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Headphone Burn-in - Page 3

post #31 of 82

Who said burn in makes the SQ magically increase. It has little effect on the sound, rather it is a natural process that occurs again and again, the only thing that changes is the weave pattern of the cone and diaphragm to handle more stress with lesser strain.

post #32 of 82

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pratt View Post

Burn in is done/over with within seconds when they test the drivers at the factory so by the time you get cans/speakers you probably can't even "burn them in". At the MOST a couple of hours would do it (and probably more like a couple minutes).

 

Just listen and enjoy right out of the box, and, if you don't, 1000 hours down the road you still won't like the sound (unless it "grows on" you psychoacoustically) because it will NOT change: get another headphone.



 

To be fair, the psychological aspect of burn in can be very important. I've certainly had headphones and speakers that didn't sound all that great to me at first, but I have grown to enjoy over time. Whether this is the case of my brain learning to filter out the flaws of their presentation, or that it is just the case of adapting to a new presentation, is difficult to discern. Probably a mixture of both :)

 

So it is probably still a good idea to give yourself more than a few hours to adapt to a pair of headphones. Regardless of the existence or nonexistence of physical burn in.

post #33 of 82

Psychological burn-in is quite real, the brain needs to get used to the sound signature of the headphones you're using. As far as physical burn in, there was a thread here that I read a while ago, it showed that almost all burn-in took place within the first 20 hours at max, and the difference was quite small. The reason why burn-in is more profound in speakers is that they are bigger and move when the air is pumped through, thus loosening the drivers. Headphone drivers loosen up to such a minor degree the difference is barely noticeable. Those who claim significant differences are really just making the difference big in their head, it's amazing what the brain is capable of if you want to perceive something to be true.

 

As far as cable burn in and other audiophile hocus pocus is concerned, it's not possible. No cable is going to sound better, especially after 300 hours of use, nor will a solid state amp. A tube amp perhaps slightly, but nothing without moving parts will change.

post #34 of 82

I burn in all Sennheiser products for at least 100 hours before reviewing their sound quality. I have a pair of EH-250's that took 200+ hours to finally burn in and all of a sudden the bass was nicely extended. They are one of my favorite cans to listen to especially from my Ultra Desktop.

 

There is no doubt that burning in headphones will help extend the bass. This is due to the loosening of the drivers / transducers which I think is the primary focus of the burn in process.

 

My standard burn in process is running foobar2000 with the following tracks overnight for a week at just above loud listening levels. It works great for me. I truly believe that some headphones need this process to sound their best. The HD-650 and HD-800 are perfect examples. You read a ton of reviews about how these headphones have issues with their bass extension, especially if the reviewer has not had them for more than say 2 months. I requested some graphs from a few techs to see if we could see the frequency response of a new pair of HD-650 vs a well burned in HD-650.

 

These are nice tracks that stimulate the bass range without being ridiculous.  Just place on repeat and scramble for 1 week and you should start to notice better bass response.

CAKE - [Comfort Eagle CD1 #11] World Of Two
CAKE - [Pressure Chief CD1 #02] No Phone
CAKE - [Prolonging The Magic CD1 #12] Cool Blue Reason

Freezepop - [Hi-Five My Remix CD1 #02] Super-Sprøde (Future Bible Heroes Remix)
Freezepop - [Hi-Five My Remix CD1 #11] Super-Sprøde (Super-Death Remix By Soviet)
Garbage - [Absolute Garbage [Disc 2] CD2 #04] Breaking Up The Girl [Timo Maas Remix]

Karsh Kale - [Realize #03] Tour Guide

Weird Al Yankovic - [Straight Outta Lynwood Disc 1 #02] Pancreas

post #35 of 82

Taken from another forum, where an new AKG K702 owner e-mailed AKG to ask about burn in.....

 

Dear Malc, Thank you for contacting AKG.
Congratulations on your new
AKG headphones.
From our experience and
knowledge we cannot confirm
that there is a burn in effect of the transducers taking
place.
Normally the sound of
headphones changes only over
many years and then
mainly caused by the ear pads (less low end since the ear pads
get more
densely by sweat etc.).
However, during the first hours
of use of headphones, the ear
pads - in the beginning a little stiff - start to
accommodate to the users ears
and head
and the sealing becomes better,
as a result the bass can be
increased a little, on the other hand the
distance between the
headphones and the ear
may become closer, i.e. fewer
air volume between ears and
headphones is available and thus less bass. Kind regards Horst Burghauser
AKG intl. hotline hotline@akg.com

 

So, according to AKG, its the ear pads, not the transducer. So the most likely cause of the K702s 'notorious burn in time' is down to the size and make up of the pads.

post #36 of 82

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post #37 of 82

In psychology it's called the exposure effect- familiarity alone makes people like things more.  I've seen a couple of very telling threads written by people who directly compare new and used headphones.  One was by someone who believed he heard burn-in improvements on his SRH840, later compared them to a new set and found that they sounded identical.  Another similar experience was written about two M50s of the same production but sadly I didn't bookmark that thread.

 

Comparing these controlled & uncontrolled impressions of burn-in on the same headphone really drives home the point of involuntary human self-delusion:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/506050/observations-8-month-old-shure-srh840-vs-brand-new-out-of-the-box-from-the-same-batch#post_6835894

 

http://www.headfonia.com/shure-srh-840-50-hours/

post #38 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post

Taken from another forum, where an new AKG K702 owner e-mailed AKG to ask about burn in.....

