Okay, How Important Is Speaker Break In? (Dynaudio Contour 60i)

I have been running 25+ year old B&W Matrix 803 S2 speakers in my 2-channel system for about 15 years, and I finally treated myself to new speakers.  Mock me for buying based on research alone, but I got a really good deal and just unpacked my beautiful Dynaudio Contour 60i's.  The Dyn's are not broken in, just starting to play around with different songs, but I am expecting an improvement out of the box, and not getting it.  They are no more revealing, and slightly harder and more jangley in the mids and highs.  The bass is of course much better with the big Dyns, but the B&Ws with the Dyn Sub6 subwoofer I was running were better.  I have very good equipment so it is not a matter of driving bigger speakers (ARC Ref preamp and Bryston 7bSST2 monoblocks).  Unless speakers get A LOT better with break in, I thinking these Dyns may be converted back into cash.   Thoughts? Thanks.
give it 200 hrs of solid playing time at normal volumes, shorter if you play louder
Speakers or anything else: if it doesn't sound good right out of the box send it back, it never will. Good gear will sound great right from the beginning, and only get better with time. My Moabs were a perfect example, and a great choice if you want great sound. More speaker, better sound, less money. Right out of the box.
I’m surprised your dealer didn’t mention break-in. Speakers need dynamic music or a break-in disc played through them. They are one of the components where break-in is truly necessary. The drivers, especially the woofers are stiff right out of the box and need to physically flex in order for the sound to open up. There’s also the voice coils which move the drivers and some capacitors inside.

I agree with the 200 hour timeframe. If possible, leave them playing overnight. You can cover them with blankets or reverse the polarity on one speaker (swap + and - ) and face them toward each other. The sound will be cancelled out and there will only be a low level tinny sound.

Good advice...

In the winter months you have to let your equipment adjust to your house's temperature, say 3 days.  Then what JJSS49 said.
The Dealer will tell you that the speakers will take 35 days to break in.  That’s 5 days after the Dealer’s full refund return policy. Kidding aside, the speakers should open up with time. 
Thanks everyone.  It'n not that I was not aware of break in as a concept and need, I am just not experienced with how significant it is.  My instincts align with millercarbon; I expect break-in to improve the sound, but not reinvent it.  These speakers simply do not sound as good in at least the mid-range.
Yup, about 200 hours.
That is how long it took mine to relax, the bass was tighter, deeper, mid much more accurate, highs less tinny, and more natural sounding.

Even after 200 hrs, you will notice differences. Enjoy!

Those speakers are amazing! Enjoy them!!

midrange....WILL be amazing, have patience.
I thought mine were muddy, after time they are simply smooth, and accurate, guitar, vocals, are all superb!

If you think about all the material and mechanical elements that go into the construction of speaker drivers, it's clear that speakers will need a break-in period (just as car engines used to do).  On the other hand, it's true that whatever change is going to occur, is not going to be night and day.  Audiophiles trade in hyperbole, because small differences matter a lot to them.  Be aware also that there's another school of thought that contends that part (or all) of break-in is your ear getting used to the new sound.  So a reality check against the old product, if possible, is a good idea.  Above all, just don't let indecision take you past whatever deadline exists for a full-refund return.
Thanks for all the feedback guys.  The good thing - interesting story - is that I got them for a song due to a series of retailer and OEM errors, so I could easily sell them in the used market for what I paid.  I can wait a bit to let articdeth's experience play out, and I have kept the old speakers - I will be setting up both in the room (like an audio demo room!) for better A/B testing.

Speaker break in/burn in can be fairly significant.  The suspensions need to flex to loosen up, and good caps can take many hours to burn in.  The first several hours tend to make the most dramatic difference.  I used to place new speakers face down on the floor, crank em up, close the door, and let them thump for a few hours.
I still vividly remember my present day loudspeakers when I took them out of the box and plug them in they didn’t sound very good. I had live demoed these speakers at the dealers so I knew what they were capable of. It took upwards of 400 hours until the speakers settled in and then it was night and day by that time
The assertion that all gear (particularly speakers with mechanically moving parts) must sound fantastic straight out of the box or you need to immediately send them back to the manufacturer/dealer is ridiculous.  Particularly among higher-end speakers where many of the differences between brands at similar price points can be quite nuanced - this is important if you're thinking of making a change to coax some sonics out of your system that are more desirable.  In audiophile terms we aren't just talking "does this sound good or does this sound bad?" and then act on that to exercise return policies.  It's about giving the speakers a chance the perform at their best so better listening comparisons can be made to inform our buying decisions.

