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Breaking in New speakers?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by iancain123, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. iancain123

    iancain123 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    31
    37
    Sep 13, 2016
    US
    Anyone have any input on wether or not a new speaker should be broken in prior to cranking the volume? I've never really heard of this but a friend of mine claims it's not good. Now I'm nervous to play it loud.
     
  2. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Meister

    466
    Jul 1, 2008
    california
    why take the chance? maintain your cool for a while and then crank it! play it every day at fairly low volumes 3-5 perhaps, not knowing your amp nor speaker.

    loud is a relative thing. some think 3 is loud and others think 11 is loud.

    play music!
     
    jimash and Dismalhead like this.
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    That's a new one!
    I very much doubt you need to break it in before playing it loud, but are you planning to run a cranked 100w Marshall into one 100w speaker?
    I've broken in a lot of speakers and the louder you play the faster it breaks in, to one degree or another...
     
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  5. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Tele-Holic

    Age:
    59
    839
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    You will get a war started about speaker break in! Some people think speakers need to be broken in.

    If your speaker's power rating is greater than your amp's output you should be fine.

    Most amps ship that way. For example, my 15W combo has a speaker rated at 60 or 70 watts. If I am able to blow the speaker with that amp. The speaker was defective.

    What is the amp rated, and what is the power handling of the speaker?

    Personally I find speaker break in makes no sense at all. Speakers are built to pretty exact tolerances, and specs. They are expected to match their rated frequency response right out of the box.

    Any audible change in the response of the speaker over time, such as the "mellowing" or "loosening" or whatever it is that is supposed to occur during "break in" to make it sound "better" would by "definition" mean that the speaker had gone out of its original specs.

    Why do "broken-in" speakers ALWAYS sound "better" than they did new? Less harsh. Warmer. Why don't they ever sound worse?

    Most say they start out stiff and so, stiff sounding, but the surround, cone and spider all "loosen up" over time, and sound less stiff and harsh, perhaps warmer.

    It all sounds good, but again we have the problem of manufacture specs, and speaker going out of spec. More likely what is happening with speaker break in, is that the user's ears are adapting to the sound of their new speakers.

    I was into audiophile stereos on the seventies and eighties and speaker break in just wasn't a thing then, though tubes were.

    Talk of speaker break in seems to run in the same company with tone woods, guitar finish tones, and directional cables.

    Speakers do little, if any break in, but our brain DO break in, adjusting over time to the "new" sounding speaker until it no longer sounds new!

    That's why people trying the same speaker can talk about vastly different break in times. The speakers are the same specs and neither deviated from those specs (unless defective) so why the difference? Two different people were "breaking" them in!

    Sorry about the dissertation, but this is one of those guitar myths that is just so obviously (to me) in the ear of the beholder.
     
    Badspike likes this.
  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    Well, I've broken in maybe four Red Fangs, two or three Celestion Golds, and a few V-30s.
    Hooking up a brand new Red Fang next to another that's got many hours of play on it, they sound drastically different, like the new one sounds harsh in the high end and weak in the low end.
    I actually have a 16 ohm red Fang and a 16 ohm Gold in a 2x12 right now that I've started breaking in, and the pair is just nasty harsh to stand near.
    I ended up pointing it away from me and plugging in a second 2x12 with 16 ohm V-30s to avoid the unpleasant sound.

    I only play Esquires, so YMMV!

    Comparing two in the same cab it's very clearly not in the listeners head!

    Some speakers sound worse new than others, and the difference would be the cone.
    Many different models of Celestion use the exact same frame and magnet, with the cone assembly being the only thing that makes it a different model with a different sound.

    I recently broke in a C Rex, and only having one of them I could see thinking maybe i just got used to it. I'm not a fan of hemp cones but this one amp is too bright and has no tone control...
    New it sounded dull and lifeless, no sparkle and not very full bass. Getting better but still hemp I guess.
     
