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Burn-in. Real or not?

post #1 of 228
Thread Starter 

Hi Head-Fi, Dreamingbig here.

 

So I've seen the term "burn-in" a lot around here. I did some research, and I can't find a conclusive answer as to whether it is actually necessary or not. So Head-Fi Community, burn-in, is it real? Or is it just another myth?

 

 

post #2 of 228

I don't believe in burn-in on BA's.

post #3 of 228

Depends on the IEM. It's quite variable in terms of time and amount of change. BA change varies from near non existant to subtle depending on device and source. Dynamics tend to change more significantly as do MAs which have dynamic type suspensions but it's also variable by device.


Edited by goodvibes - 12/21/11 at 7:12am
post #4 of 228
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post

Depends on the IEM. It's quite variable in terms of time and amount of change. BA change varies from near non existant to subtle depending on device and source. Dynamics tend to change more significantly as do MAs which have dynamic type suspensions but it's also variable by device.



I totally agree.  Depends on the structure and composition of the components, however I do feel that burn-in for some units can really make them come alive.

post #5 of 228
Quote:
Originally Posted by localmotion411 View Post



I totally agree.  Depends on the structure and composition of the components, however I do feel that burn-in for some units can really make them come alive.


No argument here. In fact, I generally find that even BAs change a bit but it's subtle. I had 2 pair of se530s that I could compare during run in and the new one did take a bit to be as good. If you didn't have them to compare, it would have been difficult to be certain so you could say BAs change is relatively not important or neglegible though I do find it helpful overall.
 

 

post #6 of 228

If you do not like the sound of your new IEM out of the box, it remains you to pray about it is true ksc75smile.gif

post #7 of 228

All my IEMs so far are dynamic, some IEMs don't change much after burn-in and some do. In most cases from my experience, my dynamic IEMs suffer from harsh treble, bloated bass and grainy without burn-in and they change after burn-in. 

post #8 of 228
I definitely hear a difference with the DD IEMs.
post #9 of 228

 

i do believe that theres some kind of burn in with a lot of IEM's. most of my IEM's were bought used or refurbished so i cant really confirm that myself but my DBA-02's were new and are Balanced Armatures. i noticed a harshness in the bass on them at first listen that immediately settled but i cant positively say that it was burn in still.

 

i really am more a believer in a sort of burn in from your ears and perception when listening to different headphones. i think your brain needs time to settle on a sound signature at first listen, then gets adjusted. i would think that a lot of people would contribute that to physical burn in with the speakers themselves but i think that your own mind has much to do with it too.

post #10 of 228

Please note the neutrality of this post is lost.  It goes into the ideas of the believers, the non-believers and their doubt, then an attack at the doubt (their main argument against burn in).  This is not a neutral post, it wasn't meant to be.

 

I do believe that all IEMs burn in (all headphones too for that matter).  However, I'm a firm believer that it isn't always possible for everyone to hear the change in sound over time (EG the change in the change of sound).  This is my main argument against people who say "BAs don't burn in" or "I just don't hear it".  The fact of the matter is that everyone's ear has different sensitivity, and that fact needs to be accepted in order for this argument to work at all.  With BAs, the change over time (change in change in sound) is so small that people will normally not notice it.  However, even listening to my HF2s, the change in sound was evident as the bass smoothened out and the treble settled down.  And again with my Apple IEMs, the bass punch went away over time, but the body and texture came in; those were the main changes I heard.  With my PFE 232s, I could definitely hear the bass settle down (bass body mainly) while the treble thinned out and the midrange gained more energy. 

 

Believers usually give the evidence through their observations which match up with everyone elses; even people who have never heard the term burn in before.  That second part is crucial since it becomes a control group.  They essentially are able to predict (not out of luck) what will happen with certain drivers.  The second piece of evidence they normally give are small tests that are done measuring frequency curves before and after. 

 

Non-believers will go out and deny this evidence by just saying it's a placebo effect, and a psychological effect that plays into why people hear the same things.  They almost defeat the entire first argument using this up until they can't explain why total noobs are able to hear these changes; not only hear the changes, but the descriptions match those of people with audio experience that believe in burn in.  Their second argument attacks the frequency graphs stating that they are inaccurate.  The main argument against this one is that change has been spotted time and time again with each frequency graph.  However, all of these are doubts.  What ends up happening is that the believers give the non-believers information, they doubt that information. They give more information.  They doubt that information too.  Once more, they give even more observations, once again it's doubted.  Not only are these observations each done scientifically, they are done under different circumstances (different headphones, different drivers, with/without crossovers, different number of drivers, different brands, etc).  They keep giving more and more observations...  They keep getting doubted, you get the cycle.  Who do we end it?  The philosopher David Hume wrote a something that sums it up pretty nicely.  A doubter must relinquish his stance on a subject once it's been verified objectively multiple times over.  Since at this point, his stance becomes an absurdity since the other stance has been proven objectively.  The skeptic Nietzsche also says something about doubting.  Something along the lines of, a doubt without an end is not a doubt at all.  These non-believers are basically doing just that.  They keep doubting, and doubting, and doubting.  It doesn't end.  So at this point, they aren't doubting, thusly, their argument returns void.