When I first acquired my Devore O/96's with the intention of replacing my Spendor D7's it was clear cold out of the box that the O/96's didn't sound as good as the D7's that I had been using for years.  John Devore even states that his speakers will take 600 hrs to fully run in and can benefit incrementally up to 1,000 hrs.  I found the sonics in the O/96's to improve over the D7's at about 100 hrs and smoked them by 200 hrs.  All the while the 0/96's never sounded "bad" from day 1 - they simply didn't sound better.  Should I have returned them? lol That would have been a tragic mistake as they now have close to 1,000 hrs an amaze me every day.  It's a mere matter of physics - the speakers benefitted greatly from loosening up the huge foam surrounds and spiders on the 10-inch woofer.  While not all speakers require the same run-in time to coax the best sound from them, these categorical statements about immediately returning them are utter nonsense.
Takes about a week of playing at listening levels. 

Also, before you keep going on your merry-go-round, having good room acoustics will make a lot more speakers sound good in your room.
I agree with a lot of what is been said above, if it does not sound remotely close to what you would like initially, no amount of break in will help.

honestly, you should’ve stuck with a new Bowers.

In essence, it's a lot like getting a new room mate~you have to get used to each other.
Since i own a pair of contours, the 60 not the i .. 
I speak of experience,  they need more than 200 hours.. 
Listening at the store i found them very dynamic and airy so I ordered a pair, got them delivered and was quite disappointed.. 
It took at least 500 hours before they really opened up , having played my pair over a  year now ( every day) the contour only gets better.. 
So give them some time ! 
Or just break them in for the next happy guy who will enjoy them for many years to come ;-) 
I have the Dyn 60i Contours. Right out of the box they were awesome. And with 300 hours of break in time they've gotten a step better. Make sure you get you get them at least 18 inches away from any wall. 
It’s not about break-in, it’s about finding the right position in your room for the new speakers. Besides, why would the Dyn’s be a major upgrade to your Bowers? 
I had a pair of Dynaudio Contour 60's.  Like you, I had a very good deal on them.  Based on demo's of other dynaudio products, slightly lower priced I figured I would love them (as they had to be even better...since they cost more).  I didn't love the lower priced ones, but liked them, and hey... for this price it has to be a bargain!

I will tell you, more than any other speaker I have owned I did feel they broke in.  Dyn says they can measure it.  

I liked them, but never truly loved them.  I felt for a 10k retail speaker - I needed to pretty much love them.

The bass was great, the mids were good, the tweeter was good.  But for me, they always sounded closed in.  I tried adjusting room treatments, upgraded electronics (which I wanted to do anyways).  

But, I never loved those speakers. In fact I liked some much lower priced, used, beat to crap speakers better (they weren't better, but I found myself listening to those more and more).  

Sold the Dyn's, and never regretted it.  They were good, but at 10k retail, I want to LIKE the speaker a lot.  When I demo Dyn's in stores from time to time I still like them (though I haven't demo'd the contours again).  

I do find it interesting how quickly they did a full overhaul of the Contour Series.  But, you have those and don't love them.  

Based on past experience, if I were in your shoes - I would flip them.  Doesn't mean they are bad, just not for you.

I replaced a set of B&W 803s speakers with a pair of Focal Kanta 3s.  Took a while to sort through some music I thought was good but much better sound right out of the box.
Break in is important but only in the first few hours; if you don't like the speakers after a day or two, send it back. I purposely tried to gauge this when I bought Special 40s. Significant change in the first minutes, then slightly improvements to the 5th hour, then very little to the 15th hour (which btw is the break in time for BWs according to their manual), then next to nothing in the 50th, 100th, 200th playing hours. 
In your case though, it might be more of your preference of the BW house sound which makes the contour less impressive; haven't heard the matrix but the more modern BWs are slightly boosted up top and below, while the Dyns are dull flat. Do try to see if you can like the Dyn sound as they should be more detailed, albeit less exciting.
I had the Contour 20s for a short time. Strange animal. They were used and several hundred hours broke in according to the owner. Never quite got along with them. They sounded great ish sometimes with some music but overall not my cuppa tea. 