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  7. beyer160

    beyer160 Tele-Meister

    415
    Aug 11, 2010
    On Location
    I've bought a few new speakers over the years, and they all sounded fine out of the box... until now. I just picked up a Weber Sig 12A for my 5e3 clone, and it sounds like crinkling paper when I play it loud. Apparently this is par for the course for new Webers, so I'm punishing it daily, hoping it'll smooth out soon. If it does, I'll be happy to officially announce the "speaker break-in" myth CONFIRMED.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  8. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    Ditto. This of course assumes the power handling capacity matches the output of the amp.

    I'm in the same camp as telemnemonics in that I believe that's most if not all speakers will need a "break in" period the length of which will depend on the speaker and how often and how loud it's played. IME 20-40 hours usually does it which in some cases, like mine at the moment, may take a little time. So I would suggest being prepared for this.

    Break in has nothing to do with a speaker becoming out of spec any more than wearing in a pair of shoes or jeans does. A size ten shoe doesn't become a size 12 once broken in or 36" waist pants end up being 40" waist pants. They simply become more molded to the shape of your foot or your ass as they loosen up. A speaker cone becomes less stiff with play as well.

    I don't want to do battle over this any more than I want to debate tone woods or the type of tone cap vs it's value. All I'm doing is relating my own experiences with numerous speakers including two Celestion V30s in separate cabs bought over a year apart. There was a very apparent difference in the two until the newer of them had been broken in.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
    Mr Green Genes and telemnemonics like this.
  9. iancain123

    iancain123 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    31
    37
    Sep 13, 2016
    US
    I appreciate all of the input... I'm more concerned about blowing the speaker than getting it to sound different. The speaker is rated for far more than my amp can put out as far as I understand. Its an Emminence Red, White and Blues speaker in a modded blues jr.
     
  10. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Nov 2, 2016
    Texas
    I've broken in quite a few speakers, and all I know is what I can hear and feel. Speakers do feel and sound different going from brand new, out of box, to having fifty to hundred hours or so put on them. I'm not interested in a debate, at all. But if it isn't speaker break in, then there needs to be very solid explanation for what I and others have experienced.

    Sorry to derail. Back to your regularly scheduled program, now in progress...
     
  11. Milspec

    Milspec Tele-Meister

    449
    Feb 15, 2016
    Nebraska
    Breaking in speakers is like breaking in a new engine, there are opposite camps that will argue they are right, but in the end, it will work or it will not. That is why there is a warranty.

    I think it has more to do with "exercising" a speaker than anything else. Even an old speaker that has been on a shelf for a year might act a little stiff until exercised for awhile. My Altec that I put into a cab last week was that way. It sat boxed up on shelf for the last year and had sporadic issues when pushed initially. I was about to pull it out and have it sent in for repair, but after a couple of hours, it cleaned up and sounds wonderful now.

    Nothing mechanical likes to sit, movement is often the cure.
     
    soulman969 likes this.
  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    Yeah @JustABluesGuy , given that you're a veteran of the audiophile wars I can understand you being a bit sensitive about this kind of stuff.

    Well, I have a theory of my own about speaker break in!

    Before the big guitar speaker renaissance that followed Celestion reissuing the Blue, I had preferred the V-30, and came to use them in most amps, because they just worked and there weren't many options compared to today.
    Now the guitar speaker market is just insane with ten manufacturers making a copy of ever Celestion ever made, giving us more than 100 "British tone" speaker options to choose from.
    You can't open the box and try it before you buy it, so players read forums and reviews and take their best educated guess.

    All this action got me interested and I looked on ebay for deals on "used speakers".
    I ended up buying maybe 20 speakers from players who put them in an amp, didn't like the sound, and sold them on ebay for a loss.
    You guessed it (well, maybe not you but somebody must have guessed), these speakers did indeed sound lousy because the player didn't give them time to break in before deciding they didn't like that model.

    Check out speaker threads on forums and you'll find lots of players who keep buying speakers and not liking them.
    So that's my theory.
    Some players don't believe speakers sound different before break in, and instead assume that most speakers just sound bad.
    Or get lucky and buy speakers that sound OK right out of the box.
    @soulman969 's comparison to breaking in new shoes rings true...

