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Speaker diaphragm of new headphones/earbuds need exercise, really?

Willen

Well-Known Member
Thread starter #1
Somewhere I read this sentence. After playing fairly loud music with super bass and super treble (till tens of hours) will improve the performance of new headphone?
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#2
It's called break in. I don't think you need to play them loudly. Just use them. Might be a myth though for headphones, but lots of things can be broken in. Baseball gloves, engines, music instrument strings.
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#3
Don't play loudly to avoid high frequency loss in your hearing. The diaphragms in headphones move such a small amount that you ill not hear any difference after breaking them in. Speakers (have diaphragms that move a lot) develop a lower resonant frequency after a break in.
 

Mickster

Well-Known Member
#4
Don't play loudly to avoid high frequency loss in your hearing.
Pardon? :D

Joking aside, I think that loud music has probably damaged my hearing, but that is hardly surprising since the headphones were always turned up to 11, the car was turned up to 11, and I went to the pubs/clubs with very loud music/bands.
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#5
I think that loud music has probably damaged my hearing, but that is hardly surprising since the headphones were always turned up to 11, the car was turned up to 11, and I went to the pubs/clubs with very loud music/bands.
Are you young or are you an old geezer like me? I protected my hearing during my audio career. I went to a disco with earplugs and a sound level meter and measured 120dB on the dance floor but most was low frequency booms that I felt shaking my body and not awful severely distorted "fuzz". It is normal for old people to lose their high frequency hearing sensitivity. My hearing aids correct my loss which is close to this normal graph:
 

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tomizett

Active Member
#6
Note that you don't have to *wear* them while breaking-in, just play them. So no need to endanger you hearing.
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
#7
with speakers and headphones "break-in" is a myth... it's also a myth with amplifiers... some manufacturers recommend a "break-in" period, but the true reason isn't to exercise the equipment, but to give you time to adjust to the sound, usually because the device being "broken-in" actually colors the sound somehow, and they don't want people returning the equipment until well after most return policies expire. this is especially true with companies that sell "Pure Class-A" amplifiers. since the amplifier is class-a, there's a bit of even harmonic distortion that you have to get used to hearing. but these amplifiers are usually in the $10k price range, and it just wouldn't do to have people returning their amplifiers almost immediately because the buyer is hearing detectable levels of distortion.
 

tomizett

Active Member
#8
Unusually, I have to disagree with you on this one. The suspension of loudspeakers does slacken off somewhat as they get used and, as AG mentioned, this causes the resonant frequency to lower slightly. I suspect that the extent of this depends rather on the surround materials - my instinct would be that linen surrounds would show more variation than rubber ones - but I've no evidence either way.
Now the extent to which this alters the sound is another matter... I'd never recommend that anyone bothered to break in speakers before any "serious listening", but I might recommend not using a box-fresh driver to design a cabinet around, as the alignment would then be "wrong" for most of the driver's lifetime.

All that said - yes, getting used to the sound is by far and away the biggest factor in so-called "break-in". As for amplifiers, surely that's nonsense?
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
#9
break-in for amplifiers is definitely nonsense... you should not be "hearing" an amplifier, because it should be acting like a "piece of wire with gain". for speakers, it is usually nonsense too... there may be some changes in the suspension, especially with paper cone drivers, but it's not that much. one thing i have seen mentioned that's definitely true with paper cone drivers is that it's not a good idea to use single frequency sine waves for long periods (more than a few seconds at a time) because standing waves on the cone can set up rings of weak spots in the paper if the frequency is a multiple of the mechanical resonance of the cone itself (usually a good crossover can prevent this, because such a tone would be outside the normal frequency range of the driver). these days there are very few drivers that have paper surrounds. most low frequency drivers have some type of synthetic material in the surround, midrange drivers are usually either small cone drivers, or midrange horns using a synthetic diaphragm, and tweeter drivers use a synthetic or metallic diaphragm. the range of motion on mids and tweeters are much smaller than for woofers, so the surrounds on them don't have a tendency to change with use. since most woofers these days use synthetic material for surrounds, the time when the sound of a speaker is changed the most by physical changes in the surround is when the surround material starts to wear out. plastics and rubber materials begin to stiffen and get brittle as the compounds they are made of begin to break down.

so, if a speaker has a paper cone with a paper surround, yes, it may need some "break-in". but with modern drivers using synthetic materials for the surrounds? no, the changes in the surrounds won't be enough to notice, since the materials are very pliable to begin with.
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#10
Are you young or are you an old geezer like me? I protected my hearing during my audio career. I went to a disco with earplugs and a sound level meter and measured 120dB on the dance floor but most was low frequency booms that I felt shaking my body and not awful severely distorted "fuzz". It is normal for old people to lose their high frequency hearing sensitivity. My hearing aids correct my loss which is close to this normal graph:
I need a graph like which extends up to 15kHZ. My hearing above 12kHZ has just vanished but other people my age, some of which who ride motorcycles and go to clubs and converts without hearing protection easily have 15kHz hearing.
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#11
I heard ultrasonic burglar alarms when I was young. They never turned them off because "nobody" could hear them.
When I got hearing aids I said that I want to hear the highest octave of music so the audiologist activated a feature that played the highest octave one octave lower. I told him that its sound was weird and I did not like it.
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#12
I heard ultrasonic burglar alarms when I was young. They never turned them off because "nobody" could hear them.
When I got hearing aids I said that I want to hear the highest octave of music so the audiologist activated a feature that played the highest octave one octave lower. I told him that its sound was weird and I did not like it.
Yeah, I can see that. That's kind of like saying you are red-green colour blind so make all reds and greens appear as some other colours.
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
#13
when i was young, and before i began playing bass in a band, i could hear the flybacks in TVs, and working in a TV shop wasn't easy for me with 10 or 15 TVs running all at once... about 15 years ago i was working at a TV shop here in colorado. i couldn't hear the flybacks anymore, but could still hear the crackle of high voltage when a TV was turned on, which was more than my boss could hear, he was always asking me if the HV had come up on sets he was working on. i finally showed him the "sticky note trick" where you put a sticky note on the screen of the TV, and when the power is turned on the sticky note moves when the HV comes up... my hearing currently cuts off at 13 or 14k, so at least i can still tell if tweeters are working...

the problem with being a bass player in a rock band is... you're usually standing next to the drummer's cymbals, and this was before earplugs became standard equipment at music stores...
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#15
The salesmen in the audio stores were old so they had the treble turned up to maximum and they always connected the speakers out-of-phase with cancelled bass so the bass was also turned up to maximum. When they weren't looking I connected their speakers in-phase and turned the bass and treble down to normal.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
#16
The salesmen in the audio stores were old so they had the treble turned up to maximum and they always connected the speakers out-of-phase with cancelled bass so the bass was also turned up to maximum. When they weren't looking I connected their speakers in-phase and turned the bass and treble down to normal.
You certainly had crappy audio stores, no such things over here! :D
 

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