Had the Dyn Docua 140s years ago and everything sounded good on those although not spectacular
Thanks again for all the input.   I have some tinnitus in my ears, and it is triggered by harsh sounds or a poor recording, and is muted when listening to nice hifi audio.  The 60i's are maybe 8 or 10 hours into break in now and the tinnitus fires strong as soon as I enter the room.  They are definitely more harsh in the mids than the Bowers.  My wife noticed it too; when she first came into the room in which they were playing, she commented on distortion (she is not an audiophile, but noticed a degradation from the old speakers).  Unfortunately, the advice from this group seems pretty mixed - plenty of indication that I will see real improvement over time, plenty of indications that first reactions are probably not going to change that much.  Oh well, on with the journey...continue to break in, make a decision at some point.  

To gosta, the 803's are an mid 90's speaker...not sure what they cost new, one post said $3000.  I would expect $10K 2020 model from Dyn to be better, but that question is open.....

Thanks again - appreciate this community
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Given the general stagnation of speaker design (there are exceptions) you could only really expect the Dyns to be different, not necessarily better.  A high percentage of modern speaker designs incorporate a (somewhat) tilted up mid-high end, perhaps because modern taste favors the kind of "detail" that this can give the impression of, perhaps because it makes them more impressive in brief showroom demos (think: how big box stores adjust the settings on TVs on demo).  What you're hearing may ameliorate a little, but it won't go away, it's built in to the speaker.
Harsh mids may come from unwanted reflections. Placement of the speakers and yourself is most important.
Yeah, I sort of ignored the fact that a lot of people have been talking about room...and there could be something there.  Some of the sound issue I would call ringing, which (to my untrained thinking) seems consistent with a room issue.  Not sure what to do with that; this is not a dedicated audio room, so I can't move them much or start adding foam to the walls.  And the fact that the B&Ws were running in the same place without this issue seems important; whether or not my room is optimal, the old speakers did not ring.  I may finally be getting "what type of music you listen to" with speakers.   I EXPECT exquisite refinement on vocals and strings when I want it, but most of my listening is rock/metal.  With a high quality heavy recording (e.g., Metallica black album) the Dyns sound incredibly good.  WIth more delicate fare, they seems a little ragged and ringy in the mids.
different speakers have different dispersion patterns so can interact with room attributes differently

agree w comments below that modern speakers have accentuated lower treble and upper midrange for better perceived 'presence' - often to the detriment to longer term listenability

system matching is key to make new speakers work... plugging them in where old ones stood is just the starting point
jjss49, when you say system matching, are you still talking about room, or getting into the components?  From what I have read, there should be no significant component issues, i.e., Big Dyns should like 600W Bryston solid state amps.  Of course, every combination could yield differences, but this system should generally be harmonious.
A harsh midrange can be one of the worst traits a speaker can possess and that's why buying without audition is a total crapshoot.  While audition is not always possible, it is, IMO, impossible to "research" a speaker through reviews or online posts because the reviewers have different rooms, different electronics and different tastes. While I agree that some break in is necessary, I would say give them 2 weeks and then return them if you can. Or you can rebuild your system around the new speakers, i.e., new cables, electronics, etc to get them sounding better. Or, you could find recordings where the Dynaudios shine and only play them.  Don't think for a minute that some audiophiles don't take this approach, either consciously or subconsciously.  Mark Levinson many years ago talked about the concept of the system dictating the types of music we play.  But all in all, if your B&Ws really work in your room, why not keep them and upgrade other parts of the system?  Changing speaker cables might make a huge difference - or none at all.  That's why it's best to buy with audition. but I know it's not always possible.  Good luck. BTW - when I audition a speaker, I will always play something off the Brubeck "Take Five" record.  Paul Desmond's alto sax will expose a harsh midrange immediately.  It also happens to be good music, but that's a bonus. 
Thanks Charyo.  Indeed the B&W's (to whom I have sincerely apologized for being momentarily attracted by the tall, brown-skinned younger model) may be restored to their prior home, and nice thought on how good my cables could be for a fraction of the cost of new speakers.  My weekend project now is going to be building some low-rise wheeled platforms so I can throw speaker options and placement around a bit more freely in the space.

