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Is burn in real or placebo? - Page 8  

post #106 of 520

I've been here a few years, the subject of burn-in and cables has been beat-to-death over and over in many threads. Some believe and some don't. I'm not a believer. Those who say the sound changes, never  say it degrades. How can that be? Always changing for the better is statistically improbable.  If changing the cable or "burning-in" significantly improves the sound, why don't manufacturers do it? It's to their benefit to make their product sound as best as possible. No one has ever proven burn-in is advantages or that a $300 cable improves the sound of a headphone. It's very subjective, If your ears hear a difference, enjoy. IMHO if you're new to the hobby, forget burn-in just put the phones over your ears and enjoy and save the cable money toward your next set of phones.

post #107 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACDOAN View Post

To Jaddie, 1. Many of them spend a lot of money on cables and many of them treat their cables as another component ( just like the room acoustic treatment, the listening room is actually the most important component ( excluding near field listening). 
The difference is, room acoustic treatment's effects are 100% measurable.  And I would not exclude a near-field configuration as immune from the effects of acoustic treatment.
 
Originally Posted by ACDOAN View Post

These people can hear the differences among cables no matter how they look but the end result, the sound they are looking for to have a synergy in their system.. This is not for a person who owns a mass producing system from BB and the listener(s) preference is EQing bass head,or treble freaks. Nothing wrong with gear sells at BB. They make sound but let's face it , these gear at BB are not even consider audiophile quality in sound and design. For these type of AVR or stereo receiver from Onkyo,Denon, Pioneer, use the zip cord from Home Depot please. Cables are not the cure for sound fidelity in this case. Be glad these products make sound and be glad that they may have loudness button, EQ build-in, bass and treble knobs for their owners to fondle with but please do not even think about any other upgrade cables,it ain't happen. 

Ah yes, only the "elite" can hear the difference cables make.  You are unaware of the industry tests that prove that even "expert" audiophiles cannot reliably tell the difference between high-end and mid-fi components, aren't you?  Been done to death, years ago. Actually, testing of cables was done to death years ago too.  

 

BTW, small side point, but just in case readers of the thread go looking and not finding them...the loudness buttons are long gone, as are the bass and treble knobs.  Modern AVRs auto-cal systems also calibrate out any modification caused by cable.  (Should I duck and cover now?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACDOAN View Post

2. Having a binocular does not qualify everyone to be a well trained sniper. 

Thank God!  But also, irrelevant. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACDOAN View Post
 Having said that, it take years of knowledge,audition to learn what to look for in sound fidelity reproduction. 

The problem is that the likely corollary to that hypothesis is, "without years of knowledge a person can't possibly know what to look/listen for".  Sorry, just not true.  Basic ear and listening training can be accomplished in hours.  It's mostly a question of interest and aptitude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACDOAN View Post

 Bose 321 sells like hot cakes and people who own them are proud owners "I have Bose,man." I am glad they are happy with what they have in the narrow window of their knowledge of sound fidelity (?) with their Bose. They are happy since they do not know what is missing.That's good since they are happy and that's all it counts,happiness.

Completely agree. In fact, it's just fine that way.  My only problem with Bose owners is when they proudly tell me what they have, I'm embarrassed that my honest reaction isn't positive, yet I don't want to burst the bubble either.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACDOAN View Post

3.Bias ? Opinions are all bias.

Opinions are not bias, bias influences opinion. Bias also heavily influences perception.  This is a point that seems to be difficult to get across, but expectation bias has been well known and used for thousands of years to affect perception of reality.  It's documentable, repeatable, and the results verifiable.  The hardest part is getting someone with a very high self image to acknowledge that they may be affected by expectation and perception bias.  Which, in itself, is bias.  

 

The crux of it is, good science tries to find the truth by eliminating all bias and considering just the facts, regardless of if those facts have some for of metric applied or not (in other words, numbers or not).  Those that reject the scientific approach and findings are basing their opinions on uncontrolled bias, then they further reject the presence of that bias.  The result is two highly polarized positions (as we see in this thread).  It would seem that an effort to discern the truth about something without concern for what that truth may be would yield more truth than rejecting, summarily, the findings of science.  Then again, it's all about what makes you happy.  If someone is happy with their non-scientific opinion of anything, cables or otherwise, I'm also happy to leave them alone.  Right up until their opinion is presented as an absolute fact that cannot be verified by any known science.  Then we have this here problem.  

post #108 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

Ah yes, only the "elite" can hear the difference cables make.  You are unaware of the industry tests that prove that even "expert" audiophiles cannot reliably tell the difference between high-end and mid-fi components, aren't you?  Been done to death, years ago. Actually, testing of cables was done to death years ago too.  

