Breaking in a speaker is no joke

Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic Ninja
A bias controlled test?
Of sorts yes, we weren't even informed of exactly what was going on only that we started out listening to one pair of speakers and then another. Asked if we heard anything different ? (my comment on panel/woofer integration) and then told of the difference in pairs.

I believe M/L was demonstrating with the run-in speakers that they had greatly overcome the integration issue that so many of us had with their earlier generation design hybrid (stat panel and conventional cone woofer). All of us that had experience with the older models (Prodigy for me) felt even when brand new the Summitt's were less noticeable. But as we all know long term auditory recall is questionable at best !
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
A number of years ago, Dennis conducted a simple blind listening test among a few friends. This was posted on another audio forum, because there was a lot of chatter about Cambridge Audio Aero 2 speakers needing a lot of break-in time, especially in the tweeter's range. The Aero 2 speakers were a 2-way design with a typical 6½" woofer and a Tectonic BMR driver instead of a typical dome tweeter. (It was these speakers that first alerted Dennis that those BMR drivers had promise as a mid-range, but were poor as tweeters.)

Two newly purchased Aero 2 speakers were used. Another of Dennis's many admirers had purchased them and shipped them directly to Dennis. He opened one of them and played radio broadcasts through it for more than 50 hours. The other speaker remained sealed in it's shipping carton.

After the 50 hours, I listened to them, one at a time, in A vs. B fashion. I listened to a variety of music, without knowing which speaker had been run-in, as Dennis switched back and forth. I listened on-axis, and about 30° off-axis. I was asked if I could tell the difference between the speakers, and if so, which I preferred. It was my experience that both speakers sounded so similar that I could not tell them apart.

Immediately afterwards, I watched as Dennis made frequency response measurements of the speaker which had been run for over 50 hours and the speaker that he recently removed from it's sealed carton (see them below).

I also listened to a direct comparison of the Aero 2 which had been run for over 50 hours and a different 2-way stand-mounted speaker, the Philharmonitor. In contrast, I found it easy to hear differences between the two, especially in the upper treble range. Under the same conditions (room, listening position, electronic gear, and music selections), I could easily hear differences between the Aero 2 and Philharmonitor, but I could not hear differences between the two Aero 2 speakers.

A total of three people participated in this blind test – not enough to make any statistically valid conclusions. At the time when these results were posted, all the chatter about break-in abruptly ended. Some of the more outspoken pro-break-in posters, who had frequently boasted that they could hear the results of speaker break-in, simply vanished.
View attachment 58631

View attachment 58632

Interestingly, Dennis later told me that one of the three people who listened to these speakers did say he could hear minor differences as a result of break-in. But it wasn't in the tweeter. He said male voices sounded 'chesty' in the non-broken-in speaker, and that could not be heard in the run-in speaker. He made a living as a studio recording engineer, and had previously bought Phil 3s from Dennis. He said, in his experience, that woofers typically loosened up during the first minutes of use. The change is subtle, and it took place in the first minutes of use, certainly not longer.

That is quite similar to what you learned from Nick at Stereo Integrity .
Paul Barton of PSB also echos the sentiments of your last paragraph.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
"Breaking in," is a way of saying that many people do not like neutral and revealing speakers as much as they were told they would. Especially those hooked on mainstream pop or rock music. I got to upgrade slowly over a period of decades. Some people are being thrown right into good speakers from ear buds and bluetooth speakers. Even after all these years, I still have to break in to a new set of speakers, even if I know I like them right away, at least with some music.

If I were designing/manufacturing speakers for sale to the public and "breaking-in" were a condition of them sounding and functioning as intended, I would be sure to have a process to cycle the drivers until they were reasonably broken in ahead of time. Otherwise, the company's process was not complete. I am also reasonably certain that many driver manufacturers likely put these things thru some paces as part of the manufacturing and basic quality control process to start with.
 
Speedskater

Speedskater

Audioholic Chief
Conventional loudspeakers will break-in in a matter of minutes of playing loud music.
But what's interesting is, take a new raw woofer driver, measure its parameters, then exercise it and some parameters will change. Let it relax overnight and it will be back near the original parameters.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
"Breaking in," is a way of saying that many people do not like neutral and revealing speakers as much as they were told they would. Especially those hooked on mainstream pop or rock music. I got to upgrade slowly over a period of decades. Some people are being thrown right into good speakers from ear buds and bluetooth speakers. Even after all these years, I still have to break in to a new set of speakers, even if I know I like them right away, at least with some music.

