Is the concept of speaker break in true? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 96 Old 11-11-2018, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
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speaker break in period

Is there a such thing as a break in period, or is it just your ears adjusting to a different sound. In my manual it says allow 15 hours of average use for mechanical parts to attain design characteristics, and up to a week for intended performance to be achieved. Have anyone noticed this to be true, and if so how much of a audible change did it make?
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post #2 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan6815 View Post
Is there a such thing as a break in period, or is it just your ears adjusting to a different sound. In my manual it says allow 15 hours of average use for mechanical parts to attain design characteristics, and up to a week for intended performance to be achieved. Have anyone noticed this to be true, and if so how much of a audible change did it make?
It depends. I've had some speakers that sounded good right out the box (Kef) and others that needed more time (JBL's & SVS sub) though the Kef did open up more after a week or two. In any case, I generally wait at least a week before evaluating even if buying used as our ears need to adjust as well.
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post #3 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 12:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
It depends. I've had some speakers that sounded good right out the box (Kef) and others that needed more time (JBL's & SVS sub) though the Kef did open up more after a week or two. In any case, I generally wait at least a week before evaluating even if buying used as our ears need to adjust as well.
I had the b&w 683s2,I called myself upgrading to the 703s2. although the new tweeter in the 703's sounds much better, I'm still missing that full range sound and the warmth of the 683..I'm seriously thinking about returning them and grabbing my 683's back. I only listened for about 5 hours straight out of the box, but felt something was missing the whole time. I did however have the 683's for about two weeks before returning them. I felt the lower end was a little muddy, but overall was a better listening experience
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post #4 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 01:00 AM
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See if your dealer will loan you 702s2 for a couple days. I think the 702s2 are the warmest speakers B&W has due to the lack of 5" or 4" mid ranges, 3 mid bass drivers instead of the customary 2, and the carbon dome tweeter being less bright than the diamond tweeter. The decoupled tweeter helps clean up the midrange as well. If you don't love those, I'd go back to the 683's. If you're going to try to break in those speakers, I'd try to grab a track like this
https://www.jlabaudio.com/pages/audio-burn-in-download
and play it for like 100-200 hours while you're not around at moderate volume levels and see if it helps the break in process.

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post #5 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 03:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan6815 View Post
I had the b&w 683s2,I called myself upgrading to the 703s2. although the new tweeter in the 703's sounds much better, I'm still missing that full range sound and the warmth of the 683..I'm seriously thinking about returning them and grabbing my 683's back. I only listened for about 5 hours straight out of the box, but felt something was missing the whole time. I did however have the 683's for about two weeks before returning them. I felt the lower end was a little muddy, but overall was a better listening experience
Did you run audyssey or whatever room correction your AVR has? I personally felt the 700's were a noticeable improvement over the 600's in all categories. The bass was more prominent on the 600's, but much better sounding on the 700's.


I would give them at least a week to open up. Leave them on low volume while you go to work to reduce break-in time. Most speakers tend to open up more with 40-50 hours of operation. Don't mess with the settings too much for the break-in period as you could just make things worse. A lesson I learned the hard way.


You may want to consider adding an external amp. Speakers at that level generally benefit from more power across their entire bandwidth. An AVR alone can drive the speakers, but can't compete with a dedicated amp.

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post #6 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
Did you run audyssey or whatever room correction your AVR has? I personally felt the 700's were a noticeable improvement over the 600's in all categories. The bass was more prominent on the 600's, but much better sounding on the 700's.


I would give them at least a week to open up. Leave them on low volume while you go to work to reduce break-in time. Most speakers tend to open up more with 40-50 hours of operation. Don't mess with the settings too much for the break-in period as you could just make things worse. A lesson I learned the hard way.