 

BTW, small side point, but just in case readers of the thread go looking and not finding them...the loudness buttons are long gone, as are the bass and treble knobs.  Modern AVRs auto-cal systems also calibrate out any modification caused by cable.  (Should I duck and cover now?)

Thank God!  But also, irrelevant. 

The problem is that the likely corollary to that hypothesis is, "without years of knowledge a person can't possibly know what to look/listen for".  Sorry, just not true.  Basic ear and listening training can be accomplished in hours.  It's mostly a question of interest and aptitude.

Completely agree. In fact, it's just fine that way.  My only problem with Bose owners is when they proudly tell me what they have, I'm embarrassed that my honest reaction isn't positive, yet I don't want to burst the bubble either.  

Opinions are not bias, bias influences opinion. Bias also heavily influences perception.  This is a point that seems to be difficult to get across, but expectation bias has been well known and used for thousands of years to affect perception of reality.  It's documentable, repeatable, and the results verifiable.  The hardest part is getting someone with a very high self image to acknowledge that they may be affected by expectation and perception bias.  Which, in itself, is bias.  

 

The crux of it is, good science tries to find the truth by eliminating all bias and considering just the facts, regardless of if those facts have some for of metric applied or not (in other words, numbers or not).  Those that reject the scientific approach and findings are basing their opinions on uncontrolled bias, then they further reject the presence of that bias.  The result is two highly polarized positions (as we see in this thread).  It would seem that an effort to discern the truth about something without concern for what that truth may be would yield more truth than rejecting, summarily, the findings of science.  Then again, it's all about what makes you happy.  If someone is happy with their non-scientific opinion of anything, cables or otherwise, I'm also happy to leave them alone.  Right up until their opinion is presented as an absolute fact that cannot be verified by any known science.  Then we have this here problem.  

 

Jaddie, you win the debate but before I stopping wasting my time and my energy, Have you honestly ever knowed of or even have a chance to know the Appogee ribbon speakers, or the Eminent Technology Planar speakers ...Well let me make it easier for you, BB do now carry some entry level of the quasi-dipolar Martin logan electrostatic speakers.Go down there and bring some of your Onkyo and ask them to replace the Mcintosh with your Onkyo or whatever you may have. I bet you you either be in for a lesson about sound fidelity or you will not have gut to accept Hi-end cables,pre-amp, amp and CDP as a whole will make not a subtle improvement but rather significant than the mass producing Onkyo, Denon AVR. BTW, their no need to fondle with loudness, bass, treble controls. There ain't any. Image, soundstage, instrument localization ...just to name a few , I am afraid your Onkyo will not cut it. Yes,it's a placebo effect all right. Try it and let me know. Again, Opinion is taken with just a grain of salt, either mine or yours. Science of Metaphysic study of mind and matter has a long way to go so let call sound fidelity is a hoax and nothing but placebo effect since it cannot be proven and cannot be universally accepted.
Edited by ACDOAN - 5/20/13 at 11:35am
post #109 of 520

scnr,

 

post #110 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACDOAN View Post

 

Jaddie, you win the debate but before I stopping wasting my time and my energy, Have you honestly ever knowed of or even have a chance to know the Appogee ribbon speakers, or the Eminent Technology Planar speakers ...Well let me make it easier for you, BB do now carry some entry level of the quasi-dipolar Martin logan electrostatic speakers.Go down there and bring some of your Onkyo and ask them to replace the Mcintosh with your Onkyo or whatever you may have. I bet you you either be in for a lesson about sound fidelity or you will not have gut to accept Hi-end cables,pre-amp, amp and CDP as a whole will make not a subtle improvement but rather significant than the mass producing Onkyo, Denon AVR. BTW, their no need to fondle with loudness, bass, treble controls. There ain't any. Image, soundstage, instrument localization ...just to name a few , I am afraid your Onkyo will not cut it. Yes,it's a placebo effect all right. Try it and let me know. Again, Opinion is taken with just a grain of salt, either mine or yours. Science of Metaphysic study of mind and matter has a long way to go so let call sound fidelity is a hoax and nothing but placebo effect since it cannot be proven and cannot be universally accepted.

I've never owned the Appogee or Eminent Tech speakers.  I don't own any Onkyo either.  I've auditioned Martin Logan, I sort of like them, but they're a single-seat sweet-spot speaker.  The test you suggest would be valid if I had no idea what I was listening to, but if I do, I'm not qualified to make an unbiased judgement.  

