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Tech Talk: Subwoofer Break In. What, Why, and How?

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Hey folks! Welcome to DD Tech talks! I’m Jake and today we’re going to talk about breaking in subwoofers! Breaking in subwoofers  We get daily calls from customers asking, “Do I really need to break in my subwoofer?” How should I do that? Why should I do that? When should I do that? Here at DD Audio, we fully embrace the practice of breaking in your subwoofers! So why should you break in your subwoofers? Whenever a DD subwoofer is fresh off the assembly line, it’s suspension system, specifically the spiders, is extra, extra, stiff, and needs to be broken in

This is because DD Subwoofers are designed to provide a high level of control in a ported enclosure within a recommended power band After the subwoofer is broken in, you’ll notice that it plays deeper, with a higher dynamic range, and more output What’s physically happening is the resins in the spider pack begin to soften and break up a little bit The woven fibers that compose the spider begin to stretch out and the surround also becomes more pliant  This is a brand new spider

It’s crackling It’s very hard It’s very hard As everything starts to loosen up, the subwoofer will exhibit a bit higher excursion and the Fs will drop Fs, or free air resonance, is the point at which the subwoofer reaches its highest output at the lowest power input

This means it takes less power to create the same output at a lower frequency Here, let me show you! Without any break in at all, the subwoofer traveled ⅜ of an inch in one direction, at 155 to 159 watts of power, at 391 Hz Next, I played the subwoofer for about an hour at 391 Hz

I found that I could achieve about the same amount of excursion at the same amount of power, but now it was taking place at 38 Hz I let the subwoofer play for another two hours at 38 Hz, this time When I came back to check on it I discovered that I could achieve a tiny bit more of excursion, about a 32nd of an inch, not much, but at the same output power only this time it was at 362 Hz Next, I let the subwoofer play a little longer

This time, three hours When I came back I’d achieved about another 32nd of an inch of excursion Except this time the lowest power possible was at 349Hz Next I let the woofer play for another three hours at 34

9Hz After this period of time the excursion stayed about the same but the lowest power input was achieved at 34 Hz As you can see, with only 9 hours of break in time the Fs has already dropped 51 Hz! If we continued the break in process the Fs would continue dropping until it eventually stops Whenever the Fs stops dropping, the woofer is pretty much broken in! Whenever you’re building an enclosure, the final post break in Fs is what you want to use in the calculations for your enclosure

If your subwoofer isn’t performing as well as you expected in your enclosure, it’s probably because it’s not fully broken in yet And has yet to achieve the post break in Fs So, how should you break in your subwoofer? Well, there are a couple methods to accomplish the task! If the subwoofer is already installed in an enclosure in your vehicle, just turn up your subsonic filter to about 40 Hz for the first 12 to 24 hours of play Basically about a week to two weeks depending on how much you drive your car and which subwoofer your breaking in During this period we suggest listening to the system at a moderate volume

Just be smart about it Basically don’t go around giving people bangin’ demos During this period of time

After the break in period, you can begin to lower and fine tune your subsonic filter and responsibly raise the bass back up! If you haven’t installed your subwoofer yet, this is how you’ll want to do it Basically, the sub will sit outside of an enclosure, or in free air,  playing a low frequency around its pre break in Fs for about 24 hours You start by making sure that the subwoofer is secure and will not move during the process Also that any ventilation, the back plate holes, and the lower holes in the basket, are not covered and freely allow air to flow through them The easiest way to accomplish this is to build a little rig that will hold the subwoofer

One like this one Or one like this one, if you want to do multiple woofers at once Once the subwoofer is secure, start playing it at a low power level As the suspension breaks in you can gradually increase this power level every few hours This will increase the amount that the subwoofer is moving and progressively break in the suspension

When using either of these methods it’s important to monitor clipping of the amplifier and excursion levels of the subwoofer to avoid damaging it If the woofer starts giving off the nasty smell of burning adhesives, trust me you know the smell The clipping light starts going off I know you know what that it Or if it starts making weird noises that don’t sound right, turn it down immediately! Remember, that not all subwoofers take the same amount of time to break in either! For example, this is the spider from a 2500 series subwoofer

Small, it’s pretty soft to begin with Because that’s all it needs This is the spider from a 9500 series woofer! It’s much thicker, much larger, and much harder to bend Even within a single series of subwoofers the break in time can vary If you have a 9500 with soft suspension, you have one spider in there

If you have a 9500 with standard suspension, you have two spiders in there If you have a 9500 with extra stiff suspension, there are three spiders Really take the time to observe your subwoofer’s activity during the break in process, and just have a little patience It will be worth it Hopefully this has helped you understand the importance of breaking in your subwoofer

If you have any questions about the specifics of breaking in a subwoofer or the many configurations of suspensions that we offer,  feel free to give our customer service department a call Don’t forget to head over to ddaudiocom/dealers to find a dealer near you! If you like these videos, give us a thumbs up! Maybe hit that subscribe button too and the little bell next to it If you click the little bell button next to it, you’ll get a notification any time we post a new video Feel free to share with your friends too! If you have any suggestions for these tech talk videos, feel free to post them below in the comments

We want to help educate you guys to get the most out of our products Thanks for tuning in guys, we’ll see ya on the next DD Audio Tech Talks!

Source: Youtube

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