Breaking in new speakers?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by alexf, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. alexf macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #1
    Calling all audiophiles out there:

    I just got a set of Harman Kardon Soundsticks II and was wondering if there is any specific way to "break them in." Do speakers still need to be broken in?

    Any advice would be appreciated. I am anxious to unpack them check them out, but don't want to do anything "wrong."
     
  2. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #2
    Ideally you would run pink noise through the speakers at low volumes for 8 to 24 hours. If you don't have a white noise or pink noise generator, then just play a good classical CD. This will help "limber up" the suspension system of the speakers.

    This is a measureable effect as the response of the speakers will change over time as the spider becomes less stiff with use.

    Of course, we are talking about soundsticks here which don't have very big drivers and therefore don't have a lot of travel anyways. I gave you the "audiophile" answer you asked for, but you just need to be moderate with the volume and play some music through the speakers at lower volumes for a while before you crank them up.
     
  3. kant macrumors 6502

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    #3
    http://www.atpm.com/10.04/soundsticks.shtml
     
  4. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #4
  5. kant macrumors 6502

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    #5
    It was, wasn't it? I thought I'd fall out of the chair a couple of times. He nailed the reviewer bit didn't he?

    :)
     
  6. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #6
    Brilliant article :) Thanks for the link. Ironically, the classical pieces he tested are also two of my favorites...

    So no, I don't have a white of pink noise generator.

    Should I simply play classical music at a low volume for days on end or what?

    Is it OK to just listen to whatever music I normally would listen to, at a moderately high volume (I never really crank it up much, as my ears are sensitive)?
     
  7. kant macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I'd say that you'd be ok. Make sure that all volume settings are set to less than halfway. No distortion that way. Though I doubt it would hurt them, there's no reason to take a chance on speakers that cost that much.
     
  8. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #8
    Great, thanks for the advice.

    Two more very quick questions:

    - For how long should I follow this "break-in" period (i.e. not play too loud, mainly classical music, etc.)?

    - During this period, should I turn the woofer up to higher or lower than I would normally prefer it (which is almost max)?

    I got the speakers on sale for just over US$100 - not the most expensive system in the world, so maybe I sound a little anal, but still its an investment I want to protect, and I want to enjoy the best sound possible.

    :)
     
  9. Poeben macrumors 6502

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    Jul 29, 2004
    #9
    Just use your speakers normally. All this break-in talk is mostly bs in my opinion. Sure the physical aspects of the speaker will change over time. They will also change every time you use them as they heat up. I think its a moot point, just use them at a moderate level and you'll be fine.

    The best thing you can do during this period is to get to know the room and the speakers. Move them around, especially the sub, and find the right spot. Improper speaker placement will have a much more negative effect on sound quality than failure to follow a particular break-in method.
     
  10. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #10
    When I would break in pro audio gear (for sound reinforcement at concert venues) we ran pink noise at low to mid volumes for about 8-12 hours (usually overnight). The purpose of doing that was some of the cabinets had rather stiff suspension and it was important to break them in before pumping loud volumes. It helped avoid creasing the cones from overexcursion in brand new gear. It makes a difference with 15-18" drivers.

    It's true that cabinet response will change over time, but remember that we're not trying to break in speakers to reach some mythical "sweet spot" of performance (I assume this is the BS that Poeben is talking about). It's just important to make sure the suspension is limber before you start moving the cones a ton with loud volumes.

    That said, the soundsticks use tiny 1" drivers and a 6" in the sub. They don't move all that much to begin with. You can just play music (classical is more likely to have greater range) at low to moderate volumes for a day. You might also try a DVD with a good LFE track to work the sub a little more.
     
  11. 40167 macrumors regular

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    Sep 5, 2004
    #11
    Huh? He never said anything about a mythical "sweet spot" he just said that...

    "Move them around, especially the sub, and find the right spot. Improper speaker placement will...[cont]"

    ... that would mean that he is simply talking about speaker placement, the physical location of the speakers; and yeah that does matter. You can't have the speakers behind the person facing the ground and expect good sound.
     
  12. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

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    #12
    Remember this is also an important thing to do with head phones. Always break them in kiddies. Just put them in a drawer with volume at around 50% for a while.
     
  13. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #13
    You misunderstood me. Poeben said that "All this break-in talk is mostly bs" and I was agreeing with him if he meant talk that you need to break-in speakers to reach a "sweet spot" where they sound better. I was pointing out that there is a reason to break-in large drivers because it helps reduce the chance of creasing the cones from overexcursion early in their life. This has nothing to do with the myth of making the speakers sound better but more to do with breaking in the mechanical aspects of the speaker system so they work smoothly.
     
  14. Poeben macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Yes, I was referring to the fact that speakers will not sound better if broken-in a certain way. Weldon is correct, as common sense might dictate to some, that it is a bad idea to get a brand new set of cabinets and slam 1000+ watts at them straight away. Also, as he said, this is more of an issue for large drivers with high output, i.e. concert sound reinforcement. Take it easy with your speakers and use them normally and you will be fine. If you want to know the worst way to break (in) speakers, hook them up to a 120v outlet. You will likely notice a difference afterwards.
     
  15. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #15
    Great, thanks for all the help, everyone.

    Nice to know I can rely on the Mac Rumors community for advice with just about everything under the (digital) sun :)
     

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