You may want to consider adding an external amp. Speakers at that level generally benefit from more power across their entire bandwidth. An AVR alone can drive the speakers, but can't compete with a dedicated amp.
Thanks for your response. I totally agree with the bass response being more controlled on the 703's, Im not using a receiver, but a dedicated amp (Nad 2600a). I found the 683 a more fuller sound, but lacking a little on the high end and the bass not as controlled. The high end of the 703 are nice, Can be a little harsh on certain recordings, but nice compared to the 683. I left them playing last night when I left for work. Hopefully they'll open up a little, and I won't regret spending a extra $1700 for the 703. If I can get the fullness I got from the 683's along with the improvements of the tweeter. I think I'll be happy
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post #7 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 07:07 AM
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Anecdote: About 15 years ago I had 4 Klipsch KLF 30's and matching center. Heard and loved B&W 802D's and moving up. First I bought 803D's for front with plans to move to rears in a few months when I got 802D's. Also bought an HTM1D (beast) center. They had to order the HTM1D and it was going to be couple of months. So they let me use a demo HTM2D with my NEW 803D's. Hooked up and it just didn't sound "right". Called and they said they needed to break in. But...when I isolated the HTM2D is also didn't sound "right" either and it was floor demo. What was happening???? However after a week or so they sounded fantastic and my Klipsch now sound "wrong". It seems your brain needs to 'rewire' for the new timbre/sound in the same spot that it is used to.
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post #8 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 09:07 AM
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i think it's more "ear break in" than speaker break in for most cases...

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post #9 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan6815 View Post
Is there a such thing as a break in period, or is it just your ears adjusting to a different sound. In my manual it says allow 15 hours of average use for mechanical parts to attain design characteristics, and up to a week for intended performance to be achieved. Have anyone noticed this to be true, and if so how much of a audible change did it make?
Depends on the speaker, in my experience. My Wharfedale Diamonds definitely opened up and sounded much better after about 20 hours; out of the box I had the treble at +5 and after 20hrs I put it back to zero. Others like the Emotivas, Ascends, and Chane sounded good right out of the box.

There's a very easy way to get around the "are the speakers breaking in OR are my ears breaking in" issue: break in the speakers using the technique in this link WITHOUT listening to them at all, so that there will be no "before" vs "after" impressions when you're done. In other words, have the speakers playing while you're out of the house / at work.

https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/blog/how-run-speakers

This does require having a spare amp lying around, but it might be worth trying just with the Chanes if you do. Maybe worth picking up some $40 Lepai or an old amp off Craigslist? Throw a heavy blanket over the 2 facing speakers in order to dampen the sound if needed. I'd play some sort of bass-heavy track on repeat.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #10 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Lp85253 View Post
i think it's more "ear break in" than speaker break in for most cases...
All I have to do is look at a speaker, and it is broken in!!
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post #11 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 07:57 PM
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post #12 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan6815 View Post
Is there a such thing as a break in period, or is it just your ears adjusting to a different sound. In my manual it says allow 15 hours of average use for mechanical parts to attain design characteristics, and up to a week for intended performance to be achieved. Have anyone noticed this to be true, and if so how much of a audible change did it make?
There is definitely break-in period.

Hell, with the Martin Logan panels you can plainly measure pre/post break-in with a mic.
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post #13 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan6815 View Post
Is there a such thing as a break in period, or is it just your ears adjusting to a different sound. In my manual it says allow 15 hours of average use for mechanical parts to attain design characteristics, and up to a week for intended performance to be achieved. Have anyone noticed this to be true, and if so how much of a audible change did it make?
Yes. No. Somewhat. Once upon a time, I was running a test for Ford, hammering the speakers at full power with pink noise or some shaped variation for something like two weeks straight. Dozens of them. It was LOUD. Even with half wired out-of-phase to the others, it was LOUD. Periodically I'd have to pull some off and check frequency response and parameters. The resonance did indeed keep dropping. HOWEVER, the speaker surrounds and spiders were basically being continually slammed to their limits. And the change was NOT humongous. Frequency response changed little. Other tests of other drivers randomly over the years seemed to support that.
--> I believe that the "break in" is largely your hearing adjusting, and very little to do with any physical phenomena.
Nothing wrong with that, really. And it would be interesting for someone to replicate the testing. Oh, BUT you have to let the speakers rest before measuring, as there is a kind of recovery effect, and also the speakers have to cool down to ambient or the elevated temperature will affect the parameters.
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post #14 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by William View Post
Anecdote: About 15 years ago I had 4 Klipsch KLF 30's and matching center. Heard and loved B&W 802D's and moving up. First I bought 803D's for front with plans to move to rears in a few months when I got 802D's. Also bought an HTM1D (beast) center. They had to order the HTM1D and it was going to be couple of months. So they let me use a demo HTM2D with my NEW 803D's. Hooked up and it just didn't sound "right". Called and they said they needed to break in. But...when I isolated the HTM2D is also didn't sound "right" either and it was floor demo. What was happening???? However after a week or so they sounded fantastic and my Klipsch now sound "wrong". It seems your brain needs to 'rewire' for the new timbre/sound in the same spot that it is used to.
Honestly, i think this is what break in actually is.
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post #15 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Honestly, i think this is what break in actually is.
I agree. sounds logical anyways
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post #16 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 11:51 PM
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I agree. sounds logical anyways
My friend ordered 2 pairs of 702s2 for his theater. 2 for front and 2 for surrounds. The first 2 were in stock the second 2 were on backorder 2 weeks.

