Studio monitors: Should we break them in and why?

Asked by: Derek Thigpen

Or is breaking in speakers a myth? Most music industry professionals and many speaker manufacturers agree that, although not essential for them to function, breaking in speakers can improve their sound quality. It is therefore good practice to break in speakers for a period of time so they reach their full potential.

Why do speakers need to break in?

Speaker drivers are meant to oscillate back and forth to produce sound and require a design and materials to do so effectively. It makes sense, then, that a speaker would require a bit of breaking-in to reduce the initial stiffness of its construction and to move (and produce sound) more optimally.

What does it mean to break in a speaker?

A: Breaking in your speakers simply means loosening up the driver surrounds and evening out the frequency response of the speakers by playing audio through the speakers. The easiest way to this is to play a CD on repeat through the speakers at a medium- to medium-soft volume for a few days at night.

Should I angle my studio monitors down?

As high frequencies are the most directional, you’ll want the tweeters pointing directly towards your ears to ensure the most representative listening experience. If you have to angle the speakers up or down slightly to achieve this then so be it, but we’d recommend keeping them level wherever possible.

Should you turn studio monitors all the way up?

By turning the listening level up overall, you ultimately mix quieter within your daw and make your chances of clipping much less likely. You should hopefully not hear any hiss from your speakers but they should feel plenty loud, but the signal should never get to the point of distorting at all anywhere in the chain

Do new speakers need breaking in?

The good news is your speakers will absolutely sound better after the initial break-in period. In fact, you may want to take care of this step right away so you are more quickly able to enjoy your speakers at their best. Your speakers contain several moving parts but prior to use, they’ve never actually moved before.

Do all speakers need to break in?

The most basic way to run in your speakers is to set them up with your system and use them normally. Usually the speakers will be sufficiently run in after a total of 20-30 hours of normal use and they will often continue to develop and improve for the first hundred or so hours.

How long does it take to break in a new speaker?

around 100 hours

A good rule of thumb is that playing any sort of full-range recorded music through a speaker at a mid-volume level for around 100 hours is enough to break the speaker in.

Do speaker cables need to be broken in?

All audio cables require a period of break-in for the sound quality to reach its full sonic potential.

How do you break in speakers fast?

You can put pillows. And stuff in front of your aunt. Not for any reason other than you're just trying to make sure the neighbors don't get upset.

Why do people turn their studio monitors sideways?

It’s designed to be up and away from the bottom of the monitor, and by turning it on its side you may be placing the bass driver closer to the speaker stand surface or desk top. What is this? This will effect the bass response of the monitor.

How far should your studio monitors be from the wall?

2-3 feet

Place the speakers a minimum of 6 to 10 inches away from the wall — 2-3 feet is better; this will minimize bass buildup from the front wall.

How far away should studio monitors be?

For the majority of home studios, the best distance to place monitors is approximately two to three feet away from the wall. This decreases the amount of bass buildup, giving you a way cleaner sound that lets you hear all the details.

What angle should studio monitors be?

The angle between the left and right monitors should be 60° degrees. Each monitor should be aimed towards the listening position. For film production, place your listening setup in the rear area. Room resonances between room surfaces are called standing waves or room modes.

Can studio monitors go above ear?

It’s perfectly fine for the tweeters to be above or below your ears, as long as they are pointing at your ears……’s not the height that is important, it’s the centre of their high frequency dispersion that you want pointed right at you. You’re best off having the tweeters at ear level if possible.

Can you lay studio monitors on side?

A: Studio monitors tend to be designed to function best when placed either vertically or horizontally. A big factor in this is the dispersion of the high-frequency driver.

Why do studios have 2 sets of speakers?

It acts as the switchboard for all your audio sources (DAW, computer audio, phone, tablet, etc.) and also allows you to flip seamlessly between multiple sets of monitors and calibrate between them.

Does it matter if speakers upside down?

Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: There is no real benefit as such, only convenience, and there’s no inherent problem in mounting speakers upside down either, unlike the issues in mounting them sideways.