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headphone warm-up time?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Is it just me or do headphones seem to need about 5-10 minutes of playback to "warm up" and really start to sound good? It seems to me (at least with my cans) that they don't really sound all that great until they've been playing for a few minutes.

At first I though it was in my head, and was a case of me "adjusting" to the sound of my headphones over the few minutes that they play. I decided to experiment, though, and started playing music through my 'phones earlier this evening and left them alone while I watched the Celtics game. When I came back, I immediately put them on my head, and they sounded fine, which seems to rule out the "adjusting" theory I had. Has anybody else experienced this?

I've never really seen this "phenomenon" discussed; certainly not as in-depth as the discussions regarding headphone burn-in.
post #2 of 20
It takes a few mintues for my ears to bed in to the sound before i start to space out.

Electrostatics take a little time to get into their swing if they have lost some charge. I do not think that beyond such circumstances and similar, that changes as the ones you describe are anything but in the head. Although this may be different for coil headphones which have been unused for a prolonged period (months/years), even on that, I am still sceptical.
post #3 of 20
Interesting. I've heard the argument for warmup time of amps but never for headphones themselves. Have you tried warming up just the amp (if you have one) with another set of phones and then trying with your main phones? Just a thought.
post #4 of 20
Its not just you.
My headphones sound best after about 20-30 minutes as well. Mainly because it need the time to fully charge the diaphragms, while a little warm-up wont hurt either.
post #5 of 20
The amps need to warm up and electrostatic phones need to build up charge. This is why most of my gear is on 24/7 even some of the tube amps. Some 'stats can take hours to charge up if they haven't been used for a long time and my Blue Hawaii doesn't begin to shine until after roughly two hours.
post #6 of 20
ive always felt my head adjusts to the sound but i still find myself leaving them playing for a bit so i know they are in thier stride
post #7 of 20
Me too - around 10 mins of warm-up: perhaps a combination of voice coils, cables, amp and source warming up, plus air pressure equalizing in the cups of the phones? Or placebo entirely?

Anyways, warming up for 10 mins before listening and a few more minutes to settle the phones on my head is my usual practice.

Cheers,
cansman
post #8 of 20

I'm glad I found this thread, Headphones & Amplifiers definitely need time to warm up, same goes for all amps & speakers Hi-Fi or Soundsystem, Headphones are just little speakers, I find it strange that this is not commonly discussed whereas burn in is well talked about.

post #9 of 20

I'm on the fence about this subject. It interests me greatly, and I've read this thread before and others I could find pertaining to warm up of gear. With regards to headphones themselves, I'm not really convinced that they benefit from a warm up time. I mean, a lot of the the sound changes that someone might hear could be that person adapting to the sound signature of the headphones, or even to just the music itself.

 

With amps, again I'm not entirely convinced, but I do feel that my amps slightly change their signature with a bit of warm up. This is probably placebo, but I've read where a few amps instruct the owner to let it warm up. I've also read that certain Class A designs benefit from some warm up, to allow the thermal stabilization of the circuit. And then of course, there's some amps that don't have a power switch at all, which I'd imagine is basically saying that you aren't supposed to turn them off when not in use.

post #10 of 20

Interesting you bring this up, even with a lowly O2 amplifier i've gotten into the habit of turning it on to warm up while i have some food before sitting down to watch TV or listen to music.  For some reason if i just turn it on and start listening, something dosent feel right.

 

And for some reason everything i listen to sounds its best @4am . ..yeah i know, makes no sense at all.

post #11 of 20

Duggeh nailed it in post #2.

 

Though it should be very easy to test this gear-wise with some basic measurements taken before and after warm-up. The experiment the OP did was of course a bit flawed in that his measuring equipment (brain) was re-adjusted mid-experiment; he'd need a better-controlled (objective) experiment to have any certainty.

post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcandmar View Post
 

Interesting you bring this up, even with a lowly O2 amplifier i've gotten into the habit of turning it on to warm up while i have some food before sitting down to watch TV or listen to music.  For some reason if i just turn it on and start listening, something dosent feel right.

 

And for some reason everything i listen to sounds its best @4am . ..yeah i know, makes no sense at all.

 

Many systems sound their best in the wee hours of the morning because the power coming into the house is cleaner. Fewer motors & other noise sources are running at these times. 

 

kev

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugeyed View Post
 

 

Many systems sound their best in the wee hours of the morning because the power coming into the house is cleaner. Fewer motors & other noise sources are running at these times. 

 

kev

 

I've actually measured a difference in voltage, 230v during the day, 240v after midnight.  But i dont see how that can matter when its going through DC rectifiers / voltage regulators.

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcandmar View Post
 

 

I've actually measured a difference in voltage, 230v during the day, 240v after midnight.  But i dont see how that can matter when its going through DC rectifiers / voltage regulators.

 

It's more a matter if high frequency noise on the line than voltage.

k

post #15 of 20

Yeah i get that, i have built an overkill mains filter / toroid power supply to feed the amp/dac.  If its there i cant see or measure it on my scope.

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