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does soundstage become broader as your headphones burn in?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Bought a pair of Sennheiser HD800's, and have been playing them and the soundstage definitely seems to be widening.

 

The Matrix M-Stage is yet to arrive mind you.

post #2 of 14

I haven't noted this.  I do find that the sound tends to change as I acclimatize and grow comfortable with them.  However, if I switch to my HD650's for a week and then go back to the HD800's, I'm back where I started for a short while before I am back to where I left off.  So a lot of the 'burn in' changes I've personally put down to acclimatization adjustments.

post #3 of 14

There are some minor changes from burn/break-in in the first few hours but after that it's mostly psychological adaptation. You're just learning its sound.

Wikipedia: Jordan University of Science and Technology - The Jordan University of Science and Technology, often abbreviated JUST, is a comprehensive, state-supported university located outside of Irbid at Ar Ramtha region, in Northern Jordan. »


Edited by Shahrose - 7/16/10 at 1:16pm
post #4 of 14

broader I don´t know but yes for me the soundstaging is what takes the longest time to adjust to.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

IMO the soundstage is definitely getting better

post #6 of 14

is it really widening? i have experienced with improvement of details, bass extension, and clarity. but never experience any soundstage widening 

post #7 of 14

Yes, I just bought a pair of the Sennheiser HD 800s.  I plugged them into my Headroom Balanced Max Amp and at first I was a little disappointed. I actually thought my Sennheiser HD 650s were just as good. That was my initial opinion.  I have now had the HD 800s running for about 10 hours and I am beginning to hear an improvement.  I guess they need a long period to break in.  I will keep you posted of the Break In inprovements as the time goes by.  The do sound good but I think they sound a little thin. I have other headphones, mostly Stax Pro Headphones, where the sound, in my opinion, is fuller with better bass.  Still I am not disappointed in the sound from the HD 800s and will keep them as part of my collection.  Scottsmrnyc

post #8 of 14

Personally I haven't noticed a widening of the soundstage. It was already wide and deep from the start. But I may not have paid enough attention to the soundstage.

 

 

Originally Posted by aimlink View Post

I haven't noted this.  I do find that the sound tends to change as I acclimatize and grow comfortable with them.  However, if I switch to my HD650's for a week and then go back to the HD800's, I'm back where I started for a short while before I am back to where I left off.  So a lot of the 'burn in' changes I've personally put down to acclimatization adjustments.

 

Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post

There are some minor changes from burn/break-in in the first few hours but after that it's mostly psychological adaptation. You're just learning its sound.

Wikipedia: Jordan University of Science and Technology - The Jordan University of Science and Technology, often abbreviated JUST, is a comprehensive, state-supported university located outside of Irbid at Ar Ramtha region, in Northern Jordan.


A few days ago I had the opportunity to compare my friend's brand new HD 800 with my used pair. The difference was exactly how I perceived it between out of the box and after ~250 hours. The treble from the new pair was sharp and strident, some recordings with string orchestras were virtually unlistenable – whereas my new pair sounded smooth and refined.

 

I will do the comparison again after my friend's pair is broken in, just for excluding sample variation – which I consider very unlikely in this form.


Edited by JaZZ - 7/18/10 at 1:16am
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ View Post
A few days ago I had the opportunity to compare my friend's brand new HD 800 with my used pair. The difference was exactly how I perceived it between out of the box and after ~250 hours. The treble from the new pair was sharp and strident, some recordings with string orchestras were virtually unlistenable – whereas my new pair sounded smooth and refined.

 

I will do the comparison again after my friend's pair is broken in, just for excluding sample variation – which I consider very unlikely in this form.


Jazz,

In the interest of full disclosure, I think you should state the primary reasons why they would sound different, before assuming it is an unverifiable condition such as burn-in:

 

1)  Your pair are modified

2)  Each HD800 has a different measured frequency response, as can be seen in the graphs sent to each owner

 

Burn-in has never been proven to make any difference.  If it did it would be easily measurable.  It is much more likely that the above listed reasons are why they sound different.  For those who just purchased their headphone (regardless of brand or model) and feel it changes after several hundred hours, it is much more likely that their brain is getting accustomed to the headphone's sound signature.

 

I compared my pair with another Head-Fier's pair at a meet - same source, same amp, same cable.  I removed my mod first to make sure all things were equal, and I used my balanced cable on his pair.  I felt his pair had a little bit more bass, and I would be willing to bet that this would be reflected on his graph.


