Speaker Burn In?


Many components including speakers are said to require burn in of some period of time before they will reach their peak performance. Speakers like Magnepan are notorious for long burn in periods. Even cables are said to require burn in. Now I an faced with a set of speakers that need upwards of 240 hours burn in before they will 'open up' and play their best.

When faced with a required burn in how to yo do that burn it? Do you simply let it run it's course of time during your normal playback schedule or do you run the system 24/7 until the required time has been met? Are there other methods that can be used? Is their an accepted preferred method? And does the volume being played for burn in have an impact? Do higher volumes 'drive' the component harder and therefore provide a better burn in or to moderate or low volumes achieve the same goal?

In the past I have simply ignored the burn in as an effort and allowed the time to occur 'naturally' during my normal playback times. But with my last several components I have been more mindful of burn in and the recommended hours to optimum performance. Right now I am burning in a pair of speakers. I am about 40 hours in on non-stop playback. My normal listening level is from 72 to 81 on my system. When I leave the house or go to bed I drop the volume to 60 to 63. It is audible and in fact at this early time (3:40 AM) locally it even seems a little loud. How do you deal with this process?

Important process or waste of time thinking about it?
mwheelerk
It 's up to what you want. Do you want the fastest burn-in to get the chore behind you? Or do you want to have the experience of hearing the change and enjoying the speakers at the same time.
If you want the fast way, take them to the garage or shed, hook them to a receiver , face them togetherand put one speaker out of phase. Throw a blanket over them, give them a watt or two and in 10 days hook them back in your main system.
Or.... just hook them up and forget about them and enjoy.
You may as well just play them. Always make the dealer burn them in first so you can hear them at their best, otherwise they probably already do, and the dealer made an easy sale. There is too much bullshit regarding speaker and wire burn in. 24 hours is enough. You will only THINK they sound better by waiting. I've had dealers mad at me for having them take the time to burn the speakers in, so that way they had no excuses if I didn't like the sound. My money is worth more that their time...because.... it is money that has been worked for and saved in advance. Not money they haven't earned yet, so don't let the dealer tell you you're wasting his time. That's what they're there for. Just play the speakers. No need to run pink noise or run one speaker out of phase. If they do not sound good after 24 hours, (I don't care how expensive they are) they will do your ears no good. Happy listening.
no speaker transforms 'that' radically..enjoy them now.
You can do both. Play lots of music while you're home and awake, play a tuner at night and while at work. I haven't bought many new speakers, but did find that Vandersteens did improve radically after a week of non stop play.
I haven't ever bought a speaker that wasn't enjoyable when new, out of the box, that was a keeper. Anything else that was new that didn't sound satisfying to begin with, wasn't a keeper either. There shouldn't be that much of a change. I've never pushed any hard for the first few days, to give all the moving parts a chance to physically loosen up, and settle in. Enjoy them while they break in.
01-01-12: Polk432
You may as well just play them. Always make the dealer burn them in first so you can hear them at their best, otherwise they probably already do, and the dealer made an easy sale. There is too much bullshit regarding speaker and wire burn in. 24 hours is enough. You will only THINK they sound better by waiting. I've had dealers mad at me for having them take the time to burn the speakers in, so that way they had no excuses if I didn't like the sound. My money is worth more that their time...because.... it is money that has been worked for and saved in advance. Not money they haven't earned yet, so don't let the dealer tell you you're wasting his time. That's what they're there for. Just play the speakers. No need to run pink noise or run one speaker out of phase. If they do not sound good after 24 hours, (I don't care how expensive they are) they will do your ears no good. Happy listening
I have to disagree with this statement regarding the time of burn-in. It may be true with some brands but I have survived 3 pair of Dynaudio C1 burn-in. My first pair I was not happy with the finish and after 450 hrs Dynaudio got me replacements. The 3rd pair was upgrading from the originals to the Signatures. Out of the box they are 90% of burned in ones BUT between 100 and 200 hrs they were just horrible. Honky/shouty mids - muddy lows and extremely bright highs. At around 350hrs they settled down and are doing my ears good :). That being said when I got the Signatures I borrowed my son's 'lesser resolving system' after 50hrs because I could blame the horrible sound time on that (hehe)

