Caveat: This notes are IMHO, in my system, in my room, with my ears, etc. Bottom line is YMMV.
01-30 Break-In Total: 30 hours
It's getting difficult to discern continuing improvements in FM, but that's not the greatest souce signal. The speaker position needs adjustment, too. Caveats aside, it sounds a little better each day.
The main concern now is the center. The Protege seems to muffle the voices, sometimes like a cupped hand in front of the mouth kind of playback. Did the fall to the concrete do more damage than suspected? The characteristics are very different from the Sapphire on voices. No opinion on the Emeralds On-Wall yet since they are currently Emeralds On-Floor.
01-31 Break-In Total: 40 hours
Sometimes with some CDs, a sound like a cabinet resonance appears briefly and then disappears, but that could be related to break-in or the recording. Hard to say anything for sure since they're continuing to slowly evolve. High frequencies are non-fatiguing as-claimed.
Tried first cut at positioning the Sapphires with a Radio Shack SPL meter, the receiver test tones, and the Stereophile Test CD #2 warble tones. It's a bit early to do this, but it seems unlikely the the sonic characteristics will change radically in the next 25 hours. The relative volume of the mains, center and sub are now close. Surrounds are sitting on the floor and can't be adjusted effectively yet. Warble tones show the range from 200Hz to 2000 Hz measures very flat, mostly in the +/- 1db range.
To listen to the results of the tweaking, we watched Seabiscuit on DVD. Decent flick, good audio, interesting shots with sound moving across the screen. Afterwards, I went to shut things down and discovered that I'd left the receiver in stereo mode from my tweaking for the entire movie, i.e., no center channel or surrounds in the mix, just the Sapphires and my Velodyne sub. The Sapphires imaged well enough and the dialogue was clear enough to have fooled us into not even missing the other speakers for over 2 hours.
02-01 Break-In Total: 46.5 hours
Explored various Sapphire sound questions with the Chesky audio test CD. The announcer on the disk sounded kind of spitty or buzzy, though the music tracks had none of this. A track by Sara K brought out what sounded like a brief cabinet resonance, but it's difficult to be sure.
The stands aren't spiked or sand-filled, and the speakers aren't blue-tac'd to the stands -- gotta fix that. Cymbals on Chesky sounded very good, much better than at the 20 hour mark.
02-02 Break-In Total: 56 hours
The fundamental sound profile isn't changing much at this point, so listening test were very short last night. Nothing new to report.
02-03 Break-In Total: 65 hours
At 5pm tonight, the break-in period hit 65 hours, and that's where I declared victory. Time to move to the next phase: speaker position optimization.
Reviewing the measured frequency response at the 40 hour mark, there's an area from 80 to 160 Hz that is down 5 db over four frequency bands. It makes the mid-bass sound like it's missing. This is likely correctable with better positioning and I hope to find more out this evening. Once the bands are dialed in on the Sapphires, the critical listening tests will begin on the Sapphires. Still forming a strategy for the Protege and Emeralds.