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I also think you are right about the critical components as being the transducers.

The break-in effect occurs as the driver suspension compliance increases with time. This affects mainly the driver behavior around the tuning frequency but I doubt it will affect the tonal balance dramatically since the effects are limited in bandwidth (typically between 40-100Hz). If the speaker sound tinny due to lack of 150-300Hz energy, then the break-in won't do much for it except skewing the tonal balance a bit. Your friend could use an AV receiver's EQ to get a feel for it. Break-in does not requires hours of playing, only large cone movements... some reports changes in as little as 5 minutes... I'm not suggesting he asks the salesmen to perform it.
 
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