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Burn in time, myth or fact???

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Hello All:
So I hear that headphones need some burn in time, and after this period the sound will settle/improve. Many people claim their headphones improve in quality after burning them in and they DO believe in it. I asked someone at Sennheiser about burn in time and this is what I got:

Hello,
We do not have any specs on a "burn in" time. These sets do not require one, and will be fine to play at any volume out of the box.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Thanks.

Regards,
Scott Houston
Technical Applications
860-434-9190 EXT. 182
shouston@sennheiserusa.com
Sennheiser~ Neumann~ Turbosound~HHB~K+H


Anyone care to sort this out for me please?
post #2 of 34
AKG says the same thing.

Listen, I don't buy "burn-in" for a lot of reasons, but Head-Fi's been over this a lot in a lot of places and by now it's nothing but flamebait.
post #3 of 34
Welcome to Head-fi, sorry about your wallet, and feel free to read the stickies, including this one, Thanks!
post #4 of 34
Oh god another thread on this crap.
post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahn
Welcome to Head-fi, sorry about your wallet, and feel free to read the stickies, including this one, Thanks!

yes, welcome to head-fi. now take your senns and run far far away from this place! trust us, you'll thank us later for it.

as jahn has said, please read the sticky and also use the search function as this has been discussed many times. here's a small sampling of the results: search results
post #6 of 34
Do a search for the hundreds of existing threads on the subject..

Personally, I believe burn-in to be 95% your auditory system adjusting to the sound and 5% actual driver adjustment that is over and done with in the first hour.. if that.
post #7 of 34
i dont really find the sticky helpful...

it does not explain what actually happens during burn-in, there is really no technical reasoning or explanation. the sticky talks about HOW to burn headphones and for how long, and assumes that burn in exists.
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexs
i dont really find the sticky helpful...

it does not explain what actually happens during burn-in, there is really no technical reasoning or explanation. the sticky talks about HOW to burn headphones and for how long, and assumes that burn in exists.
This should help you a little bit.
post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexs
i dont really find the sticky helpful...

it does not explain what actually happens during burn-in, there is really no technical reasoning or explanation. the sticky talks about HOW to burn headphones and for how long, and assumes that burn in exists.
It's also good to read the whole sticky Here's a quote from it:

"Is burn in actually real?

The idea of burn in has always been controversial. Some people say that there is evidence that proves it while others say that there is evidence to disprove it. Some consider the phenomenon to be purely psychological conditioning while others insist upon physical changes to the drivers, and some agree upon a combination of the two. You are free to be a believer, and you are free to be a skeptic. Whether or not you believe in it and the position you take on the subject is a choice that you should make for yourself."
post #10 of 34
It's a myth and a fact.

I call it a fyth.
post #11 of 34


This is my experience with breaking in a quartet of Monacor/Number One SPH-250KE 10" speakers (partially copy-pasted from an earlier post):

First step: measuring their free-air resonance, which, according to the specs, should be at 23 Hz. Oops... all samples show something around 30 Hz. Now certain people would wrinkle their noses and return that crappy stuff, with parameters far from the specified ones. Well, to me as an experienced speaker builder that's not alarming at all... break-in has always helped in these cases. In fact it's a very normal procedure, and I haven't met any new speaker chassis reaching the specified parameters; all of them show a resonance frequency at least 20% higher than specified. If you're into speaker building (am I really the only one at Head-Fi?), you are familiar with this phenomenon, which BTW is described in every better DIY magazine.

Second step: setting the tone generator to ~28 Hz, to achieve maximum voice-coil/cone displacement with minimum current charge. There's not much power needed to move uninstalled speaker chassis near its resonance frequency, and the maximum displacement with this model is very high, so I give them some juice and allow them to vibrate with a displacement around ±8 mm in average, with some 5-10-minute pauses every 2 hours.

Results:

Chassis..........0 hours......after 15 hours

No.1..............30.0 Hz..........25.2 Hz

No.2..............30.0 Hz..........25.2 Hz

No.3..............30.2 Hz..........25.4 Hz

No.4..............30.0 Hz..........24.8 Hz

These values are stable, at least 2 hours after «cooling down».

So 15 hours aren't enough to reach the default values -- I expect 100 or even 200 hours. I haven't finished work with these drivers, since I have more or less retired from speaker building. After all these measurings can serve as example for real, physical break-in effects, which are still denied and considered impossible by some skeptics. What's going on physically is a simple loosening of the suspension -- which in headphones drivers is part of the membrane -- resulting in a higher compliance and thus lower resonance frequency, so potentially extended low-frequency response. Of course the measurable phenomenon doesn't directly prove an audible effect, but at least it makes it quite plausible.

Since headphone drivers are mini-speakers, similar effects are expectable from them. Now there's often been asked why the effect is almost always positive -- it sounds better after a certain break-in period, never worse. That's a bit more tricky. My theory -- inspired by a response from Stax (go to posts No.100 and following) to the subject -- is that the suspension, or the elastic membrane, resp., originally has some inhomogeneities of elasticity within its circumference/surface which get evened out by the mechanical vibrations occuring from use. This should reflect itself in lower harmonic distortion and improved transient response.

Even though the break-in scenario is logical and explainable (to some degree) with sound transducers, not every type of headphone will show it (equally). E.g. I haven't experienced it with canalphones with their balanced-armature drivers.

Original thread
.
post #12 of 34
yes.
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahn
It's also good to read the whole sticky Here's a quote from it:

"Is burn in actually real?

The idea of burn in has always been controversial. Some people say that there is evidence that proves it while others say that there is evidence to disprove it. Some consider the phenomenon to be purely psychological conditioning while others insist upon physical changes to the drivers, and some agree upon a combination of the two. You are free to be a believer, and you are free to be a skeptic. Whether or not you believe in it and the position you take on the subject is a choice that you should make for yourself."
i definitely read all of the sticky, thanks.

"Some people say that there is evidence that proves it while others say that there is evidence to disprove it"....

thats actually exactly what i was talking about...the EVIDENCE is what i need to see.
post #14 of 34
I believe in adapting your ears to the new sound, but that's about it.. I speak for IEM's, that is..
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexs
i definitely read all of the sticky, thanks.

"Some people say that there is evidence that proves it while others say that there is evidence to disprove it"....

thats actually exactly what i was talking about...the EVIDENCE is what i need to see.
What type of evidence do you need? Because the search engine will reveal all types - and all types will have explanations to debunk them - and all explanations will have more evidence to debunk the debunking...

Trust me, we've had enough debunking for a lifetime on this subject. Best to just dive into the search links provided above and settle into a camp
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