The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
whats your take on "burning in" speakers?
Old 7th July 2011
  #1
Gear Addict
 

whats your take on "burning in" speakers?

i used to be told that burning in your speakers can improve/change the sound. then i got heavy into car audio and was told that burning speakers in really doesnt do anything. just to be safe i always used my subs at a reasonable volume so they can break in a bit before really pumping em.

anyways, now i just got some ultrasone pro 900 headphones and about a month ago got some fostex pm1 mkii monitors. a lot of ppl are telling me the ultrasones need like 400 hrs of burn in and they will sound better. i think i believe this at all. maybe they sound better psycho acoustically but i think thats the extent of it. besides, id rather not play music and test sounds overnight through my headphones if i dont have to.

so what do you guys think? preferably someone that has some more knowledge than me on the subject. thanks.
Old 7th July 2011
  #3
Gear Addict
 

thanks man. ill take a look now. while im reading...whats your opinion on the subject?
Old 7th July 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 

So far every pair of monitors I've bought have been used. Headphones I leave on 24/7 for a month or so to break them in. You can hear a difference.
Old 7th July 2011
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ObiK View Post
So far every pair of monitors I've bought have been used. Headphones I leave on 24/7 for a month or so to break them in. You can hear a difference.
the first article you linked seems to think that the major burning in is by the manufacturer testing. and any changes from burning in after that are minimal. also said that many times these changes will be only temporary and once the driver cools down and settles for a while it will be back to its original form..

idk everytime i get speakers they always seem like they sound better and better. but i think its just me appreciating them more...not necessarily that the burn in is physically changing them to sound better. but thats just me.
Old 7th July 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lyons238 View Post
i used to be told that burning in your speakers can improve/change the sound. then i got heavy into car audio and was told that burning speakers in really doesnt do anything. just to be safe i always used my subs at a reasonable volume so they can break in a bit before really pumping em.

anyways, now i just got some ultrasone pro 900 headphones and about a month ago got some fostex pm1 mkii monitors. a lot of ppl are telling me the ultrasones need like 400 hrs of burn in and they will sound better. i think i believe this at all. maybe they sound better psycho acoustically but i think thats the extent of it. besides, id rather not play music and test sounds overnight through my headphones if i dont have to.

so what do you guys think? preferably someone that has some more knowledge than me on the subject. thanks.
with good speakers this will not be noticeable
until they get real old and have had a lot of use
Old 7th July 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lyons238 View Post
i think its just me appreciating them more...not necessarily that the burn in is physically changing them to sound better. but thats just me.
Ding ding ding!
Old 7th July 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Piedpiper's Avatar
talk to a speaker manufacturer. They will tell you that there are physical components in the transducers, particularly the spider/suspension, that definitely loosen up with use, especially extreme use, that effects the sound, regardless of the quality of the speakers. Manufacturers generally do not make the effort to break them in to any great extent or even at all. However, there is absolutely no reason to "break in" a speaker at low levels before playing louder. The opposite is true in that if you want to hear optimal sound from your speakers, driving them hard will break them in faster, with no downside. Capacitor burn-in is also documented, which effects the crossover components. Obviously, I'm just saying what you've likely heard before. These things will always, at least to some extent, remain unprovable, at least to some people. IME, there are levels and levels of elements at issue, from the gross, clearly understandable and discernible to subtler and subtler ones, receding into the mists of subjectivity. How far you are willing to pursue is personal...
Old 7th July 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 

40 years ago an engineer told me that he would rather have an old speaker than a new one, because they sound better once broken in. I never paid much attention to that. Do we just get used to the sound over time? i don't know. It makes sense that paper cones and certain other components would be more stiff when new and might loosen up and therefore sound differently over time.

But you see this all the time, about speakers and about power amps. My Bel Canto came with the recommendation that it not be turned off, and that it takes 40 hours to return to proper performance. (shrug.)

I don't think that it is anything to worry about if you bought a product of quality. If you hate the way that it sound,s take it back, or get a guarantee that if you still hate it after their 'burn in' time, you can take it back.
Old 7th July 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
They said on the CMS 50's I got to give them at least 20/30 hours burn in time in the manual, ideally 2 weeks before they reach optimal performance.

You could tell straight away they needed burning in, at first they was very tight and slightly distorted in the low end, but after each track passed they just kept sounding better, the bass opened up more, sounded cleaner, got more punchy etc, and as the hours passed by they always sounded better then the last hour.

I gave them around 55 hours before judging them, they did sound great but still did not like their sound for me personally so took them back.

