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Speaker Break In?

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12 hours ago, Fido said:

I am definitely not an audiophile as none of my cables combined cost anywhere near $6,000. Not even $600. Perhaps $200 in total but they all match and are of decent quality. Just because I can’t hear the difference between very expensive cables and my very modest ones doesn’t meant I don’t believe a difference exists. It just means I have never heard the difference except for rca cables I had running a long distance from my tt to my integrated McIntosh amp. Changing those cables to high quality Blue Jean cables definitely made my vinyl playback sound much better to me. I could instantly hear a notable difference. I now use those cables from my DAC to my integrated and feed my turntable from my rca cables from my tt to my Puffin phono preamp. My vinyl set has never sounded better.

 

btw a lot of my cables came from Blue Jeans and they are quite nice for not a lot of $$$$

 

and Dave A I never mind if you take aim at me and it makes you laugh - keep smiling

 

Nope not aimed at you and wanted to make sure you knew that. As you say though once past a modest cost for cables the improvements, to me, are mainly in wealth transfer from buyer to seller.

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On 2/25/2021 at 6:18 AM, ODS123 said:

I find it interesting that we revere PWK as this no-BS revolutionary thinker.... yet, we embrace the very snake oil he detested.

 

 

There's a few thoughts of his that I don't always buy in to.  For example never wanting nicer speaker cables than zip / lamp cord.  He always used lamp cord or the equivalent it seems.  Lamp cord nowadays is 18 gauge but I've done research on the subject and it seems that speaker wire in the 60's was often closer to 24 gauge, you could pay extra for the larger stuff and get more like 20 gauge.  Even at 18 gauge, all it takes is 13 foot of the stuff for you to be into the danger zone of less than 20 on the effective damping factor when you're dealing with some of the impedance dips that Klipsch speakers have.  I can't even use a calculator to enter a smaller gauge, at this point nobody seriously considers using smaller than 18 gauge but if you could use those figures obviously it would be significantly worse.  I'm sorry but I'll stick with my 12-14 gauge flexible pure copper wire with a nice jacket, either CL2 in-wall rating or with a nice braid.  PWK would probably label such things as total BS.  Sorry but it is what it is.  

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An article worth checking out is below.  Note that some parameters can wildly change over the course of 80 hours on some woofers, others not so much.  Also worth noting is that this is a 40 hz sine wave which will be more aggressive than simply playing material at normal volumes.  Also, these are just normal 5-6" woofers.  If you get a large 18" or something with dual spiders and a very stiff suspension, that's going to be much worse.  You can't break in a stiff 18" sub with normal music at normal listening levels in 15 minutes, doesn't work that way, those spiders needs to be spanked for quite awhile.  

 

https://www.gr-research.com/burn-in-myths.html

 

 

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Spank the spider?:) never heard that one before.

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1 hour ago, Paducah Home Theater said:

There's a few thoughts of his that I don't always buy in to.  For example never wanting nicer speaker cables than zip / lamp cord.  He always used lamp cord or the equivalent it seems.

Where did PWK document that?  I haven't been able to find it anywhere in Dope from Hope or the other articles he authored, doing a brief search. 

 

What is the gauge of typical voice coil wire?  How long is the voice coil wire?  This is a good point made by Greg B. (Edgar).

 

I think it's wise to point out the sensitivity of, say, Khorns to amplifier output impedance.  Here is a notable input impedance plot of the Khorn from PWK's time (1986 from Richard Heyser's famous KHorn review for Stereo Review magazine) that shows the rather wild swings in input impedance:

 

Richard C Heyser KHorn Review impedance plot fig 3.jpg

 

If the amplifier you're using has an output impedance that's anything like 0.5 ohms or even higher--which is typical for SETs, you're going to see SPL response changes in the Khorn relative to an amplifier having 1/100th of an Ohm output impedance--which is typical for transistor amplifiers. 

 

No one can really say which is better, however.  And it's probably easy to state that smaller diameter/cross-section wire is just as good as larger, since the added resistance of the wire under load will raise the effective resistance of the loudspeaker (without materially affecting the reactance), which is exactly what one does when using a current-feedback amplifier (transconductance type). The voice coils will certainly gain much more heating than the loudspeaker wires--especially with loudspeakers having 85-94 dB/m sensitivity.  The advantage of doing it with long loudspeaker wires is that it probably won't change its resistance very much while the loudspeaker is under great load (i.e., playing quite loudly) since the cables will be effective at dissipating the ohmic heating into the surround room more effectively than a voice coil.

 

Just pointing out that our assumptions on what's better and what's worse doesn't always have to track with dollars spent.

 

Chris

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Just curious - why hasn't someone tested a speaker's freq response from a new speaker and compared it to the same model that was "broken in"? If it's valid, you'd expect to see a rise in the bass response levels, right?

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4 minutes ago, fmalloy said:

Just curious - why hasn't someone tested a speaker's freq response from a new speaker and compared it to the same model that was "broken in"? If it's valid, you'd expect to see a rise in the bass response levels, right?

