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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All,

I just got an Outlaw LFM-1 Plus. So I know that there are two schools of thought on breaking in speakers. Mainly those who think it's not true and those who do. Does this divide also apply to subwoofers?

Secondarily , this question only applies to those who believe in it. How do I properly break in a subwoofer? The crossover is probably going to be set at 80hz. So should I avoid any THX low frequency type tests until I watch tons of movies at moderate levels?

Thanks,
H
 

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IMO the best way to "break in" any loudspeaker is to use it. Play it the way you want to use it right out of the box, it will not break. Yes, its performance will change subtly over time, for the better or the worse is a subjective question. But there is no harm you can do by just going for it. :)
 

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I agree, Break in will change how it sounds however just use it as you normally would.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hello dyohn & tonyvdb,

Thanks very much for alleviating my concerns. Being new and all, I didn’t want to prematurely kill a $500 sub. That’s a lot of money. So, I’ll do as you both suggest and play it normally.

Many thanks,
H
 

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I am on the side of "believer of break-in". I believe it applies to essentially all electronics and components, so your subwoofer would definitely be included in that.

You will be alright to use the subwoofer like normal, including calibration test tones. Test tones in general, in and out of 'break-in' time should be used in moderation especially as the frequencies go lower. Sustained frequencies can stress the subwoofer too much if done for longer periods of times.
 

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Every subwoofer will have a run in period and therefore I would make sure that it is run in before serious calibrating is done, yes initially you will calibrate but once the driver has loosened up then a recalibration will be required, an easy way to monitor this is to look at the response once new, then after run in you will more than likely see it has more depth/deeper response than initially tested...
 

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There is another way to break a sub driver in. It will speed things up a little but care will be needed. You can play a very low frequency tone constantly. Start with low volume and monitor driver excursion, then just leave it running, after a couple hours or so you can up the volume a little to allow more excursion and further run the driver in. Using a very low frequency tone means you dont really hear it, so you can just leave it running.

It will help speed up the run in process if your a little impatient. Just dont go silly with the volume at first, slowly work it up to a good 'exercise' level. After a day or two you should be very nicely run in.
 

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Another agreement. You can use it as normal. There is a concept of infant mortality in electronics, but many MFRs "burn-in" the electronics portion at the factory, so the customers don't see this. That may not apply to the driver, which isn't at risk.
 

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I subscribe to the school of break-in by normal use. When I bought my Ascends for my HT, I feel that after about two weeks of use they sounded better than straight out of the box. Did they "loosen up" or did I become acclimated to their sound? Who knows. I do know my son, who heard them right out of the box, then a couple of weeks later, asked me what I did to make them sound better. ;-)

I do believe in infant mortality. I keep new electronics on constantly for a few weeks. While manufacturers might do a burn in, I doubt it's for more than 24 hours or so. That probably weeds out almost all units that will fail.

If I was to use a test tone for break-in, it would be white or pink noise.

Enjoy your new sub!
 

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You are right there is a break in, but a better way to understand it is that break in is for the hearer not the speaker. Just like beer is an acquired taste so are speakers. This is because no perfect speaker exist. As a result we must adjust to the flaws of our new ones.

Playing the speaker while you are out is good if you want to scare of any potential robbers, but won't help the speakers. Remember we design speakers based on the driver put in it from the factory.

Mechanical speaker driver break in is proven to be myth in every experiment I've seen. Still it's speakers not vaccines so the myth isn't critical to dispel.
 

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You are right there is a break in, but a better way to understand it is that break in is for the hearer not the speaker. Just like beer is an acquired taste so are speakers. This is because no perfect speaker exist. As a result we must adjust to the flaws of our new ones.

Playing the speaker while you are out is good if you want to scare of any potential robbers, but won't help the speakers. Remember we design speakers based on the driver put in it from the factory.

Mechanical speaker driver break in is proven to be myth in every experiment I've seen. Still it's speakers not vaccines so the myth isn't critical to dispel.
I can agree with that in some aspects as it does take time for you to adjust to different sounds just like anything in life, but there is also a physical break in time when it comes to speakers, an example I can give is when I bought the SVS PB13 Ultra and first calibrated via a Velodyne SMS-1 the response dropped off quite quickly at 20hz in 15hz tuned mode but after a couple of weeks use I then recalibrated the PB13 and the response looked most certainly different indeed with greater output below 20hz and tailed off more gently...
 

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Mechanical speaker driver break in is proven to be myth in every experiment I've seen.
In what respects?

I know the rubber surrounds of large subwoofer drivers are tighter when new, and loosen up over the first couple weeks or so. Tighter surrounds + less excursion + less depth. Basically, I'm agreeing recruit.

However, thinking about the voice coil, its pretty all solid metal parts and I find it hard to imagine what might change over the first couple weeks of use here.
 

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Why do these threads always turn into a fight between true-believers and non-believers? It really is not necessary.

As a long-time loudspeaker designer I can categorically state that most driver's Qms does change over time, and as an engineer I can categorically state that it is impossible for this change to be predicted, nor for it to "improve the sound" or to "improve the performance" of all drivers. In some it might, in some it doesn't. if you "believe" it helps, then so be it. Beliefs by definition do not require proof. :)

Arguments about the mechanical science behind loudspeaker design is really silly. Let it go, boys.
 