If I were designing/manufacturing speakers for sale to the public and "breaking-in" were a condition of them sounding and functioning as intended, I would be sure to have a process to cycle the drivers until they were reasonably broken in ahead of time. Otherwise, the company's process was not complete. I am also reasonably certain that many driver manufacturers likely put these things thru some paces as part of the manufacturing and basic quality control process to start with.
The ability of humans to remember all details of sounds is known to be OK, but not great. It allows us to recognize sounds like voices, animals that are coming to eat us, etc but the details form speakers aren't always noticed or if you want, recognized. That's the reason for fast switching between components in listening tests. Anyone who says "My speakers broke in nicely over a couple of months" is unaware of this and full of crap. Our ears are subjected to so much noise and sound that can alter their sensitivity on a daily or hourly basis that it's impossible to be absolutely sure of what we hear- air pressure (absolute or quick changes), blood pressure, cleanliness and possible sinus issues can affect how well we hear.

More testing of the T/S parameters needs to be done to prove/disprove this. I have measured differences in the VAS and FS of some drivers, but haven't been able to since my woofer tester failed and the company wouldn't support it.

Testing EVERY speaker or component? Good luck with that, if the manufacturer makes a large number of drivers or completed speaker systems- it' a lot to ask for and it would slow the process of getting the goods out the door.

Does anyone want to take the gauntlet?
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
The ability of humans to remember all details of sounds is known to be OK, but not great. It allows us to recognize sounds like voices, animals that are coming to eat us, etc but the details form speakers aren't always noticed or if you want, recognized. That's the reason for fast switching between components in listening tests. Anyone who says "My speakers broke in nicely over a couple of months" is unaware of this and full of crap. Our ears are subjected to so much noise and sound that can alter their sensitivity on a daily or hourly basis that it's impossible to be absolutely sure of what we hear- air pressure (absolute or quick changes), blood pressure, cleanliness and possible sinus issues can affect how well we hear.

More testing of the T/S parameters needs to be done to prove/disprove this. I have measured differences in the VAS and FS of some drivers, but haven't been able to since my woofer tester failed and the company wouldn't support it.

Testing EVERY speaker or component? Good luck with that, if the manufacturer makes a large number of drivers or completed speaker systems- it' a lot to ask for and it would slow the process of getting the goods out the door.

Does anyone want to take the gauntlet?
Car manufacturers break-in their engines beforehand. It should be much easier to break in a speaker driver, or even tens, or hundreds at a time, come 2022. They only need voltage applied to flex the suspensions. If it really mattered, I am sure this would be done. I'm surprised they don't offer it as an option, for a small fee, of course.

I can't wait for a salesman or manufacturer rep to tell me my speakers need to be broken-in, and I get to tell him to take them back until they are finished. Not all things become better when they become broken in.

Speaker drivers are designed to function in any direction, many of which function horizontally. The gap around the voice coils relies on a rather tight tolerance with regard to clearance and being precisely centered. A suspension that "broke-in" would allow some settling to occur on drivers oriented horizontally. From then on, warranted or not, I would imagine my driver motors sagging to the bottom and this would make me rotate them 180 degrees every so many hours.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Car manufacturers break-in their engines beforehand. It should be much easier to break in a speaker driver, or even tens, or hundreds at a time, come 2022. They only need voltage applied to flex the suspensions. If it really mattered, I am sure this would be done. I'm surprised they don't offer it as an option, for a small fee, of course.

I can't wait for a salesman or manufacturer rep to tell me my speakers need to be broken-in, and I get to tell him to take them back until they are finished. Not all things become better when they become broken in.

Speaker drivers are designed to function in any direction, many of which function horizontally. The gap around the voice coils relies on a rather tight tolerance with regard to clearance and being precisely centered. A suspension that "broke-in" would allow some settling to occur on drivers oriented horizontally. From then on, warranted or not, I would imagine my driver motors sagging to the bottom and this would make me rotate them 180 degrees every so many hours.
How far into the break-in process do you think car manufacturers go? Letting them sit at idle doesn't work and they couldn't possibly take the time to drive them in the way an engine usually needs to be broken in because they make too many of them. Regardless of what needs to break in, someone has to do it or in the case of speakers, connect all of them and set up the rig- how many channels of amplification would be required and how could they do it without puking amplifiers because of the impedance unless it was a massive series/parallel scheme?

