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What is headphone "burn in" and do I need it? - Page 2

post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post


Don't push an opinion on the OP like it's a fact.  There is no proof for or against burn in.  Pushing your belief on someone just isn't right.

 


I'll disagree with BA burn in here  as well as my HF2s, along with another HF3 (ABXed against an HF5 by another member) also burned in.

 

@OP: about burn in; basically, it's the belief that as a driver ages, it is able to break in.  This break in essentially results in a change in perceived sound.  Although the change is positive most of the time, it isn't always (PUR1000, Hephaes, ASG-1).  The causes of break in aren't yet know to why they exactly occur.  There are many theories behind why burn in occurs:

  • Driver burn in: as drivers age, the sound of the driver changes due to physical changes the driver undergoes.  Think about a shoe breaking in (especially if you run :p).
  • Brain burn in: the idea that it's your brain adjusting to the sound of the driver with time.  So as you listen to the headphone more, your brain adjusts to the sound and changes it for you.
  • Tip/Pad burn in: the idea that as time goes, the tips of the IEM (along with pads if it's a headphone) will break in and conform more to your ear.  This causes a better seal, but a better seal changes the sound.
  • Placebo: this is the idea that the person is hearing things, but really isn't.  It is normally used by people who don't hear the effect as a means to explain why they don't, and others do. 

 

There really is no solid evidence for or against burn in.  Although many here will soon start quoting Tyll's graphs, even the small change in those can be audible (human ear is quite sensitive).  The question really becomes what is audible and what isn't (in the changes of the graphs over time; Tyll is not the only one to test this burn in).  I'm not going to go into specifics about that now. 

 

As for if you need burn in.  If you like the headphones as they are now, you don't need to burn them in.  Enjoy them and enjoy the roller coaster ride they put you through as they burn in, but there is no guarantee that you'll hear it though (as stated before, not everyone does; it's not a problem if you don't).  If you do still find the need to burn in a pair of headphones, plug them into a device, play it for hours on end until you feel they are done burning in (normally around 100-200 hours; some as low as 50 though). 




I didnt state burn in as fact or fiction, I simply stated what burn in is for people that believe in it.

post #17 of 32
Thread Starter 

Alright, I am starting to see a pattern here. Headphone break in is just like any other form of break in in another hobby. Some people think a new TV needs break in, some people think that an overclocked computer needs break in, etc. Thank you for the help with this and for the u8nderstanding. I am simply an everyday guy who wants better sound than stock earbuds. I am the bang for the buck person. I am not the guy who is going to spend $500 more just to get a little better sound or buy this and that amp, etc. I am the "if it aint broke don't fix it" guy. Thank you for all the great help. :)

post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by s1mp13m4n View Post

Alright, I am starting to see a pattern here. Headphone break in is just like any other form of break in in another hobby. Some people think a new TV needs break in, some people think that an overclocked computer needs break in, etc. Thank you for the help with this and for the u8nderstanding. I am simply an everyday guy who wants better sound than stock earbuds. I am the bang for the buck person. I am not the guy who is going to spend $500 more just to get a little better sound or buy this and that amp, etc. I am the "if it aint broke don't fix it" guy. Thank you for all the great help. :)



Yup that's a good place to be in this hobby bigsmile_face.gif. Unfortunately, in this hobby it's more like "it ain't broke 'till you heard something better".

post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by s1mp13m4n View Post

Alright, I am starting to see a pattern here. Headphone break in is just like any other form of break in in another hobby. Some people think a new TV needs break in, some people think that an overclocked computer needs break in, etc. Thank you for the help with this and for the u8nderstanding. I am simply an everyday guy who wants better sound than stock earbuds. I am the bang for the buck person. I am not the guy who is going to spend $500 more just to get a little better sound or buy this and that amp, etc. I am the "if it aint broke don't fix it" guy. Thank you for all the great help. :)


 

However, the term "break-in" and "burn-in" mean different things. "burn-in" is for the driver to get used to playing music and becomes easier to move air after a period of time, and "break-in" refers to getting used to the sound like how wearing a pair of new shoes can hurt at first but doesn't anymore after a while. 

post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post


Don't push an opinion on the OP like it's a fact.  There is no proof for or against burn in.  Pushing your belief on someone just isn't right.

 

 



To be fair tinyman he wasn't pushing it as fact. If you read what he says, he clearly stated "If you believe in that." Hes just trying to be helpful and also expressing his own opinion. Which I happen to agree with him on. I also feel BA also go through changes but not nearly as much as a Dynamic driver will go through.

post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post



To be fair tinyman he wasn't pushing it as fact. If you read what he says, he clearly stated "If you believe in that." Hes just trying to be helpful and also expressing his own opinion. Which I happen to agree with him on. I also feel BA also go through changes but not nearly as much as a Dynamic driver will go through.


i agree with you that BA does have some changes, but maybe its more so to do with the crossover seeing current, also the cables could possibly go through ''burn in''

 

 

but i think the biggest thing is letting your brain adjust to the sound signature, and getting used to its particular mids highs and lows brain ''burn in'' of the particular iem.

post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooses9 View Post


i agree with you that BA does have some changes, but maybe its more so to do with the crossover seeing current, also the cables could possibly go through ''burn in''

 

 

but i think the biggest thing is letting your brain adjust to the sound signature, and getting used to its particular mids highs and lows brain ''burn in'' of the particular iem.



