A brand new, out of the box guitar speaker will subtly shift in tone over the first few hours of playing as the fibres within the cone start to relax and become more pliable. Don’t worry too much about this change, its natural and many people believe that this improves the sound, making it more ’rounded’ and pleasing to listen to.
Some players prefer to speed up this process, this is what is referred to as breaking-in. They deliberately soften up the cone in order to bring the speaker to it’s optimum state in terms of tonality.
You’ll hear about lots of different breaking in techniques. Some play random noise through their speakers, others prefer to play music through them for many hours.
There’s plenty of debate over the technique to use for break in and how long to do it for. But they all achieve the same end: softening up the cone and rounding out the sound. Below is our preferred method.
Suggested Break-In Method
Important Note! Before breaking it in it’s advisable to warm up the speaker gently for a few minutes with low-level playing or background hum.
Break in a speaker with a fat, clean tone: turn up the power amp volume to full, and control the level with the preamp gain. Use a level that will be quite loud, but not painful in a normal size room.
Have the bass and mid up full, and the treble at least half. On your guitar, use the middle pick-up position (if your guitar has more than one pick up). Play for at least an hour, using lots of open chords, and chunky percussive playing.
This will get the cone moving, and should excite all the cone modes and get everything to settle in nicely. The speaker’s tone will continue to mature with additional hours of playing, but this will get it most of the way there.