Breaking in Speakers – How Long?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Slim Chance, Aug 4, 2021.

  1. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 1, 2011
    Beltway, USA
    I pulled the alnico Weber Blue Pups that came with my '64 Vibrolux Reverb in favor of new, more period correct, ceramic speakers. I've been playing an iPod through them at between 4 & 5 on the normal channel. Roughly, how long will it take to break in the speakers? Does increasing the volume significantly reduce the breaking period?

    On another note, do the speakers have a memory? I'm looping Allman Bros. at the Fillmore East was hoping I'll get the same sound when I play though the amp.
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  2. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 3, 2019
    Adirondack Coast, NY

    Most of the break-in occurs within a couple hours of normal play at a decent level. After the first couple hours, the change gradually gets less. No real rules on how to do it or how they break in. They are all different. Typically, the more they are played, the better they sound - until they get really old, the magnets start to weaken, and the cones get soft. Just like people...
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
  3. drmmrr55

    drmmrr55 Tele-Holic

    Aug 20, 2017
    Federal Way, Washington
    I put the amp or cab in a closet, and use a looper, the let it play for a couple hours at a time, while I'm out and about, doing other things. I'm not sure how long it takes to actually break in a speaker, but this method will shorten things considerably. I usually have the volume at about 4, out of 10, this is why I put the speaker/amp in a closet, (preferably in the middle of the house).
  4. Treehouse

    Treehouse Tele-Holic

    May 8, 2019
    The Woods
    50 to 70 years!
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  5. wabashslim

    wabashslim Friend of Leo's

    Nov 26, 2005
    Sonorous Desert
    Good luck with that!
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  6. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Rhode Island
    Just play the thing. It'll do what it does, when it does it.
    uriah1, Tim S and gimmeatele like this.
  7. Telekarster

    Telekarster Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Aug 14, 2019
    Anytime I hear someone say to me "I bought this stereo" or "I bought this amp" and they say they're not happy with it, I always say to them "Don't be too hasty. You have to let the new speakers break in a bit" and it's funny to me how they usually look at me with this enourmous question mark above their heads LOL! :D In my experience much of the break in will happen within the first day of playing it at various volumes, and various styles of music. But, I believe the speaker isn't really broken in until one has a good week of playing through it. Even then, I think that the speaker evolves over time to become even more than it was. I think environmental differences like moisture, dryness, etc. even play a part. In short, as @Paul G. says, just play it and have fun mate! ;)
    gimmeatele likes this.
  8. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Tele-Meister

    Apr 4, 2020
    SanluisObispo CA.
    It takes almost 48 hrs to break in a speaker. You start off at a lower volume lest say 1/4 of the speakers rated wattage for 12 hrs. Then at 1/2 volume for the same amount of time and again at 3/4 volume for 16 hrs and last for about 6 hrs at almost full volume. It is more for the coil and spider but also breaks in the cone and surround. Now you should go thru all the frequency's the speaker is able to produce. I use a looper and play a jam trak thru it. If you want a specific sound from a speaker you will need to choose a speaker that matches the frequency you want. I put it in a closet with a blanket over it but leaveing enough space in front of the speaker so in can move air easy. The biggest problem if you dont go the full route of breaking in a speaker is its coil can crimp some where and then you will always get a distorted sound at a certain frequency and thats if it only gets crimped in one spot. Let us say that you only break in a speaker for only half its rated watts if in the future you crank the speaker past that area of watts you broke it in for you can damage the coil.
    Slim Chance likes this.
  9. TomBrokaw

    TomBrokaw TDPRI Member

    Nov 21, 2020
    Give 'em the beans!
    What happens when a speaker is broken in? What are the physical changes?
  10. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    I think it's typically mostly at the cone, that it becomes less stiff. With some designs, I think it might also include the surround and spider, but the cone is the main speaker component.

    'Less stiff' is probably a poor choice of words. 'Alteration of cone structure through the process of movement/vibration' probably gets a little closer.

    Actually, just think of what happens when a baseball glove or shoes break in. The leather is repeatedly stretched/twisted/conformed to better work through a given range of motion.
    Boreas likes this.
  11. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jun 2, 2003
    My experience is.... you'll be old age before they sound right.... OR...... they are fine out of the box or within an hour or two. What speakers are you using now? That would help.
  12. Drak

    Drak Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 21, 2003
    DC 'Burbs
    I think the order of breaking in and softening up are:
    Surround first (and primarily), Spider second, cone third.
    The coil assembly itself has nothing to do with breaking in.
    The surround and the spider are doing mostly all the moving and flexing.
    The cone doesn't move and flex nearly as much, tho it certainly does to an extent.

    I always 'tap test' speakers, have been for 30 years.
    I can easily hear the difference between a new, stiff speaker and a broken in speaker simply by a light tap on the cone.
    New speakers sound rigid and tight and unforgiving, with a high resonance (as you would expect).
    Broken in speakers have a much lower resonance and actually have a 'relaxed' tap sound.

    I disagree with a few hours doing the job, as in my experience it takes much more time than that.
    However, breaking in speakers is not an obsession of mine and I don't demand speakers even be broken in, it just doesn't mean that much to me.
    But I know it when I hear it, when I tap on it, absolutely I do.

    And if the surround is heavily doped, count on a much, much longer period.
    Surround doping actually counteracts the whole notion of a speaker's surround from softening up, tho it doesn't stop it altogether.
    But it is a counteractive measure against a speaker naturally 'softening up'.
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