Speaker break-in tips..

Volume level and recommended music. For my M20s I used my tuner when (on a jazz station) I wasn't home and played what I wanted to listen to when home. Would I be better off playing a cd when I'm not around, something dynamic like the soundtrack to Gladiator or the like? Maybe you can suggest a paricular piece of music? As far a volume goes: moderate (not ear bleeding levels, of course) is usually the best, but I was wondering if I kept my system playing through the night, at a low volume; would that be cool? My new Harmonic Precision, Caravelles should be here hopefully, in a couple of days. Thanks in advance.
peace, warren
Hi again, Warren. Most break-in is about woofer surrounds, then all driver spiders. Quickest exercise is to face speakers together a foot or so apart, ONE out of phase, and play anything dynamic for a few days. The bottom octave will fill in as the surrounds soften and the Fz lower, as will spiders so that crossover/driver responses approach their targets. Maybe tweeter domes break in too, but I'm not sure if that's just a psychoacoustic effect from spectral tilt changes as the OTHER drivers blossom lower in frequency. Have a nice vacation!
I agree w/ subaruguru. Face the drivers out of phase. Put them closer than a foot if you want to. The closer you put them the softer you can likely play and get the same break in. When I break in drivers I clam-shell them directly together with c-clamps. I've got a half dozen in the garage going right now.

I remain,
The info with my Totem 1s suggested low to moderate levels for the first hours, so it might be a good idea to take it easy for a while. Also, a mono signal should cancel more of the output when running one speaker out of phase.
Ern, can you explain the out of phase deal? That's (I believe) where one speaker I reverse the plus and minus? Why place them so close together? What is that about? Also, I'm confused about "the softer you can likely play and get the same break-in." This switching the plus and minus won't damage the speakers, obviously? Can you explain? My ears are great, but I'm lost with this. Why will this speed things up rather than just plain ole running them at moderate levels with dynamic music? Thanks. peace, warren

You are correct about "out of phase". Reverse the +/- on one speaker only. It will not damage the speaker, it simply moves in the opposite direction of what was intended.

The idea with wiring one speaker out of phase and placing the speakers very close (I do as close as possible, without touching) is that the out of phase signal will cancel the in phase signal, therefore significantly reducing the perceived volume. You will be amazed at how much less volume you hear, even though the speaker driver is moving the same as if it were playing louder. Also, if you play a mono signal into both speakers at the same time, you will get a very low perceived volume because nearly ALL of the signal will be cancelled as you are playing an exact opposite signal through the out of phase setup. For a regular stereo setup, the "difference" signal will not be cancelled, ie, if an instrument typically plays from only one of the speakers during normal listening, it will not be cancelled because there is not an "opposite" signal being played from the other speaker.

BTW, the idea behind this setup is that you can have your speakers playing at relatively high volume, but because the signals are cancelled, it won't sound loud and you can play it continuously for long periods (like over night/during work) without waking up the household or the neighbors!!


Maybe as a source during your break in, this will help:


good luck.....
Thanks for the clarity Tom. Volume perception? Should I turn the volume KNOB up to what? 12:00, 1:00, 11:00? What's the desired setting here, if any? I guess, running 24/7 I'll have, after four days, a good listening place to start. Yes? Running my system through the night will really speed things up. I love it. thanks again, warren
Thanks Tom, for the aside email. I understand the deal; FINALLY!! warren
In case its not clear to anyone wondering about the "out of phase break-in"..... Its a method of running your speakers quietly while you are not listening to them that works them as if they are playing at a louder level. The out of phase output from the speakers will largely cancel each other out. Mono recordings should cancel the most sound. You should have an idea of a safe volume you would usually listen at so as to not damage your speakers by inadvertantly overdriving them. Hope that helps.
Yes indeed. Thanks again and Happy Christmas...