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Headphone Burn-in doesn't exist - Page 2

post #16 of 47
I don't belong to either camp and am old enough to realize the volume of snake oil in everything audio but: can anything really remain "unchanged" with use and the passage of time?
post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mambosenior View Post

I don't belong to either camp and am old enough to realize the volume of snake oil in everything audio but: can anything really remain "unchanged" with use and the passage of time?

Eminently well put.

I've worked in the audio industry for over twenty years and I have seen repeatable ABX listening results, mostly listening to pre-production (fresh of production) units verses prototypes (well run in) . Only over time will their perfomance converge if all is well. However the opinions are so entrenched it is almost impossible to pursuade anyone without face to face debate. On a forum, I predict a tooing and froing without conclusion.
post #18 of 47
I think the real thing to ask oneself is... Who CARES? Don't believe in burn-in? Don't do it. Burn-in is just something people do or don't do. Nobody's buying extra super duper burnt-in editions of headphones for extra money (i hope...), people are just playing music through their earphones with the theory or even possible fact that the gear needs to be broken in from its fresh-off-assembly state. If you buy expensive cans and don't like how they sound out of box while a bunch of people have told you to try burning them in, you can either give it a shot or just return them if you don't believe.


Really... What other people want to do with their own headphones shouldn't be anyone's concern, really, and I can't understand why the topic has to always raise blood pressures so much.

I also find it peculiar that manufacturers of headphones, the guys who do all the R&D and actually create these things, would recommend several hundreds of hours' worth of burn-in on their products if they themselves did not consider the difference quantifiable. It's hardly a marketing point - how many people want to buy their goodies and then have to wait for a month of constant music-playing for them to sound as they were meant to?
post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hatefulsandwich View Post
I also find it peculiar that manufacturers of headphones, the guys who do all the R&D and actually create these things, would recommend several hundreds of hours' worth of burn-in on their products if they themselves did not consider the difference quantifiable. It's hardly a marketing point - how many people want to buy their goodies and then have to wait for a month of constant music-playing for them to sound as they were meant to?

Because the argument that people learn to like what they're listening to is semi valid?

If I buy a new pair of headphones and my first response is "wow, they sound really different to model x i had previously" I might be tempted to return them.   If I listen to them for several hundred hours I might end up deciding I like how they sound.

 

 

Truth be told I've never experienced any huge amount of burn-in.  Maybe it happens slowly so I don't particularly notice.  But hearing memory is dodgy.  I occasionally listen to a track and thinking "I don't remember it sounding quite like this months ago" on the same equipment.  Maybe it's equipment changing, but more likely I just don't remember it accurately enough to say for sure not much changed.

post #20 of 47
Thread Starter 

Here it is, Dave Ratt, tested 30 pairs of headphones with 6 days of pink noise to each. Although it does show a slight measurable difference he could never hear the difference. 

 

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

 

But considering he is/was a roadie for RHCP maybe his hearing is just not as good as some of yo guys, I've been to some very loud concerts back in the 70s so mine is not great either.

post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schonen View Post

Here it is, Dave Ratt, tested 30 pairs of headphones with 6 days of pink noise to each. Although it does show a slight measurable difference he could never hear the difference. 

 

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

 

But considering he is/was a roadie for RHCP maybe his hearing is just not as good as some of yo guys, I've been to some very loud concerts back in the 70s so mine is not great either.


Yeah that's right, he probably doesn't have "golden ears". It all makes sense now.

post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schonen View Post

Although it does show a slight measurable difference he could never hear the difference. 

The differences are within margin of error. That is with playing pink noise nonstop for 6 days. I guess I don't need to mention that the voice coil temperature will change and that the ear pads will get compressed ... this causes larger differences than any driver burn-in.

 

Anyway, he gives very sound advice.

Quote:
Buy good sounding headphones that stay sounding good.
post #23 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schonen View Post

Hi, I'm back, smily_headphones1.gif  A roady for Red Hot Chilly Peppers has done some extensive testing and posted his findings on youtube, go look it up. smily_headphones1.gif
You are right sir! But he isn't just any roadie, he is their FOH engineer, owner of RAT Sound (their touring company) and a pretty intelligent dude.
He's pretty fun to work with too.
post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by deltawave View Post


You are right sir! But he isn't just any roadie, he is their FOH engineer, owner of RAT Sound (their touring company) and a pretty intelligent dude.
He's pretty fun to work with too.

 

I know that dude! He was in Mr. Hand's history class!

 

 

tongue.gif

 

se

post #25 of 47
You know how this will end don't you?

post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

You know how this will end don't you?
 

 

biggrin.gif

 

se

post #27 of 47

What amazes me to no end is how the firmest of believers in the burn-in process can only offer a personal, subjective experience as support for their claim. Cognitive bias are strong forces that we fight against whenever we buy new equipment and try to compare musical tracks with different gear. When someone says how much more he likes his cans after X hours of pink noise, how can he possibly be certain that it's not only his brain doing all the work? This part of the game will remain, for a long time at least, very difficult to measure. Sure, you can ABX them and proudly assert that you can differentiate the two, but you certainly can't describe in a pure objective way the actual sound performance difference between the two, as it is all perceived by your cerebral cortex, and therein subjective.

 

On the other side, real measured data has shown that almost nothing happens after hundreds of hours of burn-in (some minimal ringing and IMD decrease that can't possibly be described as a "night-and-day" difference...). Once again though, this doesn't really disproves it, and I too believe this thread's title is pretentious, but it makes it appear to me that all this hype for burn-in has a lot more to do with cognitive "burn-in" and expectation bias rather than actual mechanical or electrical headphones burn-in. Call me skeptical!


Edited by CognitiveBiased - 6/19/13 at 7:33pm
post #28 of 47

If the question is whether or not a driver's mechanical properties can change after being used, the answer is obviously yes. But the real question is whether it changes the sound in a way that will be audible or more audible than other factors like driver positioning or the amount of earwax deposits would be important as well. Local environmental atmospheric parameters will change the sound (pressure, temperature, moisture). I've yet to see an experiment that controls for all of or even most of these factors

 

Also notice how people claim burn-in always makes a headphone sound better. This is a pretty clear giveaway that people are imagining things, and often do so to help business - a company can avoid product returns by telling dissatisfied customers that they need to burn-in for extended periods of time before they can really judge the product, and apologists/defenders of said company will repeat such a myth.

post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by CognitiveBiased View Post

What amazes me to no end is how the firmest of believers in the burn-in process can only offer a personal, subjective experience as support for their claim.

 

But it doesn't really amaze you, does it? These people seemingly make up 30% of the population. They are the same people that buy homeopathy treatments.

post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisenhower View Post

Also notice how people claim burn-in always makes a headphone sound better. 

I hereby claim my KSC75s straight from the packet sounded better than they do now (or after 24h).

I was incredibly surprised by their sound out of the packet. Was expecting warm with recessed mids and some treble peak (sparkle as people like calling it). It was actually rather neutral, in fact ended up listening to a few tracks, I liked them a lot.

Left it running on a radio for a few days, as I always do with new HPs, didn't touch them during that period. Then gave it a listen and it now sounded like I expected from the FR measurements, leaving me somewhat disappointed but a firm believer that break in changes the sound on KSC75s.

This doesn't mean it applies to all HPs. On XB500s and CALs I didn't notice any changes.


Edited by Wildstar - 6/21/13 at 11:29am
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