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Speaker break in - is it real?

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  • Speaker break in - is it real?

    I have been listening to my Old Skool coaxials every day in my listening room. They were built just in time for InDIYana and had only 5-10 hours of break in time before the meet. They seem to be getting smoother and more balanced sounding as time goes by. I can never decide whether the speakers are actually changing or my ears are adapting to the speakers.

    I can switch to my previous mains very easily for comparison. Immediately after building the coaxials, my main speakers still sounded noticeably better. Now, they are pretty equal. Have the coaxes gotten better after thirty or forty hours of playing? Or have my ears gotten used to the new sound and now the old sound is less good in comparison?

    The world may never know...

  • #2
    Yes, It is real. Some suspensions take longer to loosen up. I purchased 4 woofers from a person who was dissatisfied with the sound. They broken in AFTER I ran them for a while longer.
    "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
    “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
    "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

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    • #3
      Speakers do break in, but not that much, and certainly not so much that you can hear it. Your auditory memory window is far too short, and the effect far too subtle.
      www.billfitzmaurice.com
      www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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      • #4
        I have the same question! There are convincing arguments that poo poo the break in theory, so I guess it's all in my head (ears)

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        • #5
          Why is even a question to some? ¬*Yes they break in. The spiders loosen up after flexing as do the surrounds. This is why Fs is lower after a few hours of use. The glue and voice coil former undergo thermal cycling. anyone who has taken a course in material science would be mystified as why there would be any controversy on this subject. Listen to a new drive and one with ¬*a hundred hours of playing and make up your mind free of what anyone tells you.¬*

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          • #6
            Originally posted by scary View Post
            There are convincing arguments that poo poo the break in theory
            They're not made by transducer engineers.
            so I guess it's all in my head (ears)
            Maybe 90% between your ears, 10% what they actually hear, as born out by the only method that really determines how much effect break in has: measured results.

            ¬*
            www.billfitzmaurice.com
            www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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            • #7
              Bill's comments in Posts #3 and #6, especially Post #6, makes the most sense, both technically and logically. What Fred said in Post #5 is also true, but the degree to which the materials breaking in effect the sound and how long it takes is questionable.
              Paul

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              • #8
                But I thought that full range drivers named after some dude takes 500 hours to really break in and sound proper¬*
                Craig

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                • #9
                  I have definitely noticed woofers that break in dramatically in the first hour or less. They have minimal bass out of the box, then after a little bit...normal... After that, I'm not so sure. I think that the mind gets used to a new sound over time, this makes comparisons difficult. Maybe the speakers continue to loosen up also. Even cones flex and might possibly soften up over time. It is probably both speakers and ears changing. I did not expect any conclusive answers, I am more curious what others experiences are.

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                  • #10
                    More with some drivers than others. MartyH had to redo the xover on his Copper project after about a year due to breaking in.

                    Wolf
                    "Wolf, you shall now be known as "King of the Zip ties." -Pete00t
                    "Wolf and speakers equivalent to Picasso and 'Blue'" -dantheman
                    "He is a true ambassador for this forum and speaker DIY in general." -Ed Froste
                    "We're all in this together, so keep your stick on the ice!" - Red Green aka Steve Smith

                    *InDIYana event website*

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                    • #11
                      Did Marty redo the XO?¬* I thought he had to adjust the port length on the MLTL because the bass became boomy.¬* I may have misunderstood what he and Paul were saying at dinner that night in Iowa though.
                      Craig

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                      • #12
                        From what I've read, not talked to him personally, yes the tuning was affected as well. Since the drivers broke in it shifted the tonal balance of the speaker to be bright rather than neutral, and IIRC, he had to at least adjust the padding on the tweeter. I don't know how much he had to do, as he never updated the thread to post the final, again IIRC, but he was working on a 3-way version.

                        Edit: I went 14 pages back in search for it, but did not find the build thread. It was quite a while ago.

                        Later,
                        Wolf
                        "Wolf, you shall now be known as "King of the Zip ties." -Pete00t
                        "Wolf and speakers equivalent to Picasso and 'Blue'" -dantheman
                        "He is a true ambassador for this forum and speaker DIY in general." -Ed Froste
                        "We're all in this together, so keep your stick on the ice!" - Red Green aka Steve Smith

                        *InDIYana event website*

                        Photobucket pages:
                        http://photobucket.com/Wolf-Speakers_and_more

                        My blog/writeups/thoughts here at PE:
                        http://techtalk.parts-express.com/blog.php?u=4102

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                        • #13
                          Billet,

                          I've wondered how substantial break-in really is as well; I'm probably not too qualified to answer this question since I've done no testing on the subject, but I'll share what I think about it.

                          I like putting a new driver on the DATS, then flexing the cone several dozen times and watch the Fs drop by 6 or 7 Hz from the initial sweep. Often the Fs will rise again within a few minutes; I think over time the change would set-in and become permanent.

                          Even though the change shows up most in the lower bass range, or rather it's easier to see in the Fs spec, I believe it must alter the sound of the upper bass frequencies/lower midrange to some degree.
                          No, I can't prove it, and I don't pretend to understand it... but....I can listen to half a dozen speakers I've built with fairly flat frequency response in the same position in the room... and boy, they all sound different. Very similar squigglies on the FR graph, but different sounding for sure...something that's not necessarily measurable on a FR graph like I would think it would be.

                          A woofer's suspension that loosens up considerably through large movements from break-in would seem to me to have a more drastic affect on upper bass/midrange frequencies...for example, if a dome midrange suspension loosened up to the same degree or percentage as a 6" woofer's does after break-in, I would expect a noticeable change in FR. I'm not sure, but I kind of doubt that a dome midrange suspension loosens up all that much, but since a 6" woofer's suspension does -- or can break-in quite a bit from new, I think it's 'possible' to hear things smooth-out enough to possibly notice given what I just stated.

                          Anyway, no science here, just my ramblings, and I'm likely wrong, but I think there are possibly factors aside from a frequency response graph at play when it comes to 'break-in' on some speaker drivers. Just my overpriced two cents.

                          TomZ
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PWR RYD View Post
                            But I thought that full range drivers named after some dude takes 500 hours to really break in and sound proper¬*
                            Advertising piffle. What changes after 500 hours is that you can no longer return the speakers for a full refund. Whatever is going to happen will happen within 40 hours of normal use, if not less.¬*
                            More with some drivers than others. MartyH had to redo the xover on his Copper project after about a year due to breaking in.
                            I always break in drivers before testing them in a prototype cab. Using accelerated break in it only takes overnight, and for the most part it just gets the driver to their published specs. Manufacturers measure specs after break in, not before. I'm not aware of any who break in drivers before shipping them, as that would increase their cost.
                            www.billfitzmaurice.com
                            www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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                            • #15
                              I measured some Satori 9.5" woofers without being broke in, I have rocked them for a few days and I will be remeasuring them
                              tomorrow. I will post the results.¬*¬*
                              Guess xmax's age.

                              My guess: 15. His grammar is passable. His trolling is good.

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