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  1. #1

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    Default Speaker break-in

    I have just connected my Polk FXi3s, CSi5 and RTi8s. I have read the controversy (elsewhere) that speakers need to be broken in over a period of anywheres up to 80 hours! Some have stated that is rediculous, no break in period is needed, except your ears. Does Polk recommend a break in period? If so, for how long?

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    Welcome to the forum,

    That is the same question I asked on my post here on the forum. The LSi's tend to need 75-100 hours on them to really open up, but I didn't find the RTi's needed as much time. 50 hours would probably benefit them quite a bit. To do this, you can just use them as you would regularly, or you can play white noise through them. I didn't have any test tones at the time, so I used blank fm "static" for several days in a row.

    I don't remember if Polk has an official stance on this, but logically, you have moving parts that stretch and break in as they are played.

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    okiepolkie is correct. About 50 hours of play really opens up a new pair of RTis. At the store I used to work at we often dealt with salesmen selling a display pair of speakers (including RTis) for one reason or another and when we would bring out a new pair they would sound drastically different than the already broken in pair. So in my opinion those claiming that it makes no difference are crazy.

    Just my $.02

    Enjoy your new system! ;)
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    No break-in period is necessary for solid state amps/receivers, however I do believe that it is necessary to allow the speakers to break in for a few hours at a decent listening level and allow the cones, drivers, tweeters, etc. to bend and move ("stretch") like Okiepokie and Cmy330go suggest. This has been debatable for many years and it always a topic that can be discussed until we pass out.

    If you're more interested in technical detail, I found an interesting article on speaker break-in. It would be great to hear what the other members of the forum have to say...

    Speaker Break-In Period: http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/...kerBreakIn.php

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    Thanks for all the replies. I had already read the audioholics report about break in and that is the one that convinced me that break in should be done. I am playing music and tv sound at a low to moderate volume levels for most of the day and night. I really can't wait to crank it up a bit, but from the replies above, I will just wait. From what okiepolkie stated, I hope that playing actual music and sound will be just as good as static and/or white noise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryR
    From what okiepolkie stated, I hope that playing actual music and sound will be just as good as static and/or white noise.
    I think its fine - just keep it at a low to moderate volume level. Welcome to the forum BTW! :)
    Better to have and not need than to need and not have!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryR
    I have just connected my Polk FXi3s, CSi5 and RTi8s. I have read the controversy (elsewhere) that speakers need to be broken in over a period of anywheres up to 80 hours! Some have stated that is rediculous, no break in period is needed, except your ears. Does Polk recommend a break in period? If so, for how long?
    When I brought home my speakers I was horrified at what I heard. After a day or two of letting them play on fm low volume 24/7 they smoothed out like you wouldnt believe.

    Welcome to the Polk Forum..... :)
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    I remember getting my RTi150s delivered in winter here in Minnesota. They were very cold so I let them warm up for a couple of hours before I tried them. They sounded awlful - because they were still cold. The next day, they sounded much better, but it really took a number of hours play time to get them to sound great.

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    It is a good idea to let a speaker break in for a few hours. You don't really have to be gentle with it (but of course dont be abusive either), but just realize that after a few hours of break in the speaker will start to sound more detailed and responsive. Mainly because of the suspension components loosening up from motion and heat. Woofers "break in" more noticeably than tweeters or smaller drivers. You may not notice any difference if you listen to the system while its breaking in. Acoustic memory is fairly short, and it will be similar to watching children grow. If you watch your own children grow every day, you will not see much change, but if you see a nephew whom you've havent seen in a while the difference can be quite dramatic.
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    I personnally believe that speakers need to be broken-in as well. They don't need to be babied, but I wouldn't be driving them at max wattage to the cliping point either. That said, speakers are the only thing I believe needs break-in, since they are a mechanical part. However, things like speaker wire, solid-state electronics, etc., I feel it is really just a sham for break-in. I mean, unless there is some material that you have to "melt" which then increases the electrical properties of the device, then it's just a bunch of bunk in my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maestro
    No break-in period is necessary for solid state amps/receivers, however I do believe that it is necessary to allow the speakers to break in for a few hours at a decent listening level and allow the cones, drivers, tweeters, etc. to bend and move ("stretch") like Okiepokie and Cmy330go suggest. This has been debatable for many years and it always a topic that can be discussed until we pass out.

    If you're more interested in technical detail, I found an interesting article on speaker break-in. It would be great to hear what the other members of the forum have to say...

