Speaker Break In- my experience

Until now I have remained skeptical about claims of the need for speaker break in time. My experience with a brand new pair of Shahinian Diapasons has proved to me that this is a very real phenomena. My experience is somewhat unique in that I had a 10 year old pair of Shahinian Diapasons that I was listening to daily before my new ones arrived. Imagine my despair upon hooking up my brand new $12,000 pair and hearing what I could conservatively rate as terrible. I'm sitting there thinking oh god these really sound bad. Then my wife in the other room confirms my fear when she says "turn the music down it's hurting my ears". Then the ultimate confirmation when my 8 year old daughter walks in the room and says " I don't like them, you should take them back and keep the old speakers". Of course I tell my wife about break in and how everything will be just great once break in is accomplished. But inside I'm thinking that no amount of break in is going to solve this. I'm panicking now, one of my thoughts was that Richard Shahinian was getting older and his revised design was compensating for his high frequency hearing loss. Then I think OK I'll just wait 30 years and when I'm 70 these things will sound good. I'll grow into them! I paid full retail so unloading them was not an option. My only option was to give break in a chance. Since then (about 2 months) I have been playing the speakers every chance I get. I leave them on when I go to work or when we go out to eat. After a month, the old Diapasons still sounded better. A friend came over who I had been bragging to about my system. I hooked up the old Diapasons because I knew he wouldn't like the new ones. Thats when I called Vasken Shahinian and told him I was worried. He told me to be patient. The process has been gradual but the end result has been amazing. The speakers after two months are entirely different and entirely better. I went from hating these speakers to loving them. I can now report that Richard Shahinian still has fantastic ears.
stay skeptical.......they are fantastic speakers though
My sentiments exactly about Revels. They really mean it when they say 200 hours. My only beef is that with tubes, it really takes its toll. For that kind of money, you would think that the factory would break them in first. Imagine buying a porche that drove like a subaru for the first 3 months.......
I just about died when my dealer delivered a new set of Piega C-40 speakers. I thought they were just plain bad for several weeks. I wondered if it could be amps or cables or cosmic rays... I bitched and moaned at my dealer until he was surely sick of hearing it... But I took his advice and just let them play. It took me almost 4 months to get them broken in,

but now...

They are absolutely astounding. Everyone who hears them is ready to jump into a high end system. I can't even listen critically to my second system any longer (dunlavy V speakers).
Good story, Holzhauer. How do your wife and daughter think they sound now?
Jrd- hearing is believing. Gunbei- the wife and daughter now agree the new ones sound better than the older pair Spudco and Elevick- it was worth the wait but yes it was painful wasn't it. In my case it seemed like I bought a Yugo for the price of a Mercedes and it eventually turned into a Ferrari. For the disbelievers out there, I'm telling you the difference is not minor. The changes have been drastic. No source, cable, component or even room change has had as drastic an impact as break in.
Shahinian fans remember a bizarre Stereophile-review of the Diapasons that was published in May 1993. The speakers were trashed by both J. Gordon Holt and John Atkinson. The trashing was all the more astonishing as Holt in April 1990, after having listened to them for hours at several expositions, had named the Diapasons amazing speakers that reminded him more of a real concert that any other speakers he had ever listened to. In May 1993, however, he noted that the speakers sounded "awful", with steely highs. What had happened, I think, was
exactly the same phenomenon Stan Holzhauer describes. I my self own Diapasons. Last year, I gave the subwoofer to a carpenter from the Tretyakov gallery here in Moscow, to get them refurbished as I did not like the old oak look. The work took ten weeks. When I got the speakers back, and I reconnected the Diapason module after these weeks, again they sounded steely and awful. Fortunately, I knew it was going to pass. And it did. (By the way, this happened with other speakers I own, too.)
When the British magazine HiFiplus reviewed the Shahinian Obelisk last year, their reviewer wanted to return the speakers as well because of the awful sound. He concluded that this was the most torterous run-in of any speakers he had ever experienced. Later on, however, he praised them as the best speakers he had ever listened to. The German magazine Image HiFi, which reviewed a couple of Shahinians with excellent results, said the same: You ned a run-in that can last for months. But then Shahininas are some of the best speakers under the sun, as they and another German magazine, Stereo, found out.
In the US, Shahinian never quite recovered from that trashing in Stereophile, I think. Audiogoners would find them to be much more musically satisfying than a lot of other speakers they cherish. In contrast to Europe, where Shahinians get reviewed, US publications do not do it. It is, as with VMPS speakers, or LAT-International cables, a proof for the market not always going for the best product. The Absolute Sound published a review of the Shahinian Hawk speakers recently, and praised them, too. But they were careful not to publish the review in the magazine, only as a web-exclusive. You can find the review on their site in the review archive, typing "Shahinian". It is ironical that Americans still have to discover one of their greatest musical treasures in high end.
i believe speakers do need to be broken in..but i also know that our ears adjust or get used to a change provided our brains are buying into the fact that this difference we are hearing is somehow better. having said all that i believe mr shahinians ideas about reflective sound are right,and they result in something that comes much closer to real music than most.
Florian- I think you are absolutely correct about John Atkinsons review of the Diapasons. As I recall, he described them as tizzy on the top. That would accurately describe the sound before break in. In fact the only way to listen at length during break in was to turn down the treble control. I suggested to Richard that future loudspeaker deliveries include a warning note about break in. In talking to him, I sensed that he was not as disgusted by the pre-break in sound as I was. The irritation was clearly a preponderance of brightness. Perhaps his 65 year old ears (I'm guessing his age) aren't as sensitive to the irritating 15+khz at the top as are my 37 year old ears. Jrd- yes I think Richards point source design philosophy is at the heart of the Shahinians incredible sound. Several months ago I took a listen to some Quad 988's. I immediately was taken back with how good they sounded. The owner of the store then described how the 988 is designed with intentional delays in the concentric electrostatic mylar circles so as to emmulate a point source. I believe the reflections from the walls have significant impact but the real cause of the good sound is the point source emmulation.
All speakers require break-in. For $12K full retail, there are much better speakers, with much better components, and cabinets then Diapasons,that don't require a trip to the carpenter to make them look better.
This is a misunderstanding. I did not take the Diapasons to the carpenter because the woodwork was bad, but because I bought them used, and principally do not like the look of oak wood. Otherwise, the quality of the cabinets is first-rate. So are all drivers - from Seas of Norway and Eton in Germany - and the crossover, as I found out when I took a long look inside. As far as overall quality is concerned, the Diapasons are one of the best, and cheapest speakers on the market. One month ago, we had a high end- fair here. I listened to a lot of new, partly incredibly expensive speakers - e.g. B&W Nautilis 802s, Dynaudio's C4, Triangle's Magellan (35,000 $) or Linn's Komri for 40,000 $ a pair. I came away very satisfied with my decision of having bought the Diapasons.
Kana, at first I was going to ignore your post. Then I thought of John Atkinsons review of the Shahinians and how it damaged Richard Shahinians business. Pear Audio lets people read Atkinsons review after they have listened to the Shahinians. All agree the review is dead wrong. Richard just may be the greatest speaker designer ever and he would be the last one to say it. I have listened to hundreds of speakers at the best shops and at CES shows. None has been as good as the Shahinian Diapasons. Unfortunately many Americans are missing out on the best speakers available. Why? because Richard doesn't advertise and keeps very busy producing speakers for the people who have been lucky enough to find hi-fi's secret treasure. Now I'll get back to the subject. My point was to say that my experience is that speaker break in is real not imagined.