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Discussion Starter #1
This thread is for discussion of Clint DeBoer's article 'Examining the Science of Speaker Break-In' cited on the AVS Forum main page? Here's the article on Audioholics.com.


If there is an active discussion of this elsewhere on AVS, please link it.


The subject has been discussed here at some length, but it's been a while. The last discussion had some interesting data on driver break-in. Maybe someone can find it?


I also note that while Clint provides a good basis for his findings, the article cites no listening tests.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Peter, Clint states that break-in effects occur immediately and quickly upon the driver being exercised to full excursion. And he suggests rather strongly that most (although not all) the manufacturers of audio-quality drivers do that at least as part of an acceptance test.


Do you have a feel for what % of raw drivers are exercised prior to being assembled, or how many speaker systems are exercised prior to distribution?
 

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There are many Engineers who feel Clint's thoughts, however, you will find a huge camp who will also refute his claims, stating longer periods of time are required. All good brand loudspeakers are tested for a few moments (seconds) during assembly, but some Companies will also perform a frequency sweep of each assembled system and compare it to the prototype design parameters on a screen monitor before packing and shipping. However, this still leaves time for improvements, and many Manufacturers advise their customers to perform the break-in themselves once the sytem is set up. This opens up a huge can of worms for enthusiasts of "How long does breaking-in take?" Some Loudspeaker Companies will say a few hours, others say a week, or 7-10 days, and others will say 60 days+, or even more. So the owner's manual is a good guide to start with, and in some cases perhaps a slight and subtle improvement in sound can be gained. Another area of intense debate also after say 10 hours of use for example, is how much of this break-in period time is the Customer's ears getting used to the sound of the new loudspeaker. But one thing is for certain, no amount of breaking-in or time can make a poorly designed or executed loudspeaker system sound superb. ;)
 

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Its been noted that JBL's Performance Series speakers, which have 3 Titanium drivers, require quite a bit of break-in to deliver their full potential.
 

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Being scientifically biased, unless I see objective data, I find it hard to believe speaker "break-in" exists. If break-in is really required, shouldn't the manufacturer pre-break-in the speakers before the customer gets it? Even if the driver "settles" while sitting in a warehouse, I would think that it would be "broken-in" again after a few minutes of audio. I think a bigger factor is that people need time to adjust to a new sound. So if they've been listening to speaker A for a long time, they will believe it sounds good. They take home speaker B and initially it may not sound as good even though it is technically more accurate. After time, the ears will adjust, so the "break-in" is really on the side of the listener, not the speaker.
 

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IMO, the metallic components of any speaker do not change its mechanical properties over time mainly due to the fact the metal's yield point (the point where the metal shows plastic deformation) is never reached.


This fact is quite important when discussing subtle sound changes due to apparent changes in mechanical properties of the various materials commonly used by different driver's manufacturers.


I'm not sure if this behavior is typical of non-metallic materials as well, such as composites or polymers which in fact may suffer slight mechanical changes regardless of their discrete or continuous nature...


In any case I find the Audioholics article quite revealing.... :cool:


Is the break-in period a myth? After reading the article I don't know for sure
 

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Below is a link to a review of the Perfromance Series system.

http://ultimateavmag.com/speakersystems/31/


This is part of that review:

Sound

The Performance system sounded unpromising when I fired it up—pinched, tizzy, almost shrill—but these shortcomings rapidly diminished with use. I didn't have to give the Performances a prolonged break-in period, as I usually do; they started to sound better after just an hour of listening, and stabilized within a few days
 

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Most speakers take exactly one day longer than the return period to break in ;)
 

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Again, like the never ending cable debate, changes due to "break in" should be easily measured....Things like cone excursion, spider material, ect, can't but help have a quantifiable difference, especially when the sound changes from "shrill, boomy, lack of bass, ect.. ect...to"accurate, laid back, tonally perfect" blah,blah,blah. It's entirely plausible that excursion and tone can change after large amounts of current are applied over long periods of time. What's not plausible is that these changes can't be measured.




That being said, I can't wait for the forth-coming improvements to my systems sound after changing amp, speakers, and pre/pro..:)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Who said that the changes can't be measured?
 

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not you!
 
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