Edited by IPodPJ - 7/18/10 at 2:09am
post #10 of 14

 

Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post


Jazz,

In the interest of full disclosure, I think you should state the primary reasons why they would sound different, before assuming it is an unverifiable condition such as burn-in:

 

1)  Your pair are modified

2)  Each HD800 has a different measured frequency response, as can be seen in the graphs sent to each owner


1)  And how do you know under which condition I have compared the two pairs? I could have reversed my mod or reproduced it on my friend's pair, right? I'm not that naive. In fact the latter applies. For this specific comparison I modded his pair (at his request) exactly according to mine. And of course I've reinstalled the stock cable on my pair beforehand!
 

2)  I'm aware of the sample variances and have seen them on the published graphs. But from the relatively moderate deviations I don't deduce such a massive sonic effect like the one described above. Moreover – and first of all – the sonic characteristic of the new pair corresponded exactly to my experience during the break-in phase.

 

 

Burn-in has never been proven to make any difference. If it did it would be easily measurable. 

 

I remember some posts where two pairs of the same headphone have been compared, one new and one used, and the difference was obvious – in favor of the used pair.

 

Yes, the effect has been proved and measured, although not with headphones. In my theory the sonic effect is from harmonic distortion rather than from frequency balance. (The initial stiffness of the suspension/membrane makes for an inhomogeneous compliance curve.)

 

 

It is much more likely that the above listed reasons are why they sound different. For those who just purchased their headphone (regardless of brand or model) and feel it changes after several hundred hours, it is much more likely that their brain is getting accustomed to the headphone's sound signature.

 

While I don't deny the importance of getting used to a new sonic characteristic, a change of physical/acoustic properties from wear-in/break-in is anything but unlikely, let alone impossible. Moreover: see above link!

.

post #11 of 14

JaZZ, interesting findings, but a few questions/concerns:

 

1) How do you know the differences weren't caused by the first few hours of break-in/burn-in (as opposed to the full 250 hours)? I said I do believe in the effect, but most of it is in the first few hours IME (after which it's mostly psychological).

 

2) People have heard differences among completely burned-in pairs of HD800s because of the aforementioned frequency response variances. How can you be sure it wasn't just that?

 

3) How can you be sure the mods done on both headphones were precisely identical so that the variable can be eliminated?

post #12 of 14
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post

1) How do you know the differences weren't caused by the first few hours of break-in/burn-in (as opposed to the full 250 hours)? I said I do believe in the effect, but most of it is in the first few hours IME (after which it's mostly psychological).

 

2) People have heard differences among completely burned-in pairs of HD800s because of the aforementioned frequency response variances. How can you be sure it wasn't just that?

 

3) How can you be sure the mods done on both headphones were precisely identical so that the variable can be eliminated?

 

Hi Shahrose

 

1)  The differences I'm speaking of (with my pair) – although noticeable – were not enough to satisfy my sonic demands after just a few hours of play time: String orchestras still sounded awfully strident. This trait went away not before ~200 hours. Note that this was before the mod came into play.

2)  I'm not sure, but quite confident that it is a break-in issue. As it was about refinement and smoothness, not frequency balance. Moreover, as mentioned, it was exactly the same sonic effect as the one I experienced with my own new pair, which disolved later on.

 

3)  You may look at the thread where it's described. It's easy to cut identical forms of velvet, which moreover are given by the shape of the earpiece frame and the pole piece surrounding the membrane. And I used the same materials. So I can't imagine that some sonic deviation be caused by corresponding differences. According to my experience with the modification (which has developed quite a bit since its primary state) the effect would not be identical anyway.

 

So I'm actually very confident that the experienced difference was solely due to break-in (or lack of it, resp.). But I'll report back as soon as my friend's (Kurt) pair has reached its maturity.

.


Edited by JaZZ - 7/18/10 at 11:06am
post #13 of 14

One thing I will now say about the Sennheiser HD 800s is that the highs/treble and the seperation is excellent. I think my Stax Pro headphones- omega twos, 4070s and others have a fuller sound though! Is there anyone else out there in Headfi land that is using the HD 800s with a Headroom Balanced Max amp?  I be curious to hear what your thoughts about the HD 800s are?  Scottsmrnyc

post #14 of 14
Originally Posted by Scottsmrnyc View Post

One thing I will now say about the Sennheiser HD 800s is that the highs/treble and the seperation is excellent. I think my Stax Pro headphones- omega twos, 4070s and others have a fuller sound though!


If you want fuller sound (and even better imaging) from your HD 800, try this!

.
 

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