 

You didn't read the article that Cory linked to...right?  Some of the drivers' T/S parameters are changing a lot more than you might imagine--even out to 80 hours of break-in signal, and that's just for little 8" woofers.  Big woofers could change even more in terms of T/S parameters.

 

Chris

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2 hours ago, Paducah Home Theater said:

 

There's a few thoughts of his that I don't always buy in to.  For example never wanting nicer speaker cables than zip / lamp cord.  He always used lamp cord or the equivalent it seems.  Lamp cord nowadays is 18 gauge but I've done research on the subject and it seems that speaker wire in the 60's was often closer to 24 gauge, you could pay extra for the larger stuff and get more like 20 gauge.  Even at 18 gauge, all it takes is 13 foot of the stuff for you to be into the danger zone of less than 20 on the effective damping factor when you're dealing with some of the impedance dips that Klipsch speakers have.  I can't even use a calculator to enter a smaller gauge, at this point nobody seriously considers using smaller than 18 gauge but if you could use those figures obviously it would be significantly worse.  I'm sorry but I'll stick with my 12-14 gauge flexible pure copper wire with a nice jacket, either CL2 in-wall rating or with a nice braid.  PWK would probably label such things as total BS.  Sorry but it is what it is.  

12g all day long here and I figure I am covered. Buy it by 100' spools and go as long as I wish though what that really means is perhaps 30' at best.

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33 minutes ago, Chris A said:

 

You didn't read the article that Cory linked to...right?  Some of the drivers' T/S parameters are changing a lot more than you might imagine--even out to 80 hours of break-in signal, and that's just for little 8" woofers.  Big woofers could change even more in terms of T/S parameters.

 

Chris

Chris do you think the newest DATS tester is accurate enough to detect changes? I might be interested in testing some speakers I am using for the heck of it

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12 minutes ago, Dave A said:

Chris do you think the newest DATS tester is accurate enough to detect changes? I might be interested in testing some speakers I am using for the heck of it

 

I use DATS and yes, it can detect the changes.

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26 minutes ago, Dave A said:

Chris do you think the newest DATS tester is accurate enough to detect changes? I might be interested in testing some speakers I am using for the heck of it

 

 Here's a screenshot plot directly from DATS for the AMT-1 (after break-in). The flatness of both the magnitude and phase impedances vs. frequency is pretty spectacular in my experience:

 

ESS AMT-1 Impedance (mag, phase) vs. Frequency.JPG

 

I suppose I could do it against an unused AMT-1 that I have on hand.  It will probably be a couple of weeks before I could get to it, however.

 

The real changes that I've seen with drivers is the acoustic phase and group delay response from REW.  Below you will see the group delay (the plot of the slope of the phase line vs. frequency) for a brand new AMT-1:

600Hz GD.jpg

(courtesy of Rudy81)

 

and the same driver model after being broken in a week of normal in-room play:

 

AMT-1 Group Delay On-Axis.jpg

(my measurement)

 

Since the AMT-1 is only good down to about 600 Hz, that's a lot of change over a week of playing time at ~1800 Hz...a lot.  EDIT: The threshold of audibility of group delay is something like 1-2 milliseconds at 1800 Hz. 

 

The AMT-1 diaphragm has to loosen up, and that takes a while.

 

Chris

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4 hours ago, Paducah Home Theater said:

An article worth checking out is below.  Note that some parameters can wildly change over the course of 80 hours on some woofers, others not so much.  Also worth noting is that this is a 40 hz sine wave which will be more aggressive than simply playing material at normal volumes.  Also, these are just normal 5-6" woofers.  If you get a large 18" or something with dual spiders and a very stiff suspension, that's going to be much worse.  You can't break in a stiff 18" sub with normal music at normal listening levels in 15 minutes, doesn't work that way, those spiders needs to be spanked for quite awhile.  

 

https://www.gr-research.com/burn-in-myths.html

 

 

At last real data. I was sure that flexible rubber, plastic, Kevlar, paper, etc. would break in but I  am surprised how long the changes continue. My experience with metal suggests that vibrating metal will not break in.

 

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9 minutes ago, Pondoro said:

At last real data. I was sure that flexible rubber, plastic, Kevlar, paper, etc. would break in but I  am surprised how long the changes continue. My experience with metal suggests that vibrating metal will not break in.

 

 

Real data, perhaps, but relevant?  Are these changes audible when the listener is not aware of which he/she is hearing??  That is the question that matters (IMHO).

 

Again, ANYONE can test the audibility of break-in by simply playing one of their new speakers for 1-2 days, push it next to the other - then switch b/w the two while playing mono music.

 

 

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1 hour ago, ODS123 said:

 

Real data, perhaps, but relevant?  Are these changes audible when the listener is not aware of which he/she is hearing??  That is the question that matters (IMHO).

