IME, nothing will break them in better than playing them loud to begin with.
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To be safe, i was recommended to run mine moderately for the first 100 hours (i had some bass drivers replaced). Damage to drives is also sometimes done by underpowering them. In your case, i cann say of course, but since you like volume, that is just a consideration. the 802D can definitely eat up a lot of power.
I agree with Chayro to some extent, but also have to ask how loud is loud? You can get a Db meter at Radio Shack on the cheap side which will give you a way to measure the strength of the signal at your listening position. At 100Db your getting a pretty loud sound pressure. I bought one out of curiosity you may want to as well.
I don't think there are many speakers made for Audiophiles that are capable of prolonged high spl levels, that is why I agree with Charyo . I have a pair of Klipsch LaScalas (amongst others) that can do that but they are also marketed to clubs and other "pro" venues. If it is much lower you may not really need those speakers, the sound quality is different and may not be to your liking.
I have the same question because I've got a new pair of paradigm studio 20's. I'm taking it kind of easy for 100 hours or so since I cranked my then new studio 10's on day 1 or 2, heard a pop then backed off immediately. After that, the speaker that popped would make that same popping / distorting sound that I initially heard, from both the midbass and tweeter, when turned up loud. By comparison, the speaker that didn't pop could be turned up 4 or 5 d.b.'s louder (according to the volume indicator on my pre-amp) and that extra 4 or 5 d.b.'s would have made a world of difference to me.
I heard a pair of 802 MATRIX speakers years ago playing Bruckner #9 (at an audio store), and the guy had them CRANKED!! to where the background noise (it was a remastered analog recording) was VERY noticeable. anyway, he stated to my worried face that you "couldn't blow these speakers". the Mark-2 version of these speakers had a protection circuit built in as well which was later eliminated to improve the transparency of the speaker. now, of course you "can" (blow the speakers) but as long as you have a good front end and you have some point of reference as to what the entire system is capable of doing, there is little cause for concern.
B&W speakers started out as studio monitors and had to duplicate the same SPL's as the source material. they had a reputation for being brutally honest, but not "delicate". BUT some people seem to be able to do things during a party that can be heard and felt a half a mile away. If you're one of those maniacs (We Salute You!) then get a no-fault warranty.
The speaker was blown when the missus unplugged all the RCA's and then replugged from the source direct to the pwr amp on one channel. I may have over stated how much a "flog them" as for too old, I'm 25 yrs old.
I don't crank them to a commercial listening level in a massive environment. My room is approx 2.4m high 7m long & 5m wide with hard surfaced furniture.
I like to get them to that level where the speakers sound full, bass is kind of empty until they get around 200-250 RMS behind them. about 75% bass driver excursion. "my amps are on the light side" 400RMS
when i blew them it hammered them so hard the tweeter went open circuit and the adhesive on the bass driver core had let go so the driver sunk 10mm back into the cabinet compared to the speaker that didn't clip.
I appreciate all of your input by the way, it is very handy to have access to a base of enthusiasts with a wealth of experience. in my town in Australia B&W only sells 10 pairs of 802's & 800's a year so expert know how is hard to come by.
Once again thanks. Just to confirm burn in time approx 100 hours?
P.S amps are on the list to buy. Pacifying the missus is like fighting a minotaur when it comes to rationalizing 30K wirth of electrocompaniet amps. BTW thoughts on Electro brand and pairing to B&W?
Thanks - Scott
if you need to crank it up to get fullness of bass...i would suggest you consider a superb sub. Set it to stop playing above 45hz for starters...i find that with the sub on my system, i can play at volume 1 of 100 on the preamp...i would never go past 65 by the way...and still be superbly satisfied because drum kicks still manage to hit me quietly in the chest...way cool when done right. (My speakers are Wilson X1/Grand Slamms.)
and you wont risk blowing speakers or overdriving the amp. I would run the sub in parallel...try Velodyne DD18 for example...would work well potentially in room your size.
my 2 cents...
Ah okay, i was just chiming in on your comment:
"...I like to get them to that level where the speakers sound full, bass is kind of empty until they get around 200-250 RMS behind them. about 75% bass driver excursion..."
On mid/treble, if you need to crank to 'liven' it up...i tend to think of source first then perhaps pre or cables. The reason is because generally treble/mid does not pull a lot of juice from the amp...so if you are cranking it to really feel it...it might be that your ear does not feel it is getting a balanced delivery of the spectrum at lower levels...? A guess?
Im no expert by any stretch but the only was i can size this up is to say that it seems the bass slightly overpowers the mid and treb until there is more volume. i have a hard surfaced room so i dont think its absorption. i dont have bass droning in corners etc to amplify bass. its more of an opinion i suppose.
appreciate the opinions Im getting from people here. I previously tried to steer clear of the forums here as i didn't want my opinion before purchasing to be clouded by someone else who sounded very convincing.
and to be very honest i live in a small town and i have never ever heard a pair of B&W 8 series of any generation before the ones i bought turned up on my doorstep.
Yeh your right. My issue is given my age (25) i dont get taken seriously by a sales person which pisses me off. Its their loss when i walk into a shop with 12k looking to spend and they turn up their nose. Im not going to wave it around to get attention. I Picked up a pair of 602 S3's of some lady who had no idea what they were worth. Jagged them for 100 bucks with the LCR60 centre. JACKPOT. they really opened my eyes to clarity. I figured the 8 DIAMONDS can only be leagues ahead of those tiny bookshelves. I wasnt wrong. I am very happy with what i have, currently i have budget amps because i cant afford to offload 30K on some good power as yet.
In your opinion what brands native to Australia would you suggest in the league of B&W 8's?
The B&W 800 series do need a lot of power to bring them to life. If budget is an issue why not look into some class D amps? You will find 400w to 1000w amps for cheap compared with the big heavy class a/b types.
Class D will give you that leading edge crispness. Also the bass will be bone crunching and very controlled.
There is much info here on the 'gon about them. Some people don't like the treble, but the later versions got better and better. Today they are hard to beat.
Also if you are finding the response of your speakers uneven try repositioning them out of the corners and toe them in slightly.
after mining through 1000's of peoples opinions and comparing them to what i have access to at good value i am faced with a decicion, Pass labs X1000's, X600's (both second hand) 2 bryston 7BSST's or one Bryston 14BSST ( New) all within 500 dollars of eachother in price but the pass' are 2nd hand the the brystons are new? anyone got a recomendation?