    Speaker Break-In Period: http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/...kerBreakIn.php
    Sir,I beg to differ with the blanket statement that no break in is required with solid state amplifiers .some of the larger high quality capacitors require ample time to burn in and this goes for loudspeaker crossover networks as well. several highly regarded manufacturers including Sim Audio believe that burn in is required on thier power amplifiers and i fully agree with thier acessment and position on this matter. thanks....WCW III
    JAS Audio Bravo 2.3 SE Single ended Class A Tube Integrated Amplifier Svetlana 6C33-B triodes @ 18 wpc-Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC W-LME49990 op amps w Siemens 12AU7 -Black Cat Morpheus cables -Silverline Audio Sonata III

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    Waldecker,

    I did my homework before placing my previous post. I was very specific: solid state amps do not need a break-in break-in to perform. I got that information from the EEs, techs, and designers of QSC, Crown, Alesis, Universal Audio Lab, Marshall, Manley, Digidesign (Pro Tools), Mackie, etc. Those companies build "high-end" professional recording audio gear and would know what they are talking about. I count on them to make sure that my studio is running properly according to spec. There is no stretching or movable parts involved; it's strictly current. However, if you are talking about TUBE amps (guitar, mic-pres, and compressors), then yes, there is a period of break-in needed. (as per Universal Audio Labs, QSC, Fender and Marshall). You can contact them via web sites and address your concerns and I'm sure they would be happy to answer your question more specifically.

    Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maestro
    Waldecker,

    I did my homework before placing my previous post. I was very specific: solid state amps do not need a break-in break-in to perform. I got that information from the EEs, techs, and designers of QSC, Crown, Alesis, Universal Audio Lab, Marshall, Manley, Digidesign (Pro Tools), Mackie, etc. Those companies build "high-end" professional recording audio gear and would know what they are talking about. I count on them to make sure that my studio is running properly according to spec. There is no stretching or movable parts involved; it's strictly current. However, if you are talking about TUBE amps (guitar, mic-pres, and compressors), then yes, there is a period of break-in needed. (as per Universal Audio Labs, QSC, Fender and Marshall). You can contact them via web sites and address your concerns and I'm sure they would be happy to answer your question more specifically.

    Cheers.
    Maestro,the debate over the break in of solid state electronics, audio cables,and loudspeakers will probably never end. i have heard statements made in forums by electrical Engineers regarding break in ,some that agree that break in occurs and there are others who say that it cant happen. i believe that break in does occur as i have witnessed this phenomena first hand more than once. i respect the opinions of others but also respectfully disagree.thanks.WCW III
    JAS Audio Bravo 2.3 SE Single ended Class A Tube Integrated Amplifier Svetlana 6C33-B triodes @ 18 wpc-Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC W-LME49990 op amps w Siemens 12AU7 -Black Cat Morpheus cables -Silverline Audio Sonata III

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    My Cambridge Audio CD player (SS) had a label that says that sound will improve after a number of hours of play; this would be "break in".

    This is an old player...but I would swear that it also benefits from "warm up"; it sounds so much better after being on 10 minutes or so.

    But then....I could be crazy...or drinking too much :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by HTrookie
    My Cambridge Audio CD player (SS) had a label that says that sound will improve after a number of hours of play; this would be "break in".

    This is an old player...but I would swear that it also benefits from "warm up"; it sounds so much better after being on 10 minutes or so.

    But then....I could be crazy...or drinking too much :)
    I would not doubt this the least (the sound difference, not the drinking) ;) . One of the first things I learned in Circuit Analysis class is that electrons flow more easily through a cold conductor. As a conductor's temp rises so does it's resistance. I would certainly think that could have an effect on sound.
    HT
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  16. #16

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    Guys,

    I wondering if we are missing the point: the amp techs are saying - assuming manufacture protocol - that your unit prior to your purchase has already gone through necessary "break-in" test(s) as it is assembled - as they would say, getting the power amps "performance ready." And the amps go through a series of tests for a number of hours, then set aside, packaged up, sent to dealers, and long a behold purchase by you, Mr. Client/Consumer. If the amp fails during the tests or shows signs of mis-cues, etc., then it is scratched - do over. Of course, some units sneak by with malfunctions.

    What further test Mr. Client/Customer will add to this equation? Harman/Kardon customer service said that break-in is not necessary. Could that person be incorrect? There is no indication in the manual. Maybe some manufactures use that "please allow amp to break-in for a few hours prior to use" as a safeguard to keep customers from abusing the amps before the warranty expires. Who knows.

    You guys are stating that you "believe" that it is necessary, but what's the source or data that suggests that to be true?

    I think it is a great subject, and Waldecker you are right, the debate of break-in probably will never end.

    Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving!

    Cheers.

