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Can pink noise damage an IEM?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've found more than a page of old threads about pink noise, but I'd like to see this question specifically addressed. Apologies if it should be in the headphones forum, but it's real science on the matter that I'm interested in.

I've never used pink noise for burn-in, and am not certain that I much value burn-in. I have used a pink noise sound file to block out background noise while reading, though. I did this consistently with a TF10 that I no longer own, and which did eventually develop a kind of problem; but I don't necessarily imply causality. I would have the pink noise file on repeat for hours at a time.

I recently came across the claim, on another forum, that pink noise had damaged an IEM. A very experienced reviewer of headphones and the like made the claim. I'm curious if anyone's had that experience. If it seems a real risk, I suppose I'll have to find some non-nauseating ambient music to aid my reading, instead of pink noise.
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec E View Post
I recently came across the claim, on another forum, that pink noise had damaged an IEM. A very experienced reviewer of headphones and the like made the claim.
There shouldn't be any problem what so ever with playing pink noise through audio gear. Do you have a link on your comment?

We use pink noise all the time to burn in stuff.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 12
I've used pink noise for burn-in on at least half a dozen sets of earphones and never had a problem, and I can't imagine that pink noise (if played at a reasonable volume level, of course) would cause damage to IEMs.

I'd also be curious to read the comment from this "experienced reviewer" about damage he experienced due to pink noise.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwhitakr View Post
I'd also be curious to read the comment from this "experienced reviewer" about damage he experienced due to pink noise.
Read the middle two links above.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec E View Post
Read the middle two links above.


Nah, I don't buy it. Pink noise at normal or slightly elevated levels should not be a problem.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec E View Post
Read the middle two links above.
After reading the middle two links above, the author doesn't exactly present a convincing argument that pink noise burn-in causes damage to headphones or IEMs. His summation of the argument is that he tested two identical pairs of headphones, one with pink noise burn-in and one with normal music listening, and the one with pink noise "sounded worse/muddier/less dynamic than the "tenderly" treated one."

My experience tells me differently. All my other discussions / readings on other forums tells me differently. And as he presents no other evidence to convince me otherwise, my original opinion on the subject is unchanged.
post #8 of 12
I don't think that pink noise would normally damage an IEM, but there are a few things it may do that makes you imagine a damage:

1) Since it is a periodic pattern sound wave - our brain may get used to it for reference & when you immediately sample a non-periodic wave like a song track - the brain may either subconsciously play the pink noise & *pollute* the non-periodic track you are hearing or it may attenuate the song track with the pink noise at reference & cause psychological resonance at points where the response of the music notes & pink noise coincide - causing a perception of distortion.


2) During burning-in (I am a conformist), a periodic wave like pink/white noise may not open up the driver to all patterns of mechanical stresses & variations electrical, thermal & mechanical - so there is a possibility that the driver may settle to fine tuning itself to the periodic signal pattern & this may cause irregularities while playing a non-periodic sound wave on a driver that settled to reproducing the periodic wave most efficiently.


3) Playing the periodic pattern sound signal on ludicruously high volume can damage the fineness of the driver response - our brain attenuates periodic patterns easily, so a person playing such tracks may feel the continuous need to raise the volume levels thus unknowingly damaging the diaphragm, coil.....thus the driver itself !!


Presently, I can analyze just these probablities.....hope someone can add more probable theories.
post #9 of 12
I like the reference to pink noise being an "unnatural" sound. You know, compared to an additive-free all-natural healing sound that IEMs are used to hearing while roaming the free range.

You may be able to fry the headphone's voice coil with too much current, or do something similarly stupid with the wrong type of source, but a reasonably loud level of pink noise (~100db) should be well within spec limits.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by prodigy_techus View Post
1) Since it is a periodic pattern sound wave - .
Sorry, but a pink noise signal is anything but periodic ... well not quite.

Noise by definition is completely random and unpredictable. Oddly, it's not easy to make a perfectly random noise signal generator, so in most cases what we hear is 'psuedo-random' pink noise. This is essentially a sound track that is engineered to have noise that is of equal power per octave.

In other words: Rather than leave randomness to chance, a signal is engineered to be perfectly random. Odd, isn't it?

Anyway, this perfectly random sequence that may be a few seconds to a few tens of seconds long is then repeated over and over on the track to create random noise, so it is periodic in that sense, but that's not what you'd really call a periodic signal.

More on pseudo-randomness here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post
I like the reference to pink noise being an "unnatural" sound. You know, compared to an additive-free all-natural healing sound that IEMs are used to hearing while roaming the free range.


Very funny.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Anyway, this perfectly random sequence that may be a few seconds to a few tens of seconds long is then repeated over and over on the track to create random noise, so it is periodic in that sense, but that's not what you'd really call a periodic signal.
My dear man, I said periodic *pattern* sound signal, not just a periodic signal......yes, I meant periodic as in the pattern repeating over & over again.
post #12 of 12
The poster you linked said to avoid high volume pink noise, low volume should be okay. I also suggest to err on the side of caution. But if I hear enough people say things like high volume pink noise is the way to go, I might try. That's a big if though, I don't have many headphones to use as guinea pigs .
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