Speaker break-in time question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Steely Diode, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. Steely Diode

    Steely Diode Member

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    I just installed a pair of brand new Eminence Ramrods in my Vicky 35210. I have a CD player hooked up to the normal channel through a stereo cable plugged into a 1/4 inch jack, and am playing CDs through it to break them in. How long do I have to do this? Even though I did a search, the answers varied from 8 - 40 hours! This is the second evening I've done this, so I now have about 5 hours playing time on them. Also, even though I covered the front of the cab w/ lots of this blankets, the sound is still pretty loud - especially the bass - and my wife is getting really fed up with it.:FM

    Please help me TGP experts!
     
  2. golfnut

    golfnut Member

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    The tone king galaxy I just bought, I think the speakers in them were made by eminence. I've been playing this amp almost every night for about 2 months. Its definitely more toned down on the high end and much more musical. It took a couple weeks of playing about 2 hours a day for me to notice the difference.
    For me I'd never use anything other than me playing guitar to break my speakers in. Its too much fun to let a CD player do it.
     
  3. Gretsch&Vox

    Gretsch&Vox Member

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  4. teemuk

    teemuk Member

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    Last time I researched the topic the opinion was that the time ranged from few seconds to several days ...that is, depending on who you asked.

    One research, with actual measurements of tested drivers and all, concluded that most effects of break in take place in less than ten seconds and practically the most distinctive effect of it is resonant frequency shifting up or down a few hertz. Not anything clearly audible to speak of.

    This is a very controversial topic and I would put a ton of salt grains on everything you read about it. Everything. Highly subjective process of hearing is not accurate enough to tell anything meaningful about it (e.g. perceived "break in" often turns out to be simply nothing but ear fatigue, or the test process where effetcs of break in were discovered was inaccurate from the start) and even the experts can't seem to agree whether effects of speaker break in are actually perceivable at all. For sure they can't figure out anything concrete about how long this "breaking in" should take.

    This is like the 100th thread about this topic. I'm getting tired of repeating myself. Why don't we sticky these topics that pop up at least once a week?


    Are you seriously trying to claim that you have super human abilities that allow you to remember in full detail how your amp sounded couple a weeks ago? Guys researching this topic should be well aware that detailed audible memory lasts a few seconds at best. Most of these kind of statements are not a proof that break in took place or even exists in the first place. It's simply a proof that after couple of weeks, couple of hours or even couple of minutes folks usually hear what they want to hear. If they want to hear any random effect of break in they generally do. If they ignore them or happen to be unaware that such effects could even exists they usually don't perceive any changes nor start to wonder why tone of the amp/speaker has changed.
     
  5. golfnut

    golfnut Member

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    I remember When I first turned it on the amp was very bright and a tad harsh.
    A couple weeks later its much warmer sounding and I need more clicks on the treble. Why does that translate in to super human hearing?
    I also remember hearing the improvement of a 2X12 cabinet loaded with celestion blues years ago before I ever heard anything about speaker break-in. I had wondered at the time why they all of a sudden seemed to sound better.
     
  6. golfnut

    golfnut Member

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    This is a completely ridiculous statement. Your saying no ones memory is good enough to remember how an amp sounded past a few seconds?
    I'm not even gonna bother getting in to this with you.
     
  7. Prince

    Prince Supporting Member

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    This is basically a variaton of this:

    http://celestion.com/speakerworld/guitartech/2/104/How_to_break-in_a_guitar_speaker/

    Since I recently got a new speaker, I spent a lot of time researching spreaker break in so I hope this helps. I recently did this above method for my new Weber Ceramic Blue Pup 10" for my AC4. It was quite stiff and sharp out of the box, piercing highs. The method definitely helped it to loosen up, but I'm not sure if it got "95%" of the way there. I repeat this method for 5 minutes a day of warm up playing over the first two weeks.

    Over the next two days, for a total of about 8-10 hours, I played my iPod through the amp. I isolated the amp in a bedroom, with a pillow in front, blasting straight into the side of a mattress in order to absorb the majority of the sound. I had to do this at my moms house as there is no way I could pull this off in my loft with shared walls. I used a decibel app on my iPhone to get estimates of the output: basically started a 85db and went in 5db increments over a few hour intervals.