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    I think much of this depends on what you mean by beak-in. I would venture to say that most solid state amps or electronics don't require a period of easy runtime before it can be used as normal. However I do feel that the overall sound of an amp can change slightly over the first 40-100 hours. I'm sure that most manufacturers run tests on the equipment before shipping, but I doubt that they would run each unit for that long of a time.

    Fact is that the measurements of many components such as resistors, capacitors, transformers, etc. will change after being used for a period of time. And as you can imagine this can have an effect on the sound of the component.

    Dave
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmy330go
    I think much of this depends on what you mean by beak-in. I would venture to say that most solid state amps or electronics don't require a period of easy runtime before it can be used as normal. However I do feel that the overall sound of an amp can change slightly over the first 40-100 hours. I'm sure that most manufacturers run tests on the equipment before shipping, but I doubt that they would run each unit for that long of a time.

    Fact is that the measurements of many components such as resistors, capacitors, transformers, etc. will change after being used for a period of time. And as you can imagine this can have an effect on the sound of the component.

    Dave
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    Default cs4000i

    hey i'm looking for advise can a cs4000i be repaired or what should i buy to replace it i have rt 2000i in the font and rt600i in the rear

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryR
    I have just connected my Polk FXi3s, CSi5 and RTi8s. I have read the controversy (elsewhere) that speakers need to be broken in over a period of anywheres up to 80 hours! Some have stated that is rediculous, no break in period is needed, except your ears. Does Polk recommend a break in period? If so, for how long?


    can you fix a cs4000i or what do you replace it with

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    hello bye

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbutler1953
    hello bye
    Alrighty Then!
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    Recently, I purchased a pair of Polk Monitor 30s to accompany my Polk tower floor speakers as a rear channel.

    After doing much reading about proper speaker "break in" and the varying opinions that surround the topic, I just decided to call the manufacturer (Polk Audio in this case) and ask if Polk had a recommended "break in" period. The technician was quite helpful.

    He said regardless of what people say or manufacturers tell you, every speaker goes through that "burn in" or "break in" process.

    For my particular speaker I was questioning (Polk Monitor 30) the technician indicated that these speakers require about 30 hours of use to "break in" properly. He also said, make sure not to exceed 2/3 of the max volume that the speaker can handle during this period, but he also said playing music or white noise at just above audible level, is sufficient enough to "break in" these speakers, as would be listening to them normally.

    He said a lot of people just run speakers for a day or two straight to get the "break in" out of the way. He said for me however, because I listen at reasonable volumes, to just listen to them normally, and allow them to break in as I'm enjoying them.

    I know a lot of people have opinions and stances on this particular subject, but the information I just listed, came straight from a Polk Audio technician.

    I would recommend that anyone questioning proper "break in" of their speakers, to contact the manufacturer, and ask what they would recommend for this process.
    Last edited by HuskySpade; 01-06-2009 at 01:22 PM. Reason: Typos
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    I think 2 different questions need to be addressed.

    1) Do various speakers/components need to be "broken in" to SOUND better?
    2) Do various speakers/components stand a chance of being DAMAGED if high current is applied early in the components life?

    For instance, with speakers, it makes sense that (in some cases) parts could be "over stretched" if not allowed to naturally loosen up.

    For caps, wires, etc., it's probably not damaging, but they just sound better with age as they burn in.
    Last edited by inspiredsports; 01-06-2009 at 01:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by inspiredsports View Post
    I think 2 different questions need to be addressed.

    1) Do various speakers/components need to be "broken in" to SOUND better?
    2) Do various speakers/components stand a chance of being DAMAGED if high current is applied early in the components life?

    For instance, with speakers, it makes sense that (in some cases) parts could be "over stretched" if not allowed to naturally loosen up.

    For caps, wires, etc., it's probably not damaging, but they just sound better with age as they burn in.
    I may have an answer for question 1, but not sure about 2.

    1.) After reading different user experiences and opinions. It appears that mid and woofer drivers benefit the most - as properly "broke in" speakers tend to resonate clearer, more defined lows and mids, as opposed to fresh right out of the box. I'm not completely positive how the tweeter driver benefits, but I think this process helps "open up" the highs just a bit more.

    As for question 2, I don't have an answer. I would assume if "abused" or "blared" at high volumes, without being "loosened" first, I'm not so sure its good for the driver - ultimately resulting in poorer sound quality overall because the drivers were strained when brand new.

    But thats just my two cents. The only information I firmly back up in this claim, is the original post I made regarding the discussion with the Polk Audio technician.
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    The AES studied this and ran a series of articles about it, many of which are referenced by that Audioholics report. The conclusions that were notable to me were:

    1) Break in takes no more than 2 minutes.

