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The Grado HF-2 Review/Comparison Thread - Page 29

post #421 of 1528
I simply can't believe that "burn-in" if it's even real can make that much of a night and day difference. Going from "trailer trash" to "trump tower?" It doesn't make sense.

Wouldn't that say that the people who make these don't know what they are doing? That they are listening to crappy sounding headphones and then selling them as "good?" Or do they "burn in" every headphone for 500 hours before listening to them to be sure it is going to be "good?" And how come everyone else thinks they are basically good when they first hear them?

I'm sorry to offend, I just can't believe it is anything much more than a placebo effect. I could possibly accept someone saying there were some minor differences after a few hours, but even that is more likely just a case of them getting used to the sound and hearing things their ears have not been used to hearing. To say it is such an extreme change from crappy to brilliant just defies reality, in my humble opinion. With all due respect, I think it's 99 percent in your head.
post #422 of 1528
I do not want to turn this thread into an argument about burn in. It has been discussed to death and always turns into a lose-lose situation with 2 completely dedicated camps.
If you believe that moving materials such as drivers and their associated components don't loosen up after a significant amount of hours and completely change their sound characteristics due to a change in physical properties, then there's nothing that I can say. Arguing about wires and capacitors and electronic components is one thing, but headphones consist of materials that get fed a signal to make them move, and these materials are stiffer when they're new then when they're used and if sound output didn't changed based upon materials and their properties, then all speakers and headphones would sound pretty much, the same.
Manufacturers know this. Yes, people who make these, know what they are doing, and they know that their products change with time and do take that into consideration.
Most high end companies recommend a minimum amount of burn-in on their websites and manuals (Cary. Carver, Bryston, Headroom, Cardas, Luxman, Sennheiser, McIntosh, etc.). Don't they know what they are doing?

Do a search on this forum and you can read "til the cows come home" about the merits of burn-in and those who oppose the theory.
post #423 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by immtbiker View Post
I do not want to turn this thread into an argument about burn in. It has been discussed to death and always turns into a lose-lose situation with 2 completely dedicated camps.
So why'd you make such a big soapbox issue out of it then? I was just responding to comments YOU made.
post #424 of 1528
On the issue of headphone burn-in:

There is a measurable change in many driver characteristics after burn-in. For instance, Troels Gravesen measured a change in resonant frequency in the drivers he designed from 50 to 42 Hz over about 100 hours of break-in - this was an average change over four tested drivers. http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/JA8008.htm Now, you may or may not believe that this kind of change will have an effect on sound. I don't see how it wouldn't, but whatever.

As far as headphone drivers go, it is my understanding that most (if not all) of them are coated with a polymer for protection. This polymer is most likely applied while the driver is not under use, and hardens on a static surface. Exciting that surface is eventually going to stress the polymer, which will initially be quite stiff, but will soften over time as it is stressed. Does this affect the sound? I guess it depends, but I'd say probably yes.

It's very similar to instrument design. I play classical guitar, and luthiers basically use two kinds of finishing for guitars. French Polish and lacquering. Most tops are either made of spruce or cedar. Depending on the finish-type and wood type chosen, break-in on a guitar can very greatly. It's generally accepted that the spray on lacquers, which are harder and generally applied much thicker don't break in much at all. The finish is simply to hard and thick for the vibrations of the top to change it much. French polish on the other hand is very thin and light, and ages well. Cedar wood, being a good bit softer than spruce, tends to break in quickly while the harder spruce will change its timbre over years of playing. This is personified in that most lacquered guitars don't really age , most cedar top french polished guitars are considered to have reached their full potential in a couple of years, and most french polished spruce guitars are accepted to age well for years and years after they are built. Of course this varies greatly depending on all kinds of factors: what kind of bracing the top has, the thickness of the top, the luthiers skill, etc.

I think the same thing can be said of headphones. The materials that the driver is made of, the finish applied to it, the thickness applied to it, the housing material, etc. all plays a mechanical vibrational role in the way the thing sounds, and if some of that material softens over time from the vibrations going through it, then it's sound is going to change. Not necessarily for the better, but change. Some headphones may change little, some might change a lot.

All that being said, I am skeptical of a headphone changing so much that you might go from hating it to loving it. The materials and construction itself doesn't change. They can only "soften". The overall characteristic sound shouldn't be a night and day difference after burn-in.
post #425 of 1528
Can we please not discuss the world-changing magical merits (or lack thereof, whichever you prefer) of burn-in here? I have a feeling it will derail the thread and I wish it wasn't brought up.