I have had my Contour 60i speakers now for a couple of months.  I am not consistently available to play an audio session so at this point I have only about 70 hours of run in time on them.  I found them to be a bit bright, initially.  After about 35 hours they tamed down a considerable amount.  Since then I have noticed further taming in the upper midrange and lower high frequency range.  Soundstage and imaging are absolutely amazing and I do not want to lose any of that.  So, next step was to provide more room treatments.  I added a center treatment panel (positioned between the speakers and covering about 80% the width between them).  That made a very significant difference.  Vocals, string, and wind instruments are better than ever.  I also pulled them a couple inches further from the wall than where I had them.  That, I believe, played a role as well.  The front of the speaker is now at 36" from the wall.  Based on the changes in sound over the run-in hours of playing, I tend to believe they will continue to improve.  At this point I am very satisfied and they are truly a first class speaker in every way, from build quality to sonic quality.  I think that relative to other speakers out there these are priced at least $3K below market value.  So much depends on what your individual tastes are for music reproduction.  These speakers are "alive" but not "in your face, brash".  You may prefer a very laid back or even dark sounding speaker. The Contour 60i is not that type of sound.  The choice is yours, of course. The system you have should work well with the Contour 60i, so I don't believe that is any sort of issue.  Try moving them further out from the wall, if you can, even just a couple of inches.  Be sure to place some room treatment between them and most certainly at the first reflection point for either side (if you don't already) and I think you'll find a really good speaker on hand.  Again, their soundstage and imaging characteristics are amazing and you should take that into consideration as a big role in what a speaker does for your listening pleasure.  Hope this helps.
Yes they need breaking in.  One to three hundred hours for most, but that will bring out mostly subtle improvements.  For this reason, I agree with miller.  If you aren’t wowed from the beginning, send them back!  
All the best.

Okay, update......BREAK IN IS FOR REAL!!! - certaintly with these speakers.  Contour 60i's are some very nice speakers.  Detail is excellent, bass is excellent, soundstage is excellent, mid-range....is almost there.  There are moments when I could say there is a touch of hardness or tinniness at appreciable volume, but increasingly fewer and more muted.  These are calming down nicely, and becoming commanding and enjoyable.  Can't say enough about the bass.  In Eric Clapton MTV unplugged, Tears in Heaven, there is a very soft kickdrum beat that is quiet, yet crisp and visceral at the same time...very nice finesse on the bass.  And I am only around 30 hours in.  Thanks again for all your help.
I think you are describing the ‘tilt’ in speaker sound that many manufacturers are leaning towards. 
The Brystons won’t be helping. Try an ARC power amp - much smoother and more natural in mid / high frequencies.

They sound beautiful with Dynaudio, although the bass will be a touch softer, but in a very pleasant way.
My ARC preamp made a big step up in soundstage from Bryston BD26.  I imagine nice ARC amps would round out this system, but so many tubes....and a big price tag to get the effortless power of solid state.  I wonder if there are SS amps that would adjust in the right direction...Halo JC1?  The search for the next tweak goes on......
@mathiasmingus  I tried a respectable tube amp on the speakers and though it sounded very sweet, it just didn't deliver the "slam" that I want.  Of course, amps are all very different from one another so I can't speak for what an ARC amp would do or any number of other great tube amps.  The Contour 60i do demand some current to make them come alive and deliver what they are capable of.  I settled on a SS amp that has a softer sonic signature than most.  I bought a Balanced Audio Technology (BAT) VK-255SE.  I also use the very well paired BAT VK-33SE preamp (lovely tube preamp).  It's a wonderful matchup for the Contour 60i.
So the bottom line is, if you are finding the Contour 60i speakers are delivering what you had wanted then at some point make a change in your electronics that will better suit them.  You have the preamp, just get the right amp to address the sonic signature that you desire.  And yes, a very good power cable and signal cables are very important in delivering what any electronics have to offer.
Enjoy the fun ride!
It’s always entertaining to read this type of discussion here. So many adamant opinions. Many of which are completely subjective.

Speaker break in is real, as you’ve discovered.

So nobody has even asked if you ever had the B&W’s serviced. The capacitors in the crossovers of any speaker that age are most likely not close to spec and have skewed which driver is delivering which frequencies. Since this can happen slowly your ears may adjust and you never recognize it.
But hey, with nearly 30 years of experience as an audio engineer what would I know.

