'Breaking in' a speaker - speaker break in period

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Lone_Poor_Boy, Oct 10, 2021.

  1. Lone_Poor_Boy

    Lone_Poor_Boy Tele-Holic

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    So I've got a couple new amps and it made me curious about what I've always heard about breaking in a speaker. Relative to any speaker but specifically here I've got a brand new Jensen 12 inch and Cannabis Rex 12 inch.

    How long?
    Does the volume level matter?
    What actually physically occurs ('breaks in')?
    What change to sound do you hear?
     
  2. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    The paper is often stiff, it softens up as it flexes thousands of time when you are playing. Softer paper allows the cone to move with less effort, so response to picking nuance etc is better. This is all conjecture really, but it sounds like it makes sense. Big low notes would likely help break in as lows flex and move the cone more than highs.

    Having said that, I find that some speakers are great, maybe even better right out of the box. Others, like modern Jensens may be better well broken in. Some Weber's take a long time to break in.
    My guess is the C Rex is fine without break in. Most of the Emi's I've had have been fine.

    Some speakers have been made with softened cone paper.

    A few years back I had an older coveted Celestion Greenback, and a new Chinese made one. I liked the new one better than the vintage one as the vintage would breakup too much.
     
  3. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    I suggest that an hour after playing at reasonable jamming volume will get you 95% of the way there. Psychoacoustics will guide you the rest of the way.
     
  4. Lone_Poor_Boy

    Lone_Poor_Boy Tele-Holic

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    That makes sense, loosening up the cone/paper. The Cannabis Rex did seem quite smooth out of the box (Blues Junior IV). I have yet to test the Jensen as I had to do some shellac touch-up on the cabinet first. I swear, Shellac has been one of the oddest types of coatings I've ever applied.


     
  5. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, it dries immediately so you have to worry bout color overlaps etc. Spray followed by a quick brush works. 50/50 - 30/70 amber and clear
     
  6. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    My experience with the C-Rex is that hemp cone takes longer to settle in than the usual paper cones... I applied a thin coat of acetone to the surround and then the ol' variac method for approx. 40 hrs. total over a week, and it opened up nicely.
     
  7. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Afflicted

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    Echoing this. My 10-inch Eminence Li'l Buddy seemed to take longer to develop the warm tones hemp speakers are known for than speakers like the Warehouse G10 or Eminence GA10-SC64. I usually bury the amp or cabinet in sofa cushions and pillows in the basement and run a music player through it for six to eight hours. Whether it really takes that long I honestly can't say. It's entirely possible that 80 percent of the benefit is gained in the first hour. Never tested it at that point.
     
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  8. Lone_Poor_Boy

    Lone_Poor_Boy Tele-Holic

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    I would definitely approach it differently if I do it again, and your feedback is where I was heading. Spraying and clear to start? Work in some amber, maybe diluted or dilute and use from the start?

    It's like the color takes right to where the brush hits and doesn't flow away from there much, even after I had pre-coated with spar urethane so it wasn't raw fabric.

    The other issue I learned in hindsight, is if you come back to an area too soon, like within 2-4 minutes, you can actually pull off the color. I did this at the bottom 3 inches of the right side and it is one of the areas I came back and touched up after it had completely dried. Once I saw it during the intial setting, I kept trying to add fresh shellac but it just wouldn't take and made it worse. So definitely... one pass and let it all dry. Even if the current pass looks rough.

    IMG_4849.jpeg
     
  9. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    As @schmee points out, it varies a *lot* from speaker to speaker, as well as how you break it in. Just like a new engine, or a new romance, most people don't want to open it up all at once. OTOH, soft rock at barely audible volume may never get the job done.

    Opinions vary (really? amazing) but this from the Sweetwater site matches up to common wisdom: "How important is breaking in a speaker? The sonic effects of breaking in a speaker are sometimes very subtle (a more consistent sound) and sometimes more obvious (a softer midrange and warmer highs) depending on the speaker.... A good rule of thumb is that playing any sort of full-range recorded music through a speaker at a mid-volume level for around 100 hours is enough to break the speaker in. The hours do not need to be consecutive, so you can play music through a speaker in another room when you are asleep at night, or just use the speaker normally and it will be broken in after about 100 hours of use."

