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Stupid Q: How to break-in new speakers?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by johan, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. johan

    johan Member

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    I know I should play alot more than I do but is there a good and safe way to break-in a new speaker? Wire the speaker to the stereo or connect the CD to my BF Fender?? CD->Amp I guess. How?
     
  2. memphisrain

    memphisrain Member

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    I've heard a couple different methods. First being just plugging in your CD player to your amp and turn it up somewhat loud.

    The other, I got from Ted Weber. He said to just plug in a guitar cord into the input of your amp and lay the cord on the ground. The resulting buzz with the amp at a decent volume will break the speaker in almost over night. You just want to make sure you don't have it cranked up too much or speaker damage can occur.



    mR
     
  3. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    I shudder at the notion of leaving my cherished tube amps running for extended periods of time unattended.

    I play just about everyday so I don't understand why we don't just play the darned things until such time that we "think" they sound better.

    For the record, I truly believe that speaker break in has a positive effect . . . most of the time . . . but I also think that the net effect is based on the speaker and brand of speaker. Some may have a profound improvement while others may be negligible.

    That said,

    I've read many times in audiofile sources that some so called experts think speaker break in is all but a myth.

    Has anyone else heard such arguments? And if so, how do you feel about that?

    http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/audioprinciples/loudspeakers/SpeakerBreakIn2.php

    http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/audioprinciples/loudspeakers/SpeakerBreakIN.php
     
  4. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    Well, I never heard of speaker break-in till the internet, put it that way :rolleyes:

    OTOH if a guy who makes speakers for a living like Webber says it exists its hard not to take him at his word, at least for his speakers.

    But I think speaker makers should be the ones doing any required break in so that what you hear is what you're supposed to hear, right outta the box. Especially if they make it sound like its no biggie for their customers to do it... "just do X, Y, Z!"

    That opinion and $3 will get you a cuppa coffee at starbux ;)
     
  5. doctorx

    doctorx Member

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    I have a JBL D130 that was reconed by Ted Weber before he stopped doing recones. It sounds good but not quite what I expected. I have to say my expectations were based on low experiance with D230's because I hadn't heard one in years.

    I don't use the cab very much because it is not my main rig, so it would take a real long time to break it in. I decided to use Ted Webers method. I don't think he would mind if I posted this:

    OK, on to 'breaking in' a speaker. If you really want to speed up the breaking in period, the easist method is to connect the speaker to a filament transformer. Having said that, let's look at the precautions you need to take. Since you will be driving the speaker with a steady state signal, you don't want to drive it at its rated power or it will burn up the voice coil. 1/3 power rating is a safe figure to use. So, let's say you have a 50 watt speaker and it is 8 Ohm. 1/3 power is about 17 watts, and at 8 Ohm, that works out to be around 11.5 volts. Using a 12.6 volt transformer will put 20 watts into the speaker. I wouldn't have a problem with that in our products, but just to be safe, you might want to go with a 6.3 volt filament voltage, which will put about 5 watts into your speaker. Another option is to use a variac into the primary side of the 12.6 volt filament transformer and dial in the voltage you want on the secondary. That way, you can dial in the 11.5 volts we originally calculated at the 1/3 power level. I'd also suggest performing the operation in a garage or closet, because listening to the loud 60hz hum from the speaker will grate on your nerves very quickly. Also, if you leave the speaker out of the cabinet, the rear radiation of the speaker will cancel alot of the front radiation and reduce the noise. You need to lay the speaker face up though, so the cone can move as much as possible since the whole idea of this operation is to loosen up the cone and spider. Laying the speaker face down would trap air between the cone and the surface of the table and restrict cone movement. You're going to be surprised how much the cone moves and how loud the speaker is, even at 1/3 power. Here's the math for determining the correct voltage to use in case you have a different wattage and impedance rating than our example above:
    1. Take the power rating of the speaker and divide it by 3.
    2. Take that number and multiply it by the speaker's Ohm rating (4, 8, or 16)
    3. Use your calculator to find the square root of that number.
    4. The result is the voltage you need to use to drive the speaker at 1/3 its rated power.
    Here is a calculator that will determine a safe voltage to use:


    Go here to use his calculator and see the full dialog.

    I used a 9v ac transformer running thru my powersoak. I dialed it down to 6 volts and let it hum for a couple of hours two separate times. He doesn't really say how long to do it. I guess I will give it one more session and see how it sounds.
     
  6. Guy from Idaho

    Guy from Idaho Member

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    geez, what a Luddite attitude, I bet you never took a belt sander to your strat either :p
     
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  7. BobbyRay

    BobbyRay Supporting Member

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    I can attest that when I recieved a Clark Tyger with Weber speakers...It sounded like it was broke. After about 8hrs of playing time it opened right up and sounded fantastic. Really a very dramatic difference. It continues to get better with time, but the dramatic curve happened rather quickly.
     
