter, number of coil windings and the driver's impedence among others.

there are alot of varables involved in how a driver moves, but the bottom line is always that the driver itself must be as light and stiff as possible. cones and domes should be rigid without resonating.

with that out of the way, different driver materials DO have different sound characteristics as each distorts in different ways and at different resonant frequencies.

the "perfect" driver would be flat, weigh nothing, and move ONLY forewards and back and NEVER change shape even at the atomic level.

there is no such material and never will be.

virtually every driver is designed to excell in one or more of the following areas:
light weight
stiffness
and
freedom from resonance

each material does different things better than others. carbon fiber is super stiff and light, but it's also very brittle and prone to shattering eventually. kevlar is very light and strong, but it's more flexible. you NEVER see either material in a sealed enclosure probably because the air spring would cause even more flexing. aluminum cones are super light and super stiff, but aliminum is also more resonant. honeycomb aluminim is even stiffer, but it's also heavier.

every choice is a compromise limited by physics. that's why alot of drivers have multiple materials. one material compensates for the weaknesses of the other. often, one material offers the stiffness to weight ratio while the other dampens the resonances of the stiffer (brittle ringing) material.
 

Silver Member
Username: Twebbz

Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Post Number: 238
Registered: Apr-04
Very Good explanation, BM!
 

Silver Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY

Post Number: 451
Registered: May-05
BM - I can't figure out where in any of my posts I've said or claimed the author claimed that cones need to break in. The cones themselves really don't move at all. The surrounds that attach them to the cabinet is what needs to be broken in. When this part wears in to the proper point - whenever you think that point occurs - the speaker is broken in. If the cones themselves were to break-in, any frequencies the cone was responsible for would probably get so distorted that you wouldn't want to listen to them.

I never relayed WRONG information. You simply read the information I passed along WRONG. I've read my posts an number of times, and can't find anywhere that I've stated cones break-in. Please cut and paste a line for me to point it out.

Different materials do take different amounts of time to break in, I don't doubt this for a second. But how much more or less time? This depends on the material's levels of plasticity and elasticity.

Once again, "the not too bright author" of the article happens to be one of the most respected speaker designer/manufactures there is. On top of that, he does his research out of one of the most respected research facilities in the world. I guess 30 years of research and design have been wrong. If you know more about this stuff than he does, why aren't you building speakers?
 

Anonnnn
Unregistered guest
whoah you guys should get a life there other things in life besides debating breaking in speakers. 5 days of uselss stuff about speaker break in
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 1557
Registered: Feb-05
If you don't like what these guys are debating please feel free to leave. Oh and don't let the door hit you in the.....on your way out.
 

Silver Member
Username: Devils_advocate

Post Number: 249
Registered: Jul-05
Nurse I had a BM!!!!
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 3589
Registered: Dec-03
Now if we can just start a discussion about cable burn-in.LOL
 

Silver Member
Username: Twebbz

Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Post Number: 239
Registered: Apr-04
STU...Shahrukh-D was the one saying at the beginning that speaker cones needed to be broken in.
 

Anonnn
Unregistered guest
Ok Anonnn,
That was funny, stealing my identity ...how dare you! lol
Get your own name !
and don't you dare come to this forum if you don't have anything to contribute... only experts in greatness here :-)
 

Silver Member
Username: Shahrukhd

Mumbai, Maharashtra India

Post Number: 120
Registered: Nov-04
I stand corrected. Thanks to BM.
 

anonnn
Unregistered guest
like DA I just had a bowel movement too.

whoa, much better. finally!
 

Anonnn
Unregistered guest
was it in your head ? lol
 

Anonn
Unregistered guest
yeah cause my *ss and my head are about the same thing, ha ha ha ha

see, here I am talking to myself again!
 

Silver Member
Username: Cheapskate

Post Number: 286
Registered: Mar-04
too many comments to sort who said what now.

i don't think it was you that i was talking to stu.

actually you DID just make an incorrect statement though. you said
"The cones themselves really don't move at all."
which is of course totally wrong. cones are designed to be the MAIN part of a speakr that moves, but without changing shape.

i'm sure you know that, but just chose the wrong words to say it. LOL i know i sure did that in a "seperation vs. crosstalk" thread myself LOL.

WHOEVER said that different CONES need different break in times was mistaken and/or repeating wrong info or not fully understanding what they repeated.

suspensions need break in because they are the parts of speakers that must CHANGE THEIR SHAPE to allow the cone (or dome etc.) to do it's job of moving air without changing IT's own shape ideally.

all speaker cones do change their shape to some extent because physics demand it, but the less that drivers do change their shape ("break in") the better. if you punch a 10 ton block of lead as hard as you can... you won't affect it much, but you WILL transfer some energy to it.

drivers jobs are to move air as quickly as possible without changing their shape at all ideally. the moe a driver changes it's shape, the more it acts like a kazoo that distorts your voice.

a surround's (motor assembly) job is to ALLOW the driver to move freely to do it's job and to keep the driver moving in the direction it needs to go and ONLY that direction. it needs to break in and soften to allow the driver to move more freely. to a certain extent, the surround FIGHTS the driver from moving as it is trying to control the driver's motion. it fights up and down and side to side more than forewards and back, but it still does get in the way of the ideal forewards and back motion a little, much more when it's new and stiff.

back to the shoe analogy, speaker surrounds are designed to work best once the break in and let the driver do it's job. if the shoe is the surround... then the foot is the driver.

a stiff new shoe strains one's foot and keeps it from working efficiently. once the shoe (surround) breaks in, the foot (driver) barely feels it anymore and can move almost as fast and easily as is physically possible.

looking back up one last time before posting, it looks like i was replying to shahrukh.

regardless, i'm just trying to relay the facts as i understand them from my own hi-fi research and understanding of physics.

if you aren't jumping up and down saying i'm a liar or full of crap, then i wasn't trying to correct you stu. from your reply, it sounds like we're on the same page just using different ways to describe the same things.
 

Darth Vader
Unregistered guest
no one needs to acuse you of lying maybe just high on hemp, does not matter you are just probably tripping.
 

Silver Member
Username: Cheapskate

Post Number: 312
Registered: Mar-04
go frog yourself annie!

i haven't partaken in 8 months... and i'm not some "dumb stoner" either. my IQ averages 135 in tests and in a non time limited test i clocked 147... so don't make stupid generalizations unless you want to sound stupid yourself.
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