He got the first two and ran the break in track for 40 hours and used the theater for over 100 hours in mean time. When the second set came, the first set had about 150 hours on them. He was sure that they were nicely broken in and had improved. We set up the two pairs next to each other and did blind A/B tests, and no one could tell the difference.
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post #17 of 96 Old 11-12-2018, 11:57 PM
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90% of the time no. The 10% of the time though, that is the grey area - in which case stiff drivers (basically subs), then yeah they can sound a little different. I've measured both my SB2000s and FV15HP fresh out of the box and 1 month later, in the exact same configuration and position in the same room - REW reported different results (outside margin of error results in fact).

The mains... I don't think so. The burn-in is really more about your brain getting used to the sound. But for the benefit of the doubt, I've always allowed the mains to play for 20 hours without listening to them (which is more than enough time for any speaker to sound the way they should) before evaluating them.

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post #18 of 96 Old 11-13-2018, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
My friend ordered 2 pairs of 702s2 for his theater. 2 for front and 2 for surrounds. The first 2 were in stock the second 2 were on backorder 2 weeks.

He got the first two and ran the break in track for 40 hours and used the theater for over 100 hours in mean time. When the second set came, the first set had about 150 hours on them. He was sure that they were nicely broken in and had improved. We set up the two pairs next to each other and did blind A/B tests, and no one could tell the difference.
I can actually believe that. Because Ive only had my 703's For about two days now and I think my ears or brain is finally adjusting to the sound of these. They actually put a smile on my face listening to Cassandra Wilson earlier. I was able to hear things in the upper end that Ive never heard before. I was actually able to turn off my sub, when I increased the volume a little. The bass was much more controlled than the 683's. Hopefully it only gets better from here.
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post #19 of 96 Old 11-13-2018, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I can actually believe that. Because Ive only had my 703's For about two days now and I think my ears or brain is finally adjusting to the sound of these. They actually put a smile on my face listening to Cassandra Wilson earlier. I was able to hear things in the upper end that Ive never heard before. I was actually able to turn off my sub, when I increased the volume a little. The bass was much more controlled than the 683's. Hopefully it only gets better from here.
I guess I should mention that they have been playing non stop at a low volume since Sunday
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post #20 of 96 Old 05-28-2019, 09:07 PM
 
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Is the concept of speaker break in true?

Break in on new speakers, is it true? Do the drivers actually start performing better after some time, or they remain the same and it's your ears that get accustomed to the tonal characteristics of the speaker making them sound to better to you?
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post #21 of 96 Old 05-28-2019, 09:29 PM
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Yes, of course it is true.
Speakers are (electro)mechanical devices and their parts are subject to changes during work.
I expect manufacturers to tune their speakers to the "final" state, so there might be changes.

How strongly these changes affect performance - only manufacturer can answer, but I doubt any of them would post actual aging graphs and their effect on performance.

For example -

http://www.klippel.de/fileadmin/klip...on_Klippel.pdf

Last edited by aats; 05-28-2019 at 09:37 PM.
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post #22 of 96 Old 05-28-2019, 10:36 PM
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Break in on new speakers, is it true? Do the drivers actually start performing better after some time, or they remain the same and it's your ears that get accustomed to the tonal characteristics of the speaker making them sound to better to you?
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Yes, of course it is true.
Speakers are (electro)mechanical devices and their parts are subject to changes during work.
I expect manufacturers to tune their speakers to the "final" state, so there might be changes.

How strongly these changes affect performance - only manufacturer can answer, but I doubt any of them would post actual aging graphs and their effect on performance.

For example -

http://www.klippel.de/fileadmin/klip...on_Klippel.pdf
It's a myth. Audioholics did an extensive study on it a few years ago and posted the findings with measurements. Break in happens almost immediately (within moments) upon first use and any/if any changes after that are inaudible.

I've been in the A/V industry 20 years and own an A/V design firm. Break in was invented by dealers and manufacturers years ago to get people to keep their gear and not return it. After a period of time people get used to or just learn to live with their equipment. Companies know this. Thus, "break in". Any company rep who brings up break in during any kind of meeting immediately loses credibility with me.
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post #23 of 96 Old 05-28-2019, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PrestigeAudio View Post
It's a myth. Audioholics did an extensive study on it a few years ago and posted the findings with measurements. Break in happens almost immediately (within moments) upon first use and any/if any changes after that are inaudible.

