Break in period

What would the forum say about how long or how many hours of play time needs to occur before you can establish that your new loudspeakers are playing at optimum performance? I've heard opinions on this all over the scale!! Does this depend on the type and brand of loudspeaker, material of drivers, power being driven, etc? Can we agree on a nominal time period? I realize it may also depend on how loud you play them as well. Any thoughts? Many thanks.
"Does this depend on the type and brand of loudspeaker, material of drivers, power being driven, etc? "

Obviously it does. I'd say anywhere from 100-200 hrs. would generally be enough for most new speakers.

Mine only starting to "sing" after 6 months of mostly weekends playing ie: 500 hours+.......
BTW, once broken in, you may want to play with your speakers positioning to suit vs when brand new.
Rather than give a total number of hours, I recommend you play spkrs low volume in the beginning perhaps even using compressed music or music without aggressive transients & dynamics. Increase volume gradually. Also, give yr new spkrs a little time to "warm up" (i.e. the voice coils) before you play loud from cold. All of this shouldn't take more than a total ~30-50hrs altogether.
What I can't understand about break-in is why speakers, CD players and other components -- even cables -- can sound great the day you take them out of the box and THEN start sounding like hell for what seem like interminable amounts of time. The worst, for me, were the Gallo Reference 3s, which became hard, brittle, airless and downright painful after about 6 hours, only coming back to life 150 hours later. I'm going through the same thing, if not to the same degree, with a new Raysonic CD 128 CD player. Sounded terrific Wednesday (this is Friday) and has been getting worse every day since. Dave
I'm guessing the "sounding good out of the box, then sounding bad" has to do with you getting adjusted to the sound. It's new, you want it to sound good, so it does. Then reality hits and you actually listen to the component. Break can't have a "typical" time associated with it. A dealer I used to work with bought a pair of B&W N804's and he swore that the bass got much better after two years.
No, no, no. I've heard that business about "getting adjusted to the sound," and it's nonsense, at least with respect to the Gallo Ref 3s and now the Raysonic CD player. The Gallo break-in nasties are even referenced in the owner's manual. If you haven't been there (the break-in period), you have no idea what this is like, especially the fact that they sound perfectly fine out of the box and THEN start sounding a lot less than fine. Dave
break in never guarantees a dramatic change or an improvement. your brain and ears do the adjusting and acceptence. if you don't like em now, you rarely love'em later.
sound the same toady as at first set up 4 yrs ago. = not a believer in the " the theory" or better "the myth" of the "break in period". As in all things audio you have 2 main camps. tubes vs ss, analog vs digital, , I'm in the camp with fewest members, no breakin time.
Break-in implies a significant change in response with time. Is this something desirable in equipment designed with accuracy in mind? Obviously not.

I try to avoid equipment that changes response significantly over long periods of time (weeks, months).
>or better "the myth" of the "break in period<

I assure the break-in is not a myth. And if you had a system capable of resolivng it, you would find that most componenets benefit from this "myth".

I don't know what the mechanism is, but I have had experiences similar to Dopogue's, particularly with cables. And with the Avalon Eclipses I bought in 1995, which were so variable in the first 6 months as to induce severe bouts of hypochondria (I must have some hearing disorder, etc etc). High-end audio...not for the faint of heart.
Dopogue, Great observation and I think you're right on. On the Raysonic I had expectations based on the review in 6moons and that is what I focused on for the first couple of hours out of the box. Warm, less resolution, rolled highs. Yep. Then the next day I started listening to it critically and concluded that the reviewer was FOS and, at a minimum, the tubes were a terrible match, no 'breaking in' could fix this sound! Dull, bloated, poor resolution, etc.

I was wrong! I rolled a ton of tubes in the Raysonic and my other stuff trying to get what I expected in the first place. Many weeks later I went back to the same tubes in the Raysonic and its IMHO great, especially at the price! Ditto my Tylers, dammed near sent them back to Tyler!

And for flatearther's amoungst us, my listening was always with other broken in speakers and CDP's available for comparison so I was able to track the changes. You're intitled to your opinions and experiences, but they are not universal for a good reason.
Grab yourself a pair (maybe not all brands) of the various single driver speakers on the market and spend some time with them and then tell us break-in is a myth. I have heard some changes in sound that had me downright scratching my head from day to day. From sounding like a cheap transistor radio to an open window to the music. From screeching shrill highs to almost no bass response, to a closed in soundstage to shunted dynamics and so on. It is one wild ride that anyone who's experienced dreads every going through more than once. I would swear my system was broken, it sounded so bad, had me checking every cable, tube, cord etc...trying to find an answer.
No, no, no. I've heard that business about "getting adjusted to the sound," and it's nonsense

well, I'm glad your opinion is fact.

