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The Burn-In Debate--A little personal confirmation

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Many of you may remember a recent debate between Mike Walker and others on this board about the subject of burn-in of headphones. IIRC, Walker was contending that "burn-in" was really just our brains/ears becoming accustomed to the sound and that our auditory memory is too poor to perceive real differences after a period of days.

I've been skeptical in the past too. But not anymore.

Proof: Burning in my new Audio Technica W100.

Equipment: W100, EMP, Cal Delta Transport, Cal Gamma DAC

The Test: My test track was the Flaming Lips' "A Spoonful Weighs a Ton" off their Soft Bulletin Album. Around the 1:25 mark a very heavy, very low bass line enters(not sure if it's synthesized or not).

On my first run (just after purchase) listening to the track, the bass line pure distortion -- I mean real sonic mash, as in like bad buzzing. I played it several times over, and same result.

On second listen (no changes to equipment or volume level), after about 48 hours of burn in, that bass line now sounds right and is clearly resolved. No buzzing, no sonic mash, no distortion.

So what does this prove? It proves that a headphone's sound changes over time. If Mike Walker's objection was over things like timbral fidelity or subtle changes in sound, he might have a point (in that human ears might be too crude to distinguish such differences). But this was night and day, the difference between musical bass and a sputtering mack truck engine. No one can convince me that my mind is simply fooling me here!

Burn-in: CONFIRMED!
post #2 of 20
Quote:
No one can convince me that my mind is simply fooling me here!
Okay, I won't even try.

Nice headphone and amp, btw.
post #3 of 20
lol, I've experianced it too.

before burn in: wow
HD580s after burn in: WOW!

See? All caps represents the wow factor? see?
post #4 of 20

same here

When I fisrst got my aiwa hp-vx100 earphones the bass was overwhelming but after about 48 hours of burn in the bass settled down and now lets the mids and the highs come through. It seems that all three are in line with each other and are very deep sounding and musical. Fun to use on my portable stuff. I am going to give them 100 hours burn in and then just enjoy them. Buy the way. They only cost 25.00 + 10.00 shipping and I gave my sony ex-70lp to a friend.
post #5 of 20

Re: The Burn-In Debate--A little personal confirmation

Quote:
Originally posted by Kubernetes
My test track was the Flaming Lips' "A Spoonful Weighs a Ton" off their Soft Bulletin Album. Around the 1:25 mark a very heavy, very low bass line enters(not sure if it's synthesized or not...after about 48 hours of burn in, that bass line now sounds right and is clearly resolved. No buzzing, no sonic mash, no distortion
I have that CD and I know about the bass line you speak of.

Tonight, I am going to plug in my HD600 and my Grado SR325 and blast that tune on repeat full volume overnight and see if I hear a difference tomorrow morning.
post #6 of 20
Beagle
Please not full volume. you might blow out the elaments. Just a little more volume than you would normaly listen to is fine for burn in. Maby you were just kiddin but you got me concerned. And the new guy might do that and kill his headphone.
post #7 of 20

Re: Re: The Burn-In Debate--A little personal confirmation

Quote:
Originally posted by Beagle
I have that CD and I know about the bass line you speak of.

Tonight, I am going to plug in my HD600 and my Grado SR325 and blast that tune on repeat full volume overnight and see if I hear a difference tomorrow morning.
wow! what a coincidence! Just finished listening to that cd.

And yes, that bass is LOW.

So clean with my 580s/little loaner.
post #8 of 20

I agree, burn-in is real...

Ask and Sennheiser HD280 Pro owner. They change A LOT.

Oh, and Beagle, LTUCCI1924 is right, full volume is bad, but I think you were kidding.
post #9 of 20

Re: I agree, burn-in is real...

Quote:
Originally posted by radrd
Oh, and Beagle, LTUCCI1924 is right, full volume is bad, but I think you were kidding.
Yeah, I was exaggerating. Nothing worse than hearing a lot of flapping and rattling as the diaphragms give way.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by radrd
Oh, and Beagle, LTUCCI1924 is right, full volume is bad, but I think you were kidding.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yeah, I was exaggerating. Nothing worse than hearing a lot of flapping and rattling as the diaphragms give way.
No kidding!
post #11 of 20
...I've had my DAC for 2 1/2 weeks now, and this may be a culmination of a couple of things but...

My V6, with my Marantz on its own, and also with my DAC for the first week of its life paired up with my X-Can V2 sounded pretty damned great, nice solid bass... smooth mids, and pristine treble...

OTOH my CD1700s sounded like mud, no bass... no anything really apart from a gloop of mids...

For the past few days i've been listening exclusively to the CD1700s, and whilst not listening to them they've been cooking nicely and now, the bass ~ whilst not as visceral as that of the V6 is a lot cleaner ~ the V6 bass now just sounds like one huge lump (tone) of bloatiness... the mids are tidy, maybe still a shade warm, but nothing to complain about too visciously, and the treble is incredibly smooth and detailed compared to that of the V6 which sounds scarily congested, there is just no definition to it now IMO. Also soundstage seems to be playing a big part now on the CD1700s, where it never used to... compared to the V6 which sound hideously compressed...

So, that could be (as my signature suggests) that my standard BNC cable has worked so much magic as to be unbelievable... else it could be that i've burnt in my CD1700s with the massive amount of attention that i've given them

Or, it could be that quite simply the V6 are now severely outclassed by the rest of my setup... whatever it is, in the past two weeks a huge difference has been found

Maybe not additional proof of burn in, but morelike proof that different components, and system synergy maybe play a bigger part in how a component sounds than how long its been playing.

I really don't know...
post #12 of 20

Re: same here

Quote:
Originally posted by LTUCCI1924
I gave my sony ex-70lp to a friend.

I would have bought them!!!!





oh, and I own the 280 pro. burn-a-mazing
post #13 of 20
I wouldn't be too tough on Mike. Most of us began as serious skeptics concerning the value of burn-in. In fact, I used to snicker at the thought until getting W2002s. In their case the change was obvious and significant. But I still don't believe burn-in makes the slightest difference in solid state components.

Even in the case of headphones, at least in my experience, only the ATs show much improvement after extended use. Senns may show a slight gain, but the AKGs don't seem to be affected at all. I should add that my experience with both is limited to HD600s and 580s, and K1000s and 501s, all of which sounded significantly better out of the box than the W2002s. However, given a couple of hundred hours burn-in, the W2002s come into their own and easily top the others.
post #14 of 20
Just to throw a little more fuel on the fire , my first certain observation of burn-in came from a Belden interconnect. As most know, Sennheiser 580s have a decently wide soundstage. They definitely have sounds physically placed outside your head. Well, after placing these brand-new interconnects into the chain, the soundstage shrunk. It felt like I was listening to earbuds, every single sound was inside my head! After a few days, the sound expanded back to normal, even a little wider.
post #15 of 20
I'm convinced that burn-in can improve the sound of headphones. But what about burn-out? In other words, if a phone like the AT W100 takes 40-100 hours to sound its best, what happens after 500 hours? After 1000 hours? Does the sound go somewhere else, and get worse? I personally haven't experienced this with any phones, but my ears aren't what they used to be. Also, I know the W100's haven't been around all that long for people to be logging thousands of hours, but what about other phones? Anyone had noticable burn-out happen to their phones?
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