 

Agreed on the uselessness of bas, treble and conventional loudness, but only because we now have far better tools.  Loudness never worked right, but the new crop of dynamic volume systems do, just fine.  

 

I guess we can just stop now, points have been made.  I do regret that you've categorized me as you have, since you have no idea who I am or what I've spent my life working with, but perhaps it wouldn't matter  anyway.  

 

Thanks for the stimulating back and forth, and I do mean that!

 

Ever done any measurements on room acoustics?  

post #111 of 520

Apogee speakers do not meat the 'reasonable' requirement in the pre-requirement in the reasonable speakers, reasonable amplifier and reasonable conditions clause.

 

Apogee are almost Zero Ohm speakers, that's a very special case.

post #112 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatcat28037 View Post

If changing the cable or "burning-in" significantly improves the sound, why don't manufacturers do it?

Not sure about headphones, but many speaker manufacturers recommend burn-in times. I assume it's smart marketing. If physical burn-in doesn't exist, there's the benefit of psychological adjustment. Buy a pair for headphones or speakers and let 'em burn in with some listening every now and then, and one can become better adjusted to the sound. Plus, the longer someone keeps something, the less likely they are to return it.

That, and it would significantly add to the production process time to burn in speakers and headphones.
post #113 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

I'm not angry at all, I believe I'm fairly calm, skeptical and rational.

 

What I wrote above about the spider is not a theory, it can be measured and has been measured as can the effects. The "theory" of and relationships between electromechanical parameters (see Thiele/Small) also agree with this.

 

As I said, we can just dismiss your anecdotes since you fail to back them up with even a shred of evidence. This is not the "tell your anecdote/story" forum. LOLing won't change anything.

 

You don't even seem to be willing to think of possible technical reasons for the perceived differences you wrongly attribute to break-in. Instead, you try to make fun of me ... and say I'm defensive.. rolleyes.gif

And what I'm sharing is my personal experience. My anecdote is reality. Too bad it doesn't align with your dogma. I don't really care what the technical reasons are, I simply enjoy the results. :)

 

And I can assure you, the difference is so dramatic, I don't need to go searching for a +/- .05 dBA difference at various points in a frequency graph. :)

post #114 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Not sure about headphones, but many speaker manufacturers recommend burn-in times. I assume it's smart marketing. If physical burn-in doesn't exist, there's the benefit of psychological adjustment. Buy a pair for headphones or speakers and let 'em burn in with some listening every now and then, and one can become better adjusted to the sound. Plus, the longer someone keeps something, the less likely they are to return it.

That, and it would significantly add to the production process time to burn in speakers and headphones.

 

I believe I've only seen one manufacturer of headphones recommend burn in. I think it was a high figure, several hundred hours. However, they are the exception, not the norm. If it is a marketing gimmick, it is not exactly widespread, but in fact, very rare. 

post #115 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatcat28037 View Post

I've been here a few years, the subject of burn-in and cables has been beat-to-death over and over in many threads. Some believe and some don't. I'm not a believer. Those who say the sound changes, never  say it degrades. How can that be? Always changing for the better is statistically improbable.  If changing the cable or "burning-in" significantly improves the sound, why don't manufacturers do it? It's to their benefit to make their product sound as best as possible. No one has ever proven burn-in is advantages or that a $300 cable improves the sound of a headphone. It's very subjective, If your ears hear a difference, enjoy. IMHO if you're new to the hobby, forget burn-in just put the phones over your ears and enjoy and save the cable money toward your next set of phones.

 

Stax run-in their drivers for two weeks before assembling them into headphones. They stated that the vast majority of any changes will occur during that period. It was interesting. My experience of these things has been considerably varied. Symphones Magnums drivers very distinctly change with use -- the bass is boomy at first. I need to check with Rhydon how much he tests the drivers before sending them out.

 

With electronics, discreet OPAMs seemed to go all weird sonically for the first 350 hours before settling down. Some tests without music playing suggested this was purely due to heat. Some DACs I've owned sounded harsh at first but not so much after 2 weeks of being left switched on. Many other headphones and other equipment I didn't notice any changes with them.  It would definitely be interesting to measure the IMD of the components where I felt I observed something before, during and after a couple of hundred hours of use. It would also be interesting to see if any manufacturers would be willing to talk, even off the record, about how much run-in their equipment is given.

