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View Full Version : New speaker "break-in" period?



swurzer
08-29-2012, 01:13 AM
Hi all,
I'm new here, having just bought my first Hi-fi car audio system (well, first since my MUCH younger years)

My question is: Is there usually a 'break-in" period for new speakers?

The reason I ask is, I just bought and installed a whole new system from Crutchfield, and things worked pretty well at first... By at first, I mean for the first 20 minutes or so.

Here's the system I bought:
HU:Kenwood KDC-BT852HD
Front spkrs: Alpine SPR-50C's (100W)
Rear spkrs: Alpine SPR-60C's (110W)
Amp: Alpine PDX-V9 5 ch (4x100W, 1x500W)
Sub: none yet

I set the gains according to the directions, which was to max the head unit volume, and turn up the amp gain until that channel started to distort, then back off a bit. I did this for fronts, and then rears. I set the amp cross-overs to HP at 120Hz or so.

I had my sons old sub that I connected, just to temporarily get the base, and set the cross-over for that to 120Hz.

Things sounded good all around, so I started to crank it up and listen to some Rush & Van Halen. I ran it for about 15-20 minutes, enjoying the whole **** thing. Then, I started to notice a slight burning smell... Figured this was normal as the crap burned off of all the surfaces.

Well, very quickly, things started to sound very distorted on mid-low bass notes. So I shut it off, and grumbled. I took out the front speaker that was sounding distorted, and saw that the metal cone in the middle of the speaker was rubbing against the speaker mesh... The reason for this seems to be that the adhesive on the cone seems to have melted/failed, and the cone slide down to where the speaker mesh is now rubbing against it. I looked at the other 3 speakers, and they all did the same thing to some degree... ie: the metal cone is no longer centered.

I called Crutchfield, and explained it to the tech guy... He said that I needed to break-in the speakers for 3-4 weeks at lower gain settings, and that is what caused the problem. I've never heard of this before. Is this true, or did I just get a bad set of speakers with improperly cured adhesive or something? Or did I do something else wrong? I'm pretty sure I didn't drive the speakers past their rating, as the amp is rated at 100 Watts/ channel... each channel was connected to one speaker, and the speakers are 100W/110W.

To Crutchfields credit, they are sending me new speakers right away. Alpines were always very good speakers back in the day, and seem to still have a good reputation, but I am nervous about this. If it was my mistake, I don't want to make it again... But if not, I don't want to have the hassle of dealing with poorly made speakers.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks,
Steve

splwj47
08-29-2012, 01:22 AM
U need to learn how to properly set the gain. If you maxed the HU volume and set gains by ear you clipped the speakers to hell. Learn how to properly do it this next time around. There is a gain setting sticky in the amplifier section, i have never broken in a speaker and im sure most everyone else is the same.

goingdef
08-29-2012, 01:29 AM
yea there is no break in period he was an idiot, but what you did was heat the speakers so much you caused the adhesive to cook and fail, you need to set the gain with a test tone and a digital multimeter that is the simplest way to do there are much more technical ways but the dmm is the bare minimum!

hispls
08-29-2012, 01:30 AM
Break in is bullsh!t. That being said that amp is too much for those speakers. I wouldn't trust Type R components/coaxials much more than 75W for very long.

Clearly they're good for a song or two, but they have thermal limits.... you have exceeded them. Consider bumping up to type X if you like Alpine, something more robust, if you feel you need all that power, or just learn to back off after a song or two at max power.

I ALWAYS set gains like that and I'm sure you did nothing wrong, those 100W ratings are probably a bit optimistic. Like they'll take 100W, but not for too long.

zako
08-29-2012, 02:29 AM
That speaker's power handling is lowered until it's fully broken in is nonsense..

I also don't believe Alpine's power handling claims. Regardless of what thermal power handling is, the previous generation type-r speakers did not really have excursion headroom to handle even a 60 watt amplifier unless HP filter is set to like 150Hz. To be safe, set the gains with a DMM at 75watts RMS using a 0dB test tone, as described in the howto, not music. Some of full range Alpine PDX amps provide a lot more power than the official rating. If you want to listen at "gun shot" level, deftly use DMM to be safe. I bet though, if you got the component version with tweeter mounted in a typical location, you would refrain from turning the gain so much as the high frequencies would make your ears 'bleed'.

West
08-29-2012, 02:31 AM
I remember by first stereo... the guy told me to break it in slowly. It killed me not cranking it up... back in the day yo... back in the mother-f'in day....

Villeza1
08-29-2012, 03:14 AM
U need to learn how to properly set the gain. If you maxed the HU volume and set gains by ear you clipped the speakers to hell. Learn how to properly do it this next time around. There is a gain setting sticky in the amplifier section, i have never broken in a speaker and im sure most everyone else is the same.


yea there is no break in period he was an idiot, but what you did was heat the speakers so much you caused the adhesive to cook and fail, you need to set the gain with a test tone and a digital multimeter that is the simplest way to do there are much more technical ways but the dmm is the bare minimum!


Break in is bullsh!t. That being said that amp is too much for those speakers. I wouldn't trust Type R components/coaxials much more than 75W for very long.

Clearly they're good for a song or two, but they have thermal limits.... you have exceeded them. Consider bumping up to type X if you like Alpine, something more robust, if you feel you need all that power, or just learn to back off after a song or two at max power.

I ALWAYS set gains like that and I'm sure you did nothing wrong, those 100W ratings are probably a bit optimistic. Like they'll take 100W, but not for too long.