    Weber, I think, does 24 consecutive hours for their factory break-in, and though that's only a quarter of 100, it does seem to get you half or maybe three-fourths of the way home. I'm not sure what they use for a tone source.
     
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  10. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Good point, if you seal it with clear first, it wont "take " so deeply fast. I have only sprayed one, the rest I brushed FAIRLY successfully!
     
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  11. sax4blues

    sax4blues Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don’t know if it makes a difference but I have a break in routine.

    Tune lowE to D
    Use a looper
    I play alternating 1/8 and triplets on low E(D) and A strings up to 5th fret
    Amp roll off Trb/Mid, volume just below distortion
    Leave home for a couple hours
     
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  12. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    +1. Yup, I always plug in an iPod or a looper and run for a good six hours at medium volume. My personal theory is that the paper needs to soften before some heavy bass notes hit it. Just a theory.
     
  13. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    Here's what you do, it's what I've done for the past 55 years and it works.

    Play your guitar, and don't worry about it.
     
  14. Lone_Poor_Boy

    Lone_Poor_Boy Tele-Holic

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    Hah! Just got a Ditto Looper. Genius! Of course I'm sure the playing music of any kind thing works as well.
     
  15. Lone_Poor_Boy

    Lone_Poor_Boy Tele-Holic

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    You're not wrong.....
     
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  16. Tim S

    Tim S Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    AND…. don’t ditch a new speaker because it doesn’t sound right off the bat. (I almost got rid of a new combo I bought until I played it for -12 hours at “home level”. After that I wouldn’t think of parting with it)
     
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  17. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Tele-Meister

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    What things break in for a speaker first is the coil spring/voice coil. next will be the cone. and next will be the surround and the spider. The spring needs to stretch and flex so its movement is free. the cone needs to flex so it wont crack or spit when played the spider needs to stretch and flex as does the surround. If the voice coil is not broken in correctly it can get a crimp in it and that will cause a distorted sound at the frequency the coil is crimped at. The spider needs to be flexed enough so it dose not split in the circular perforations around it and the same applies to the surround it can get split around the cone or frame area. The only parts that dont move in a speaker are the frame and the magnet. Now comes how to break one in you can just play it at low volume for about 6 hrs then play it at half volume for 6 hrs then at three quarters volume for 6 hrs and almost full volume for 5 hrs You should have it go thru all the frequency ranges it is able to handle. I recorded a loop that went thru all the frequencies and let it loop for each amount of time stuck it in a closet and put a blanket over it loosely. Some speakers are pre broken in for you.
     
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  18. dukewellington

    dukewellington Tele-Meister

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    Compared to a Jensen, Hemp cones are stiffer, warmer (probably what you’re hearing as “smooth”), not spikey, and take considerably longer to break in. Many hours more. So you will need to break in that speaker. Depending on how much experience you have with how a speaker sounds after it gets played a lot, you’ll notice this either more or less. Hemp loosens up with power, but it also handles high power better and you really don’t hear the drippy, gooey gift of why it makes such a great speaker cone material until you start moving it with some power. At low, bedroom volume (1-3 or 4 wide open on a Blues Jr), it will sound dull compared to how it sounds around 5 or 6. Try it out. Keep cranking the power through it and eventually it will sound better at lower volumes. I wasn’t a huge fan of hemp cones in my HRDx, I thought it ruined the spank and sparkle of 6L6 tubes. But the Blues Jr is a little darker by design with different tubes. Have fun and good luck.
     
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  19. Lone_Poor_Boy

    Lone_Poor_Boy Tele-Holic

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    One regret I have is that I swapped out the speaker on my first Blues Junior without even giving it a chance. And then it got lost in a crossfire hurricane.
     
  20. Wound_Up

    Wound_Up Tele-Meister

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    What's the variac method?

    I thought about setting up my function generator for a few hours and let it send a nice, low bass tone though mine but never did.
     
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