Q: "I just bought a brand new speaker for my guitar cab. What's a good technique I can use to break it in?"
A: The first thing you should be aware of before you begin is that no two speakers, even those of the exact same model, will break-in the same way at the same amount of time, meaning there's no universal method that will give consistent results across the board. As far as what constitutes the right amount of break-in, it all depends on personal taste. Some players prefer the sound of a heavily aged speaker while others like them best fresh out of the box. But for the most part, players usually like them somewhere in between. Although a speaker will continue to break-in throughout its lifespan, the most noticeable amount will happen early on.
There are a few different approaches that players use to break-in a speaker. One method involves using a Variac controller which is a tool that allows you to give the speaker different voltages. The source will get the speaker revving safely, usually at 60Hz. Another technique involves physically moving the cone up and down. Although this works, it requires time and patience as too much force can cause damage. You can also try using a noise signal generator to feed the speaker a 20 to 30Hz signal at 15 to 20 volts for a few hours. If you plan on taking this route, make sure you use a multi-meter to read the output voltage and a frequency counter to read frequency because you can easily damage your speaker if you go overboard. And finally, the most common way to break-in a speaker is by simply playing through it. A few days of playing your guitar at high volume is by far the safest and easiest way to naturally break-in a speaker.
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