It may seem counter-intuitive, but there really is something to the idea of “breaking in” a car subwoofer package right after it’s been installed. If you’re wondering exactly how best to go about that process, we’re here to give some tips.
It helps to think of the breaking-in (or “running in,” as it’s sometimes known) process much like an athlete stretching before an event. By putting the speakers under a moderate load for extended periods for a few days, the initial stiffness of certain components, including the spider sitting under the diaphragm, can stretch out and be loosened up.
This allows the speakers to be able to deliver a clearer and more accurate sound reproduction, and helps them last longer. Just like a car engine, it’s best to break in a speaker slowly, playing at lower initial volumes, before working it up to its full potential after some time.
High to Low
There are CDs that have been designed by and for professionals to help break in subwoofers and other speakers. Obtaining these CDs might not be overly difficult, but properly utilizing them is another matter. It’s better to use some music that is already on hand and that covers a broad range of frequencies from the low end to the high end. Plus listening to a solid test tone for hours is no fun. Ask around, or consult your car audio specialist, for the best pieces that have that degree of range.
To go into the mechanics a little more, the spider is the one component that benefits most from subwoofer break-in efforts. It’s a disc of what looks like concentric rings, formed from cloth that has been dipped in epoxy and formed to shape, then subjected to high heat to set the shape in place. By subjecting the spider to a breaking-in process, microscopic cracks are introduced into the spider, allowing it to more easily resonate and flex with your music.
Doing It Yourself
A completely legitimate question that comes to mind is, “If the shop has car subwoofers for sale, why don’t they break them in as part of the installation process? Or even before installation?”
Properly breaking in a woofer requires hours of play time, as well as exposing it to the different types of music you will be listening to. Everyone has a unique ear, so breaking in the woofer yourself typically gives the best results. Plus, who wants to pay a shop to listen to your stereo for hours, when you can do it for free?
The best car subwoofers may be built to exacting standards and tolerances, but once they’re put into a vehicle, they need to be worked up to their full potential. Talk to the specialists at Audio Express to find out the best way to ease your new subwoofers into the job.