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speaker "break in" what ifs and is there....

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by DjimiWrey, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. DjimiWrey

    DjimiWrey Tele-Meister

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    ordered a 12" combo cab for my scx2 and will get a speaker to go in it

    the ragin cajun seems to be high on the recommendations list

    what is the purpose and benefit of "break in"?

    is just to soften the edge and cone?

    what if i just put it in the cab and start using it? what is the overall impact or effect on tone?

    is there a time effective way to do it for someone with limited technical skills?

    i'm too lazy and impatient to do the doorbell thing

    can i just put it face down dimed under a box and play bass through it while nobody's home?

    yup, lazy and impatient lol
     
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  2. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    Just play it.
     
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  3. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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  4. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Break-in is one of those things, like tone wood, tubes vs. SS, rosewood vs maple, capacitors, etc., where some people feel strongly about it, others are comfortable ignoring it completely, plus everything in-between.

    Break-in people think that a speaker's characteristics change audibly, from when they are brand-new, to broken-in, after a number of hours of operation. There's a hundred methods to break-in, a quick google will turn up a list.

    I'm somewhere in the middle. You can just play it out of the box, sooner or later it will reach optimal break-in status. If it sounds harsh, boxy, sterile, tight, etc., don't panic, sometimes these are the things that improve with break-in. Opinions vary on how long it takes, and how loud you need to drive a new speaker for best results. I sometimes hook up a radio to a speaker and play it as loud as I can without pissing anyone off, and let it run for two or three days. Frankly, I don't usually hear any dramatic difference, although I think some speakers sweeten gradually over many hours of use. Good luck!

    EDIT: In that video above, I can't hear a lick of difference.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  5. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    The Rajun Cajun seems to require plenty of loud for a while to hit it's stride, tonally.

    It's also a 10" speaker, so you'll need an adapter ring from Mojotone, or somebody, to make it fit a 12" cab.

    The RC is popular and efficient enough to be louder than a lot of speakers, but be sure the tone is what you want before you commit your dollars. Typically, it reduces the top end "sparkle" of the BF Fender tone.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
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  6. W.L.Weller

    W.L.Weller Tele-Holic

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    Don't play bass through a dimed amp into a guitar speaker (especially not in an open-back cabinet).

    Unless you've got extra speakers you're trying to get rid of.
     
  7. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    IMHO it can't do any harm if done correctly (I use the ol' Uncle Spot/Ted Weber variac method).
     
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  8. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    I've always plugged something with spotify on it into the amp and play a hard rock/punk Playlist through it for a few hours. Turning the amp up every half hour or so.

    Seems to knock the new speaker shine off pretty quickly.
     
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  9. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    Psychoacoustics for those who hear 'it'.
     
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  10. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    It’s vitally important to teach the speaker the kind of tone you want. You carelessly plug in some death metal Spotify, you’re never gonna get that speaker playing either blues or Bakersfield. :twisted:;)o_O

    Seriously, some speakers (big stiff ones) 'break in' more than others, but no speaker completely needs it (if there's a break-in thing gonna happen, you’ll get there in a month or two) and OTOH you can’t hurt a speaker by breaking it in any standard logical way. So as we see here, you get to choose. :)
     
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  11. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Some speakers need it, some don't. Just play it and if you don't mind the sound as it is out of the box then it will get there in time. Otherwise run some music into your amp, turn it up to a moderate level and go shopping, or anything else. The heck with the neighbors. I did do some Fender Frontman speakers with a doorbell transformer. Had them going for a month in the garage. Going to have to see how they are.
     
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  12. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I’ve only ever done it by playing them. Usually it happens so gradually that you don’t really notice it anyhow, unless you play two identical speakers side by side, one brand new, and one well used.

    The only time I’ve ever really thought the difference was readily apparent is on the Supro I bought last November. It sounded good, but a little harsh and edgy. I decided the first day that I was going to change the speaker. Well I haven’t gotten around to it, and now I don’t think I will. I’m really liking how it’s smoothed out in the last three months.
     
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  13. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    The purpose is for the paper cone and especially the perimeter to soften up a bit from cycling, becoming more flexible. Most guitar speakers have a paper corrugated perimeter unlike stereo speakers which may have very soft or foam perimeter. Frankly, I think you just have to play them. Most Eminence speakers seem to sound fine from the git go for some reason.

    Early on a new speaker may sound a bit more harsh until it softens up. At least that's what I THINK I hear!

    Speaker break in can be a good or bad thing really depending on the amp and speaker; For instance: I tried a Greenback in my BFDR for a while while waiting for a speaker to be reconed. I had a new Chinese GB and it sounded pretty darn good. I also had an old GB that I tried. It "gave it up" too early and was too nasty. My thinking was that the BFDR was a 22 watt amp and the GB is a 25watt speaker. Not a lot of margin. The fresh speaker sounded better because it held up better.
     
