question about breaking in speakers and amp

HI all,

I set up my new (and first) system the other day. I must say it sounds really good out of the box -- so here is my question. I got three pieces -- a Jolida tube amp, a music hall cd player, and Quad 21L2 speakers. What should I expect to hear change as the equipment starts to break in? What should I be paying attention to?


The all differ..Don't be suprized if it sound worse before it gets better...Just play and enjoy..but don't be critcal for a month or so.........
With the speakers anyway, you should hear the bass and the sound stage get better and better as time goes by. What happens is the rubber surrounds on your drivers will loosen up. The tube amp in my experience will get smoother sounding after about 50 hours unless you had teflon V-caps installed then it could take hundreds of hours to smooth out.
in my experience, break-in is the biggest hoax in audio. your speakers and amps should sound perfect within 24 hours, or i would return them. (i will agree that tight, large woofers may need a bit of time--a few hours-- to loosen up, but that's it---and most people burn in speakers without playing bass heavy music which is part of the problem)

glad you enjoy your system right out the box! most people here can't do that because of their preconceptions
Hi Keith, I completely agree with you that equipment should sound perfect within 24 hrs. I did not mean to imply that a tube amp would sound bad when it is new its just that as the capacitors are forming, things should smooth out a little more after about 50 hrs or so depending on what material was used to manufacture the caps with, and teflon takes the longest to form. I had teflon caps installed in my tube amp and they sounded wonderful right from the start and to my ears are getting a little smoother as I put more hours on them.
The whole idea of break-in doesn't wash. A solid state system is broken in about 15 seconds after you turn it on the first time - speakers included. Tubes do need to warm up, but not in any different manner the first time you turn it on than the 200th time you turn it on. What gets broken in is the listener, not the equipment. This is not cement - it doesn't have to "set up".
I have shifted my thinking about break-in over time. I guess I've broken in.

Now, I'm pretty settled on the belief that changes occur over the first 24 hours of "on" time, but after that, any changes are imperceptible. At least to my ears.

Those who narrow the golden moment to a number of hours somewhere in the hundreds make me chuckle.
You guys don't think that capacitors break in or form? I think if you talk to any good tube amp designer and ask them if a cap that is in the signal path ( coupling caps) sounds different after 50 hours than when it is fresh out of the box will tell you that it will.
Actually, I suffered through about 500 hours of Blackgate break-in, so I need to
revise my statement. Certainly caps break in and a unit's sound changes over
the break-in period.

I think break-in of wire is less pronounced and shorter.

Speaker driver break-in I have observed takes a day or two. Maybe other brands
are different.
Tvad, I agree completely!
My Meadowlark Audio Osprey speakers took over 200 hours to break in. The time depends on the equipment. Not everything is broke in within 24 hours.
My Silverline Sonata III took 37 hours.

Well, 36 hours and 42 minutes..

LOL! Everything breaks in immediately and then runs at full capacity until one day it just dies without warning! Go figure! I guess it's one of those mysteries of electronics that no one understands. I certainly can't tell the difference between between new and broken in power cords - that proves it to me. But, then they don't die do they?

If you can't hear stuff breaking in, or dying for that matter, the reasons are not mysterious to me. :-)
Tvad re the Silverlines, mine were completely functional when I first set them up, no 37 hours, or, sorry, 36 hours, needed. But one thing I noticed was that the bass sucked(!) even though one reviewer had waxed poetically about its bass. I bought a sub (took a week to get it and plug it in) and got it all set up leaving the Silverlines running full range. Then one day I forgot to turn the sub on but didn't even notice it's absence until the end of the day when I tried to turn it off. Go figure, couldn't have had anything to do with woofer break in though. I put the sub in the attic. Just any other mystery I guess. :-)
My woofers took 36 hours and 42 minutes to break in.

However, what really caused the bass to sound its best was a Pass Labs
amplifier. Had I owned the Pass Labs amp at the beginning of my Sonata III
ownership, the speakers might have displayed zero break-in, and sounded
perfect from the get-go. Who knows?
Was never one to buy into the "break in period" needed for gear, until I had a chance to hear new mono tube amps, which should have blown my integrated away. It was not even close, returned back to the dealer whom kept them on a few days later... what a big difference. It taught me not to rush to judgement.