Although there are many that argue that cable burn-in does not take place... 

post #23 of 32

Exactly. Its a combination of the 2 that really makes for a large change. I can definitely see the crossovers effecting the sound. Just changing the cables on my IE80s made a very noticeable difference in the sound and I can see the cable allowing for a better passing of the signal to be one of the reasons for the change.

post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post

Exactly. Its a combination of the 2 that really makes for a large change. I can definitely see the crossovers effecting the sound. Just changing the cables on my IE80s made a very noticeable difference in the sound and I can see the cable allowing for a better passing of the signal to be one of the reasons for the change.



I have that reasoning as well, though some people don't seem to buy it... 

post #25 of 32
Burn in, I believe, is essentially something being put through use. Many believe that this in some way creates changes in the sound due to a change in the physical properties of the parts. This is akin to say shoes getting more comfortable as you wear them and the material stretches out to better fit your exact foot and how it moves. Like someone stated above, just listen to them and they'll "burn in" as a matter of course, whether it actually causes any changes or not. The act of burn in as often talked about here is a way to speed up this process by leaving them on with something playing through them when you're not listening to them.

Some use specific sound files like pink and white noise. Others use a broad scope of musical styles and genres.

I believe that "burn in" is real in the sense that materials do not live in a vacuum and experience wear and tear over time and thus "break in." Whether or not this has any appreciable change in performance of a driver, a diaphragm, or an armature is beyond me. This is not to even mention the unknowns and complexities of the human brain creating the possibility of "brain burn in."

The only thing I can say that I've experienced is don't expect any miracles. This at the very least will create a setup for "under promise and over deliver", which is always good biggrin.gif
Edited by vwinter - 4/8/12 at 7:56am
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post

Exactly. Its a combination of the 2 that really makes for a large change. I can definitely see the crossovers effecting the sound. Just changing the cables on my IE80s made a very noticeable difference in the sound and I can see the cable allowing for a better passing of the signal to be one of the reasons for the change.



changing of the cables definitly have the ability to change the sound signature, maybe the cable itsself doesnt go through a break in or burn in period, however if you take a ie80 for example and then change out the cable, and thus changing the sound signature, thus needing your brain to readjust to the sound signature.

 

some people say that a higher end iem may sound bright, but it might be that there is ALOT of detail going on at once and its being perceived as bright, over time and your brain adjust to the sound the iem may no longer be perceived as bright after adjustment is made.

 

 

post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooses9 View Post



changing of the cables definitly have the ability to change the sound signature, maybe the cable itsself doesnt go through a break in or burn in period, however if you take a ie80 for example and then change out the cable, and thus changing the sound signature, thus needing your brain to readjust to the sound signature.

 

some people say that a higher end iem may sound bright, but it might be that there is ALOT of detail going on at once and its being perceived as bright, over time and your brain adjust to the sound the iem may no longer be perceived as bright after adjustment is made.

 

 


I'm more inclined to believe its the actual driver going through burn in again as the cable is powering it better. But I could also be wrong on the cable maybe going through a form of break in as well. Whatever it is I like what I'm hearing :).

 

post #28 of 32

Well, I for one really believe in burn-in and that it changes the sound. It's definitely not a placebo for some headphones. Just the other day I was comparing some headphones with a new ie7 as I lost my ie7 last week and wasn't sure with what to replace it. The new ie7 sounded diferent than my burnt-in ie7 - it lacked some of the bass controll and sounded darker and less airy. That just can't be a brain break-in or a placebo coz I've had my ie7 for quite some time and I auditioned the new ie7 with the exact same source. The same goes even for single BA iems - when I began my quest for good sq some time ago I started with altec lansing im716 but as I didn't have a decent enough amp to drive it properly at the time I left it in a box in home and later I couldn't find it. A month ago I went to the store and it turned out they had im716 for 20 bucks even though it has been discontinued for quite some time - I bought two pairs went home and did some digging and finally found the old pair - the old one sounds definitely smoother and less bright - some of that might be due to that the fact that the filters aren't brand new even though they seemed pretty clean to me. Anyway, when you buy new headphones in time you start doubting youself that the sound change may be just in your mind and that your ears just gor accustomed to the sound signature but when you have a new pair and an old pair and hear the difference you're either going insane or something changed either in the cable or the drivers. I can't be sure I'm not crazy though.

post #29 of 32

The only type of physical burn-in I belive may exist is on dynamic drivers but even then I think there is massive over exageration regarding the level of audible difference.

 

Burn-in of balanced armitures and cable burn-in (Head-Fi's current meme of choice) is a complete and utter load of tosh.

post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCD1975 View Post

The only type of physical burn-in I belive may exist is on dynamic drivers but even then I think there is massive over exageration regarding the level of audible difference.

 

Burn-in of balanced armitures and cable burn-in (Head-Fi's current meme of choice) is a complete and utter load of tosh.


The exaggeration is actually due to how we perceive sound (in my opinion).  Remember, you can't change one part of the spectrum without effecting another.  If the mids subside, then the treble and bass can also sound boosted in songs that have softer midrange (so the lower mids won't be detected as easily).  Some do seem exaggerated, but sound as a whole can be exaggerated at times.  The difference of 2dB is larger than a lot of people think, it can easily create (and destroy) properties of a headphone (I know for a fact that a 2 dB boost in the higher mids with the Phonak PFE 232 creates great clarity which was its main weakness for me).  As for BAs, ABX has been done with the Etymotic HF3s, the results are for burn in. 

 

I haven't heard much about cable burn in, a lot of people seem to believe in it though, but without proper proof.  The idea that cables to oxidize in the duration of their life can push the idea that cables can burn in.  Oxidation can lower the radius of the actual metal the electrical signal has to travel through which means increased resistance.  This increased resistance means a possible change of sound.  My question is, is this increased resistance enough on its own, or is there something else going on?


Edited by tinyman392 - 4/8/12 at 9:34am
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