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  14. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

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    I don’t know if they need it, but I do it

    I use a looper
    tune my low E down to D
    play 1/8 note punk rock ascending power chord from open up to fifth fret
    varying tempo twice through
    Set amp treble & mid off, bass up
    Master up full
    Gain up to before distortion, either amp or speaker
    I let that play a few hours
     
  15. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    I wonder how many people have actually done an A/B test, before and after break-in. Probably not many. On another forum a speaker manufacturer talked about how big of a difference break-in makes and provided before and after recordings. When I A/B'ed the recordings the difference was minor, and I might have preferred the before break-in recording slightly, where the after recording seemed to become slightly more scooped in the mids (very minor). When I loaded the recordings into my daw to look at what was happening, it seemed that in the after recording the resonant frequency of the speaker shifted down a bit. When jumping back and forth between the recordings and watching a spectrum plot I could see all the peaks shifting downward by a small amount.

    One thing that I think applies here is that some manufacturers and sellers have used the idea of speaker break-in as a way to influence opinion of speakers. Say that you buy a new speaker model Gxxxxx and you don't really dig it and are publicly vocal about it, chances are that you will be told not to judge the speaker too much until after it is broken in and that it will sound much better after break-in. But virtually no manufacturers or sellers provide before and after recordings to show what the differences might be or even any information on what the differences might be. The broken-in speaker is purported to just be better some how. Likely here what is mostly happening is that the player is getting more used to the sound of the speaker rather than an major change taking place in the sound of the speaker after break-in.

    Another thing here is something that I think tends to be implied rather than spoken about so much, that a broken-in speaker of a given model will sound like a vintage speaker of the same model. I think this isn't true in any sense. Speakers being made today are made with different materials than speakers made in the distant past. And the materials of old speakers have aged more or less over time. It isn't just down to throwing a speaker on a variac for a given number of hours to make it sound like a vintage speaker, which I think that is really impossible.

    My experience and perception is that if a speaker doesn't sound good new, it isn't going to sound good after break-in either. It might warm up and become a little less stiff sounding after break-in (slightly), but it won't be a major change.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
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  16. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

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    I put the new speaker in the amp. Dial my prefered tone on the amp... play the damn thing loud (as susual)

    If with time it changes, I dial my prefered tone AGAIN on the amp

    So, why bother?
     
  17. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Some opinions are more equal than others. The late great Ted Weber said this on his Q&A page: "Many speakers are a little tight when new, and seem a little sterile. After being driven at high levels for awhile, they change character slightly as the surround corrugations begin to loosen up. The spider also loosens from the constant flexing, so the net result is a little more low end and the cone breakup characteristics change. Most people acknowledge that this change is for the better as far as enhancing the desired tone for guitar work."

    Although there's no long-term safety or function advantage, a typical motive for those who do it (Weber will do it at the factory if you ask 'em) is to decide early on if you *like* a new speaker. It's pretty common to have people complain their new speaker is harsh or "a little sterile", and quite a few note it improves over time; waiting a month or two to see how you like it is tedious. So as @printer2 says, if your new speaker sounds perfect out of the box, no need to break in... just try not to hear any change as you use it.
     
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  18. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    It takes some acoustic guitars decades to reach their stride. Just play it often.
     
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  19. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm also reminded here of an experience I had long ago. I had just bought a modeling amp to keep at home for practice, and it was sounding really harsh when turned up. A friend who was heavy into all things vintage guitar gear thought that the speakers needed to be broken in, and I agreed to let him go at it, running an old twin reverb through the modeler amp's cab at high volume to give the speakers a good long beating. The end result was no perceptible change.
     
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  20. noname_dragon

    noname_dragon Tele-Holic

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    I think that there is something to break-in. It may soften the stiffness of a new speaker. I also think that if you don't like a speaker from the get-go it won't change much... your ears and perception of the sound may change though. For example: I bought a Weber 10F150 and disliked the exaggerated mids for my application (Fender Vibrolux). Also got a Jensen P12R and nothing, even hours of playing didn't soften the screechy highs. It's just how those speakers sound.
    I break in a speaker like this: before the speaker is mounted in a cab or amp I lay it on it's back on a soft towel, then with alligator clips hook it to a solid state amp of some kind. Then run my Casio keyboard into it (at a moderate volume) and weight down a key with a note that moves the suspension some. Come back later and play a different note for awhile. Repeat and so forth. This way it doesn't offend anyone, isn't loud and I don't have to use my tube amp.
    All that said, I put an Allesandro GA10 SC64 in my Princeton and loved it from the first note.
     
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