  8. dbeeman

    dbeeman Gold Supporting Member

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    Most good Hi-fi spk builders break in their woofers at least

    The suspension loosens up,so you get a lower resonant freq

    The cone itself may also become more flexible, resulting in some apparent smoothing of mid/high


    Depending on the particular spk and your ears YMMV
     
  9. Leftee

    Leftee Guest

    I recently experienced break-in on a new Jensen C12N. When I got the speaker the top end sounded really horrible. It really didn't sound very musical. After a couple of hours on the variac it sounded much better. That was the most dramatic example of this I've seen.
     
  10. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    Fancy tricks aside, I just floor my amps and play the crap out of my speakers on the clean channel. I did that with a pair of greenbacks and they broke in pretty quicly, but the vintage 30's took like three months before they settled in.:)
     
  11. johan

    johan Member

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    So, a cord into the input of the amp, no guitar and just let the amp stand there buzzing for a couple of hours a day. Is this safe? I mean, maybe the amp will run hot or something.

    I wonder what sound my neighbours prefer. 5 hours of loud KERRRANGGGG or a BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ :D
     
  12. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    Like someone said, the best way to break in speakers is just to play them. At first if they don't sustain enough etc. just use a distortion or overdrive pedal. Anyway I think they'll sound better if you break them in slowly just by playing your guitar through them. Mine do. :cool:
     
  13. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    I've actually heard that clean is harder on a speaker than distortion but I'n not sure if I'd heard that correctly. Which means clean would break it in faster. I'd tend to think a little of both would be ideal.

    Thoughts?
     
  14. doctord02

    doctord02 Member

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    If I want to use the CD player into a guitar amp method, what sort of signal padding do I need to do to the signal? I'm thinking about wiring up a trick cable that has an rca on one end and a quarter inch on the other, but need to know what sort of cap/resistor for inbetween...

    Thanks-
     
  15. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    If you can imagine how many speakers a day speaker manufacturers have coming off of production lines, then how big a building/rig it would take to have hundreds/thousands of speakers humming away, how much power it would take to run that building, then all the employees it would take to hook the speakers up and then disconnect them, and then how much the company would have to charge to cover all of those costs plus overhead, then you can guess why speaker companies don't do it and probably never will.
    :)

    Not to mention the fact that probably 99.5% of their customers don't frequent forums like TGP, don't know about breaking in speakers, and couldn't care less if they did.

    They're just crazy enough to play the damn things and a few weeks/months later say things like, "Man, I didn't like that speaker at first, but it sounds pretty good now."
    :D
     
  16. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    Fortunately, not all speaker manufacturers feel this way. ;)
     
  17. GM1

    GM1 Member

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    OK well I'm trying the leave the amp on with an open/unhooked guitar cord humming. I left my studio last night and will return this evening. Trying to break in some Jensen Neos. Hope nothing blows up...
     
  18. Robboman

    Robboman Member

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    Holy crap! If this is the EASIEST method, I don't want to know any harder methods. I'm only a guitar player, dude!

    Here's what I've done a few times with good results:

    1) Connect speaker to amp
    2) Plug in a keyboard (I used my old Korg)
    3) Turn the amp up to medium-ish volume
    4) Pick a patch (keyboard sound) that sustains indefinitely when you hold down a key, like an organ or some kind of synth sample. Play the low bass notes while watching the speaker cone carefully. Find a patch/low note combination that visibly and significantly moves the cone in and out.
    5) Leave the note sustaining several hours or overnight (if it's not in your bedroom!). Either use a sustain pedal or else just place something heavy on the key(s) to hold them down.

    This is much like the humming cord method, but it's easier to dial in the tone/freqency required to move the cone in and out the way you want. If you have a sine-wave generator, (i don't) that would be even easier.
     
  19. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    Play the speakers using a guitar and an amp . That breaks them in , if in fact someone needs to break in speakers. My local guy recones speakers using the factory kits and they sound great, whether they're JBL D130's or Celestion Cl 80's... Then again , I'm not a hi-end audio afficianado just a guitarist and rock sound /recording guy. Perhaps I can't hear the difference many guys on the internet hear with their speakers breaking in via many methods other than playing guitar through them . A few nights cranked with a guitar and amp breaks them in for me .

    ERIC
     
  20. SAMIAM

    SAMIAM Member

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    I am offering my services as a "speaker breaker inner" , any wanting to take advantage of this "old school" approach to "custom" breaking in - pay only the cost of speaker shipping to my rehearsal space and shipping back to you - the service itself is free with the understanding that your speaker will be used for recording a/b clips with other speakers while being "serviced". Some makes can take a turn around time of a week some will take twenty years - older (say 85+years old)customers sending the twenty year jobs are prefered, and need not pay shipping back upfront .All speakers will be broken in using a time honored and fabric softener free prccess I feel I've perfected .My process involves carefull manipulation of my guitar strings with a hand held(this is really the key)state of the art ,guitar plectrum while plugged into a guitar amp that has been painstakingly connected to your speaker,cone slashing with a razor is available for that coveted"harmony central" tone at no addittional charge.I find that a diagonal slash yeilds more mojo but vertical or horizontal slashing is available upon your request..E-mail me for pricing quotes at - damimstupid@urevenstupider.com:D
     
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