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Speaker Break In Period?

  • 7 January 2016
  • 8 replies
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Do the speakers in new Sonos products have a break in period? As with say guitar amplifier speakers sound warmer after being broken in? I just purchased 2 Play 5's over Christmas and was thinking about letting them play while I was at work? Is there any benefit to doing this?

Thanks.
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Best answer by Kumar 8 January 2016, 02:41

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8 replies

It is all in the head, the time it takes you to get accustomed to the different sound from the one you are used to hearing. Play them if you enjoy listening to them, there is no point in running them in an empty room.
You're thinking of tube amps, Joe. These devices are all digital... They'll sound as good now right out of the box as they will in ten years.
No, I'm actually thinking about the speaker cone itself, not tube wear.
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As others have said there is no breaking in period required.
There is a bit of controversy with respect to speaker cone "break in". In general, I don't think that it is much of an issue, but some will disagree with me. I know a pair of electrostatic speakers that require about 72 hours to stabilize after power has been removed for a while. In my opinion, "break in" is a one time event.

I know another company that suggests a "break in" period, yet they pack a frequency response chart with each pair of speakers. If this break in is required, how can they justify their frequency response chart without first breaking in the speakers? If the speakers are already broken in for the frequency response chart, why must the customer break them in again? If the speakers must be go through "break in" again, why? Do driver characteristics revert during shipment? Should one not allow the speakers to sit silently?

It is possible to measure the raw driver characteristics in a test jug. I'd love to see some before and after "break in", and long term metrics that I trust.
When I worked in the computer department of a large New England department store, the A/V guys were very big on speaker break in. And since you got a bonus when your return rate was very low, the break in period they recommended was the same as the 30 day return policy.
the break in period they recommended was the same as the 30 day return policy.
Lol. As good a reason for this as any!

I don't think Sonos talks about any such thing in their product material; if it was important, they would.

Here is as good an explanation as any, on the speaker subject by the designer of Harbeth speakers, Alan Shaw.
"Actually, the real situation is pretty basic stuff. The (usually) yellow suspension ring hidden under the cone, called in the trade the spider, is nothing more or less than resin impregnated woven fabric.

When flexed a few times, the sheet of resin presumably takes on micro fissures, and once that process has occurred - over perhaps the first few hours or so under normal home use, accelerated in the test lab by playing very loud - the fundamental resonance frequency of the woofer drops by a few percent (utterly inaudible, difficult to even measure) and that's it, forever. Any perception that the sound has subjectively improved after hiours, days or weeks is entirely and totally in the listener's imagination. They may well truly believe that, buit it is nothing more than familiarisation, a very common human experience. When I changed car recently I was amazed at the ride, the power and the handling. Two weeks later, it all seemed perfectly unremarkable to me."

On the subject of burn in of things like amps and cables, less said the better.
I heard one variant a guy who was going to work abroad for a period and instead of temporarily storing his belongings in a warehouse he left his newly bought speakers to a friend "to let him break them in" and win some time rather than them sitting unused. A perceived win-win.