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How to Break in Subwoofers? A Step-by-Step Guide.

Are you a car audio enthusiast? If so, you already know the importance of having high-quality and properly tuned subwoofer systems to achieve that unique bass sound.

But did you know there’s another essential step to getting maximum performance out of your new subwoofer?

Breaking in a subwoofer means allowing it to become fully operational and reach its optimal performance level, but how can you do it correctly? Let’s find out.

To break in a subwoofer, follow these steps:

#1. Begin by playing various music through the subwoofer, using moderate volume levels.

#2. Gradually increase the volume over several hours or days.

#3. Try playing a variety of test tones and frequencies to exercise the subwoofer.

#4. Allow the subwoofer to rest between listening sessions.

#5. Repeat the process until the subwoofer has been played for at least 20-30 hours.

As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.

Tip: Breaking in helps loosen up the subwoofer’s components and allows it to reach its optimal performance level.

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for breaking in the subwoofer, as different models may have specific requirements.

In the article below, I will detail how to properly break in a subwoofer and how it contributes to the overall performance of your system.

How Can I Break in My Car Subwoofer?

Below I listed a few general recommendations to follow when breaking in a subwoofer in your car:

#1. Play a Variety of Music and Test Tones

One of the critical parts of breaking in a subwoofer is playing a variety of different sounds.

This can help exercise the subwoofer’s different components at different movement types and allow them to loosen up and reach their full potential.

It is a good idea to play a variety of music genres and test tones to ensure that the subwoofer is being thoroughly exercised.

#2. Gradually Increase Volume Over Time

When breaking in a subwoofer, you must gradually increase the volume over time rather than starting at maximum volume immediately.

This way, you can avoid damaging the subwoofer and allow it to reach its full potential.

#3. Play a Variety of Frequencies

In addition to playing music through the subwoofer, it can also be helpful to play a variety of frequencies.

In the end, your subwoofer will play different kinds of music, and in those conditions, you should test it, so try as many different bass types as you can to make sure your subwoofer is ready for everything.

#4. Allow the Subwoofer to Rest Between Listening Sessions

Not everyone follows this, but allowing the subwoofer to rest between listening sessions rather than continuously playing is a good idea.

This helps ensure that the subwoofer has a chance to cool down and recover between uses.

#5. Repeat the Process

When your subwoofer has rested and cooled down, repeat the whole process. 

The specific time it takes to fully break in a subwoofer will depend on the make and model.

For example, Skar recommends 24-36 hours of moderate use before you can expect it to hit its peak performance.

Following these steps can help you get the most out of your subwoofer and ensure that it performs its best over time.

Importance of Following the Manufacturer’s Recommendations

You must remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for breaking in a subwoofer, as different models may have specific requirements.

Some subwoofers may require a more extended break-in period, while others may have specific volume or frequency ranges that should be used during the break-in process.

Failure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for breaking in a subwoofer could damage the subwoofer or reduce its further performance.

Conclusion

In conclusion, breaking in a subwoofer is essential in ensuring it performs at its best. 

By playing various music and test tones, gradually increasing the volume over time, and allowing the subwoofer to rest between listening sessions, you can help properly break in your subwoofer and get the most out of it.

To make it right, you have to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for breaking in your specific model of the subwoofer. Otherwise, you may risk damaging it or reducing its performance. 

With patience, you can easily break in your subwoofer and enjoy excellent sound quality from it.

Some accessories that can be helpful when breaking in a subwoofer include:

#1. A High-Quality Amplifier

A good amplifier ensures that the subwoofer receives the power it needs to reach its full potential. For most car audio systems, it will be a strong D-class amp.

#2. A Frequency Generator

A frequency generator can help play specific test tones and frequencies through the subwoofer to help exercise the different components.

Suitable for this will be a phone with a downloaded app.

#3. A Sound Meter

A sound meter can help measure the subwoofer’s volume levels and ensure that you are within the recommended limits.

Using these and other accessories, you can help ensure that your subwoofer is properly broken in and able to deliver the best possible performance.

#4. Proper Subwoofer Box

Most subwoofers you buy come with the boxes, but if you have just a driver, make sure to place it in the RIGHT enclosure.

Most car subwoofers are not designed to play in free air, and this can damage their suspensions and surroundings. So before choosing the enclosure, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for its size, material, and type.

FAQ

How Long Does It Take To Break in a Car Subwoofer?

The specific amount of time that it takes to break in a car subwoofer will depend on the make and model, as well as the volume levels and frequency range used during the break-in process.

As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to play the subwoofer for at least 10 hours before expecting it to reach its full potential, but some manufacturers recommend extending this process to 36 hours, like, for example, Skar.

This process should involve playing various music and test tones, gradually increasing the volume over time, and allowing the subwoofer to rest between listening sessions.

Can I Break in a Car Subwoofer by Just Playing Music at High Volume Levels?

The answer is simple, Don not break in a car subwoofer by playing music at high volume levels right away.

This can damage the subwoofer and lead to reduced performance.

Instead, the best way is to start at moderate volume levels and gradually increase the volume over time as the subwoofer becomes more broken in.

Is It Okay to Play the Subwoofer Continuously Without Taking Breaks?

I only play the music for a couple of hours unless I am on a long road trip.

It is also not recommended to play the subwoofer continuously for long periods without taking breaks. This can lead to overheating and potentially damage the subwoofer. 

Especially in the breaking-in process, you should be gentle with your sub and allow it to rest between sessions.

Can I Use a Specific Type of Music or Test Tones to Break in the Subwoofer?

I am using a variety of different music genres and test tones when breaking in a car subwoofer.

It helps to exercise the different components of the subwoofer and ensure that it is thoroughly broken in and ready for much more challenging work at any frequency.

No specific type of music or test tones are required, but my recommendation is that the more variations, the better.

How Can I Tell When the Subwoofer Is Fully Broken In?

There are a few different ways to determine when a car subwoofer is fully broken in:

#1. Follow the Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Many subwoofer manufacturers will provide specific instructions for breaking in their products, including the time you should play the subwoofer.

#2. Listen for Changes in Performance

As the subwoofer becomes more broken in, that is unlikely, but you may notice changes in its performance.

These changes can include an improvement in the clarity and depth of the bass, as well as an overall increase in volume, but unless you are a musician or experienced sound engineer, it is difficult to hear the difference.

More visible changes you may notice by using an SPL tester (link to Amazon).

Can I Break in a Car Subwoofer While Driving, or Does It Need to Be Stationary?

You do not need to keep the subwoofer in the garage while testing it.

You can break in a car subwoofer while driving, as long as you keep the volume at a reasonable level and follow the timing recommended by the manufacturer.

Is There a Specific Volume Range I Should Stay Within When Breaking in the Subwoofer?

When breaking in the car subwoofer, you should not exceed half of the amplifier’s gain and around 1/3 of the volume.