Alnico speaker break-in

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Dave_11, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Dave_11

    Dave_11 TDPRI Member

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    I have a Pro Jr that I put a Ragin Cajun speaker in several years ago and liked the sound. At some point in the past few years I bought a Weber Sig 10A-S for an amp project (that's still in the "project" stage) and figured I'd put it in the Pro Jr to break it in. Over the past 3 or 4 years I get the Pro Jr out, play it for a week or two, and then put it away because I don't care for the tone with the Weber. I get it out maybe two or three times per year. I play at low volumes (around 3) and probably only log a few hours for the week or two it's out. Is this enough playing to break in the speaker, or do I just not like how this speaker sounds? I have a Jensen P8R that I bought new for a 70s Champ and that speaker seemed to not take much (if any) breaking in to sound great.
     
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  2. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    I expect that you're not near sufficient break-in given the low volume... How long its takes has many factors: materials used in the speaker, how flexible those materials are, how long it takes to loosen them up. In my experience it takes a lot of loud playing time (especially hemp ones) to move those parts.
    There are many ways to break in beyond plugging in and playing -- I use a variac, but if you don't have one, just hooking it up to your stereo system at moderate volume will help...
     
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  3. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Get a CD or MP3 player on repeat, or a stereo tuner, the plug it into your Pro Junior that's in a closet. Turn it up to 10 before you leave the house. Don't be afraid to give it 30 or 40 hours of this.

    The Weber Signature 10AS should break in to have a smooth but defined clean at lower volumes and compressed fatness when driven with a full 15 Watts. Broken in, it has the tone I'd like to hear in a PJ, but YMMV.
     
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  4. thegeezer

    thegeezer Tele-Afflicted

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    I mostly use vintage speakers but I’ve broken in a couple of Weber alnicos: a 12a125a and a 12a100t.

    In reality, it takes anywhere from 30-40 hours of pushing it before it’s going to sound anything like it should. And it will keep getting better from there for a while.

    If you never do that, you won’t know what it has to offer.
     
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  5. Dave_11

    Dave_11 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks guys. I swapped the Cajun back into the PJ today, but maybe I'll put the Weber in the project cab and give it the closet treatment...
     
  6. Dave_11

    Dave_11 TDPRI Member

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    Another speaker break-in question about a ceramic magnet...

    I have a Gibson GA-8 amp that I bought with a Celestion G12H in it that sounds really nice. I wanted to try a Jensen vintage ceramic speaker in it, so I put in one of their C12 line of speakers (don't remember which one - it's packed away and I'd have to move a bunch of stuff to get to it). Anyway, I played that speaker for a month or so at modest/moderate volumes, but it just always sounded really thin to me. Would the ceramic Jensen need more break-in, as everyone suggested with the Weber alnico above?
     
  7. No457 Snowy

    No457 Snowy Tele-Meister

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    While it may change some after some break-in, I wouldn't expect a speaker that I didn't care for to the point of not really wanting to play the amp much over multiple years to transform to "great sounding". There's too many other speaker offerings that right out of the box sound really nice in that amp and will let you enjoy the amp right away and make you want to play it.
     
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  8. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, I popped a WGS Reaper into my Blackstar HT20. At first it was kinda closed in, muffled, and dark. After a few gig-volume-level jams though it's really opened up. Now it's what I was hoping for; reminds me of my old British Black Shadows I had in my Marshall. I don't think it's the hours, it's the volume. Crank it up a few times before you swap it out again. Kinda like taking an old car out and going 120 mph to clear the engine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  9. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Am I correct that this is a newer Jensen and not an actual vintage one? Yes, nearly all speakers need this kind of break in to loosen the bond between fibers in the cone. Just do it, because you won't know what the speaker is supposed to until you do this.

    Not understanding or believing the necessity of break in is what keeps the market well-supplied with slightly-used speakers that have only a few hours of play time. Speakers don't sound the way they will sound when they're fresh out of the box.
     
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  10. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

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    I agree. I have personally never noticed much change in a speaker over time, and as you mention many sound great right out of the box, so why waste time hoping and waiting?
     
  11. Dave_11

    Dave_11 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks again to all for the input. I'll try hooking a stereo up to both and giving them a chance to break in some more at least.
     
  12. TequilaCaster

    TequilaCaster Tele-Meister

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    IME, Weber alnicos can sound stiff for a quite a while. At least 50 hours of play at moderate volume seems be where they begin to mellow to me. My Weber Signature 12S alnico took maybe 100 hours to sound its best.

    I remember Ted Web saying one could use some diluted fabric softener sprayed judiciously on the cone to soften things up a bit quicker, but I have not tried that.
     
  13. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I think this was touched on - but DON'T do that with a tube amp, especially newer budget ones with lightweight PCB's. They ned ventilation to cool! I have a junker 25 watt no-name solid state amp I use for speaker break-in and a few other tests.
     
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  14. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    My webers usually broke in fast, but I'd hit them hard with near max wattage, and a punchy sound that moves the cone ALOT.
     
  15. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    I am one who used to think the idea of speakers sounding different after breaking in was greatly exaggerated. In the past 10 years though, I've bought 8 or 10 new speakers for several different amps. I have found my Weber AlNiCo's, especially my 12A150A's in a 57 Twin RI and a 12A125A in my 5E3 clone have sounded much, much better after being played at gig volume for 40 or 50 hours. The top end has gotten more complex and the harshness has gone away. The bottom end has become more articulate and full sounding. Another thing I have noticed since breaking them in has been an increase in touch-sensitivity. I have found the same with the Celestion Blue. I'm a break-in believer these days.
     
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  16. corn husk bag

    corn husk bag TDPRI Member

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    How long did it take to break in the blue?
     
  17. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    I think/hope it's still breaking in. It definitely sounds better than when I first got it. The upper mid spike has smoothed out and is no longer harsh sounding, and it's loosened up a bit. I'm still hoping it opens up more in the lower mids and bass. If I had to guess, I would say I've put about 30 hours on it playing at moderate volume.

    I bought the blue for my 5E3, but I like the sound of my Weber 12A125A better in that amp (more articulate in the bass and better balanced to me), so the Weber has gotten the majority of the play. I must have well over 100 hours on the Weber by now. I really want the blue to continue to sound better with more playing, it cost as much as a car payment. :)
     
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  18. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

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    1) Take Alnico out of the box
    2) take it outside, place it in the driveway and run over it with your pickup truck
    3) Throw in trash
    4) Go back in and order a real speaker (ceramic)
    5) Done!
     
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  19. corn husk bag

    corn husk bag TDPRI Member

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    I have had a broken in Blue in a 5e3 and loved it. I have 2 relatively new blues that need a good shellacking with some wattage!:eek: Thinking about putting one in a Silvertone 1482 after it mellows some.
     
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  20. corn husk bag

    corn husk bag TDPRI Member

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    What?!:p
     
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