Buying your first subwoofer can be an exciting experience. Subwoofers are essential components of any audio setup. It’s not just about having the most bass possible but also balancing it with other speakers and components. Many people never think about breaking in their subwoofer so that they may have difficulty with the sound quality or, even worse – damage the driver. Let’s discuss what happens when you don’t break in a subwoofer and some strategies to ensure that doesn’t happen!
Why is the subwoofer a critical component of your audio setup?
Subwoofers are responsible for creating that powerful and deep bass sound. Subwoofers are often the most prominent speakers, covering frequency ranges between 20 Hz and 200 Hz.
Many songs aren’t the same without powerful bass. Think about your favorite song – chances are it has a solid and deep bass track that brings the music to life unless you listen to classical music or something with predominant acoustic sounds.
Do you need to break in a new subwoofer?
Yes, you do. Not only is it good practice so that your subwoofer performs at its best all of the time, but if not done, there’s a tiny chance of damage to the driver, which would require a replacement.
Some speaker companies don’t require you to break in their subwoofers because they do it before shipping it to you. This process is a good option for those who don’t have the time or patience, but in general, it’s good practice to break your subwoofer in.
What happens when you break in a subwoofer?
A few moving parts are involved when using an audio device with a high dynamic movement range (i.e., a subwoofer).
The subwoofer has a cone that moves back and forth attached to it is the voice coil – think of it as an electromagnet that creates the movement in the speaker field inside your subwoofer enclosure. The surround or suspension helps keep everything centered on avoiding damage by over-excursion (i.e., being pushed too far). These parts have different break-in methods, but one thing they all have in common is movement.
The subwoofer achieves total flexibility and can reproduce high-quality bass sound with enough time. By breaking in the suspension mechanism, you are allowing the parts to soften and become more pliable.
Think of it like a car’s engine running before you take it out on the highway. If not broken in, some parts might rattle and make noise (or create distortion and weird pop noises in your subwoofer) – but if done correctly, everything is working at its best with no damage or mechanical defects.
What are the risks of not breaking in a subwoofer?
Not only is there a slight risk of damage to the drivers, but there’s also a decent chance that your subwoofer might not sound as good as it could for the first few days or weeks.
You didn’t buy a subwoofer to have some lame bass sound, correct?
You want the bass to have clarity and speed – so taking a few days to break your subwoofer in will ensure that it’s working at its best and sounds just like you expect it to work.
No, but seriously, the chances of having a damaged subwoofer are slim because you didn’t warm them up correctly. Unless you go all out in the first test, max the volume knobs, overpower the system, and push it to its limits.
How do you break in a subwoofer?
The process is quite simple, and we can divide it into 2 steps.
1. Check everything is connected properly
Before you go ahead and play some bass-heavy music, everything must be connected correctly – otherwise, the subwoofer might not sound as good as it could.
Ensure the speaker is placed in a solid base, and the front-facing side and the airhole are not obstructed or very close to a wall.
2. Play some bass-heavy music
Start with some bass-heavy music at a low or moderate volume. This step will help the speaker slowly break in – you don’t have to play it for days. Just give it a couple of hours per day for ten days or so for 10-20 hours.
You must also play the music at a low or moderate volume because if not, there’s a risk of damage to your speakers. You wouldn’t want to overwhelm them and break or distort their components – so always keep them safe!
Pick a song with a strong bass beat, then loop it for a while. No need for an hour-long playlist with just one piece over and over again! Don’t choose classical music or something too quiet without low-frequency sounds – it won’t have the same effect!
After a few days, you can leave the bass playing for an hour or two at higher volume levels to achieve a better result. Going out for dinner with the family or doing other activities while your subwoofer plays the music might be convenient. And make sure the neighbors are okay with it!
How long does the break-in period last?
Technically, once your subwoofer has reached the point of having a full range and good bass response – you’re all set! But this can change for each brand and model.
Some companies recommend 10-20 hours, while others recommend 100 or more. And as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, some subwoofers don’t require break-in periods because they’re designed to be immediately ready for use. You might feel like your subwoofer starts to sound better after a few days.
The bottom line
As you can see, there’s no definitive answer. After being broken in, you might need a few days to hear the difference and see how your new subwoofer sounds. Now you have some basic knowledge about how to break in a subwoofer! No more excuses for not playing bass-heavy music every day, right? Let us know how it went!