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Fido

Speaker Break In?

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For all of you who hang your hat on what an engineer has to say, remember this. They all told us back in the 70s that SS amps measured better so they sounded better, tube amps were inferior and "watts are cheap". How did that turn out?

 

I have the utmost respect for Roy and his excellent skills. But I will let my ears tell me what I hear.

 

Shakey

 

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All mechanical devices have a break in period, that i'm aware of.  the amount and parameters of the break in vary.

 

AMG engine,  2500mile break in period with specific guidelines for optimum performance.  -- some auto mfg's even go as far as electronically limiting performance to force the break in.

Suzuki did a study on bike engines, and found that the motorcycle engines that were properly broken in had more horsepower and lower repair costs than the ones that just twisted the throttle from day one. 

 

Speakers absolutely have a break in period - i don't think it's like the gates of heaven opening up and a golden chest of dB's and lower Hz are presented to you with scantily clad angels singing -- but there is value in listening at moderate levels until components break in. 

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Here is what Trey Cannon a Klipsch engineer said on the subject: 

 

On 12/23/2010 at 6:53 AM, Trey Cannon said:

Ok, there is such thing as break in , but we do it in 20 min with 75% `input voltage at 20Hz. The complance of the woofers is where you would see the change. However, with that said, after 8 hr at 32V they had about 1 - 1.5db more output gain...not a lot of change.

j

@Fido

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here's another way to look at it -- 

 

does a brand new, first time played speaker sound the same as a 30 year old speaker?

no, they do not.  the surround is weaker, it may be 'sloppy' for lack of technical terms.   this is break-in to the extreme.  

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I have always been a little skeptical about electronics break in time.    I agree with others that it is more about acclimating to the new speaker.  Although with the treated textile cloth surround on Klipsch woofers, I do tend to believe there is some break in for it to be compliant but I think I’m long past that.   
 

Once I got the speakers positioned correctly the bass was great.  The bass is tight and deep , really no need for a sub.    I think they sound as good they can at this point. 

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I think they sound as good they can at this point. 

 

Until you upgrade something else in the system. Or perhaps if you reposition them? In the past I have gone months thinking I had the perfect speaker location only to move them a little and find out I was wrong.

 

Shakey

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  I do think all systems are affected by age and use, not to mention ever changing environmental conditions. I also think that the listener is the least consistent part of the audio chain.

  I have several decent systems set up throughout the house and when I switch systems, it takes a half hour or so until I adjust to the new sound and start enjoying the music. 

  

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I won't bother with the notion of hundreds of hours, but I can tell you what I was advised when I built my "Jubilee bass bins". 

Before the woofer (K-31) is installed in the cabinet, run a 20Hz tone for 20 minutes (amplitude of 10 volts RMS). It was resting on its magnet and they did dance around a bit.

 

Beware, this is not a general recommendation for "any old woofer". Certainly it is NOT a recommendation for a midrange or tweeter !

 

What the break in for your woofer might be --- I won't even guess since I do not know the specific resonance or Xmax etc. Do keep in mind that if the Xmax is reached or passed, then bad things can happen.

 

Good luck,

-Tom

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No doubt cable selection and management is important.S-MWM.thumb.jpg.ca39f9ac3f1f686d94e9347223533f82.jpg

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12 hours ago, Fido said:

I have read that I should wait between 400-500 hours before I critically listen to my new Forte IVs. My question is does it really take that long for the speakers to break in? I play the speakers approx 4-5 hours a day but to reach 500 hours it will be almost 4 months before they are broken in according to those parameters.

This would certainly provide the 99%+ break-in point.  The question really is: "how many hours to break in all drivers to the point that further breaking in is no longer audible?"  My experience is that this is extremely driver dependent. 

 

For metal diaphragms, I think it takes a few hours (much less than 8 or so) at above-80-dB operation (particularly playing very low frequencies--full range operation, which dramatically shortens the break in period) before the no-longer-audible break-in point is reached. 

 

For other types of drivers (notably the ESS AMT-1), it can take quite a bit longer, and the measurements will bear this out. The AMT-1 changes its properties so much that the first day or two of operation is not really useful for flattening the SPL response using DSP.  After that period (about a week or so of 8-hour-a-day operation), however, they are extremely stable, apparently with nearly infinite life of greater than 20 years.  The diaphragms are made of polyester material.  I believe all of these break-in phenomena are exponential in nature, like the following family of exponential-decreasing-to-steady-state-operation curves:

 

1*1gpCgKi69_BqUBXD9ysYsA.png

 

I think a lot of this break-in folklore among audiophiles is clearly excessive.  Woofers will probably continue to loosen up (their surrounds and spiders) for perhaps that number of hours that you mention, but the differences after, say, 12-24 hours of 80+ dB (1 m) operation is difficult to measure, much less hear.  Higher frequency drivers also break in, depending on their materials and technology employed.

 

Chris

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4 hours ago, Shakeydeal said:

I love it when people think if they can't hear it, it doesn't exist. Very pretentious to think that way.

 

Shakey

Only those of us with super hearing powers feel that way. Everyone has hearing deficiencies. Some are sensitive to phase, others are not, especially guys like me who owned Khorns for over 30 years and never knew the difference! Hah!!