But in general it depends on the manufacturer but allot of top end drivers need at least some burn in time, just avoid pushing your new speakers to hard at first, play some bass heavy music but at lower volumes and gradually increase the output as they start to sound more open and the hours go by.
Old 7th July 2011
  #11
Gear Addict
 

alright, thanks guys. funny after this im still in no better place in regards to speaker burn in. i like the way my monitors and headphones sound right now anyway so im not going to bother burning them in for ridiculous times. ill just let them burn in slowly as i enjoy them.

personally, id rather buy a newer speaker or a used one with less hours on it than more. simply because i could always burn them in myself if it really did make a big difference.

on a side note...my **** am i happy with these ultrasone pro 900's
Old 8th July 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Lol cool. Update us in a while after you feel they have burned in and see if you notice a difference.
Old 8th July 2011
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ObiK View Post
Lol cool. Update us in a while after you feel they have burned in and see if you notice a difference.
problem is...i have had many speakers and headphones and subwoofers. and i have always liked their sound more and more as time went on. but i cannot attribute this difference to burn in more than i can to my own psycho acoustics changing yanno? in my personal experience its more so my own brain burning in more than the speakers themselves...or is it...?
Old 8th July 2011
  #14
restpause
Guest
The problem with the whole "burn-in" construct is that it doesn't reflect whether or not speaker specs and test results of accuracy and frequency response and dispersion are from speakers that are fresh or from speakers that are burned in. My guess is that most tests are from fresh speakers and that the burn-in actually degrades the sound if it does anything at all.

But I'm highly skeptical. And the first article implied that burn-in time is only measured in seconds not hours and that it might actually be done at the manufacturer's factory.

So overall, I think burning-in at home is pretty much hogwashing the emperor's new clothes.
Old 8th July 2011
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by astroidmist View Post
The problem with the whole "burn-in" construct is that it doesn't reflect whether or not speaker specs and test results of accuracy and frequency response and dispersion are from speakers that are fresh or from speakers that are burned in. My guess is that most tests are from fresh speakers and that the burn-in actually degrades the sound if it does anything at all.

But I'm highly skeptical.
yeah..like i said i am in no rush to "burn in" my monitors/headphones. i was just curious into what other audio sluts had in mind. but glad to hear your opinion
Old 8th July 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by astroidmist View Post
The problem with the whole "burn-in" construct is that it doesn't reflect whether or not speaker specs and test results of accuracy and frequency response and dispersion are from speakers that are fresh or from speakers that are burned in. My guess is that most tests are from fresh speakers and that the burn-in actually degrades the sound if it does anything at all.

But I'm highly skeptical. And the first article implied that burn-in time is only measured in seconds not hours and that it might actually be done at the manufacturer's factory.

So overall, I think burning-in at home is pretty much hogwashing the emperor's new clothes.
I think as said above it depends on the manufacturer. Focal CMS's take at least 20/30 hours burn in time before they start to sound how they should, smooth open, before those critical hours they sound very tight, and slightly distorted at first, so it's vital you burn them in slowly and as Focal say after 2 weeks you will get optimal performance. With the Adams I feel they seem like they have had some burn in time already at Adam, as after only a couple of hours they have opened up and sounding very smooth.

So it's really manufacturer dependant regarding burn in, but it's not something to dismiss as unimportant as depending on the speaker it can be vitally important to burn them in properly.
Old 8th July 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Piedpiper's Avatar
What is this that I keep hearing here about breaking them in "slowly". What possible advantage is there to doing it slowly? As long as you stay well within their power handling specs, which is certainly easy to do, going for it with loud percussive music 24/7 for a week should be fine.
Old 8th July 2011
  #18
Lives for gear
Depends on the manufacturer (again as said above) with the focal cms drivers their break in time seems allot more sensitive then most others, thus they need a slower break in time (30 hours minimum, 2 weeks to reach optimal performance) It would be risky to pump them at maximum volume within their first hours.

With the Adams it seems their break in time is very fast so far. All depends on the drivers and if they have had break in time at the factory.
Old 8th July 2011
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomox View Post
It would be risky to pump them at maximum volume within their first hours.
and the risk would be... ?

not to mention that "maximum volume" is pretty damn loud. I typically face the speakers at each other as close as possible, flip the phase of one, cover them with pillows and crank to taste... if there is a concern about power handling, you can set the volume appropriately before flipping the phase. as long as your amp is around the same power as your speakers' power handling rating and the amp isn't near clipping, you should be fine. remember that you're listening mostly to the first couple watts even when pretty loud except for bass transients which go by very quickly.
Old 8th July 2011
  #20
Lives for gear
There's a chance you can damage them before they have burned in properly, some driver's can be quite sensitive to this. They especially sound a lil distorted within their first 30 minutes. Focal also recommend to slowly break them in and slowly increase the volume the more they break in to avoid potential damage in their first "sensitive" hours.

Ever worked with big pa speakers before also? (As in building them) Usually on new drivers you dont just whack the volume right up on the first go as that's not wise instead give them a few hours break in and then crank them up once they are settled.