 

Dear Malc, Thank you for contacting AKG.
Congratulations on your new
AKG headphones.
From our experience and
knowledge we cannot confirm
that there is a burn in effect of the transducers taking
place.
Normally the sound of
headphones changes only over
many years and then
mainly caused by the ear pads (less low end since the ear pads
get more
densely by sweat etc.).
However, during the first hours
of use of headphones, the ear
pads - in the beginning a little stiff - start to
accommodate to the users ears
and head
and the sealing becomes better,
as a result the bass can be
increased a little, on the other hand the
distance between the
headphones and the ear
may become closer, i.e. fewer
air volume between ears and
headphones is available and thus less bass. Kind regards Horst Burghauser
AKG intl. hotline hotline@akg.com

 

So, according to AKG, its the ear pads, not the transducer. So the most likely cause of the K702s 'notorious burn in time' is down to the size and make up of the pads.


It would be hard to comment generally on break-in, but AKG's attitude is curious. Assuming you subscribe to break-in, the idea of ear pads being the agent doesn't seem to make sense, at least to me. First, AKG offers absolutely no evidence for their dubious claims - not even anecdotal. To the contrary, the American branch of AKG informs me that break-in takes place over a period of around 100 hours (pads will be well compressed by that time). Finally, I have a pair of K701s and deliberately increased and decreased the amount of seal, and didn't notice too much difference. 

 

I don't claim to know the whole story about break-in, but for me, AKG's explanation is a dead end.

post #39 of 82

There's an app for that!

BurnIn (MapPin Software), $1.99 in the new Mac App Store.

(As for me, I'll just keep listening to my headphones, and use the $1.99 to buy a couple of Hubig's pies.)

post #40 of 82

Even though there is certainly a perceived audible difference from when a headphone is first used to when it finally "burns in" the following video may shed some light onto the subject for those who may want more information.  The video supplies you with a few basic measurements for the burn in period.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yeAquRyJiw

post #41 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richiyaado View Post

There's an app for that!

BurnIn (MapPin Software), $1.99 in the new Mac App Store.

(As for me, I'll just keep listening to my headphones, and use the $1.99 to buy a couple of Hubig's pies.)


 

I wouldn't pay $1.99 for the app, either. Especially since there's a free app, also called Burnin; it has the same name, but has some added functionality. 

post #42 of 82
There seems to be a mess of concepts and effects on this subject.
Some people seem to think that audio burn-in is like a car engine, where you're not supposed to over rev for the first 1000 km, for fear of reducing performance for the rest of the engine's life (something which never made sense to me...)

Having been among audiophile crowds since childhood, my experience is that all audio equipment has a burn-in (electronics) or break-in (mechanics) period. This is defined as simply the time it takes for the device to sound close to how it will sound for "the rest" of its life, as opposed to how it sounds straight out of the factory.

From my experience, with examples out of memory:
- electronics are rather quick, 10h tops (eg. Fiio E9, Yamaha RX-V1500);
- loudspeakers (dynamic*) take a bit more, maybe some 10-20h (Monitor Audio Silvers, Elac 200s);
- headphones actually seem to take the longest, some 30-50h (HD595, MX880, KSC75).
This is not to say that there aren't changes after this time, they'll just be more subtle and take longer to notice.

The signal used for burn-in does not seem to make any difference. We just hook them to a FM radio 24/7. We've tried noise, burn-in tracks from test CDs, etc. Don't seem to speed up the process in any way.

Interestingly, the changes seem to be similar. Bass and treble extension improve, dynamics improve, treble quantity decreases. Bass quantity increases on some devices, and decreases in others. Because of this, these changes are not always improvements -- for example, I prefered the KSC75 sound out of the box. The changes are also very slight, I have never heard sonic signature changes, for example, and I have a hard time believing some of the things people write about "miracle bloomings".

This burning-in effect is often mixed up with other effects, such as psychoauditory adjustment, which might explain alot of these "miracles" (I tend not to listen to equipment while in the break-in period, so in my case this is not a factor).

Another factor I have not seen discussed is the operating temperature. Solid state electronics tend to sound worse when they're cold; sound improves after some 30 minutes, no news there. But something similar happens to transducers as well (but in a much shorter timeframe).

*Elac's AMT tweeter took some time to get treble harshness under control, some 40-50h IIRC.
post #43 of 82


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildstar View Post

From my experience, with examples out of memory:
- headphones actually seem to take the longest, some 30-50h (HD595, MX880, KSC75).
 


But that's not a proof. It's "your experience" as you said.

 

The last time I tried burn-in akg k242hd and there was no difference at all. I haven't listen to them for that period. In fact, I still don't like them.

post #44 of 82

Exactly, I didn't say it was proof. And it didn't come out properly, but the burn-in times vary wildly. I also wouldn't be surprised that some units could have been subject to heavier tests at the factory, thus already being broken-in. In any case, I have never heard a device that keeps its sound exactly as it came from the factory, just my personal experience, of course. Even for a pair of earbuds that came with a pack of yoghurt (!) I noticed some mild "improvement" after a few hours.

 

Did you think you'd like them after a hypothetical burn-in?

post #45 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildstar View Post

From my experience, with examples out of memory:
- electronics are rather quick, 10h tops (eg. Fiio E9, Yamaha RX-V1500);
 


I hope you know how ridiculous it is for a solid state electronic to even be considered to have burn in. "Hey guys, did you notice my graphics look better after using this new video card for 100 hours?!" Yeah, it's that ridiculous.

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