    I started at moderate volume/eq knobs at noon. Every few hours I upped the volume and bass eq. Eventually the goal is to have the Master full, preamp gain/volume at a reasonable level, bass near maxed and mids/treble at/above noon. I played a variety of music from Leo Kottke to Radiohead to Bassnectar (heavy bass EDM at the end of the break in period). Goal was to play a variety of frequencies, so I used stuff all over the spectrum: bands like Radiohead that definitely cover the spectrum of highs and lows in their music, stuff like Kottke who plays all up and down the guitar neck, and fairly heavy EDM that is bass-centric as the kind of final power session to really get it moving.

    Now I'm not a scientists, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I cannot say with absolute certainty how effective this method was. But I think doing a combination of these two methods (Celestion method and pre-recorded music method) have definitely improved the speaker/expedited the process. I think with say a total of 30-45 minutes of the Celestion playing break in method, and 8-10 hours of playing pre-recorded music, it has probably cut the break in time period in half. Since I only play about 30-60 minutes a day, the traditional break in period would have likely taken me about 2 months! Ain't nobody got time for dat!
     
  8. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    Most break-in occurs like this:

    (ignore where it says probability - imagine it says "break in" instead, and "time" where it says x).
    [​IMG]

    Speaker break-in is asymptotic - a speaker is always breaking in, but the most noticeable break-in happens as soon as you start playing the speaker. Where, along this exponential/asymptotic curve the user feels (or hears) that their speaker is "broken-in" is subjective. On average, most people feel this occurs around 20 hours of moderate to loud playing. I tend to agree. However, if you compare a 10 year old speaker to the exact same speaker that only has a year's-worth of playing on it, the 10-year-old speaker will sound warmer and looser.

    How I break in my speaker depends on my schedule. If my life happens to be focused more on music - my band is practicing twice a week and I'm gigging once a week - I'll let the speaker break-in naturally (just playing through it). However, if I am really busy, I might run a 50hz sine wave, or some radio, through the speaker. When I take the latter approach, I hook the speaker directly to a solid-state home-stereo amplifier (rather than running the since wave or radio through my tube amp).
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  9. Silent Sound

    Silent Sound Member

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    But he's right. After just a few seconds you forget the details of what you heard. You may have an idea of the general gist, but the details are long gone. It's well documented.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echoic_memory

    It's also well known that people tend to believe their memory is better than it is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconstructive_memory

    People also tend to remember things or interpret things to fit how they want it to be, rather than how it actually is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

    So saying you think you heard a difference over the course of a couple of weeks, days, hour, or even minutes is a bit naive since science has clearly proven through many, many different studies that this just isn't possible. It can sure feel like it is though. But the human brain just isn't capable of it. Sorry.

    So the only way to get an accurate picture of how a speaker breaks in would be to record the speaker before break in and after. Then listen to those recordings back to back, before your auditory memory fades. The problem with this is how many variables that exist in a recording, such as mic preamp gain, mic placement, amp and guitar settings, and performance. If any of these things change from the first to the last recording, then the test is no good because you can't be sure if the difference you're hearing is attributed to the speaker or the procedure.
     
  10. Gretsch&Vox

    Gretsch&Vox Member

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  11. golfnut

    golfnut Member

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    Hmm. So vox voiced, fender voiced, this tube versus that tube, this over drive versus that over drive it doesn't matter. Cause we don't remember it anyway.
    When I first turned on my amp it seemed bright with treble on at 3, or did it? I don't know. But I had the treble on 5 when I last played. Or did I?
     
  12. Silent Sound

    Silent Sound Member

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    Of course that stuff matters! The traditional Vox sound is different from the traditional blackface Fender sound; we all know that. Just because your memory of them isn't exact doesn't mean those differences aren't real. And like I said, you can remember the general gist of a sound over the long term, just not the small details. So I'm just saying it's not a good idea to trust your memory too much when making comparisons to details as small as those generally attributed to speaker break in. I'm not saying memory isn't a real thing. Let's keep things in context here!
     
