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Burning in monitors (speakers not screens)

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gamblore +

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Burning in monitors (speakers not screens)
Hey guys, did a lot of searching over the last two days, here and a lot of other places on the net but can't find any info on burning in monitors. I found some info on burning in screens, but nothing on speakers.

So here is the story. Walked into a music shop on Sunday for a look around and was playing with the monitors. Next to them was a CD and it mentioned something about 'burning in monitors' on it. I had never heard of it, and the writing was all in Japanese, so I have no idea what it said. But it did say something about improving the sound of you monitors. It cost $40 and wasn't going to waste me money on something I couldn't even read the instructions for.

So my questions are:
1. Is this a true or is it marketing?
2. Have you burnt in your monitors?
3. How do you do it?
4. What does it do?
5. What improvement has it made?

Thanks for the help!
I'll be back...
phunkdust +

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Yes, all new speakers benefit from (but do not require) "breaking in"

Basically in the first 50 or so hours of operation the driver materials loosen up and settle in... You can do this for free by just playing some music at a moderate volume... you don't need any special CD.

As I said, it's not required, you can go straight to using them as monitors straight away but you might feel that they do not sound quite right... which of course improves as they get broken in.
Mononic +

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Burning in speakers loosens up the cone surrounds. This allows the speaker to exert itself more efficiently.

Most decent monitors use very flexible rubber surrounds, which won't get any looser or softer with use. I don't see much point to burning in these type of speakers.

Guitar speakers on the other hand mostly use rubber coated paper surrounds. They are much stiffer when new and the tone changes dramatically after being burnt in. Stiff speakers have a brittle sound quality to them.

To burn in a set of speakers, flip the polarity on one channel then face the two speakers together with about 2cm of space between them. Play a tune, crank the volume, throw a thick blanket over them and leave them overnight.

It is also common practice to use a variac connected to a filament transformer. The 60Hz hum from the 6.3v AC breaks them in evenly and very quickly. Low frequencies = more cone exertion = broken in quicker.
Bitsmasher +

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mononic

more cone exertion = broken

I'm a DJ, I push the volume up to 10
the lights are dancing in the red, I'm distorting it again
noisefix +

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i do agree with Phunkdust about new speakers needing a bit of a workout, it could just be ones ears though.. but i too have heard of so many whacky stuff RE speakers, from playing certain sounds to move the cones in certain ways or to get your cables and do something to remove the negative ions every so often because of some magnetic crap that supposedly builds up.

my advice, just get on wit making music
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N4TE +

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the most vital part of running in a new (or re-coned) set of speaker is the shimming of the voice coils so as to seat them directly over the driver and ensure even distances between the base of the coil and the driver. since the glue that holds them in place is dry long before you get them, any action you take to run them in is a waste of time (and if you buy a cd to do it, money.) The most effective way to do this before the glue sets is not by running sound through them, but to just hook up a little battery and run some charge through them. (which will produce sound, pretty much just static)

Shimming was once an artform in and of itself, until a bloke called the speaker doctor went to the JBL re-coning course and laughed at the guy who fiddled around for 15 minutes in front of the group with a spirit level and a wooden block. the jbl trainer got shitty and said "if you know a better way, why don't you show us?" So Danny did his little voltage shim and accomplished in three seconds what the trainer wasted 1/4 of an hour doing. JBL now teach the voltage method.

In a nutshell, the best way to "run in" your speakers is to simply use them normally and the only thing that will happen is this, you'll heat the glues up from room temp to operating temp, and this will allow the coil, web and cone to line themselves up with each other thanks to the wonders of elctromagnetism. Hence the new speaker smell you get with a lot of new monitors. It's fumes from the glues and epoxy resins warming up under load. After a while, and it varies depending on how much of what glues have been used, the smell stops as all the areas where the glue warms up have had any excess pretty much baked out. By that time your speakers will have lined themselves up to their own fields perfectly, no matter what you play through them. (9v dc directly into the speaker for 3 seconds before the glue sets does exactly the same thing anyway, and is the way most speakers are done before they leave the factory now.)

BTW most paper cones are glued directly onto the basket, it's the hi tech poly-carb cones that use rubber (actually it's polyurethane,) surrounds. Paper cones that don't have torsion folds through them (ones that aren't rippled, and thus have no flex,) are normally quite old and will rip if you over drive them no matter how much foam you glue around the basket, mostly because that era of speaker technology used long throw coils. These days 99% of the speakers you buy are solid cones with short throw coils. The best way to "run in" your speakers is also the best way to make them last. Use them and don't abuse them.
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gamblore +

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Thanks guys, will get onto it when I pick them up.
I'll be back...
Spectrum +

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Personally, I'd just plug 'em in and get to work with 'em.

There's more to be gained in learning your new monitors and your room's imperfections right away, rather than worrying about an allegedly perceivable strain of the rubber and glue, IMO.

They're gonna get more than its fair share of a workout in their lifetime, so why wait?

Maybe I just need to buy some new monitors so I can break that tight, hymen once more and hear/appreciate the before/after difference?
jester_fu +

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N4TE is the only one who's said anything of value in this thread. Nice write-up!

If a speaker isn't positioned correctly from recone/manufacture, there's nothing you can do about it but hear the aweful effects when you use it. By the time you get them, there's nothing left to do but turn them on and enjoy... or complain to the seller that they're farked.

As already suggested, just be aware of volume and distortion for trhe life of your speakers and things will be sweet.
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Yeah don't think I'm gunna have a problem with over driving them, I put them on last night and they fucking pump! Couldn't get them up loud enough to distort because I would of got evicted! Can't play music at night now and on weekends my neighbours are going to hate me! I'm kinda regretting the decision to buy them now, because they probly wont be used too much. But man is it a sweet sound.
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what'd you buy?
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Actually I think it comes down to this, speaker driver compliance is dependent on spider compliance which will change following a burn in period, and will also change during normal use. however enclosure compliance is the dominant factor in speaker response, so changes in driver compliance are negligible.
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What's this compliance business? Explain it in detail. I'm really, really curious.
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risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical
and expect more than others think is possible."

Last edited by N4TE: 27-Jan-08 at 01:04am

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^Compliance is the amount of give/movement in a mechanical mechanism - like a spring. The spider is spring like, therefore you can describe it's operation in degrees of compliance.

Personally, i only think compliance with spiders is a factor when you're talking HF. With LF, once the cone is moving, the compliance will provide force against the cone moving to it's home position, but it provides little value in returning the cone to that home position because of the consistent input energy during LF reproduction. IMO, you will find the dominant factor with LF reproduction the interaction between voice coil and magnet.

With HF it's more likely to have an impact as any aid with centering the cone ready for the next movement will increase frequency response and sensitivity of the driver to input signal.

Just like a spring in a car, though, compliance will change. When the spring goes softer, it's easier to move the cone (i.e. improved sensitivity) but the cone does not center as quickly or accurately (reduced frequency response). If the spring is hard, then typically you will require more input energy to achieve cone movement = less sensitivity = less dynamic detail in what you hear.

There's general consensus among hi-fi buffs that the speaker sound does seem to improve after a period of use and then after a certain time frame starts to degrade. I don't disagree, but as F747 points out, it's not likely to be the dominant factor in performance of your speaker.
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