But as said for the 4th time, all depends on the drivers and if they have had any break in the factory before shipment. But I would advise not to push your brand new speakers to hard in their first few hours.
Old 8th July 2011
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Piedpiper's Avatar
never heard that. thanks for the clarification. I guess it depends on what you mean by cranking them. It seems to me that any "reasonable" volume is pretty safe.
Old 8th July 2011
  #22
Lives for gear
Yeah it's fine at "reasonable" volume, long as you don;t go over the top it's cool, but usually most speakers have a nice loud output so you won't even need to crank the volume very high to reach good sound levels .
Old 8th July 2011
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Break in is real and it's easy to study this with cheap basic measurement equipment. Of course it's easier to talk so that is what people do.

The effect can range between relatively big and very small.

To be on the safe side go easy the first days and slowly go up to what the speakers are rated for.


/Peter
Old 8th July 2011
  #24
Lives for gear
 

I just received my 1st set of studio monitors, which are Alesis M1 Active Mk2's. Some people have complained about the quality. Maybe they just cranked them with no care in the world?

I have each one at 5 (or the middle), channel eq at unity and monitor level half way. They sound good. I'm treating them as studio monitors, not some 12 inch Cerwin Vega consumer speakers. heh
Old 8th July 2011
  #25
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
I just received my 1st set of studio monitors, which are Alesis M1 Active Mk2's. Some people have complained about the quality. Maybe they just cranked them with no care in the world?

I have each one at 5 (or the middle), channel eq at unity and monitor level half way. They sound good. I'm treating them as studio monitors, not some 12 inch Cerwin Vega consumer speakers. heh
they have kinda muddy and over emphasized bass. if you can you should return them and get the fostex pm1 mk2's. they even look similar but sound much better. and can be had for $330 shipped. if not im sure they will serve you just fine.
Old 8th July 2011
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lyons238 View Post
they have kinda muddy and over emphasized bass. if you can you should return them and get the fostex pm1 mk2's. they even look similar but sound much better. and can be had for $330 shipped. if not im sure they will serve you just fine.
Funny you mention that. Fostex PM0.4 were my 1st purchase. I returned them because one did not turn on at all! The other one that did work sounded good. I did return them and asked for the newer red 'n' ones, but cancelled and ordered the Alesis.

So far I do not think they sound muddy. The bass sounds nice and clean. I'm not boosting frequencies. If anything, I cut. heh
Old 8th July 2011
  #27
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
Funny you mention that. Fostex PM0.4 were my 1st purchase. I returned them because one did not turn on at all! The other one that did work sounded good. I did return them and asked for the newer red 'n' ones, but cancelled and ordered the Alesis.

So far I do not think they sound muddy. The bass sounds nice and clean. I'm not boosting frequencies. If anything, I cut. heh
well the pm1's are a lot diff than the pm0.4s.
Old 8th July 2011
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomox View Post
There's a chance you can damage them before they have burned in properly, some driver's can be quite sensitive to this.
incorrect. any drivers designed with flaws like that would disappear from the market quickly. people buy new stereos and crank them up all the time.

any new driver can take the full power of it's specs without damage - probably with less chance of damage than a more used driver which may have become more compliant with age.
Old 8th July 2011
  #29
Lives for gear
a drawback to old speakers is that the foam surrounds get brittle and need replacing.... and if you think about that, any soft foam surround that is deteriorating enough to soon reach the point of needing replacement may well be altering the sound of the driver in a negative way, not positive.

The spider also can sag with time which is incredibly serious - often resulting in voice coil rubbing which basically end of life's the driver.

however there is zero harm in breaking in speakers, new or old.

I suspect it's a familiarity thing and that even fancy speaker companies will put a break in period recommendation in because they know (a) it sounds important so you're treating your expensive purchase with the special care they deserve and (b) the more you listen, the more you get used to and love the sound of the new speakers (in many cases at least).

So much guessing - I don't know for sure, but breaking in speakers does seem unlikely to be important or to do anything at all, however it also seems completely safe to do so if you want to do it and think it might help, go for it. No need for being gentle, but don't kill the speakers either.

certainly anything breaking in could do to the sound would be measurable and would have been proven by now if it were factual.
Old 8th July 2011
  #30
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelley View Post
a drawback to old speakers is that the foam surrounds get brittle and need replacing.... and if you think about that, any soft foam surround that is deteriorating enough to soon reach the point of needing replacement may well be altering the sound of the driver in a negative way, not positive.

The spider also can sag with time which is incredibly serious - often resulting in voice coil rubbing which basically end of life's the driver.

however there is zero harm in breaking in speakers, new or old.

I suspect it's a familiarity thing and that even fancy speaker companies will put a break in period recommendation in because they know (a) it sounds important so you're treating your expensive purchase with the special care they deserve and (b) the more you listen, the more you get used to and love the sound of the new speakers (in many cases at least).

So much guessing - I don't know for sure, but breaking in speakers does seem unlikely to be important or to do anything at all, however it also seems completely safe to do so if you want to do it and think it might help, go for it. No need for being gentle, but don't kill the speakers either.

certainly anything breaking in could do to the sound would be measurable and would have been proven by now if it were factual.
yeah thats pretty much exactly what i was thinking. nicely said.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump