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new speaker break in?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by P bass guy, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. I tried a search and checked the sticky, didn't see a thread. I'm sure it's been asked so feel free to point me in the direction if this has been done to death.

    What is the recommendation for breaking in new speakers in your bass cab? Aren't you supposed to play an album through it at moderately low volume for about an hour or something? To seat the voice coil or something? I don't remember what it I've heard to do. Is it something different? All a myth? Did imagine the whole subject? I could swear I've heard something about this.
  2. Philonius

    Philonius Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    2k W of the Duwamsh
    Fairly standard recommendation is to run a 30 Hz tone through it, at 8 to 10 volts A/C, for 12 hours or so. You can download various free programs to use as a signal generator. The cones should move fair amount, maybe 0.25". If they are not mounted in a cab they'll actually not make all that much sound, thus avoiding driving neighbors and family members too crazy. This process loosens up the mechanical properties of the cone and surround.

    And bring that cab to the next Seattle GTG!
  3. Just go play it for a few hours.
    jmattis, SunnBass, hhirbe and 2 others like this.
  4. oerk


    Oct 16, 2009
    Both valid.

    There's not a protocol you have to follow. You CAN break it in, but you don't have to. Chances are, you'll see the top end open up a bit more after a few hours, though the difference won't be huge with most drivers.
  5. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I've never heard of this? I broke in my new cab by just playing it I guess if it was a big deal maybe manufactures would emphasize it?
  6. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA
    It aint a big deal.

    The effect is minor and utterly inevitable.
    CTv and agedhorse like this.
  7. It really depends on the cab. I know of several subwoofers which started to sound really tight and fat after about 20 evenings of 8h partysound. Huge difference there. Some have the identical sound 10 years after taking the thing out of the box.
    Some need it, some don't.

    I'd just play and have fun.
  8. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    There's no question that some speakers sound better after they are broken in. Since bass has a way of moving speaker cones, simply playing through a cab for several hours will get you most of the way there.

    When broken in they are smoother, a little less harsh, easier to push. Weber and other smaller companies will sell a speaker pre broken in if you request it.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  9. I always figured the slobbering drunk in the back of the room isn't going to say, "Wow, that bass guy COULD HAVE had a great sound if only he'd broken in his speaker for 9 hours at 40Hz, then 3.5 hours at 67Hz..."

    I broke in my two 3015LFs by playing -- you're gonna play it anyway; why waste your precious hours left here on earth?
    SirMjac28 and eukatheude like this.
  10. Perfect! I always said Foz is a genius.
  11. Philonius

    Philonius Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    2k W of the Duwamsh
    OK, OK.... I'm just going off of what a certain speaker guru, who frequently uses horn loaded designs and used to post here regularly but finally got fed up with the darn kids always disagreeing with him and left, includes as a recommendation in his plans. I think the final answer is "Either."
  12. bassfreakah


    Mar 26, 2011
    Endorsing Artist Ernie ball strings
    The key is just don't blast the speaker when new give it some time before you go full volume.
    Johnny Crab likes this.
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    More like he didn't like the mods telling him to tone back the unapologetic sarcasm when someone asks a question that he felt was a no-brainer or repeated a myth that they didn't know was a myth. Really dig Bill, learned a lot from him, but he's a perfect example of "you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

    Then again, so am I ;)
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  14. FWIW: When ever I buy a new amp and or bass cab, I run preprogramed music (MP3 files) through it for about 24 hours for two reasons - 1) to break it in. and 2) if its going to fail, I want it happen right away so I can exchange/return it.
    Johnny Crab likes this.
  15. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    If you are a cab builder/designer or cab reviewer and need to do frequency sweeps and SPL measurements for critical analysis and comparison purposes, then yes, do the preferred break-in of 12/24 hours of 30Hz @ 10v so you are always measuring a speaker with a spider and surround that are fully loosened up.

    If you are a player, don't worry about it, just play it knowing that your tone may change a bit as the speaker breaks in.
    lz4005 likes this.
  16. staindbass


    Jun 9, 2008
    google online signal generator, they are free to use. play it through your amp.
  17. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    I use Joe's method of running a LARGE, bass-oriented playlist of mp3's through it at gradually increasing volume outdoors while I do "outdoor work" for 8~10 hours on a day off or weekend. Living in a rural area helps with neighbor relations. All the ACME's here got that and Clatter's CD's run through them.
    The cows and dogs seem to prefer classical music or Hans Zimmer tracks.
    Joe Louvar likes this.
  18. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    The only cabs I know of where you're recommended to not push them really hard when new is Acmes because the brand new surround can be so stiff compared to the cone that high excursion can cause cone creasing (permanent damage). For our own cabs we recommend you just play them as normal, be that loud or quiet, and accept that your tone will change over your first few loud rehearsals/gigs. Here's the explanation on our site:

    "When a high performance pro-audio woofer is fresh out of the box its suspension is very stiff. This means that the woofer is over-damped in the low frequencies compared to its design parameters, resulting in thinner bass response and lower efficiency. It also means that the woofer is under-damped in the mid and high frequencies, resulting in worse control of the higher frequency break-up modes and thus a harsher sound. During the first few hours of high SPL use the suspension loosens up and settles into its long-term design parameters. It doesn't change a vast amount but it's certainly noticeable."
    Linnin likes this.
  19. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Before messing around with excursions of 0.25", it's essential to be sure the driver can handle this without damage. Since guitar players also read these forums, there are some bass speakers but especially many guitar speakers that do not have sufficient Xmax to allow for this, especially if there are errors in measurement. No need to damage perfectly good new speakers.

    In general, breaking in of speakers is not necessary, low frequency speakers are designed around a specific set of parameters. They are essentially spring-mass systems and springs do not change appreciably when operated within their linear regions otherwise they would continue to change making all of the critical tuning excercises a waste. In fact, when I have measured TS parameters after 10 years of operation in pro audio applications, I find relatively little change from new and this practice is often used by the large companies to evaluate damage of their existing touring assets. You don't want to recone a large format system without knowing the true condition of the drivers as it's a very costly process.

    Many years back, there may have been more validity breaking in speakers... specifically speakers with non-linear suspension components like paper surrounds and some of the older spiders. These are also speakers that would continue to change parameters throughout their life and ultimately would not last long under today's conditions. Newer materials and designs avoid this to a large degree.
    And I, Foz and SirMjac28 like this.
  20. There's a 5-minute long 30-hz audio file in youtube which I use to center the voice coil when replacing disintegrated foam surrounds of hi-fi speakers. Just for good measure, I use a loop of this same file to break-in any of the new drivers that I get (very rare since I often buy pre-owned cabs). I just leave the loop on for like 24 hours.

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