Speaker Break-in Is Real: Here’s Why & How to Do It Properly


During the years, there was a ton of discussion on whether speaker break-in is a myth or actually does happen.

Some companies suggest that it is one of the first tasks to be done when you buy a new speaker for your home. Some also advise running the speakers for 24 straight hours to break in.

Break-in is real in two ways. The first is that the speakers need to be worked in and sound better over time. The second is that you have to become accustomed to the new sound. 

Whether real or perceived, there is a “break-in period.” I believe that anyone who says breaking-in isn’t real has never tried a high-quality speaker out of the box.

In this article, I’ll explain the methods and effects of breaking in a speaker and the types of sound sources used.

What’s Breaking-in Exactly? Do Speakers Need to Brake-in?

Do Speakers Need to Break-In? (and How) Time, Volume and Effects

Breaking-in is a way to familiarize yourself with the sound the first time you move a new, never-used speaker.

A break-in operation of the speaker stabilizes the slight rubbing between the adhesives and materials used in the manufacturing process by the vibration of the sound.

Speakers sometimes use paper materials for cones and edges, and it is said that the jagged parts of this fiber material are rounded by breaking in.

Breaking-in is performed on all audio equipment such as earphones and headphones. Still, there is an opinion that breaking in is unnecessary in recent years because the speaker’s original sound can be produced without performing this process.

Also, depending on the type of material used for the speaker, some may not need to be broken in. This is the case if you use cones that do not use paper materials like the one above. 

First of all, check whether you need to brake in, check the procedure in the manual, etc., and take the best method for your speaker.

The method of breaking in is to keep making sounds. The purpose is to vibrate the speaker itself by producing sound, thereby blending the internal parts with the speaker’s body.

So how long does it take to keep playing the sound? There are differences depending on the size and condition of the speakers. Also, at what volume should the sound source be played when breaking in? I’ll explain it in a second.

How Long Does it Take to Brake-in Speakers?

The time required for breaking-in is about 30 hours for small speakers and about 100 hours for large speakers and wooden speakers. 

It is just a recommendation, so please follow the detailed break-in time if stated in the instruction manual.

Even if it is a used speaker, it is said that it is good to brake-in it for about 30 hours if it has not been energized for a long time. This is because the internal parts may have hardened due to the fact that they have not been energized for a long time.

If you can keep playing the sound all day long, you can brake-in it in a day and a half to four days, but if you can’t make a sound when it’s quiet, such as in the middle of the night, it takes time to brake-in. 

You have to be aware of that.

Alternatively, you can connect only the power supply and sound source before installing the speaker and wrap it in a blanket to make it soundproof.

With this method, the sound is less likely to leak out, so it will not bother your neighbors even if you keep playing the sound all day long.

How Loud Do Speakers Have to Be to Brake-in?

The volume when breaking in should be the same as or slightly louder than the volume you usually hear. Alternatively, the speaker’s instruction manual may also describe the volume to be set during breaking-in, so it is good to refer to that.

The sound source will be played for a long time when breaking in, so let’s play it at a volume that does not bother the neighborhood or burden the family.

However, if the volume is too low, the effect of breaking-in will be diminished, so you may want to consider a soundproofing method such as covering with a blanket as before.

The effect obtained by breaking-in is that it is less likely to crack in the high register. The range tests listed in the catalog specifications are performed before shipment from the factory, but the sound is not adjusted in 1Hz increments.

Therefore, when playing a sound source on a speaker for the first time, the sound quality may tend to give a hard impression, especially in the high-frequency range. In order to create a “sound that is comfortable for humans” that cannot be expressed by numbers, breaking in is considered necessary.

By breaking in, even if you turn up the speaker’s volume, the treble range will have a soft impression, and it will be difficult for the ears to make unpleasant sounds such as cracking sounds.

This is because parts such as the diaphragm inside the speaker become familiar with the main body due to breaking in.

Sound source suitable for breaking-in

What kind of sound source should be prepared for breaking in? One of the purposes of breaking-in is to make it easier for you to listen to the music you normally listen to.

For this purpose, it’s a good idea to use the music you normally listen to as a sound source for breaking in.

 

Since breaking-in requires the sound source to continue to play for a long time, a sound source that does not make you uncomfortable even if the sound is played for a long time is good.

In that respect as well, the music that I usually listen to is suitable because I can listen to it for a long time.

There is also a sound source dedicated to breaking-in

In addition to the music you usually listen to, if you plan to listen to music in a wide range of genres with the speakers you purchased, it is better to use a sound source dedicated to breaking in.

The sound source dedicated to breaking-in is also called pink noise, and the sounds recorded in 1Hz units can be played in order.

By breaking in using this pink noise, the reproducible frequency of the speaker can be played evenly. It is the most effective for breaking in because it can cover the range that is not reproduced with a biased frequency in pop music.

Due to the structure of the speaker, the unit used differs depending on the frequency of the sound to be played, so in the extreme, the woofer in charge of the bass is not broken in at all in the sound source with only high frequencies.

Considering the breaking-in of each unit like this, it would be appropriate to use pink noise, which covers the frequency evenly, to reproduce the speaker’s original sound.

Dedicated sound sources for these pink noises are also sold, but nowadays, some of them are also published on YouTube and websites, and the effect does not change even with breaking-in using the pink noise, so it is on the net. We recommend using a free sound source.

When you get tired of hearing the sound of breaking-in

Although pink noise is good for breaking in, it can be noisy or tiring if you keep it running in your house.

In such a case, it is recommended to play the sound of waves or flowing rivers. The sound of flowing water contains non-overtone components that cannot be reproduced by musical instruments and can cover the unbraked in part of the speaker frequency.

In addition, playback of such a sound source is effective for breaking-in and regular maintenance.

Since the sound source that you normally play has a frequency bias, you can regain the speaker’s original sound by using the unused parts evenly.

Tray Fiddy

Tray has come to terms with the fact he will probably never be a famous DJ.... but that hasn't stopped him from mixing and throwing parties around the town. Tray has over 10 years experience of DJing at home and events.

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