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IEM break-in not necessary?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I was reading Headphone Break-In: Facts and Fiction to look for recommended break-in strategies for my new Shure SE530s and the author said:

"The fixed-armature drivers in higher-end in-ear monitors operates differently than in dynamic headphones. As a result, you shouldn't notice break-in with an in-ear monitor (or IEM)."

Do you guys agree with this? Is there a acoustic benefit to breaking-in in-canal headphones like the SE530, or would I be wasting my time?
post #2 of 22
Break-in, burn-in, whatever you want to call it is all to some degree or another psychological, the extent of the psychological versus real effect is the debate. There are plausible arguments for why some sonic changes can occur over time with large, dynamic drivers. These plausible arguments are seemingly impossible in the case of armature drivers, hence the claim even in a document that tries to be unbiased and balanced that it should have no effect.

On the other hand, you routinely see people claiming burn-in effects on their armature driver based IEMs. Is it probably all psychological? Sure, but if you think it might make a difference, it certainly won't hurt anything to run some pink noise through them for a couple of evenings while you sleep. Will any benefit you hear from this be anything more than your mind playing tricks on you? Probably not, but an imaginary sound quality benefit still sounds better to you
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Haha, you are quite right, Channum, psychological benefit is still benefit. I'm trying to figure this whole break-in thing on other audio components as well. There seems to be a larger degree of consensus that amps benefit from break-in and less consensus about audio interconnects. I suppose I could believe the amp, but electron flow in audio interconnects I don't buy.
post #4 of 22
You're breaking in your ears and your brain, but the effect is real.
post #5 of 22
The effect of burn-in on IEM vary from model to model, brand to brand. I am not talking about just psychological burn-in, but also real change in frequency response. Some IEM will benefit a lot, some very little, but most others show no difference (which is why many say the you don't need to burn them in).

Quote:
Originally Posted by channum View Post
Will any benefit you hear from this be anything more than your mind playing tricks on you? Probably not, but an imaginary sound quality benefit still sounds better to you
Channum, you might want to know that your newly acquired SA6 requires about 50 hrs of burn-in to reach its final sound signature. JasonK@SleekAudio told us a while ago about this, and I had done an A/B'ing with mine (100hrs+) and a brand new pair to confirm it.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have Shure Se530s, anyone hear about the benefits or lack thereof of breaking these in?
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
Channum, you might want to know that your newly acquired SA6 requires about 50 hrs of burn-in to reach its final sound signature. JasonK@SleekAudio told us a while ago about this, and I had done an A/B'ing with mine (100hrs+) and a brand new pair to confirm it.
Given the community they're targetting, I don't find it surprising they covered their butts and made such a statement, but I still wouldn't bet a nickel they actually physically burn in. There's just no proposed mechanism to explain why balanced armature based earphones should be able to change sonically through use so I remain skeptical. For that matter, I wouldn't bet a nickel that anything audibly burns in, but I'll stay an agnostic so long as there's no conclusive quantitative data.

That said, if they do burn in and get better, so much the better for me since I found them only a slight downgrade from well used triple.fi right out of the box .
post #8 of 22
Well, I trust my ear for no lying to me (or my brother since he has no idea as which pair he has demo'ed). If you want to find out for yourself (and assuming you haven't run them for too long), you can unplug one side and let the other one runs for 50hrs, than do a blind A/B'ing yourself. In any case, what you want to believe in is of course not really my consent. However, I do hope you enjoy your new 'phone
post #9 of 22
Yes, a blind A/B test would've definitely confirmed whether the burn-in was psychological, aural, or mechanical (the IEM itself). I'm looking forward to hearing the finished sound of my SA6s.
post #10 of 22
If it were the IEM itself that changed, they'd run them at the factory so they'd be fully "burned in" when sold.

Have you ever bought used headphones or earphones? Did they always sound exactly the same the first time you listened to them as they did 50 hours later?
post #11 of 22
If it were the IEM itself that changed, they'd run them at the factory so they'd be fully "burned in" when sold.

Have you ever bought used headphones or earphones? Did they always sound exactly the same the first time you listened to them as they did 50 hours later?
post #12 of 22
I have few experience in IEM, but my old Gaming headphone -- steelsound 5H v2 -- did improve a lot for the time being.

I can hardly have it on for 10 mins when I first get them, the harshness of treble really was killing my ear drum.
But after had it for more than 1 year (around 400 hours gaming with it) the treble is now less harsh (only less but not totally gone). And when I get a new set from RMA, the terrible harshness comes back. (alas, another hundreds of hours required to burn them in again)

Don't bother me of why I am using them for gaming since the mic on them worked very well.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott549 View Post
If it were the IEM itself that changed, they'd run them at the factory so they'd be fully "burned in" when sold.

Have you ever bought used headphones or earphones? Did they always sound exactly the same the first time you listened to them as they did 50 hours later?
Not true, it'd add a lot more time to the overall production time, and cost more overall. Plus, most people don't even notice the changes from burn-in since it happens over a longer period of time.
post #14 of 22
Why doesn't anyone ever think the sound gets worse when they burn in? Shouldn't they get better 50% of the time and worse 50% of the time?

I just wish people would think scientifically about this.
post #15 of 22
Armature based ones like Etymotics benefit very little from break-in, due to their design. Dynamic drivers do, however. With IEMs though, the drivers are so small that it's a much shorter break-in period than say a 50mm voice coil...
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