Originally Posted by Project H
Do brand new Klipsch Reference speakers have a "burn in" period, to fully break in the speakers? If so, how many hours is it?
I've read lots of different opinions on this. I'm not an audio engineer, and I don't have "Golden Ears"... but here's my two-penny layman's theory:
Any brand new mechanical device containing joints, or parts that move against each other and/or flex, is going to need to go through a period of initial "wear-in", until either all of the joints' components are properly "seated" against each other, or until the flexing material's initial stiffness has "relaxed".
The "cautionary" point of this, being -- if you over-work the device before it's properly worn-in, you'll very likely harm it in some way that's detrimental to its optimal operational efficiency and life-span.
In the case of loudspeakers, I think that what this implies is simply that you probably shouldn't run them at anything close to reference levels for a while.
What's "a while"? I never
run my speakers that loud... so I don't know.
50-100 hours of non-reference-level play (-15dB?) doesn't seem unreasonable to me.
Another aspect of the question is... does a speaker sound "better" after a period of burn-in?
I now think that that's something which is impossible to objectively determine. Here's why....
A bit over two years ago, I bought a pair of Beyerdynamic DT-880 Premium headphones; my first "real" headphones. At the time -- because of what I'd read -- I was under the impression that they needed about 200 hours of "break-in". So along with listening to music and watching films while wearing them... whenever I wasn't wearing them, I put them onto an 8-inch-diameter foam cylinder, and played moderately loud music through them 24/7, for ten days straight.
Throughout that period, and for the next several months, as I listened to them, I became completely convinced that as time progressed, they did, in fact, progressively sound better and better... eventually getting to the point where I began to actually prefer listening to them, over listening to my 5.1 Klipsch system.
Then in January of this year, I began upgrading my entire AV system -- except for my 58" plasma -- piece-by-piece.
In doing so -- regarding only the speakers -- in a 2,120 cu ft space, I went from SF-2 fronts, SC-1 center, SS-1 surrounds and a KSW-12 sub, to RF-7 II fronts, RC-3 II center, SF-3 surrounds, and an SVS SB12 sub... which is what I've been listening to for the past six weeks. And -- contrary to what many might think -- in spite of the theoretical
negatives regarding my completely mixed-genre Klipsch setup... to me, this system sounds A-M-A-Z-I-N-G
. So much so, in fact, that for the entire past six weeks, I hadn't once used the Beyer headphones... until a couple of nights ago, when I had just finished watching my "Jeff Beck: Live at Ronnie Scott's"
Blu-ray -- a disc which I watch at least twice a month -- and decided to watch it again, but with the headphones, for the sake of comparison.
Much to my surprise, for the first half-hour or so, I was appalled
at how "thin" the sound was, compared to the Klipsch system. Now, I fully realize that no headphones are going to acoustically match what my current Klipsch system can do... but the Beyers had never sounded that
inferior to me, before. It literally was
a night-and-day difference... and I almost decided right then that I was going to stop the disc, take off the headphones, and never use them again. But then -- also to my surprise -- as the concert went on, I found that my ears gradually became "re-accustomed" to the Beyer's sound... so that by the end of the Blu-ray, I was once again perfectly happy with their ability to very accurately reproduce musical content.
Because of that experience, I now am in the habit of making sure that I use the Beyers at least once a day, for an hour or so... and that practice seems to allow my ears to remain "acquainted" with the sound of the Beyers, along with remaining accustomed to the sound of my incredible Klipsch speaker system.
While there very likely is an actual, physical "loosening" of the mechanical components of a given brand-new speaker that needs to occur over a "several hour" period of time... I think a FAR
larger component of speaker "break-in" involves the completely subjective acclimation and accustomization of one's ears -- and one's individual psychological perception -- to how the speakers appear
In other words, I don't think it's so much that new speakers
get broken-in... but rather, that we
get "broken-in" to the sound of the new-to-us speakers.
Edit: I lied about the Beyerdynamic DT-880 Premium headphones being my first "real" ones. I bought a pair of Koss Pro4AA headphones back in 1970 -- the year Koss first made them. At that time, and for many years afterward, they were considered to be the standard against which all other professional headphones were compared.Edited by B 26354 - 11/7/13 at 12:04am