A quick question. Do you assume that manufacturers only use new component parts when they make their prototypes and that their designs are only to be heard with new parts. I think it is reasonable to assume they do not, and that your product's critical parts age to approximate those of the manufacturers prototype.

Or are you saying that parts aging never changes the components contribution to the sound?

BTW, how do you define 'significant'.

Lastly how did you determine the appropriate length of time for the breakin to occur. It seems to me that listening skills/experience/interest are more determinative of the length of the break in period than anything else.

For other naysayers......

Everything is new, degrades and dies. Changes occur. Those are immutable 'facts'.

Why do I seem to note that when believers post they always post regarding the equipment that they observed the break in occur. Conversely, the nay sayers NEVER give any specificity to support thier positions. I would like them to tell us:
1) What credentials do you hold
2) What experience do you have
3) What have you actually listened to
4) Under what circumstances did you listen to the equipment that caused you to form your opinion.

Tell us poor believers what causes you all to want to deprive us of out poor beliefs. Absent 'facts' to support your beliefs that is!

Let us hear from you, but no more one liners please.
S7Horton, next time how about printing my whole sentence, not just the part you think you can nail as not factual?
Well, thank you all for your input and replies. I guess I touched a nerve with this topic. Sorry about the disagreements. We're all at different experience and educational levels when it comes to high end audio, eletronics, sound, etc.

My conclusion is that it's probably a combination of your own ears and brain acclamating over time plus the materials inside the speakers themselves are perhaps changing a bit. Maybe the Kevlar in my B&W's become less stiff for example. Just a thought. I'll go along with the first responder of between 100-200 hours. I have to tell all of you that when I installed a PS Audio power port some months ago and replaced the junk builder's grade eletrical outlet, I heard and continue to hear a marked difference in the information and detail coming from my loudspeakers and amp. I know this has nothing to do with the "break in period" topic but to if anything caused the sound to improve considerably, that did it. I actually installed a 2nd one since my SW is plugged into a different outlet from the amp. Good stuff gents.

It is not the fact that the brain and ears adjust to the sound of the new equipment. Our ears and braind actuall have very short memories. Listen to a song on a well conditioned system, then listen to the same song 24 hours later on the same system. Do you hear the same things as you did the first time or do you focus on something different in the music. Did you mood influence what you heard each time?

Ever attend a show. Can you tell the difference in the systems or do they all sound the same after your ears and brain have adjusted. I think not.

Lets deal with speakers B&W inparticular for starters they will take upwords of 300 hours to start to sound good. at 1000 they will start to sing. At 5000 you will go wow are these the same speakers.

It is not just the kevlar drivers but all of the drivers that require breakin, they are mechanical devices and will loosen up after time alowing for better driver extension and speed.

Now lets deal with electronics why do systems sound better after they have warmed up. Ever wonder, or is this something we just accept as fact. Electronic devices have ambient operating temperatures. Lets take a transistor or a tube as they heat up it allows the electrons to break free from their orbits more easily, transfering to a hole in the next molicule's orbit generating current. To much heat and the electrons will break free from their orbits randomly generating noise and distortion.

Ok got go will get back to this later.

P.S. Credentials 7.5 years USNAVY Electronic technican. 8 years Digital Switch Design Engineer.

Excellent input. Makes much sense. You're so right about our moods. I've been thinking about that too. Also night time when you have more melatonin present in the brain relaxes you more and music can sound greater. Lots of variables. Thanks again.

I've heard, and recreated, and used others unwittingly participating, to note that a Spectral amp or pre-amp, or Mitner pre, will (sorry folks) sound like *crap within the 5 minute marker and the 6 hour period. Actually, the Spectral 50-90 get louder somewhere around 5 hours. I build cables, and even in solderless designs they all, and always have a break-in period (200 hours min, and different metals differently) and have about a 20-120 min each time you use them as a warm-up period.
I do not have "golden Ears" I have "hypersensative ears" the difference being that I do not have perfect pitch nor can I tell you the hertz for a note. However, I use Raven Ribbons, which are wired with silver internal leads, and nearly nothing I do to my system gets past them. Sorry, voice coils are wires too, caps and binding posts are metal, and I've been assembling since 1988. If you've never heard it, it's okay, but I'm not saying you've never heard it, so please don't say I've not.
You're all great guys.
>not a believer in the " the theory" or better "the myth" of the "break in period"<

Better components will convince you.
One thing is for sure..Leaving your equipment on for weeks on end is NOT a good way to break in your new equipment. This is a technical fact. One reason specifically is that all capacitors have a maximum expansion point they can and should eventually reach, and this is only achieved properly by allowing them to cool, and heat up over and over. Otherwise, you burn them in to one expansion point by leaving the equipment on for endless periods, potenitally limiting the sonic ability of the capacitor and thus your equipment.