I'm certainly glad to hear these are still FOTM.
post #426 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by UglyJoe View Post
All that being said, I am skeptical of a headphone changing so much that you might go from hating it to loving it. The materials and construction itself doesn't change. They can only "soften". The overall characteristic sound shouldn't be a night and day difference after burn-in.
That's all I was saying, thanks for posting all that info. This is a review thread of the headphones, so for someone to come in and say that they basically completely suck until /maybe/ 500+ hours have gone by -- I don't know. I just find that kind of extreme and even irresponsible, and I think it should be challenged. As far as I can tell, it certainly doesn't correspond to MOST people's impressions.
post #427 of 1528
I find bikers tale of burn in corresponds to my experience that they sounded better after some play time.
post #428 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by iggy-starnuts View Post
That's all I was saying, thanks for posting all that info. This is a review thread of the headphones, so for someone to come in and say that they basically completely suck until /maybe/ 500+ hours have gone by -- I don't know. I just find that kind of extreme and even irresponsible, and I think it should be challenged. As far as I can tell, it certainly doesn't correspond to MOST people's impressions.
i'd enjoy seeing you "challenge" the notion of burn-in... let's see it. i do enjoy
empirical evidence. what sort of sample size are you thinking of employing?
post #429 of 1528
I had a brief listen with them at a meet and wasn't impressed. Of course the meet wasn't a fair place to judge them since it was so loud and the HF-2 has no isolation. I should be getting my own pair in a few weeks and I hope my home experience is better.
post #430 of 1528
Burn in exists , the question in my mind is if it is a physical change in the headphones or simply my brain becoming familiar with this 'new' signature.
I think a-b comparisons are very difficult in audio as i dont think i can trust the accuracy of my memory.
Also if it was physical there would be headphones that get worse, ive yet to read that review.
post #431 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by takezo View Post
i'd enjoy seeing you "challenge" the notion of burn-in... let's see it. i do enjoy
empirical evidence. what sort of sample size are you thinking of employing?
I didn't challenge the notion as much as say that I didn't think the effects could be so extreme.

It's good to know so many people are writing to say these headphones sound like absolute crap, though -- until "burn in." Maybe it's a FOTM after all.
post #432 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by keyid View Post
I find bikers tale of burn in corresponds to my experience that they sounded better after some play time.
So it's your experience that they sounded "absolutely awful" until 200-500 hours of burn in? Because that's how he described it.
post #433 of 1528
I have had these phones (#185) for a little over 24 hours (my very fist pair of Grado, hehe), and on the first night, I find things generally speaking positive. I was using my ALO Amphora, and an mhdt Paradisea (v1 w. with RCA 5670) DAC. Sound stage is not as wide as my AKG K701s, but the presentation is definitely up front and with good depth and layering. Bass has some bloom, but I won't say they are bloated. Treble sounded a little harsh on some tracks. Mids were lively. However, I felt the presentation could have better integration of the individual voices. Instead, it really highlighted the differences and the separation of instruments. Things got better the next evening across the board, and in fact I was able to really enjoy some Diane Reeve that just absolutely sounded wrong on the AKG.
post #434 of 1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by iggy-starnuts View Post
So it's your experience that they sounded "absolutely awful" until 200-500 hours of burn in? Because that's how he described it.
To be fair, biker was posting his expectation, not what has happened for him personally yet. As far as I know he still thinks they sound pretty crappy. If in a couple of weeks he drops in saying they have changed to become his favorite headphone, then you can debate it.

Anyway, back on topic. For those of you who haven't particularly found this headphone to your liking yet, how do you generally like the Grado sound? I think a lot of the FOTM status has come from the fact that many people who said they generally don't like Grado's soundsig found the HF-2 to be one of the better (best) sounding phones from Grado's lineup... but they didn't necessarily like them all that well compared to other brands whose soundsig they prefer. I think some people might have misinterpreted that. It's been stated time and again that these cans still sound like a Grado, and I am wondering if some people who don't generally like Grado's thought this one would be a monster can that didn't have that house sound, and are more or less disappointed to find that they just aren't sounding that much different than the other Grado's they have hear, soundsig-wise.
post #435 of 1528
I still can't wait to put my brand new fresh out of the box HF2s on my head when I finally get them in a couple weeks. If they "Burn-in" it'll be while they're being listened to.

I've never gone out of my way to force burn-in on an audio device of any kind... and I can't say with certainty that I've noticed physical changes, but there have been times when I've enjoyed things more 'all of a sudden.'

That being said... if I get the HF2s and think they sound like junk out of the box, they'll be up for sale well before 200 hours of use. After all, I wouldn't buy a car that drove like crap with 0 miles on it, even though the engine REQUIRES burn-in.
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