    2) There is more measurable variance between two drivers right off the same line than there is between a driver before and after break-in.

    3) Speakers driven continuously for a lengthy period of time will exhibit measurable differences which disappear after a rest period. (They do warm up.)

    A good solid reason for a speaker manufacturer to recommend a lengthy break in period would be that short term listening evaluations are notoriously unreliable. Letting an opinion form over the course of weeks usually results in a better informed opinion. Some people don't like it the first time they hear a really detailed speaker and need some time to get used to what they're hearing.

    Another reason (and you see this especially with subwoofer manufacturers) is that it's human nature to test the limits of a new toy. Thousands of subs have undoubtedly been saved by the advice to "take it easy" during break in. If a sub works for a month and then dies, the evidence sort of points to something other than a manufacturing defect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SEH View Post
    The AES studied this and ran a series of articles about it, many of which are referenced by that Audioholics report. The conclusions that were notable to me were:

    1) Break in takes no more than 2 minutes.

    2) There is more measurable variance between two drivers right off the same line than there is between a driver before and after break-in.

    3) Speakers driven continuously for a lengthy period of time will exhibit measurable differences which disappear after a rest period. (They do warm up.)

    A good solid reason for a speaker manufacturer to recommend a lengthy break in period would be that short term listening evaluations are notoriously unreliable. Letting an opinion form over the course of weeks usually results in a better informed opinion. Some people don't like it the first time they hear a really detailed speaker and need some time to get used to what they're hearing.

    Another reason (and you see this especially with subwoofer manufacturers) is that it's human nature to test the limits of a new toy. Thousands of subs have undoubtedly been saved by the advice to "take it easy" during break in. If a sub works for a month and then dies, the evidence sort of points to something other than a manufacturing defect.
    Great points! Well done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SEH View Post
    The AES studied this and ran a series of articles about it, many of which are referenced by that Audioholics report. The conclusions that were notable to me were:

    1) Break in takes no more than 2 minutes.

    2) There is more measurable variance between two drivers right off the same line than there is between a driver before and after break-in.

    3) Speakers driven continuously for a lengthy period of time will exhibit measurable differences which disappear after a rest period. (They do warm up.)

    A good solid reason for a speaker manufacturer to recommend a lengthy break in period would be that short term listening evaluations are notoriously unreliable. Letting an opinion form over the course of weeks usually results in a better informed opinion. Some people don't like it the first time they hear a really detailed speaker and need some time to get used to what they're hearing.

    Another reason (and you see this especially with subwoofer manufacturers) is that it's human nature to test the limits of a new toy. Thousands of subs have undoubtedly been saved by the advice to "take it easy" during break in. If a sub works for a month and then dies, the evidence sort of points to something other than a manufacturing defect.
    Your points are only semi-valid.

    When a speaker is worn in, what specs change? If only compliance changes and the electrical properties stay the same, this is more significant than the variations within a batch.

    If you break it in within 2 minutes, what excursion are you running? Can I take a speaker and play it at any level I choose and say it's conditioned within 2 minutes?

    Lastly, have you ever taken a brand new speaker, measured the specs, and then done it again after a good break-in? I have, and some specs change dramatically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by inspiredsports View Post
    I think 2 different questions need to be addressed.

    1) Do various speakers/components need to be "broken in" to SOUND better?
    2) Do various speakers/components stand a chance of being DAMAGED if high current is applied early in the components life?

    For instance, with speakers, it makes sense that (in some cases) parts could be "over stretched" if not allowed to naturally loosen up.

    For caps, wires, etc., it's probably not damaging, but they just sound better with age as they burn in.

    There will be no overstretching. Break-in does the same thing as playing music, it makes the cone move.

    1) In my experience, subs sound 'deeper' after a break-in.
    2) A new speaker will take power better than an old one. It is stiffer and therefore the speaker does not travel as much for the same current. Ever seen a speaker with the surround falling apart. Now THAT is a speaker that can be easily damaged.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinAce View Post
    Your points are only semi-valid.

    When a speaker is worn in, what specs change? If only compliance changes and the electrical properties stay the same, this is more significant than the variations within a batch.

    If you break it in within 2 minutes, what excursion are you running? Can I take a speaker and play it at any level I choose and say it's conditioned within 2 minutes?

    Lastly, have you ever taken a brand new speaker, measured the specs, and then done it again after a good break-in? I have, and some specs change dramatically.
    Those weren't my points. They were the points I found interesting in controlled studies that have been done on this subject by professionals.

    All of your questions are answered in long form in the AES articles and in a more summarized way in the Audioholics article linked earlier in the thread. Audioholics came to the same conclusions as the AES, neither of which seem to match your anecodotal claims.

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