Do Subwoofers Need a Break-In Period?

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How Long Do You Have to Break In a Subwoofer?

If you recently purchased a brand new subwoofer, you may be wondering if your sub needs a break-in period. The break-in period refers to the time it takes for a subwoofer to become fully operational and achieve peak performance. A properly broken-in subwoofer is capable of producing powerful deep bass with a smooth, even response.

Just like the human voice, a subwoofer voice coil with a moving mass cannot be broken in by thermal tempering the way that a regular speaker driver can. The voice coil overheats, expands, and contracts to be randomly redistributed and realign, then the voice coil cools and stiffens.

A lot of decks in the market don’t need a break-in period, especially many home listening speakers. They just sound great the first time you power them up.

For those that do, as the components in the woofer warm up and become hyper-conductive, you may notice a change in the sound. Some examples are a more pronounced bass and a reduction in woofer distortion. This is because components work better when they are hot.

The volume level will not increase as the woofer works through break-in but you will notice an improvement in sound from the beginning. This is the reason many prefer to let their speakers warm-up for 24 hours.

Why Do You Need to Break In Your Subwoofers?

Have you ever heard about the "break-in" of a subwoofer? Do your subwoofers need a break-in period before they are ready for action? Maybe you’ve even heard that you need to break in each cone in the subwoofer independently. What does it all mean, what exactly does break-in mean, and how do you break-in a subwoofer?

Frequency Break-in means to break the subwoofer in, in terms of frequency response. It means that initially, the subwoofer sounds pretty good, but then it may not match how good it sounds after a few weeks, because it started to decay in the high range.

Frequency Break-In Response is the breaking-in of the subwoofer’s Frequency Response. The Frequency Response refers to the range of frequency of the sound is capable of producing. When you break-in the frequency response, you're allowing it to become smoother.

Do Subwoofers Get Louder as They Break-In?

The short answer is yes. Warm up your speakers for at least 24 hours and listen for a difference. This is a very subjective topic, and opinions vary among individuals. Some won’t use a speaker during the break-in period, while others break their speakers in by playing a loud pink noise or loud white noise. A whole lot of people let their speakers just run continuously for a couple of days.

What Happens if You Do Not Break in Your Subwoofer?

When a subwoofer is first turned on or is newly assembled, there is a phenomenon in which the voice coil rattles in the magnet gap. This rattling is because the voice coil is still moving and settling into the gap until it relaxes. Initially, the voice coil is loose on the magnets and can freely move inside the magnet gap. This loose section at the bottom of the voice coil is referred to as the spider, and it is mounted to the magnet structure.

Now, the voice coil´s movement in the magnet gap is an important part of the way the subwoofer generates sound, so it needs to be as tight as possible and firmly connected to the magnet structure. As the voice coil settles into the magnetic gap, that loose section becomes smaller and smaller.

In this phase, there is a high movement of the voice coil inside the magnetic gap, as it aligns itself in the proper position. During the break-in period, the subwoofer produces extremely loud bass that is not always the most pleasant to our ears. As a result, we may be tempted to stop the break-in period.

How to Break In a Subwoofer

There are two main reasons why manufacturers recommend a break-in period for subwoofers. First, a subwoofer that is brand new may not achieve its full potential or it may be very underwhelming when you compare it to other, similar-priced, used subwoofers. Second, having extra time is beneficial because it allows your subwoofer to "wake up" and fully adjust to its surrounding environment.

It's important to follow the manufacturer's recommendations if you want to give your subwoofer a proper break-in period. But this doesn't necessarily mean that your sub needs a specific amount of time to break-in. If you notice that your sub isn't breaking in, or that it never reaches the manufacturer's peak performance specifications, you may need to try a different method or take additional steps.


Yes, subwoofers need a break-in period to reach their optimum sound quality. It takes anywhere from 20 to 100 hours to break in a subwoofer. If you don't want to deal with this, then you can opt for a system that was broken in at the factory.

During the break-in period, your subwoofer will slowly make its way towards peak performance for bass notes. But don’t worry, this will settle down well before your subwoofer reaches its mature performance. If you have any concerns about this, you can always contact the manufacturer, so that they can help you out.

The break-in period requires you to play repetitive bass sounds for at least a few hours. When you use the same soundtrack over a long period, a common complaint is that the sound acquires a dull and muddy quality. You can overcome this by alternatively using your subwoofer and another component. Then wait a bit before switching back to the subwoofer.