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Do speakers go to sleep if unused?

veryzer

Member
Messages
254
I've been playing acoustic almost exclusively for the past 1+ year. I recently plugged in my prri (with tone tubby) and noticed it sounded darker and less crisp than I remember. It's generally believed that, left unplayed, acoustic guitars will "fall asleep" until they're played in again. Is this the case with speakers also, or am I just misremembering its sound.
 

Jeff Scott

Member
Messages
1,841
I've been playing acoustic almost exclusively for the past 1+ year. I recently plugged in my prri (with tone tubby) and noticed it sounded darker and less crisp than I remember. It's generally believed that, left unplayed, acoustic guitars will "fall asleep" until they're played in again. Is this the case with speakers also, or am I just misremembering its sound.
All that acoustic guitar playing has caused hearing damage. :hide

The speaker did not go to "sleep", you may just more accustomed to how your acoustic guitar sounds now and just have to reacquaint yourself, so to speak, with the electric sound. :cool: Maybe....................
 

veryzer

Member
Messages
254
All that acoustic guitar playing has caused hearing damage. :hide

The speaker did not go to "sleep", you may just more accustomed to how your acoustic guitar sounds now and just have to reacquaint yourself, so to speak, with the electric sound. :cool: Maybe....................
That's completely plausible.
 

Drop D Cups

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,412
Muted; less defined; darker....almost like before it broke in. (It's a hemp coned speaker in case you weren't aware.)
This is a fantastic question - I really don't know but will hang on here to see if somebody does.
 

candid_x

Member
Messages
9,667
Hemp cones do take a long time to break in, goes through stages of dull before they finally brighten up. You may have enjoyed the thrill of something new the first time, disappointed the second after the new wore off. Some love hemp cones, I personally do not. Probably the last speaker I'd put into a PRRI.

Though I don't believe they fall asleep, amps often take awhile to really wake up/warm up.
 

Dharmajester

Member
Messages
299
Just a wild guess but possibly, depending upon where it was stored, the cone may have absorbed moisture which could have an impact on the sound. Give it a good airing in a dry warm environment and try again..
 

veryzer

Member
Messages
254
Hemp cones do take a long time to break in, goes through stages of dull before they finally brighten up. You may have enjoyed the thrill of something new the first time, disappointed the second after the new wore off. Some love hemp cones, I personally do not. Probably the last speaker I'd put into a PRRI.

Though I don't believe they fall asleep, amps often take awhile to really wake up/warm up.
It did take a while to break in. I put it through about 100 hours of loops apart from actual playing time. It sounded a lot better than new and I loved the prri with it....thought it sounded ice picky before. That said, it sounded rather dull when I pulled it out of the closet recently. It could be as Jeff suggested: my tastes have just changed.

Just a wild guess but possibly, depending upon where it was stored, the cone may have absorbed moisture which could have an impact on the sound. Give it a good airing in a dry warm environment and try again..
That's possible. It's been stored in a basement closet. I have a dehumidifier down there but the closet is in a somewhat closed-off, unfinished part of the basement.
 
Messages
826
Speaker cones tend to absorb moisture from the atmosphere - this softens them and makes them heavier, which affects the sound they produce. Warmth from nearby tubes, or using them in a warm (and dry) environment, will dry them out. If you are storing a speaker unused for a long time, a good tip is to keep one of those moisture absorbing packets (the kind you sometimes get in the box with new gear) with it. (It will only work if the speaker and packet are in the same enclosed box, of course.)
 
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Messages
826
For low frequencies the whole cone acts as one unit (piston effect) and for these frequencies any moisture absorption would have negligible effect.

But for high frequencies, an acoustic wave travels out from the centre of the cone towards the edge. The magnitude of this wave is reduced by two factors: (a) the natural dispersion as the circumference of the wave increases towards the edge of the cone, and (b) damping of the wave in the cone material.

The damping factor (b) would be influenced by lack of stiffness and increased density caused by moisture absorption.

The changes in density and stiffness will also change the speed of the acoustic wave.

OK, its just a theory. But it seems plausible to me.
 
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SmoothRiffs

Member
Messages
49
My father kept the B cab of my Marshall Lead 12 ministack in an unheated garage for about 5 years after I moved out. Alberta winters and all. I just took the A cab with me. Ever since their reunion, both speakers sound the same.
As long as speakers are stored in a dry environment, they will be fine, and the tone won't change.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,772
For low frequencies the whole cone acts as one unit (piston effect) and for these frequencies any moisture absorption would have negligible effect.

But for high frequencies, an acoustic wave travels out from the centre of the cone towards the edge. The magnitude of this wave is reduced by two factors: (a) the natural dispersion as the circumference of the wave increases towards the edge of the cone, and (b) damping of the wave in the cone material.

The damping factor (b) would be influenced by lack of stiffness and increased density caused by moisture absorption.

The changes in density and stiffness will also change the speed of the acoustic wave.

OK, its just a theory. But it seems plausible to me.
I've seen this happen in old audio speakers, the lows were fine but the highs were dead. I think it was more the stiffening of the speaker surround, though.
 

mojo jones

Member
Messages
1,197
Who's old enough to remember newspapers? Don't you notice how floppy they get when it's very humid, and how stiff and crispy they are when it's dry? Down here on the gulf coast I absolutely hear a difference in speakers based on humidity (which often hovers over 90%). There are those who think it's the humid air carrying the sound in a different way, but I'm sure it's the speakers absorbing a little moisture.
 

sahlomonic

Member
Messages
136
I think our brains are tricking us into thinking that miniscule, trivial, indirect variables are having big effects on not really sound, but our perception of it, much like fibers in grill cloth (again, my opinion). Or perhaps what we think we heard previously compared to now. I would bet you would have a bigger difference in sound with two different guitar players taking turns on the exact same rig, or at a concert and stand front and center in the crowd, then off to the side.

I'm not saying that theory is wrong, but I personally don't believe it (moisture) would make a discernible impact on our perception of it.
 

illini

Member
Messages
2,381
I think our brains are tricking us into thinking that miniscule, trivial, indirect variables are having big effects on not really sound, but our perception of it, much like fibers in grill cloth (again, my opinion). Or perhaps what we think we heard previously compared to now. I would bet you would have a bigger difference in sound with two different guitar players taking turns on the exact same rig, or at a concert and stand front and center in the crowd, then off to the side.

I'm not saying that theory is wrong, but I personally don't believe it (moisture) would make a discernible impact on our perception of it.
I'll drink to that……………………….long pause………………………...
 






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