I’m breaking in new PMC monitors now. The company states 50 hours minimum, but that’s because they partially break them in before shipping. The change in the first 20 hours I’ve had them has been significant.
some speakers really demand strong solid state amps to sound their best, tube amps cannot handle them

other speakers thrive on tube amps, presenting more friendly loads and efficiency, but to be as efficient and amp friendly, they sacrifice some performance parameters (while excelling at others)

when one starts out in this hobby it is most important to find the right speaker for your room, your listening, your music - then treat the speaker as the given -- and mate the amp to handle the speaker and deliver the best possible sound from said speaker

as you move along in this hobby and hear what different speakers and amps (as combinations) can do, you start to become more open to changing to different speakers that can in turn be driven by sweeter, more palpable sounding amps (be they tube amps, or lower wattage simpler ss amps)  to deliver a nature of sound you like better

it is an experiential, iterative process
I just bought a pair of dyns and they were awful and lifeless out of the box. Played them two days straight in a closed room. Entered the room after the two days and shocked at the difference in sound. The dyns became much more open but a bit harsh. Played them a 3rd day for 8hrs and their was not a hint of harness. 
For glissando, no the B&Ws have not been serviced - thanks for the call out.  I had no issue with the B&Ws, just wanted the indulgence of newer, better speakers.  If I keep them, I may get them checked out.  
For jjss49, thanks.  Based on my somewhat limited understanding of electronics, the Dyns are power hogs, so big SS amps are desired and what I have.  Now, I have read some so-so reviews of this model (7bSST2), so that will be on my mind...though the system sounds pretty good now.  To your point, I have a sense that with age I will move to quieter, more refined components, but for now, we are going with big and brash!
For dwest, yeah brother, harsh was the word, but world of change now, and I still have a lot of breaking in to do.  I am a Dyn convert.  Enjoy yours!

Speakers must be "broken in" just like car motors and new shoes. They are electro-MECHANICAL devices and need "experience" to limber up. Even wires need a bit of break in. I did not used to believe it, but experience has taught me. Thank God I'm still teachable. Put on a good FM station and go visit friends for a few days. Keep smiling!
@mathiasmingus  Glad to hear that you are now a Dynaudio convert.  I have long enjoyed the Dynaudio signature sound.  My new Contour 60i just keep sounding better and better (as you have found).  Just yesterday I went back to my new copy of Jennifer Warnes, 'Famous Blue Raincoat'.  That is an album that will really show how the human voice can sound with a good speaker.  When I first got my new Dynaudios I played that album to establish a reference sound for the speakers when new.  They sounded good, but somewhat strained and narrow on her voice.  Last night I revisited the album and WOW, what a difference.  The slow development of the speaker break-in process is typically difficult to notice, on a day to day basis.  But doing what I did with that album - playing it early on, waiting for a respectable amount of speaker break-in to be accomplished, and then playing the same album again - was a revelation of proof for the total process.  The sound quality last night was breathtaking, absolutely fabulous.  Jennifer sounded as if she were singing directly in front of me, live!  At the present stage you are with the speakers you can still do that.  Give it a try, using your best sounding album with human voice and also try for some wind/brass instruments. 
Enjoy the speakers.  They are wonderful.
so apparently speakers don't need to be sent back immediately if they don't sound perfect straight out of the box?  Shocker!  Someone better let Einstein in on this audio secret.
Yea,don't listen to millercarbon..hes a schill for Tekton and its now really obvious he hasnt a clue..maybe Tekton sound the same from start to finsh( could be the fact they use guitar amp speakers ie,eminence )but any quality speaker ive ever purchased sounded totally different after a correct breakin period.
In my opinion, you're just used to the way your B&W's sounded to you, for 15 years of use.  You're ears and brain may adjust over some time to accept the new speakers. 

I've tested identical speakers, one set new out of the boxes and the other with 2+ years of use on them and found no difference in sound signature. 

Overall, if you're not happy with the sound of the new speakers, you may never be.  At least you're in a good position with them so you wouldn't take a beating if you were to re-home them. 

Maybe a newer set of B&W's would benefit you.  (??)
I had an interesting experience with a pair of Klipsch RF-25s. I plugged them in and I thought, these really could be refence loudspeakers. Two days later they had lost their edge and now sounded like a very average speaker. So in this case the break-in made them sound worse. I was a dramatic change, never experienced anything like it before or after. 
The normal progression is for cold and new to be harsh and grainy, with most of the dynamics and extension but little of the body and harmonic fullness. This fills in over time, and usually with varying amounts of improved extension at both ends, with the result being both fuller and warmer as well as more detailed, extended and dynamic. Sounds like your Klipsch did indeed go through this normal progression. Its just that in your case you actually prefer the harsh edgy grainy cold sound. Which is cool. You can leave all your gear off all the time. Edgy and grainy it will be, at least until it warms up.