Break in period for amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by 57special, Sep 8, 2005.


  1. 57special

    57special Member

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    I've recently got a new amp that the builder said would sound significantly better after a period of 40-80 hours. Sure enough, when i first got it i was underwhelmed, but now (after about 40 hours on it) i love the thing and the sounds i'm making with it. It's an extremely simple amp V,T, B,M, so it's not that i'm figuring out how to dial it in, i just am loving the sounds i'm getting out of it whereas before they were a bit harsh to my ears.
    I've usually been someone who buys used in the past, so i guess i've never had to really examine this idea before, but i'm beginning to wonder if a "burn in" period is true for all amps, and if i might of dumped a couple of really nice new amps prematurely (and am about to do the same with another, not the amp in question), before they had found their voice. I'm not talking about speakers, btw, i'm convinced they do change with use.
    I would imagine the effect would be stronger with amps that go for a basic, unprocessed sound, rather than one with a bunch of options, but who knows?
    What say ye?
     
  2. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Member

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    Why should it be up to the first owner to put 40-80 hrs in rather than the builder? You'd think they'd want it to sound the way they envisage it right out of the box.
     
  3. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    Most builders burn an amp in for a day or two. I know Two-Rock and other boutique builders do, anyway, but it's mostly to make sure it has good components.

    But it's not realistic to expect an amp maker to 'play in' every amp for 40-80 hours...or about two weeks, unless you want to spend a LOT more money. What seems to break in an amp is playing it, having it see a speaker load and put out whatever wattage it can put out on a variety of music.

    Also, I'd ask...

    Ever buy a new car? You have to break them in for 500 miles or so, too.
     
  4. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    My original Komet 60 sounded its best after about a years worth of weekend gigging.
     
  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    My Onyx was just getting settled in after 8 months or so of use.

    Sigh.

    Oh well, there WILL be another! ;)
     
  6. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Member

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    Last I heard you get 40 hours in less than 2 days not 2 weeks ;) I assumed they could automate this "burn in" pretty easy with an attenuator and a CD thru a guitar cord but mabe not.

    You have a good point about the car... although if I was paying for a 'booteek car' it sure would be nice if that hassle was removed too! "Here's your Maserati sir, now remember, don't go over 50 MPH for eight months"... ugh.
     
  7. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    Doug Rocafforte? Hogy? Randall Aiken? I would like to hear from our esteemed builders.
     
  8. fabiomayo

    fabiomayo Member

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    Agreed... If they'd be kind enough... Also David Barber, Andy, ScottL...
     
  9. Simo

    Simo Guest

    I was just going to mention speakers then I saw your post..

    They can be very stiff sometimes and can take even 300hrs for some to break in.

    In the high end audio world amp/cd players and any components for that fact are assumed to have a breakin period.

    I wonder how many amps, speaker cabs or combo's have been returned or disliked because people were not aware of breakin.

    Although the basic voice is there it can sometimes be a very poor (skinny, brittle, lean or muddy etc) version and breakin can make quite a difference.
     
  10. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Things like speakers & tubes obviously break in over time but I think that breaking in the power & output transformers is an important "break in" factor too. And, quite possibly the wiring itself....those old, discarded vacuum cleaner power cords seem to make the best speaker cables by being pre-conditioned to handle high current AC.
     
  11. 57special

    57special Member

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    I did mention speakers at the very beginning, and did want to leave them out of this conversation. I'm convinced they do change. I THINK circuits change too, but until this latest new one, hadn't had such a clear case of "break-in". I also am wondering if it could be my ears adjusting to the tone, etc. but i don't think so... i've had more than my fair share of amps in the past 20 years.
    I'm just wondering about a couple of new amps that i've returned in the past, finding them less good than other examples of the same model, and wonder if i simply wasn't patient enough.
    Are some circuits more prone to improvement with some time on them? My biased (no pun intended) view is that if there is it is more likely in simple, point to point circuits with better quality components than feature laden PCB board amps, but it could be the opposite for all i know. Maybe using cheaper components with drifting tolerances make an amp more prone to "breaking in", or changing , but for the better? I don't think so.
     
  12. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Have heard this from many folk who work on amps ...
     
  13. TopBooster

    TopBooster Member

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    Yeah, my understanding is that most builders take a CD recording of some guitar riffing, and they reamp it into the amp's input for several hours...
     
  14. glman

    glman Member

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    My Alessandro English took about 8 Months to really settle in and smooth out
    My Slash 2555 took about 6 months if I remember correctly but now 10 years later my 2555 blows me away every time I plug in.
    there was a period about a year ago that all I wanted to play was my English but now after a retube the 2555 Slash is at the top of my list once again - especially for lead sounds ( with 4x12 Greenbacks 25 watt )
     
  15. localmotion411

    localmotion411 Supporting Member

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    +1 on this. I have probably sold a bunch of amps and cabs I didn't like too early, which had probably not had enough time to break in. If I were a builder, I would try to set up a sound-proof booth for the sole purpose of breaking new amps in for many hours.
     
  16. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    What? Speakers can take 300 hours to break in? 30 hours is more in line with what I have ever heard from the manufacturers. Where did the 300 hour figure come from?
     
  17. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    There could be something to using vacuum cleaner chord for speaker wire. I don't know. Vacuum cleaners certainly use relatively high current (for in home 110VAC use), especially on start up. Speaker draw very little current.
     
  18. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    When you talk about break in periods,I don't think that you can leave out any part of the equation.Speakers always require break in periods(regardless of brand),I don't think I have owned an amp,that wasn't fully broken in,and my K&M was hitting on the 5 year mark(all the rest were older amps).Tubes,especially output tubes change/morph to sounding smoother,with about 100 hours on them.Someone once said that an amp takes about a year or two to get 'burned in',it may have been Joe Mloganowski or Bill Krinard-my memory fails me...?
     
  19. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    Out of about 40 amps I have owned, only two were bought new. The first was a 1964 Deluxe Reverb that I bought in 1964 at Whitmer McNease in Elkhart, IN. The second was a Boogie MK II C+ I got at Bizarre Guitat in Reno. Though I was very lucky with those purchases, this thread is giving me more reason to buy only used amps...you know what it is you are getting.

    I am always surprised when I see amps that are only a couple of weeks or so old. I have known how big the difference is between new and broken in speakers is but never thought about the amps having to be broken in. I know that Mesa Boogie "burns in" their amps. I assumed the better amp builders did as well. I'm glad I am so satisfied with what I have and the only other amp that I am seriously considering is an early, Marshall JCM 800, 50 watt. I had one before and I know what it sounds like. I think I'm stuck in the last Millennium, though those Badgers, Duende's and 65 Londons, Germinos, Roccafortes..... do sound great.
     
  20. gearo999

    gearo999 Member

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    Naw. Amp break in is all mental.

    See if the builder tells you it will sound better with 80+ hours of playing your ears will adjust to the amp as you tweak it to your personal tone. Speakers break in, not amps AND the more you play the better you sound. After 80 hours of hard jamming, you will improve.

    Remember so much tone is in the hands:AOK
     

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