Do speakers really need a break in period?

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Nowadays it seems everything needs to be broken in. New speakers included.
Or is that really true?

Awhile ago I bought speakers that the seller told me were built around Klipshe Heresy drivers and a crossover he built based on a design from Bob Crites. The cabinets were new MDF enclosures and when I got them they unfortunately were damaged in shipping. Nothing major. Only cosmetic.

I hooked them up to my tube amp and at first I thought the tweeters were shrill and everything else sounded flat. Maybe 15 or 20 hours in they seemed to come to life. Or did my ears just adapt? After all. The drivers were used. Why should they need breaking in? Perhaps the caps and resistors and inductors were new but how do they settle in? Do the wires and connectors get lubed up with electrons?
Hi Sprags,

About the only thingin audio we are sure of does break in are loudspeakers. The effects are usually around the resonant frequency and Qts and qms if i recall correctly. Speaker manufacturers who are concerned will break them in before measuring.

Perhaps its just a guess, buti always thought that the effects are more pronounced in larger drivers. What is changiing is the mechanical compliance, or to be scientiffic, the rubberiness (Lol) of the parts that make up the suspension. it is assumed that the cone, voicecoil and magnet remain relatively stable.


Ok...I guess I can understand that the speakers, having moving parts, need a break in to get everything moving the way they should. But if the speakers were used why would they need another break in? Unless screwing them into the cabinet can somehow change how all the parts line up and move together....
Used speakers, unless under used, should be broken in after a couple of hundred hours at most. After that we get into the dark arts discussing whether capacitors break in or not and whether or not they can return to their original state after periods of dissuse.

So, not sure. ! Its kind of like asking how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop. If there is an answer no one seems to have the patience.
Data are needed :
- what is the change after some hours of breaking in ?
- is this change maintained after some more hours at rest or after some months of normal usage ?
The real question : is the change significant enough to justify a modification of the project ?
I did measurements of drivers i used. TS parameters for B&C 6md38 shows 25Hz change at Fs. SBacoustics sb17nrxc35-8 changed about 5 Hz average (i had 6 of them). Beyma 15K200 changed Fs about 10Hz. Seas CA12RLY changed Fs 17Hz.

There is a case of Beyma 12LW30 that broke in, listened and sounded ok. After couple of days it neaded to break in again. The resin that surround is treated with hardens very fast. That is ok for high power loudspeakers in clubs (to not sag in time) but bad for hifi.

Visaton FRS8 also changed Fs about 7Hz. Generally it depends of driver construction. SB has some of the softest spiders and surrounds and changed very little during break in. That was not the case with other drivers though.
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In my experience every pair of loudspeakers i have ever purchased ( new ) sound better with use .
Some have continued to improve even after many hours/days/months . Many people believe that this is just our brain adapting to the different sound of the replacements but i find even with speaker's that are " old " and have not been used for sometime sound better after a few hours warm up .
As for electronics ,i think from new a component such as an amplifier will take awhile before reaching its peak performance as things " bed in " and stabilise . Once this critical period has passed , a time when 99 % of faults tend to become apparent ,other than a short " warm up" period from cold theres no real improvement in sound quality and theoretically it can only degrade over time as the internal components age.
Drivers and phono cartridges need a break-in period given that their mechanicals are essential to their functioning.

I looked into drivers many years ago and manufacturers generally seemed to agree on the amount of break-in required before they settle and won't change anymore unless you fry them and apparently it takes 15-30 minutes of near Xmax excursion. The lower the excursion the longer it takes but never more than a few hours.
ATC claimed that all their drivers are fully broken when sold as break in happens during their quality control procedure of each unit.
Drivers do not need breaking in, regarding their lower limit frequency. Chemical suspension (surround and spider) does age, but that is an insolvable problem, unless chemical suspension is done away with (what is possible to some extent, using electromagnetic suspension). Breaking in may be a reasonable procedure, tho, as a driver may change its high-frequency behaviour. I found, a fullrange with paper diaphragm got rid of a higher diaphragm mode, after having become excited for a few seconds of loud noise. Some connections break, so some fibers will rub against each other from now on, resulting in less stiffness and more damping.
In middle of a speaker build, I have been stressing with low frequency signals and measuring one of the four Seas woofers I'm using. The Fs hasn't moved even a Hz down after a few ours of break in. Impedance peak at Fs seems to have lowered a bit. There were some anomalies at 60-100 Hz in the impedance chart that seem to have disappeared after some use. Based on the impedance charts I'd bet that there isn't any audible change, not at least after the first one or two ours of use at least. Even the initial break in changes seem to be very minor.

It would be fair to actually measure the woofers' SPL straight out of the box and after some use, to see if they see any effect from breaking in. Maybe I'll try and do just that for sake of general interest.
Sorry grasso, but the changing behavior of speaker drivers has been well measured and documented. See my earlier post.

Sorry Erik, thou have not shown any measurement results in this thread. Technically, one could argue, that it helps to excur the diaphragm with a fitting sine for a second or two, in order to break loose connections. As in my earlier post, but also changing lower-limit-frequency behaviour. However the stuff does age and is not supposed to be excurred without reason, which would be to use it. The stuff does creep with a time constant of a day or so, hence a broken-in state is only temporary anyway. Factories shall break in their produce, if needed, and test it. The user shall be empowered to rely on specifications published by the producer.
breaking them in makes the cone softer or more manuvable.
It allows it to move smoothly thefore better sound.

To break in bigger speakers or most effective way i find breaking in, is to use a low frequency sine wave, crank up the volume so the cone moves and leave it on overnight.
since it produces zero sound you can leave the speaker to burn in overnight
I converted this video to mp3 then cut the song using mp3 cutter and took a 30 sec portion of the mp3 then put the track in loop
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