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Better sound with more hours?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

I remember hearing a myth where speakers sound better as they get older (so technically with more hours). I find this to be true with musical instruments because as a Clarinet player myself, I found my Wood Clarinet to sound better every year since I bought it new and I'm sure a lot of Violin, Viola, Cello, and other String players will agree. I was thinking then, would perhaps Headphones (Ortho, Dynamic, Electrostat, etc) and IEMs (BA, Dynamic etc) sound better with age? I'm not talking about "burn-in", but with like YEARS of use. Because as we know, these devices "push" air to specific wavelengths to produce "sound". Does anyone else believe that Speakers, Headphones and IEMs sound better with more and more hours in them?

post #2 of 39

What is the distinction between what you're describing, and burn-in? Isn't it burn-in over years of use, as opposed to 100's of hours of use?

post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

What is the distinction between what you're describing, and burn-in? Isn't it burn-in over years of use, as opposed to 100's of hours of use?

 

Difficult to explain and get the point across. I don't mean burn-in where it's 0-150 hours roughly speaking, I mean something more of 600+ hours of use.

 

Like the Instrument example I listed. A 6 year old Clarinet vs a 1 year old clarinet, both the same model. The 6 year old one will sound better to most ears (I got to try this with two Buffet E11s)


Edited by planx - 10/1/12 at 7:25pm
post #4 of 39

Yes I think I understand the point conceptually (though not of the instruments, I'm not familiar with instruments' sound as they age).

But again: is the definition of "burn-in" being arbitrarily set at a few hundred hours? What else do you think is happening to headphones over longer periods--years--that is different from the driver flex associated with burn-in?

post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

Yes I think I understand the point conceptually (though not of the instruments, I'm not familiar with instruments' sound as they age).

But again: is the definition of "burn-in" being arbitrarily set at a few hundred hours? What else do you think is happening to headphones over longer periods--years--that is different from the driver flex associated with burn-in?

 

I'm not exactly sure what else happens biggrin.gif that's why I'm asking you Head-Fiers! I would think the metals oxidize, but I don't think that may be a good thing!

post #6 of 39

Hm.

Yeah I was thinking oxidisation too (which isn't so hot for metals...); I seriously doubt that would help a headphone sound better.

Wood instruments, sure, as wood ages it could develop nicer sonic characteristics. 

post #7 of 39

Well, Ultrasone Edition headphones sound better after 300+ hours of use..i guess after the 600+ hours mark its a different story. tongue.gif

post #8 of 39
Thread Starter 

I would think Grados with wood cups will sound better with age because using the same concepts from Violins, and other Wooden musical Instruments, the physical nature to react to soundwaves could change and alter the listening experience even further. But I also heard my musician friend saying that Trumpets sound better with age as well?

post #9 of 39

I think the question is about the life span of a speaker driver. When we compare with instruments like pianos and violins, we are mostly dealing with the acoustic properties over time. The mechanical parts that generate sound (piano hammer, strings, etc) will degenerate over time and will need regular maintenance. I think this is the case with speaker drivers - but they generally last a long time under normal operating conditions - maybe decades.

post #10 of 39
In the manual for their wonderful Ongaku integrated amplifier Audio Note UK write this..

"Bedding in The new amplifier requires about 200 hours of initial use (called
“bedding in”) before the circuitry becomes stable and optimum
performance is realized.
As the amplifier “beds in” the sound will become increasingly
smoother, detailed and open.
Once the amplifier has “bedded in” a warm up time of
approximately 30 to 45 minutes is required each time the
amplifier is switched on before optimum sonic performance is
reached."


I have found when I had speakers after a year or so they sounded so much better than an identical new pair a friend purchased. Likewise my amp/CLAS now that it has what must be almost a thousand hours on it sounds more natural and at ease. Also I have found that if I allow my set up to play for half an hour before listening it has warmed up and settled down so I do that every time I listen now, used to do the same with my old home set up's as well.

I think one of the reasons old stringed instruments are so precious to their owners is because they have acquired a sonic signature through use, at least that is what some of my musician clients tell me.. I am sure though the scientist will be along in a moment with graphs to disprove us.. Oh how I am glad I am not them, it must be hell!
Edited by ianmedium - 10/1/12 at 8:04pm
post #11 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post

I would think Grados with wood cups will sound better with age because using the same concepts from Violins, and other Wooden musical Instruments, the physical nature to react to soundwaves could change and alter the listening experience even further. But I also heard my musician friend saying that Trumpets sound better with age as well?

 

If anything, over time the valves/action can become smoother. If not used regularly, stuff can collect in there...

post #12 of 39
Thread Starter 

It's a hard topic to touch on... There's no recorded graphs of a certain headphone throughout it's entire life. There are plenty of graphs new and past the 100 hour mark, but not many graphs that follow up afterwards. I would love to see a comparison between a headphone with 1000+ hours vs the same headphone with 200 hours.

post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post

I would love to see a comparison between a headphone with 1000+ hours vs the same headphone with 200 hours.

Now that I would love to see too!
post #14 of 39
Thread Starter 

Tyll Hertsen! Are you listening?

post #15 of 39

Huh...wut?  

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