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How Do the Big Guys Break In Their Speakers??


Silver Supporting Member
FWIW - I used a variac hooked directly up to my G12H30's and it worked great - no problems. I think the break in voltage was around 9 volts, so I had the variac dialed down to 7.5%. I didn't check it with a meter but they didn't ignite or anything, and they still sound great so it must have been OK!


So if you were to use the variac method how long would you run it for?

Uncle Spot

every new speaker that comes in - unless the customer does *not* want it done - is on the variac for ½hr - 2 hrs.

and every speaker that gets reconed in the shop (b/w 12 and 50/week) gets about 1-2 hrs. - it all depends on the speaker. You *WILL* be able to *hear* the difference; after a while you'll notice when the speaker is 'ready' (broken in, a bit), and this varies from speaker to speaker. IME/IMO.

You can go to my "speaker/variac" webpage: http://www.unclespot.com/C10Q.html
and at the bottom of the page is an 'auto-calculator' for how much voltage to (safely) use.

The 2 variacs I've found to work THE best are the Staco 3PN1010V (my personal favorite) and the Powerstat 3PN116B. ...you just want to make *SURE* the variac goes to ZERO volts - a lot of them do not... (cause if they start at 10, 20, or 30 volts that's enough to blow a lot of speakers...)

hope this helps - if not go to www.unclespot.com get my tel. # at the bottom of the page (or e-mail) and I'll answer you question(s).

Sonic regards, Ron (Uncle Spot)


With out getting too anal about breaking in a new speaker, I usually put it in the cab and play it at a moderate volume for the first 4-5 hours to get the coil to seat w/o over heating it and then slowly increase volume to stage level. Granted total break-in may take 10-20 hours of playing depending on the speaker but it negates the pricey equip to do the dirty deed the 'quicky' way. Anyway, most of us need the practice time anyway.

If your in a hurry, pipe your stereo into the speaker, not the amp, and at a moderate volume let it exercise for a day while your at work or doing yardwork, or buy all the tech gear to do it the fast way.

I really think most of the BIG guys just have the tech slap the spkr in and play the hell outta it on stage. As long as the coil doesn't overheat and seize, it works but I wouldn't recommend that for my gear. I can't afford to replace spkrs when they blow out due to abuse on a weekly basis.

Just my unknowledgeable 0.02 cents worth..........

Hammer on...........Blair

Scumback Speakers

Platinum Supporting Member
I had an eBay seller ship me a Greenback, and he packed it in styrofoam peanuts with no plastic bag around it, doh! The styrofoam stuck to the doping, so I emailed Dr. Decibel @ Celestion and he replied...

"I suggest using a very small amount of acetone. Use a small (artists) soft paint brush, and gently work from the edge of the styro foam with a brush damped with acetone. This should dissolve the styrofoam as well as loosening the edge dampings hold on it, and if you keep wiping the brush on a cloth, will leave only small brush marks, and no serious damage. Do not wet the cone with acetone, just use a bit of patience (and a lot of ventilation !). This can actually have a similar effect to a few years of good use, and give a more played in feel to the speaker. It's quite close to what Matchless used to do to Vintage 30's !
Leaving the styrofoam probably won't hurt the speaker physically, but it will make the sound a bit fuzzy and confused. Best of luck,
Dr. Decibel"

I used an old toothbrush, then dipped the toothbrush in the acetone, let the excess drip off, then brushed from the doping edge (closer to the coil) up towards the outer edge of the doping near the frame. You have to watch what you're doing, because you can wipe the doping right off if you use enough (should take a few mintues before that happens due to the amount of doping Celestion uses) and then you'll have a weakened speaker cone edge surrounded by strong speaker cone edges and you'll get an uneven response.

When I do this to heavily doped speakers, it takes a good 20-30 minutes per speaker. Then you can break in the speaker much faster with the thinner doping layer.

Of course, if you order your speakers custom (such as Weber, or if you get custom recone kits like I do) then you can have less doping to start with and the speaker will break in faster.

Hope this helps.


Silver Supporting Member
I do know a neat way to break speakers in.

Use a frequency spectrum disc that is all white noise at different
frequencies and levels, put in your cd player, plug the cab to your
stereo and set the player to play disc on repeat. do this when you go to work and stop when you get home. about 7 days of this and you will be set. you dont need to set the volume too high. this is the prefered way in high end audio to break in speakers.

Interesting way to do it ...


The other thing I've read Ted talk about is applying spray on fabric softener to the speaker cone to soften the paper. It is supposed to remove that spikey edge to some speakers - a clickiness that happens on pick attack. This is another one of those deals where if you go too far, there is no return. If you over apply the softener and don't like the results, you'll have to recone the speaker.


Gold Supporting Member
i usually play "one quiet night' by pat metheny for a few go-arounds. the bari guitar seems to do the trick, but then i want to go build a bonfire out of my guitars. LOL


Brining this back to life.

It's pretty annoying, but I play three riffs, a high lead line, a middle of the road chord picking & a chunky palm muted rhythm and loop em. Start the amp quiet, and bring it up.

First time trying it, but I think it'll eventually do the trick.


Ok I'll bite-what does the "Purist Audio CD" sound like and how loud do you run it?
And $100 for the disk? are they nuts?



I have no idea about that CD.. but you can get all the "free white noise" you need by tuning your FM radio to an empty frequency.


Premium Platinum Member
There's a reason we called people like that "tweaks" when I sold hi-end audio...they'll spend tons of money on just plain ridiculous stuff.

James Freeman

My Vintage 30's sound different every time I turn on the amp, even after 100's of hours of "breaking-in".

After about 5 minutes of play I break-in to the sound.

That's how I like'em.

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