Running in and Warming Up
You’ve bought yourself a brand new car. You drive out the dealer gingerly, taking care not to over-rev it. Hey, it even says so in the manual, not that anyone except me ever reads them! Now everybody should know that cars need running in, this is to make sure the parts wear together evenly and smoothly. But do you know that audio equipment also needs running in?
Audio equipment consists of a range of items such as speakers, CD Players, amplifiers, pre-amps and more. Each has a different way of running in, some mechanically, others electrically or a combination. I am often asked how long something takes to run in. The answer isn’t always straightforward. Some items may run in faster than others and of course it can also depend on the level of quality and the level of complexity of the design.
The electronics will take some settling in as well. Capacitors probably take the longest to stabilise, some brands have been reported at taking many months to sound their best. Capacitors are used in the power supply for filtering noises and often in the signal path. The later are the most important as any problems here directly affect the signal, so they will have the biggest effect on the sound. Usually a few weeks will see them settle down as the chemical composition stabilises. Other electronic components can also take time but the differences are often not as great as with capacitors.
Amplifiers and Pre-Amps
How to Run-In Equipment
The first few hours will loosen up most items a reasonable amount; the next few days will probably do the majority. You will find that after this the improvements become smaller and smaller. It will vary with the type and brand of equipment; it really is impossible to say exactly how long. You will have to be the judge yourself.