"Break in" time of audio equipment

Thread Starter


Joined Dec 17, 2009
Can someone please explain why and how speakers,solid state amplifiers, cd players, and audio cables require a "break in" time to reach their peak performance, or do they really? Also why does a solid state amplifier supposedly work better when it's been on for a few hours?


Joined Dec 8, 2006
I've never heard of a "break in" time. They aren't exactly a pair of shoes. Perhaps there is an effect on sound of using a speaker for a while but I really don't know if that would be considered a good thing.

A solid state amplifier probably sounds better when it's been on for a while because their performance does change a bit as they heat up. You can even determine the ambient temperature of a diode based on it's Current-Voltage relationship. Tubes you wouldn't really notice the difference because they generally are always pretty hot, where-as transistors probably take a bit more time to heat up.


Joined Apr 20, 2004
audio cables
Sounds like more audiophile horse pucky. It's hard to imagine for any of the other items.

A car's engine is the only thing I have ever heard of (until now) that needs breaking in. Audio cables, indeed!


Joined Sep 30, 2009
I think he means "burn in" time. Supposed to find any faults in components by getting them to operating temp and keeping them there. Usually for 24-36 hours.


Joined Apr 20, 2004
Audio cables? Loudspeakers?

Most active devices that are going to fail do so in the first 10 hours of use. That is definitely burn in time, vice break in.
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Joined Mar 8, 2009
As a rule of thumb, the electrical device should be appropriately tested by the buyer during the warranty period. I believe this is what the you are asking!!


Joined Dec 20, 2007
The suspension of a speaker might become more flexible after it has been operating for a while. Then its resonant frequency is reduced. That is its break in period.


Joined Feb 11, 2008
And the cardboard cone will soften a little. Normally they run the speakers for X amount of time before they do the final testing of the driver's freq response. Well the good manufacturers do.


Joined Jul 13, 2008
What about the reforming of electrolytics that may have been on the shelf for quite some time?
This phenomenon applies to the main capacitor in an electronic flash unit, which are usually apx 350 volt, 200 - 2000 μfd, singly, or higher when ganged in studio setups. If not used for awhile, their "capacity " seems to go south.