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"burning in" headphones.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

first of all, with my first post id just like to say thanks to everyone on here for contributing towards such a great resource for people interested in headphones etc. ive only spent a few hours on here reading threads and already i feel really well informed about what headphones are the best for their price bracket etc. so thanks very much for that, im sure ive saved a lot of money (or will over the course of my next few purchases) thanks to this site. ive just invested in a set of sr80is :P

 

now on to what i originally was going to say: ive noticed quite a lot over the course of those few hours that people talk about "burning in" their headphones. especially in reviews, and especially if they were big purchases.

 

as a skeptical person that cares a lot (perhaps unhealthily so) about whether or not his beliefs are true. i try to look at the evidence before i believe something. after all, by what other criteria do we determine the truth of a claim other than by evidence?

 

so i spent a while reading about "burning in", and looking for evidence that it actually does affect, or even improve, the sound from headphones.

 

but i cant find anything :( this makes me think that perhaps the whole "burning in" thing is just a kind of placebo effect spawned meme that is self-perpetuating due to the nature of the medium (a forum of like-minded open-minded enthusiasts willing to try new things and accept new ideas). ive also asked a few sound engineers if there could be any truth to this, but they seem similarly inclined to me and dont agree that there should be any kind of improvement through use in a system that uses moving parts e.g. in a car, or a tv, or headphones

 

but i realize that you guys also know what you are talking about and have a lot of experience and knowledge, so does anyone have any empirical evidence that this "burning in" claim is true?


Edited by conor147 - 12/10/11 at 12:24pm
post #2 of 10

Welcome to Head-Fi, and as they say around here: Sorry for your wallet!

 

As for burn in, you will find people on both sides of the fence. Some people swear after 100 hours of listening time, headphones 'open up' and get better. The reason given is generally because the diaphragm that actually reproduces the sound is "tight" from the factory and needs some time to settle into its final characteristics. 

You'll also see the other side which says that burn in is entirely a placebo effect and it is your brain that is 'burning in'. 

Personally, I'm in the middle of this. I haven't really seen any solid evidence to prove burn in.

A simple blind study may work: Get two pairs of the same headphones and burn one in. Leave the other in the box. Give them to somebody that is an experienced audiophile and try to get them to identify which one was burned in. I bet they wouldn't be able to tell.

Anybody have any solid evidence that was obtained using proper scientific methods to prove/disprove it?

post #3 of 10

I guessed you were a skeptic from your avatar.  :)

 

Burn-in gets mentioned a lot here.  But I've never burned-in anything.  Inlisten straight out of the box and have always had good results.

 

It's the difference between a $50k wedding and paying $20 for a judge to marry you at the courthouse.  If you really want the ritual and ceremony, go ahead.  The end result is the same.

 

 

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quake120 View Post

A simple blind study may work: Get two pairs of the same headphones and burn one in. Leave the other in the box. Give them to somebody that is an experienced audiophile and try to get them to identify which one was burned in. I bet they wouldn't be able to tell.


If the majority claim that the difference between a pre-burned-in and burned-in headphone is night and day, then maybe the results of such a blind study (2 different pairs, 1 burned, 1 kept as is) might hold some meaning. But no two drivers are identical to each other, even those of high end headphones. You should be able to find CSD/waterfall graphs of the Left/Right drivers of a Sennheiser HD800 which indicate that they do not measure equally.

 

So when you take two headphones, burn one in and keep the other as a control, the difference you hear when comparing the two might be due to the manufacturing variances. 

 

Tyll Hertsens of InnerFidelity did an experiment on this. 

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Boat View Post

 

Tyll Hertsens of InnerFidelity did an experiment on this. 



Do you happen to have a link to the results of this study? I'd love to read that.

post #6 of 10

What tyll did was switching between a 'burned' q701 and a brand new q701 with different colors with a help of his friend.. so what they did is, Tyll sitting on a chair, and from behind him his friend gave him both headphones randomly (by flipping a coin) and tyll would guess which one is which (which one is brand new, which one has settled in).

 

I dont think he has the measurements or any literature on that experiments, but you can find a video of it on Youtube, search 'Innerfidelity', go to his channel and find the video. sorry I'm too lazy to go over to youtube and provide the appropriate link.

 

cheers,

post #7 of 10

A few days ago I would have said that I am not sure burn in really exists, but after putting 15 hours on my new Q701s, I can say that that the difference is huge. Up until last night the highs on these Q701s were a little on the harsh side but after a little listening they were suddenly no longer fatiguing to my ears. So smooth and just sounding great all around.

 

So, I either suffered major hearing loss while listening at fairly low volumes or burn in ir real.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenErik View Post

A few days ago I would have said that I am not sure burn in really exists, but after putting 15 hours on my new Q701s, I can say that that the difference is huge. Up until last night the highs on these Q701s were a little on the harsh side but after a little listening they were suddenly no longer fatiguing to my ears. So smooth and just sounding great all around.

 

So, I either suffered major hearing loss while listening at fairly low volumes or burn in ir real.


Or you got used to the harsh highs, like I got used to Grado's piercing treble. 

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Boat View Post


Or you got used to the harsh highs, like I got used to Grado's piercing treble. 



Hah, could be. Could be. But I'm thinking otherwise. tongue.gif

post #10 of 10

http://www.audioholics.com/education/loudspeaker-basics/speaker-break-in-fact-or-fiction

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