That speaker's power handling is lowered until it's fully broken in is nonsense..

I also don't believe Alpine's power handling claims. Regardless of what thermal power handling is, the previous generation type-r speakers did not really have excursion headroom to handle even a 60 watt amplifier unless HP filter is set to like 150Hz. To be safe, set the gains with a DMM at 75watts RMS using a 0dB test tone, as described in the howto, not music. Some of full range Alpine PDX amps provide a lot more power than the official rating. If you want to listen at "gun shot" level, deftly use DMM to be safe. I bet though, if you got the component version with tweeter mounted in a typical location, you would refrain from turning the gain so much as the high frequencies would make your ears 'bleed'.

I concur

swurzer
09-01-2012, 03:51 PM
Thanks for the replies!
So it seems that I probably just gave these babies more heat than they could handle....
I had a look through the amp tuning section, for when I hook up the new speakers, and I've got a few more questions... basic speaker questions.

I like to listen to LOUD music once in a while, and I don't want to worry about speakers melting ever again....

1. In the world of speakers, how is heat managed? I don't see any sort of heat sinks on these speakers, and in my car (BMW 325XI) they mount into the door panels, and the rear deck.... Basically, they mount to plastic, so there's no 'built-in' heat sink to the frame... 100 Watts is gonna make a lot of heat, so how does this heat dissipate? Is there a way to handle heat? Metal heat sinks, straps to a metal surface? Seems like short bursts of heat, or heat over time is gonna be a problem to any speaker... Are the speaker manufacturer's assuming that their speakers are being mounted to something metal, and THAT helps the heat problem?

2. Are Alpine speakers crapily engineered? Did I make a mistake in buying this combo?
I know that everyone is gonna have their preference, and speaker brands can be like religions... but where do these rate, as far as reliability, and overall engineering?

3. How in the hell do I get the most out of the system I have, without keeping a timer running when I crank it up, to make sure I don't overheat these? Thermocouples to each speaker? Anyone do that? Maybe an amp that has thermocouple feedback from each speaker, and lowers output power as the speaker heats up? Any ideas, suggestions?

Thanks,
Steve

hispls
09-01-2012, 04:12 PM
Thanks for the replies!
So it seems that I probably just gave these babies more heat than they could handle....
I had a look through the amp tuning section, for when I hook up the new speakers, and I've got a few more questions... basic speaker questions.

I like to listen to LOUD music once in a while, and I don't want to worry about speakers melting ever again....

1. In the world of speakers, how is heat managed? I don't see any sort of heat sinks on these speakers, and in my car (BMW 325XI) they mount into the door panels, and the rear deck.... Basically, they mount to plastic, so there's no 'built-in' heat sink to the frame... 100 Watts is gonna make a lot of heat, so how does this heat dissipate? Is there a way to handle heat? Metal heat sinks, straps to a metal surface? Seems like short bursts of heat, or heat over time is gonna be a problem to any speaker... Are the speaker manufacturer's assuming that their speakers are being mounted to something metal, and THAT helps the heat problem?

2. Are Alpine speakers crapily engineered? Did I make a mistake in buying this combo?
I know that everyone is gonna have their preference, and speaker brands can be like religions... but where do these rate, as far as reliability, and overall engineering?

3. How in the hell do I get the most out of the system I have, without keeping a timer running when I crank it up, to make sure I don't overheat these? Thermocouples to each speaker? Anyone do that? Maybe an amp that has thermocouple feedback from each speaker, and lowers output power as the speaker heats up? Any ideas, suggestions?

Thanks,
Steve

The coil will hold a certain ammount of heat before failing based on the diameter of coil and number of layers. To some degree the type and quality of adhesives on the coil and tripple joint come into play as well. Heat is conducted away through the motor (magnet) to some degree but mostly conventional loudspeaker relies on convection cooling (air moved by the pumping of the cone over the coil). Not the most efficent method, but there you have it... if you can invent something better you'l be a millionaire. IT's a balancing act between keeping mass of moving parts as low as possible and allowing enough metal in the coil to handle the heat it will build up.


Type R's are great components for their price point. Being able to get louder may get EXPENSIVE!

Adding more speakers will get louder but you'll need to get creative to fit them in non-after market locations.

Getting beefier speakers will allow you to throw more power at them, but generally they won't be as efficient so your gains will be small for the added cost.

Extensive sound deadening in the car will lower the "noise floor" and you may well perceive a dramatic gain in output, but that can also get expensive and is definitely time consuming.

The laws of physics will fight you at every turn trying to get loud and sound good in a car.

quackhead
09-01-2012, 04:17 PM
Break in is bullsh!t. That being said that amp is too much for those speakers. I wouldn't trust Type R components/coaxials much more than 75W for very long.

Clearly they're good for a song or two, but they have thermal limits.... you have exceeded them. Consider bumping up to type X if you like Alpine, something more robust, if you feel you need all that power, or just learn to back off after a song or two at max power.

I ALWAYS set gains like that and I'm sure you did nothing wrong, those 100W ratings are probably a bit optimistic. Like they'll take 100W, but not for too long.

me too.
I can see with a sub allowing the soft parts to loosen to a degree for sq, but you did nothing wrong, I personally would have set the HU to 75% instead of 100% to prevent the hu pre-amp from possible clipping. It sounds like a case of underrated amp and overrated speakers...although I usually run a little more amp than my highs are rated for and set gains just a hair conservative. You should have heard signs of distortion or clipping ahead of time.

..better luck next time.