I've been in the A/V industry 20 years and own an A/V design firm. Break in was invented by dealers and manufacturers years ago to get people to keep their gear and not return it. After a period of time people get used to or just learn to live with their equipment. Companies know this. Thus, "break in". Any company rep who brings up break in during any kind of meeting immediately loses credibility with me.
pretty much exactly what my experience tells me .." break in" generally occurs within the 1st few minutes .. then it's all "ear break in"....

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #24 of 96 Old 05-28-2019, 10:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrestigeAudio View Post
It's a myth. Audioholics did an extensive study on it a few years ago and posted the findings with measurements. Break in happens almost immediately (within moments) upon first use and any/if any changes after that are inaudible.

I've been in the A/V industry 20 years and own an A/V design firm. Break in was invented by dealers and manufacturers years ago to get people to keep their gear and not return it. After a period of time people get used to or just learn to live with their equipment. Companies know this. Thus, "break in". Any company rep who brings up break in during any kind of meeting immediately loses credibility with me.
I am bound to believe you, i come from similar school of thought. But i wanted to know what most people on AVS think about this, so did this thread.
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post #25 of 96 Old 05-28-2019, 11:01 PM
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There are plenty of threads on this topic here, with detailed input from well known speaker designers and respected legends in the audio field, and the answer is the same - its a myth!!

This also applies to amp break in, power cord break in and all kinds of other audiophile snake oil. Its a great excuse to use when someone's system doesn't sound right - 'you didn't let it break in'.
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post #26 of 96 Old 05-28-2019, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrestigeAudio View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Menarini View Post
Break in on new speakers, is it true? Do the drivers actually start performing better after some time, or they remain the same and it's your ears that get accustomed to the tonal characteristics of the speaker making them sound to better to you?
Quote:
Originally Posted by aats View Post
Yes, of course it is true.
Speakers are (electro)mechanical devices and their parts are subject to changes during work.
I expect manufacturers to tune their speakers to the "final" state, so there might be changes.

How strongly these changes affect performance - only manufacturer can answer, but I doubt any of them would post actual aging graphs and their effect on performance.

For example -

http://www.klippel.de/fileadmin/klip...on_Klippel.pdf
It's a myth. Audioholics did an extensive study on it a few years ago and posted the findings with measurements. Break in happens almost immediately (within moments) upon first use and any/if any changes after that are inaudible.

I've been in the A/V industry 20 years and own an A/V design firm. Break in was invented by dealers and manufacturers years ago to get people to keep their gear and not return it. After a period of time people get used to or just learn to live with their equipment. Companies know this. Thus, "break in". Any company rep who brings up break in during any kind of meeting immediately loses credibility with me.
I'd take Klippel over audioholics
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post #27 of 96 Old 05-28-2019, 11:04 PM
 
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There are many such 'experiences' you will read on the net..such as..my speakers sounded great out of the box, now after 2 months they have 'opened up even better'.
Question being about that last part above, did the speakers' drivers opened up or your ears opened up to appreciate the speakers' tonality better?
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post #28 of 96 Old 05-29-2019, 12:59 AM
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I think it's a combination of both. Anything that has a mechanical function encounters some sort of break in. Saying that that's a "myth" is just stupid. Brake pads on new cars often squeak when driven straight off of the transport truck then get broken in on the lot during test drives. Combustion engines break in, fuel mileage gets better after around the 4th tank of gas or so. Driver topology in the speaker industry is as varied as any automobile so I think break in exists and to say that all break in occurs at the exact same time would take testing every driver type there is. Doubt they did that. Whether it's audible or not is another thing. I do believe in breaking your ears in to new speakers as well. Bottom line is a speaker should sound good to your ear right out of the box and whether it's your ear telling you it sounds better over time or not the first impression needs to be a good one.

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post #29 of 96 Old 05-29-2019, 02:52 AM
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I've long decided that both camps of believer in break in vs non break in are full of s***.

What I do is, I let my speakers play for a few hours before I do any listening on them. So whether they broke in or not, I will simply judge the speaker's performance based on after that few hours of play. That's it.
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post #30 of 96 Old 05-29-2019, 07:13 AM
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Note that in the Klippel article, the two speakers he tests take only about 4 days to come to equilibrium.
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