If you are impatient like me go for 7/24 otherwise just listen.
I have built alot of speakers, my experience is that if drivers have larger coils and heavy suspensions, they do take longer to break in. You have to loosen that suspension and before they can reach their potential. Most Dyns have 3" coils in the 6" drivers are larger, these drivers take much more time than a speaker with a 10" woofer with a 1 1/2 coil, a mid with a one inch coil and a dome. I am currently using an MTM with 2 HiVi D6.8(same driver as a Totem Forest). When I first fired these up, I was very concerned, Weak bass, huge mid range glare... After about 40 hours the transformation started, by 100 hours I could listen to them, but not until around 400 hours did they finally totally blossem. These are now one of the best speakers I have ever owned.
I have seen speakers with lighter suspensions sound pretty dog on good in 100 hours or so... It clearly varies by speaker.
Set em up and let em play as much as you can. The enjoyment will improve and improve.
I have three pair of speakers that I swap out now and then. Each time I do I have to let them play for a few days before they sound right. To me speakers sound right when they completely disappear. All of these speakers have many hours of play on them. I also have two digital and one analog front end. When I switch from one to another they also have to play awhile, but only maybe an hour or so.
I guess everything has to burn in, but still need to warm up before you can judge them. I just turn on cable radio to let mine warm up.
Xti16. The point I am trying to make is that you may not like the speakers after you take all that time to burn them in, and it may be too late to get a refund. Better safe than sorry. Linn Katans (sound good to me) take up to 600 hours to burn in? I ain't buyin' that.
Although most speakers require run in time to smooth out, there sonic signature will remain the same. So what you hear when new will still be there later.
The capacitors may actually need more time to settle than any other part.

My panels had image shifts and cutouts for a couple hours...at decreasing frequency. By 20 hours the caps were formed and the speaker was 90% 'there'.

Don't worry about it. I'd suggest letting the new speakers cool periodically, too.
Play normally and you'll be ok.

600 hour burn in? Wacky. That's almost 7 months at 20 hours / week.

How much 'break in' time for the speakers is actually your EARS / brain adjusting?
I just bought a pair of B&w 802 Diamonds and a Classe 2300 to drive them. They sound great right out of the box after being delivered on a chilly morning. Letting them burn in with use, which is heavier during the holiday period.

The Sony 5400ES took a week to sound good and two weks of 24/7 burn in to sound its best. Same for the etymotic headphones i use with my ipod.

So it seems to depend on the units and i would not generalize.
this came up a few weeks ago so you may want to check the archives
Polk432 - I understand what you are saying an have a good point but there is some gear that requires a longer break-in when purchasing new. If you consider 600 hr burn in that would only be 25 days running at 24/7. I know 24/7 is not an option for everyone. There is always pre-owned. I personally would rather support my local authorized dealer and not have to worry about any warranty issues should they arise. Also when I first bought the C1's my dealer brought over his personal pair to make sure that is what I really wanted. That way I knew what I would end up with regardless of how long the break-in time was (not many dealers do that). But I'm impatient and did the 24/7 route (16 1/2 days).
600 hours.. are you kidding me? I have Martin and Gibson Guitars that are supposed to sound better after years of play and sitting, but.... if they do not sound good right off the bat (just like speakers) I'm not buying. It's just good business sense, but that's why I retired at 48. Best of luck.
Do higher volumes 'drive' the component harder and therefore provide a better burn in or to moderate or low volumes achieve the same goal?

with some speakers it is true.After 3 hours moderate to loud listening levels Dynaudio contour s1.4 started sound nice at normal listening levels.(during this session sound was fantastic-still remember brayn adams,even my neighbours came outside to listen,they were stuned with nice realistic sound,I was picking berries in yard,got bored and decided to have fun:))Before that it sounded somewhat bland at normal levels for several months.
If you have a tuner turn it between station so you hear white noise. Set up loudspeakers facing each other if too loud switch +- on one loudspeaker play as long as you like. If you switch +- the level of noise will be reduced. Still for break in I mostly just listen to music. No loudspeaker or electronics should sound poor before break in but they will change for the better with it. For me I hear break in mostly in hi quality transducers that use voice coils and stiff surrounds in ribbons no break in need. Some capacitors seem to improve with use. Still its slight. Though I have measured differences in transducers from new to broken in it was very slight. But measurable on some transducers.
What measurements were taken? Was everything else controlled for? (cap age, for example)
The only explanation I could come up with when I first turned on my panels and heard the image shifting L / R was caps forming.
And, why does it have to get better when 'broken in'? Why can't it get worse?
About 90% of speaker break in is really your ear/brain getting used to the new sound.
The speaker needs to be driven to break in. White noise is ok for caps and cables, but for speakers you need to drive them to break them in.
I just measured drivers response in anechoic chamber comparing brand new to drivers with significant break in time. I didn't test complete loudspeakers. Mostly used full range drivers but also a few woofers nothing that need a network was tested since it would add variables. I now run in all loudspeakers before sold to customers its a pain. The costly fullranges had the most difference between new and used but it was slight.
Use pink noise then if whites not your thing;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPk9HpXZLj8