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How to properly break in headphones

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Is it better to gradually increase the volume during the breakin period and run it through pretty high volumes in the end? Or is it just as good playing it at normal use volumes which may be pretty low in comparison to some of the levels people listen to? Is there a proper or better way of doing it? Or simply using it is fine?
post #2 of 37

There are as many ways of breaking in headphones as there are people using them. Do a search and you will find lots of different opinions.

For my ears, about 2 hours of break-in with normal music is enough to settle the headphones down and give me a good idea about how they will sound for the long term. I give them an additional 16-24 hours of pink noise at normal volumes to make sure the drivers are good and settled. After that, I hear little audible difference with more play time. Since the headphones slowly change character with more use, the difference between the 20th hour and the 200th hour may be significant, but with normal use it will be so gradual you may not notice.

I think most of the long term change in sound is due to the headphone cord burning in, not so much the drivers themselves.

Two cents for you!
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 
Is the lifespan of headphones pretty long though? I mean the sound won't start degrading soon will it?

Well I did a search. Some are saying low volumes some are saying high volumes. So which is it?
post #4 of 37
Just use the damn things.
Listen to all of your CDs @ normal volume, leave them on overnight and the next morning/afternoon when you go to work. Do that for a week. Everything's all settled in. Happy listening...
post #5 of 37
I give them an additional 16-24 hours of pink noise at normal volumes to make sure the drivers are good and settled
I'm not sure what you mean by "settled". I thought break in was to loosen the drivers up.
post #6 of 37
I'm not using 'settled' in the physical sense. I mean "settled in", like, this is where they're going to be (sound wise) for the duration...
post #7 of 37
I suggest using the normal volume that you would listen at. I also recommend using a proper burn-in CD such as the XLO Test & Burn-in CD.

Personally, I do not believe in prolonged break-in period.

However, I have been "cooking" my AT W2002 for the almost 100 hours. And still, the sound was not as good as I would have expected. I will continue to "cook" it for another 50 hours and see if the sound opens up.

Listening is a pleasure. Personally, I would prefer to burn-in the equipment properly before I give any serious listening. Else, it would probably end up as an irritated experience. Well, to each his own. Right?

post #8 of 37
I'm too weak to break them in. I'm listening at a normal volume right now, and I'll probably leave them on at various times, but they sound pretty good to me. (Yes, my HP890s are here!)
post #9 of 37
i'm just wondering if it's at all possible to incorrectly burn-in a set of cans. maybe it's the source, but when i use my SR80's with my new D-25s, the sound gets unbearably bright and i find it difficult to listen to them for prolonged periods of time; so much so that at this point in time i'm taking a little break from headphone listening to rest my ears and to prevent hearing damage...
post #10 of 37
Uh, I don't think that's possible chewy.
The D-25S is quite bright and LOUD, I leave the volume setting at 2 when listening through the headphone out, this doesn't occur when using the line out.
post #11 of 37
Purchase Primal Scream XTRMINATOR. Insert into CD player. Hit play and repeat. That will cook any headphone, amp, cable or CDP very nicely.

post #12 of 37
I just cooked my new Grado SR60 with the XLO Test & Burn in CD.
Had them on extended burn in for 36hours. The end result was quite nice.

I killed two birds with one stone in that exercise as my Marantz 4000 that I have just started use in the bedroom also needed some burn-in. The Marantz was a year old but had been in the cupboard for most of that time. Unwanted present and all that.

Sound as ever.
post #13 of 37
I hate to change the topic a little bit, but is it possible to completely screw up the burning process and permanently screw up the drivers (ie: use music that is not left/right balanced)? Or is it always fixable just by customizing or tailoring the wave forms to make sure each side burns in evenly?
post #14 of 37
Why does a cd player need burn-in??
post #15 of 37
I ain't technical, but I would guess there are lots of moving parts in there that benefit, plus the analog section probably benefits from being forced to play extreme frequencies.

With the Sony SACD players, its been widely reported in both print and at audio asylum that these machines seem to require 300 hours burn-in to sound their best. My personal experience confirmed this.

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