From our perspective, subwoofers are designed and built with stiff internal components – the mechanical parts such as the spider, woofer and rubber surround are often extremely stiff in brand-new subs coming right out of the box – and as such do require some break-in time before they perform at their absolute peak.
But how do you go about this…and is there one specific measure to be taken, or many?
Here, we’re going to explore these questions and hopefully shed some light on the subject of car audio subwoofer break-in.
Essentially, there’s one ideal way to approach the subject, the way see it, which has everything to do with taking your time.
The ABCs of Subwoofer Break-In
From personal experience some of us here at 99carstereo can attest to, subwoofers that undergo a break-in period tend to last a bit longer than those pushed to hit really hard right out of the box.
The key with proper subwoofer break-in is the aforementioned concept of time – we’d say at least a few days, during which the performance will change and eventually stabilize.
The Suggested Route
After your subwoofer is mounted in the proper enclosure and it’s all wired up to your amp, play some continuous bass-heavy music at a medium-to-low volume level for a couple of hours each day.
During this break-in period, it is highly recommended to present a steady load to your sub and keep in mind that music tracks with sporadic or intermittent bursts of bass won’t do what’s needed here.
Once your subwoofer has been playing for a few hours, you can push it a little bit, but not excessively; keep doing this each day until you feel that your subwoofer’s rubber surround and cone aren’t necessarily “stiff” any longer.
We find it interesting that many who readily accept that audio electronics such as preamps, power amps and DACs (digital-to-analog converters) need to “warm-up” and run in for a few days to sound their best often act surprised when told the same thing about subwoofers – it’s almost as if they believe subs exist in a different realm from other audio components.
The fact is, subwoofers present arguably the most complete-and-complex combination of any component in audio, especially when taking into consideration self-powered solutions such as the famous Bazooka Bass Tubes and other similar “all-in-one” sub/amp products that have flooded the market since that time.
See this video for more info on braking in your subs.
As with most things in life, there is a right and a wrong way to break-in a sub, and among the many wrong ways is to crank your new sub up to “11” (on a metaphorical scale of one to 10) as soon as the turn-on delay circuit passes sound.
Follow our suggestion outlined in this post, and you should be treated to many years of thick, clean, chassis-pounding bass. If you still have any questions about breaking-in a subwoofer, feel free to ask them in the comments section.