You expect too much and if you want to hear "your speakers will break in", call a bunch of manufacturers and you WILL hear it.

Speakers work on tight tolerances? Not compared to a car.
 
O

okaenegen

Audiophyte
Newly invested hifi owner here. I’ve read so many threads about the need to “break in” speakers and always thought that claim might be a little exaggerated.

Well…

When my Buchardt s400mkii arrived, I was a bit underwhelmed. Mids sounded good. But the bass just seemed missing router login. And that is a selling point for em. I had to use a lot of eq to make music sound exciting.

But now, even just a week later, wow. Bass is really hitting a lot harder. I thought I had some eq preset on last night but nope, it’s just the speakers sounding more limber and dynamic.
I got this,..
 
Teetertotter?

Teetertotter?

Senior Audioholic
It is, Whatever makes people happy! Break-in or Not. lol
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Samurai
A number of years ago, Dennis conducted a simple blind listening test among a few friends. This was posted on another audio forum, because there was a lot of chatter about Cambridge Audio Aero 2 speakers needing a lot of break-in time, especially in the tweeter's range. The Aero 2 speakers were a 2-way design with a typical 6½" woofer and a Tectonic BMR driver instead of a typical dome tweeter. (It was these speakers that first alerted Dennis that those BMR drivers had promise as a mid-range, but were poor as tweeters.)

Two newly purchased Aero 2 speakers were used. Another of Dennis's many admirers had purchased them and shipped them directly to Dennis. He opened one of them and played radio broadcasts through it for more than 50 hours. The other speaker remained sealed in it's shipping carton.

After the 50 hours, I listened to them, one at a time, in A vs. B fashion. I listened to a variety of music, without knowing which speaker had been run-in, as Dennis switched back and forth. I listened on-axis, and about 30° off-axis. I was asked if I could tell the difference between the speakers, and if so, which I preferred. It was my experience that both speakers sounded so similar that I could not tell them apart.

Immediately afterwards, I watched as Dennis made frequency response measurements of the speaker which had been run for over 50 hours and the speaker that he recently removed from it's sealed carton (see them below).

I also listened to a direct comparison of the Aero 2 which had been run for over 50 hours and a different 2-way stand-mounted speaker, the Philharmonitor. In contrast, I found it easy to hear differences between the two, especially in the upper treble range. Under the same conditions (room, listening position, electronic gear, and music selections), I could easily hear differences between the Aero 2 and Philharmonitor, but I could not hear differences between the two Aero 2 speakers.

A total of three people participated in this blind test – not enough to make any statistically valid conclusions. At the time when these results were posted, all the chatter about break-in abruptly ended. Some of the more outspoken pro-break-in posters, who had frequently boasted that they could hear the results of speaker break-in, simply vanished.
View attachment 58631

View attachment 58632

Interestingly, Dennis later told me that one of the three people who listened to these speakers did say he could hear minor differences as a result of break-in. But it wasn't in the tweeter. He said male voices sounded 'chesty' in the non-broken-in speaker, and that could not be heard in the run-in speaker. He made a living as a studio recording engineer, and had previously bought Phil 3s from Dennis. He said, in his experience, that woofers typically loosened up during the first minutes of use. The change is subtle, and it took place in the first minutes of use, certainly not longer.

That is quite similar to what you learned from Nick at Stereo Integrity .
As usual, somebody on the AH used data and actual measurement to state something very clearly that folks on other types of forums talk about in flowery fuzzy terms. And that statement is breaking in speakers isn't a real physical thing. @Swerd nailed the data and the measurement.

When I was looking at this idea some time ago and looking at buying new speakers from Salk, Jim Salk answered this very same question. He didn't quote data. Making speakers is his livelihood and he does a great job at it. If there's someone that can offer an expert opinion on the idea of speaker break in, it would be him.
Point blank he said there's no such thing. He makes quality speaker systems every day. If he says there's no break in time, well, that's good enough for me. if @Swerd shows me that in real speaker data, that's good enough for me.

I realize the golden ear folks will never accept either points. That doesn't change the truth of it however.
 
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