 

Non-believers do bring in one valid argument back into play though, why don't they hear the difference?  And I explained this one above, it is a universally, objectified statement as well.  Not everyone can hear the change in the change of sound due to the differences in people's hearing sensitivity.  As always, they will doubt this as well, even though they prove it themselves when they make the statements, "I can't hear the change" while others can hear this change.  I know someone's going to try to attacking this and somehow say it's "invalid" or "not accurate enough" or somehow some way incorrect.  This argument along with the test that shows than total noobs of audio can hear these differences, despite never knowing about this phenomenon called burn in. 

 

Now, does this mean I'm right about burn in?  Doubters, who aren't doubters any longer, would say no.  I do see this as enough evidence to disprove the doubter's stance (of doubt).  By breaking that one, it leaves no arguments against any of the objective evidence that the believers have shown. 

post #11 of 228

Simply put:
It is real, for people that say it doesn't exist really have to be slapped:

BA's = no burn-in, just your ear getting used to the signature of the sound

Dynamics = burn-in on every earphone I have ever heard in my lifetime. Some for better, very few for worse.

 

And yes, don't judge a dynamic without burn-in - trust me they change a hell of a lot. (ie. denon range)


Edited by Totally Dubbed - 12/21/11 at 11:55am
post #12 of 228

I don't see how "burn in" can NOT be real. the term burn-in simply is really describing initial wear which happens on every mechanical product pretty much. People "break in" brand new cars with their clean, crisp engines. It makes scientific sense that any moving mechanical parts that are designed to move in a certain manner, are going to be stiffer, less mobile in the beginning compared to the same part with XX hours on it. Probably a bad analogy but it's the same thing as an ass print on a couch. Or body shape contour after weeks on a new mattress. Things take shape. Whether or not it's "natural" or the "way it's supposed to be" is completely subjective. Some people might prefer sound however it comes straight out of the box while others may like it used and settled. I personally think that "Burned in" or "Broken in" products are the way it will sound for the majority of the lifespan of the product so it can be argued that that's how it's going to sound for a long time.. until it's "burns out" and gets old. Also whether or not someone can hear the difference is a big factor. 


Edited by pancakeplease - 12/21/11 at 12:51pm
post #13 of 228

I'll go against the grain and say I don't believe in burn-in. Don't shoot me ... you can believe what you like, but I'll keep believing what I do until something significant changes my opinion.

 

If research, with proper blind tests, ever shows a statiscally signficant proporation of listeners can tell the difference between new or "burnt in" earphones I'll happily change my stance but no individual personal testimony will change my opinion.

 

One thing that intrigues me though is that I've never known anyone mention that their earphones have started to "burn out" ... it appears that "burn in" only goes in one direction.


Edited by TCD1975 - 12/21/11 at 2:49pm
post #14 of 228

Burn in is simply physics in action. Just like a leather couch grows more and more flexible, and thereby more comfortable, the materials that make up the earphone will 'loosen' up over time. Whether or not the effect on said materials makes the sound better is purely subjective.

post #15 of 228
Quote:
Originally Posted by pancakeplease View Post

I don't see how "burn in" can NOT be real. the term burn-in simply is really describing initial wear which happens on every mechanical product pretty much. People "break in" brand new cars with their clean, crisp engines. It makes scientific sense that any moving mechanical parts that are designed to move in a certain manner, are going to be stiffer, less mobile in the beginning compared to the same part with XX hours on it. Probably a bad analogy but it's the same thing as an ass print on a couch. Or body shape contour after weeks on a new mattress. Things take shape. Whether or not it's "natural" or the "way it's supposed to be" is completely subjective. Some people might prefer sound however it comes straight out of the box while others may like it used and settled. I personally think that "Burned in" or "Broken in" products are the way it will sound for the majority of the lifespan of the product so it can be argued that that's how it's going to sound for a long time.. until it's "burns out" and gets old. Also whether or not someone can hear the difference is a big factor. 


I met a physics major a few years back who said 1+1 does not equal 2.  Same thing going on here. :)

 

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