For those of you who know a thing or two about subwoofers, you’ve probably heard the term Subwoofer Break In. In fact, a quick scan of trending car audio forums reveals in order to get the most out of your subs, more and more people are asking about the importance of a good break in. So, does breaking in your subwoofer improve the sound quality or it is just a myth doing rounds in the audio world? Let’s find out:
What Is Subwoofer Break In?
Breaking in a subwoofer means you play the sub for a certain period of time before installing it in your car for the purpose of loosening the unit’s suspension and improving performance. Breaking in a subwoofer requires time and patience; the first period is crucial in realizing any change to the performance.
How To Break In Your Subwoofer?
When it comes to properly breaking in a subwoofer, there are only a few different options. Before we get into them, having a steady load on the sub is highly recommended during the entire break in. Additionally, music tracks with patchy, intermittent or sporadic bass will simply not do. What you need is some heavy continual bass music played at a low volume.
This is the most common and widely used method. You’ll need to set up your subwoofer as you normally would and play your favorite songs at low to medium volume. Adjust the gain to half for a period of two weeks. After a few days, you should begin hearing a cozier sub with increased volume at constant power. Please note that you should not allow your volume to exceed medium during initial break in.
This method is a bit more complicated and requires a few nifty tools to get the job done. This option involves free airing the woofer (out of enclosure). You will need the following:
- Tone generator (either the equipment or a mobile app)
- Amplifier with 3.5mm jack to RCA
- Solid, breathable mounting surface
- Clear Signal
With the tools at hand, all you have to do now is use the tone generator and play a sine sweep of 30 to 60hz. Do this for 15 straight hours and you will notice increased performance post break in.
Should I Break In My Subwoofer?
While some people insist that a break in as of the utmost importance, others claim that it is merely science fiction. The issue sparked serious debates among car audio enthusiast, so audio labs and sound engineers went to work and tested the theory. All the trials and research established that breaking in a subwoofer is a good idea to maximize sound quality and the lifetime of the unit.
Now, some woofers such as studio and PA may not require a break in due to their uniquely high compliance suspension. No matter how hard you break in such speakers, you will not notice any appreciative performance pre or post break. Subwoofers, on the other hand, are an entirely different ball game. Most subs have elastic deformation or low compliance that requires some breaking in to loosen suspension gradually.
Because a subwoofer is designed and built in a factory with brand new, unused components, the mechanical parts that rely on motion are still very rigid and require more power to achieve their full potential. Typically, you will find that components like the spider and the rubber surround in the sub are much stiffer and resistant in newer subwoofers than old ones.
Think of it like a brand new, freshly built motor. After the first oil change, you should notice a rise in gas mileage and a significant boost in performance. As such, breaking in a subwoofer before installation should improve its performance and relax the elasticity. It was also noted when subwoofers underwent a lengthy break in period, they tend to outlast the brand new units that were never broken in. The long-term effects of subwoofer break in includes maintaining peak performance and lasting beyond the intended lifecycle.
We recommend that all new subwoofers be given a break in to loosen up the spider and allow for much higher excursion as well as the ability to reach much lower frequencies. Once the subwoofer is properly broken in, you are also less likely to cause damage to the coil since the sub is able to move freely. This also allows your sub to cool more efficiently.
In conclusion, your woofer will break in naturally if you play your music at a low volume for the first few weeks. More importantly you must have a proper enclosure build and amplifier to pair with your subwoofer. Without these components properly paired with your sub, the sound system will not only sound awful but this is also a safety risk.