 

Again, ANYONE can test the audibility of break-in by simply playing one of their new speakers for 1-2 days, push it next to the other - then switch b/w the two while playing mono music.

 

 

A good point. I don’t design speakers. One question, all those measured parameters that did change, how much would they affect a speaker design? I truly don’t know. But those parameters changed a fair amount. 

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9 hours ago, Paducah Home Theater said:

Lamp cord nowadays is 18 gauge but I've done research on the subject and it seems that speaker wire in the 60's was often closer to 24 gauge, you could pay extra for the larger stuff and get more like 20 gauge. 

 

Starting in about 1957 my friends and I would use 14 gauge, copper, stranded zip cord from a hardware store.  We were cautioned against using 18 gauge for anything except the shortest runs by audio magazines, sound stores, even Boys' Life (I think I remember).

Just about when I was considering getting some 12 gauge (early '70s), Radio Shack introduced two lines of speaker connectors: 1) Something laughingly called "speaker wire" that was about as thin as you can imagine. perhaps 20 gauge or thinner 2) A relatively cheap imitation of Monster Cable.  I ended up getting real Monster Cable, since replaced by something else the name of which I've repressed, but not expensive.

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On 2/24/2021 at 7:53 AM, Shakeydeal said:

 

Is that supposed to sway me? It doesn't really concern me what PWK thought about wire. My ears tell me that there are differences between cables. People that can't hear any difference should thank the good Lord (and PWK) because they can save a lot of money by using zip cord and the throw away interconnects that came with their 50.00 DVD players.

 

Shakey

Cables can be modeled with Precision and Repeatability by: resistance per unit length (the inverse of conductance per unit length), parasitic inductance, and capacitance, as well as the termination interfaces (connectors at both ends). What most "cables make a huge difference" crowd are unwilling to admit is the psychosomatic aspect of the "ear brain" function, that relates to the "I spent more money so it must be better" syndrome," which CANNOT be challenged by repeatable measurements and the main cause of wasted bandwidth and time on the internet. So I predict the debates about this will continue as long as music reproduction exists.

 

I was a printed circuit board designer (copper slinger) for over 25 years of my dual careers, and 54 years as a speaker builder. But I do realize that if people THINK it's better, than it is better. PERCEPTION always trumps reality no matter where it comes from.

 

Based on your total disregard for this FACT, regardless of what your "ears" tell you, and in contrast to the repeatedly measurable difference between cables, I would say you chose a very good name for yourself on this forum "Shakeydeal" indeed!

 

So when it comes to spending MY hard earned cash for what matters in terms of better SOUND, I'll trust the Weiner Null Tester to select good cables over marketing hype or anyone's "ears" each and every time.

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13 hours ago, garyrc said:

 

Starting in about 1957 my friends and I would use 14 gauge, copper, stranded zip cord from a hardware store.  We were cautioned against using 18 gauge for anything except the shortest runs by audio magazines, sound stores, even Boys' Life (I think I remember).

Just about when I was considering getting some 12 gauge (early '70s), Radio Shack introduced two lines of speaker connectors: 1) Something laughingly called "speaker wire" that was about as thin as you can imagine. perhaps 20 gauge or thinner 2) A relatively cheap imitation of Monster Cable.  I ended up getting real Monster Cable, since replaced by something else the name of which I've repressed, but not expensive.

I'm pretty sure Nelson Pass did an article many moons ago (long time) using wires all the way up to 24 AWG. The thinner wire turned out to be better than the rest on some VERY reactive loudspeakers (the AR-9??) whose EXTREME impedance dips at certain frequencies cause Power Amp shutdowns, until the 24 AWG wire was used.

 

It's all about System Synergy, and not "the fattest cable wins each time" Syndrome.

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On 2/24/2021 at 6:39 PM, Shakeydeal said:

ABX testing is fraught with problems one of which is the stress of trying to hear a difference with snippets of music. The best way to tell which YOU prefer is long term listening. We don’t listen to music in 30 second intervals. At least I don’t.

 

I say we need to do both in the quest for our own Audio Nirvana if we are to use both sides of our brain.

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11 minutes ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

I say we need to do both in the quest for our own Audio Nirvana if we are to use both sides of our brain.

Speaking of which, NO ONE (read, most people ;)) regardless of "Break in time," given what @Trey Cannon expressed in the link I shared could tell the difference in how the speaker sounds from 1st day to the 100th hour. I appreciate those who do tests to prove their theories for the art of the hobby, but most people asking this question want to know if they are going to harm their speakers if they don't "Break them in." 

 

That's my take. 

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We need Roy and Jim Hunter to do a video on this. Hunter was originally hired by PWK specifically to be a "Transducer Engineer. Roy has discussed that he has provided suggestions for "burn in" of samples they submit for consideration to be used.It was clear there was significant changes from spec at least in the early going. 

 

They maintain laboratory "standards" for every product, all of heritage, he probably has a very, very large amount of data about changes in drivers over time, and he probably knows where it really is "break in" or poor performing drivers. 

 

 

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