    Audiophile speakers might not really have the same break in since the woofers have pliable rubber surrounds, and the tweeters are probably not as stiff and heavy duty as a guitar speaker. I'm speculating out of my league now, sayonara!
     
    soulman969 and JustABluesGuy like this.
  13. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Tele-Afflicted

    You should be fine.
    Play it, it will sound different, usually better, after some use.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    Seriously if your friend thinks your BJr will blow a brand new 120w speaker he needs to have his head examined.

    IMO!!
    Sorry to be a know it all!
    IMHO!!

    Wait, the BJr is modded, does it now have a quad of KT88s?
    Maybe your friend is right and I spoke too soon?
     
    Steve 78 and soulman969 like this.
  15. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Tele-Holic

    Age:
    59
    839
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    It would be great if you could record it now and later. I would like to heard this phenomenon myself. I've never experienced it myself either.
     
    soulman969 likes this.
  16. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Friend of Leo's

    Sep 14, 2005
    Nueces Strip
    When i ordered my Webers one of the specifications was ' dope '. I had no idea what that meant, so i call their tech. Was told to order light dope because that emulates a ' played in ' speaker.
    No complaints right out of the box.
     
  17. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Tele-Holic

    Age:
    59
    839
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    I'm not "sensitive" about this at all. I do have my own experiences with that simply differ from yours. I appreciate all of your enecdotes about your own, different experiences but they can't help me because I didn't experiment them, only you did.

    I just stated my own personal experiences, and understanding of psychoacoustic phenomenon.

    I think maybe we got our wires crossed somehow. You are reacting like I was responding to your post.

    I did not direct my post at you. I was writing before anyone posted and did not know anyone else had posted (it WAS a long post). I was not responding to you, or anyone else other than the OP.

    I wasn't trying to start an argument with break in believers, just stating my experiences. I stand by my them, until convinced otherwise if someone cares to.

    I don't really care what anyone else believes about anything. I just offer the facts as I see them. People can take it or leave it.

    I'm not even concerned about convincing anyone of my viewpoint. I'm not as passionate about the topic as you seem to think I am, or as you apparently are.

    Remember, it was you who responded to me. If you hear it, then you do hear it. psychoacoustics phenomenon are funny that way.

    Enjoy your speaker break in. I wasn't meaning to be a kill joy or anything. And I wasn't trying to start an argument with you or anyone else.

    In the end even the idea of what a "good" speaker sounds like is completely subjective and can be different for different folks. So, maybe we are both right, for ourselves.

    With that, I'm going to shut up and play! Take care!
     
  18. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    64
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    I always break in speaker. Many - especially high-wattage speaker sand ones heavily doped - are very stiff. Few speakers sound their best out of the box, and some can be strained a bit when new IF the power rating is close to what the amp is running at medium volume - but it's not likely.

    I break them in using an mp3 player, and relatively soundproofed area, and I run the amp at medium volume for a minimum of 20 hours - more for very stiff speakers.
     
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    I wasn't intending to argue, but noted that I was speaking contradictory to your post, rather than ignoring what you wrote and sounding like a dick.
    My experience(s) confused me at first, where I noticed that some of my V-30s were much harsher sounding than others, and I guessed that they varied that much from one batch to the next, or maybe Celestion sourced cones from different suppliers.

    When I ran two red fangs into an ABY pedal I wired up with speaker wire, and switched back and forth between the new one and the older one, the difference was extreme.
    Not like ash vs alder, closer to neck pickup vs middle pickup on a strat.
    I was initially trying to decide if I liked the red Fang or Celestion Gold better.
    Switched quite a few pairs like that, found speakers I love and speakers I don't like, but gave them all a chance.

    I've since been told it's BAD to hot switch the output transformer.
    So many ways I've been told I'm wrong round here!
    Anyhow @JustABluesGuy , not picking a fight, just trying to not sound passive aggressive or ignore your viewpoint.
     
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  20. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Tele-Holic

    Age:
    59
    839
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    Don't worry about it. You'll be fine!
     
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  21. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Tele-Holic

    Age:
    59
    839
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    It's all good! ;)
     
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