  13. J M Fahey

    J M Fahey Member

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    Ugly as it looks, both Teemuk and SilentSound are right.
    It has been tested, in Labs, countless times.
    You may think you remember it "as if it were a recording" and even get angry if somebody claims otherwise, but unfortunately human brain does not work that way.
    Not only about sound but on most other things !!!!

    Think about how hot a brand of chili is ... or an old girlfriend .... or anything else.

    The only certain way to do this is to have a head, a switch, and two speakers, a fresh one and a well used one, and switch back and forth, which is easy to do.

    Not unsoldering and unmounting one, then mounting an resoldering the other, which takes at least, say, 10 minutes ... way too long , your brain unfocuses from sound and focuses on the mechanical job you are doing, but plain switching 2 side by side.

    Then, you notice a lot of differences.

    To boot, after you listen to the used one, you can go back to the fresh one and repeat it as many times as you want.

    As a side note, I do that often, almost daily.

    I make and sell Guitar speakers, commercially.

    I have a fixed "shop speaker" in a 2x2x2 ft unpainted chipboard enclosure by the workbench, and everything, whether new builds or repairs gets played through it, just for convenience.

    Boy does it get a beating !!! ;)

    Anything from 5W tube heads to 300W SS bass ones.

    Sometimes a customer tests and likes it, and buys one ... a new fresh made one of course.

    Sometimes they test it on the spot, say they bring a cabinet or combo and carry it mounted and tested.

    Many (most?) notice a difference, mind you that they are not expecting it so there's no Psychological bias, and a couple even accuse me of cheating them, of "baiting them with a good speaker, then actually furnishing a poor one" , that's how different they sound.

    I explain break-in , most understand it, and to the few who don't (or are paranoid) I offer them to get the shop speaker instead, if they wish.

    A few do.

    No problem, and no big deal, the new one I install in the bench cabinet will be well softened in a few days.

    A big factor is power applied, after all what we want is to mechanically stretch spider and cone edge, in/out at realistic levels.

    What 100 hours of CD music at apartment levels won't do, will be easily achieved in a couple hours rehearsal (or live) playing keeping up with a loud drummer.

    Personally I wouldn't worry much at "home softening" but just play a few hours with buddies.
     
  14. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Just curious what relevance you think those links have to playing guitar.
     
  15. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Garcia could hear humidity in speakers.
     
  16. lp_bruce

    lp_bruce Member

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    Isn't it evident? We know (from research) that people's memories aren't as good as they think they are (esp. when it comes to sensory input); memories are essentially "constructed" as you pull them up rather than pulled up like a recording or photograph; and people tend to hear what they think they will hear. So if you play through a speaker two weeks ago, then play through it again in two weeks, there is really for you to know how much (if any) change has occurred--particularly when such changes are typically considered relatively small. Are you hearing a real change or something you expect? Hard to tell if you are only using your ears and your memory.

    Obviously people can believe what they will and there is no harm in breaking in speakers. But for people who measure such things, speakers undergo change very early in the process (seconds), but any changes after that are very, very small and typically very gradual. Or at least that's what I've heard from people who measure such things (there is a good thread on the topic somewhere in the Digital area of TGP).

    Peace,
     
  17. Steely Diode

    Steely Diode Member

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    Thanks everyone for your interesting posts. So far I have found this one to be the most helpful:

     
  18. ken374

    ken374 Member

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    how do you do the I pod thing?
     
  19. Dale

    Dale Member

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    For the OP. I usually run mine as you describe, but I live in a house and do so when the family and I take a day trip or weekend. We leave for someplace and 8 hours later I come home and turn it off. Or I let it run all weekend. We are in a very rural state so everything is measured in hours travel. It varies by speaker, but on average 20 hours is what I use for my reference. The C-Rex took more time than others to me, but that just may be my perception.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  20. aiq

    aiq Supporting Member

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    second time today you cracked me up.

    I call the Snake Charmers for band name.
     

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