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As a long-time loudspeaker designer I can categorically state that most driver's Qms does change over time, and as an engineer I can categorically state that it is impossible for this change to be predicted, nor for it to "improve the sound" or to "improve the performance" of all drivers. In some it might, in some it doesn't. if you "believe" it helps, then so be it. Beliefs by definition do not require proof. :)

Arguments about the mechanical science behind loudspeaker design is really silly. Let it go, boys.
Agreed:T Even the manufacturers of speakers and subs state clearly in their manuals that driver breakin will change the dynamics of how they sound.
 

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Why do these threads always turn into a fight between true-believers and non-believers? It really is not necessary.

As a long-time loudspeaker designer I can categorically state that most driver's Qms does change over time, and as an engineer I can categorically state that it is impossible for this change to be predicted, nor for it to "improve the sound" or to "improve the performance" of all drivers. In some it might, in some it doesn't. if you "believe" it helps, then so be it. Beliefs by definition do not require proof. :)

Arguments about the mechanical science behind loudspeaker design is really silly. Let it go, boys.
:bigsmile:, I like your POV. I cant argue with your logic, it is sound.

However, I believe a sub woofer to be slightly different to a loudseaker. The mechanical properties of the VC's are probably pretty much the same in a speaker and sub, but the driver is not. Subs are larger, and they rely on driver displacement and excursion to go low. Rubber as a material also differs to what is used in VC's. Its tighter when new and unused and loosens up to its natural level slowly over time. This changes the sound because of the change in the movement of air that directly affects the low end performance.

IMO, the change in movement of a smaller, much lower excursion lower power driver makes the eventual change in bass performance smaller in a standard speaker, and especially so in a bass managed system. Other parts of the sound I cant say I usually notice that much of a difference in, but the sub bass regions and lower mid bass regions always do, and its always measurable in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi,

Sorry, I didn't mean to make this into a believer/non-believer segment.

That said, if I were to take it easy and play it normally (regardless of whether it'd break in or not break-in the sub) would the THX intros in movies qualify as abnormal?

Meaning, does it put as much strain on the subwoofer/speakers as something played that's more of a test tone category or home theater (audio) calibration disc?

If so, I'd totally mute the Blu-ray/DVD during those intros for the time being. Uh.. just in case I believed in the breaking-in period.

Thanks,
H
 

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Hi,

Sorry, I didn't mean to make this into a believer/non-believer segment.

That said, if I were to take it easy and play it normally (regardless of whether it'd break in or not break-in the sub) would the THX intros in movies qualify as abnormal?

Thanks,
H
You didn't make it into an argument. It's just the nature of forums. ;-)

THX intros are (IMHO) pretty much a gentle frequency sweep, nothing abnormal are harmful there.

I'll go out on a limb and state that whatever side of the fence folks here find themselves regarding break-in, they'd pretty much agree it's not about preventing damage to a new speaker, it's about the effect on the sound. If there is any change in sound, by breaking in you're only accelerating a normal process.

In other words, use your sub normally from day 1 with the assurance you'll do no harm.

Here's some interesting reading with some measurements to back up the arguement:
http://www.audioholics.com/education/loudspeaker-basics/speaker-break-in-fact-or-fiction
 

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THX intros are (IMHO) pretty much a gentle frequency sweep,
Disagree. they're a bit more complex than that. I don't have the details. THX claims they actually spent over a year designing the sound. But then again, I HAVE drunk they're koolaid... :bigsmile:
nothing abnormal are harmful there.
Agreed.
I'll go out on a limb and state that whatever side of the fence folks here find themselves regarding break-in, they'd pretty much agree it's not about preventing damage to a new speaker, it's about the effect on the sound. If there is any change in sound, by breaking in you're only accelerating a normal process.

In other words, use your sub normally from day 1 with the assurance you'll do no harm.
Agreed.
 

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Why do these threads always turn into a fight between true-believers and non-believers? It really is not necessary.

As a long-time loudspeaker designer I can categorically state that most driver's Qms does change over time, and as an engineer I can categorically state that it is impossible for this change to be predicted, nor for it to "improve the sound" or to "improve the performance" of all drivers. In some it might, in some it doesn't. if you "believe" it helps, then so be it. Beliefs by definition do not require proof. :)

Arguments about the mechanical science behind loudspeaker design is really silly. Let it go, boys.
Argument is fun for some of us. I personally enjoy a good debate. Even if the sides never agree. I hadn't seen anyone name calling or anything. :R I love to debate or argue it's what keeps me going some days.
 

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Disagree. they're a bit more complex than that. I don't have the details. THX claims they actually spent over a year designing the sound. But then again, I HAVE drunk they're koolaid... :bigsmile:
Thanks for your response. It led me to watch a number of their trailers. The "Amazing Life" trailer is especially impressive. I did not mean to minimize the artistic or technical expertise expended by THX, I was trying to offer assurance that they contained no harmful audio.

I just love showing movies that start with a THX trailer to friends who have never seen my or any other home theater. When the sound washes over them their jaws just drop, especially since my sub in situ measures pretty much flat to 17 hz. There's a lot of content you feel more than hear.

I have a friend who thought she was the cat's meow because she dropped a wad on speakers at the local big box. She and her husband came over an watched "The Dark Knight" with us. I wasn't trying to show her up, but at the end of the evening she remarked: "Now I have a serious case of speaker envy!"
 
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