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1 hour ago, Steve. said:

I have always been a little skeptical about electronics break in time.    I agree with others that it is more about acclimating to the new speaker.  Although with the treated textile cloth surround on Klipsch woofers, I do tend to believe there is some break in for it to be compliant but I think I’m long past that.   
 

Once I got the speakers positioned correctly the bass was great.  The bass is tight and deep , really no need for a sub.    I think they sound as good they can at this point. 

It should be called electronics AGING time. Just like most listeners on this forum!

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Like everything on this Forum peoples opinions or experiences seem to vary tremendously. I have about 60 or so hours on the new speakers now so I  will try and start playing with placement and give them a critical listening in the coming days and share my impressions of what I hear. I can always do this again in a few months with more time on the speakers and share if I can actually hear any different presentation after a few more hundred hours of break in.

 

thanks for everyone’s feedback.

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56 minutes ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

Only those of us with super hearing powers feel that way. Everyone has hearing deficiencies. Some are sensitive to phase, others are not, especially guys like me who owned Khorns for over 30 years and never knew the difference! Hah!!

Golden Ears  and that is something most (all) of us lost when we went past 50 much less 60. We get super audio producing power just as super hearing goes down the drain.

 

21 minutes ago, Fido said:

Like everything on this Forum peoples opinions or experiences seem to vary tremendously. I have about 60 or so hours on the new speakers now so I  will try and start playing with placement and give them a critical listening in the coming days and share my impressions of what I hear. I can always do this again in a few months with more time on the speakers and share if I can actually hear any different presentation after a few more hundred hours of break in.

 

thanks for everyone’s feedback.

Tinkering with placement and room acoustics is your concern now as you are past break in. Then comes revising your music library as new speakers will effect your existing music files. Every time I have made a change in speakers it seems that some past favorite recordings just don't sound right any more.

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I seem to remember when new owners were getting forte III, several of them notice better performance after a month or two. I want to say @dtel noticed this in his system, but I could be wrong.

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4 hours ago, Shakeydeal said:

 

Until you upgrade something else in the system. Or perhaps if you reposition them? In the past I have gone months thinking I had the perfect speaker location only to move them a little and find out I was wrong.

 

Shakey

If I had the room I probably would have bought Cornwalls....   but that will change soon so you never know....

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Steve. said:

If I had the room I probably would have bought Cornwalls....   but that will change soon so you never know....

 

 

If I had the room I would have probably bought Cornwalls also but... I did not have the room. That said I am very happy with the Forte IVs and they are scaled perfectly for my living room. I just spent the last hour in my SWEET SPOT closely listening to many genres of music I have listened to many times. Now that the speakers are pretty well broken in I can critically analyze how they sound with my equipment and in the room I mostly listen to them in. Although I must admit that I listen to them even when I am upstairs like I am now and they sound much more musical  throughout my house than my old Forte 1s.

My first impression is that the soundstage is both wider and deeper with the image much more centered. With that extra width and depth there is also much greater separation between lead vocal and backup voices along with separation between singers, pianos, guitars, saxophones, and drums. 

 

My Forte 1s had dave As LMAHL Tweeters and they sounded awesome but the highs of the Forte IVs sound even better and more accurate. I have no idea if that is because of the blend between the new Midrange driver or new phase plug in the IVs tweeter. BUT... midrange and upper end is better to my ears on the IVs by quite a lot.

 

The biggest surprise for me was how much better the low end sounds. Much more bass authority  - PUNCH! And because the woofer sounds so much better it blends with my subwoofer much better and so all lower end music is much more authoritative in almost any song I listened to.

 

My initial listen showed that the new IVs were more enjoyable than my old Forte 1s but now that they are placed where I want them and broken in pretty good they are a MAJOR UPGRADE - Totally worth the $$$$ to me. Bottom line is I love the sound they produce!

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The Forte is so good .... but will it be my last speaker? 

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Please do us this favor....

 

Let one of your speakers play for 24 hours, then push them together and switch b/w them using your balance control while playing a mono song.  Do you hear a difference??  I've done this with 4 previous speakers (Spica TC-50s, PSB Stratus Minis, Vandersteen 3A sigs, and Paradigm S8 v2.) and was not able to hear one iota of difference b/w the speakers.  ..And i have excellent hearing and a keen sense of musical nuance honed from years of playing and listening to live/unamplified acoustic music.  I don't say this as a boast, but as response to the inevitable criticism of my hearing acuity.

 

Speaker manufacturers (plus some component) know the break-in claim is nonsense but allow it to persist b/c it helps reduce the number of people who return speakers b/c they failed to live up to expectations (often set by wildly glowing reviews, on-line group-think, etc..).  ...They know that if they specify a long-enough break-in time, people will simply grow accustomed to the sound of their new speakers and become resigned to keeping them.

 

Do you really think PWK would support the idea of 200 hr breakin period??  Of course not.  ..Nor did Bob Crites.

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9 hours ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

He claims the Thiele/Small Parameters shift a bit when he does driver testing. 

 

I actually conducted such an experiment a couple of months ago. I had a pair of 10" woofers that had never been played. I measured their T/S parameters right out of the box. Then I connected them, unbaffled, in parallel with the bass channels in my regular system, and let them play along with my regular listening for a few days. When I re-measured the T/S parameters, the only thing that had changed was the resonance frequency, which shifted about 10% lower.

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