 

I definitely don't think it is something it's a case of something existing or not but something that has to be considered per-component alongside measurements and an understanding of what is going on, if anything.

post #116 of 520
I didn't think it makes a difference, but my mind has changed after a few different experiences. There are many factors that might persuade me to disbelieve, but my ears tell me what they do, so I'm going with that.

Also I've had IEMs actually get worse from burn-in. So I find that it can go either way for me. In the end, it really only matters what you hear because no one else will be using your ears.

In other words, it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, their opinion shouldn't change what you hear or don't hear.
post #117 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

As I said, we can just dismiss your anecdotes since you fail to back them up with even a shred of evidence. This is not the "tell your anecdote/story" forum. LOLing won't change anything.

 

Why not, instead of arguing, create and run some experiments? I've been trying to arrange to actually do this with some headphones at least.

post #118 of 520

I discussed this a bit in my first thread after joining. IMO, I think "burn-in" should be applied to tubes, and not necessarily to headphones or solid state devices.

 

I spent nearly 15 years of my life making vacuum tubes. I can attest with certainty that with respect to tubes, burn-in is a very real phenomenon. The higher quality the tube, the longer the burn-in required. Glass vacuum tubes used in our headphone amps (or ancient TV's) burn in rather quickly (on the order of hours, or perhaps a few days at most). The active surface in a vacuum tube that emits electrons (and the target of those emissions), also "out gas", and this unwanted matter needs to be absorbed into a special component within the device. The vast majority of out gassing occurs fairly quickly, although it continues for a while. Tubes wear out because the surfaces that emit electrons, simply run out of electrons to emit. That's why tubes need replacing after a while.

 

There are quite a variety of other vacuum tubes, used in commercial microwave amplifiers, radar, certain aircraft, and satellites (among other things). Yes, indeed, if you watch Direct broadcast TV over satellite, a vacuum tube is responsible for transmitting that signal to your home. They are used in satellites because they have lots more efficiency than solid state devices of the same weight (and weight is at a premium on satellites), and they last quite a long time. The small dish on your home is due to higher powered tubes being used in those satellites. Most satellites run out of fuel, before they stop working. Further reading for the curious:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveling_wave_tube

 

Burn in (really, aging) for tubes has the effect of making the functioning of the device more stable. The aforementioned outgassing, as well as the aging of the electron emitting and absorbing surfaces, is what burn in helps stabilize. It also helps weed out the devices that aren't going to work for long (usually, a bad device doesn't survive burn-in).  I do not have any memory of burn-in increasing performance, per se. I find it hard to imagine that any tube manufacturer would not burn in their tubes, at least for a short while. So I doubt there would be much of an effect on performance after the tube is in the hands of the end user. A little maybe, but not much.

 

Solid state? No. When I worked on solid state devices, the only thing that we did was a smoke check (love that name). Basically you turn it on and run it for a day, to see if it fries itself, or not. Faulty solid state devices usually don't last long. If it smokes, it doesn't get shipped (it gets repaired first). This sort of check just makes sure all the solder joints are good, and the components are working. I just don't see how any solid state device could exhibit anything like burn in, as I described it above. They either work, or they don't. When they do work, they work for a long time (I still have a Kenwood amp built 30 years ago, and the only thing that's gone bad are switches and the volume potentiometer). I also have an analog Radio Shack VOM that I bought in the late 70's (and it still works).

 

Headphones? Well, I'm not qualified to judge. I guess that's why I'm here smily_headphones1.gif I was hoping someone else would have the answer to that. Other than saying, I don't think calling it "burn-in" is correct (break-in, may be a better term). There were a couple interesting articles I read somewhere, that pointed to studies where new headphones were measured over a few days. I can't find the link now, but one of them seemed to indicate that response seemed to flatten out and become less peaky or resonant. I think that's plausible, but I'm not sure what it would sound like.

 

I only own 2 sets of decent headphones. They are both relatively new. I'd swear they sound a little better than when I first plugged them in, but that may just be wishful thinking. I guess the important thing is, they sound good. I have the folks who visit this website to thank for pointing me in the right direction there.

post #119 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycee1 View Post

And what I'm sharing is my personal experience. My anecdote is reality. Too bad it doesn't align with your dogma. I don't really care what the technical reasons are, I simply enjoy the results. :)

 

And I can assure you, the difference is so dramatic, I don't need to go searching for a +/- .05 dBA difference at various points in a frequency graph. :)

No, your anecdote describes what you perceive as reality including illusions and the results of wishful thinking and cognitive biases. I do not understand why it's so hard to get that. You seem to be completely devoid of the idea of bias.

You also shouldn't be using words like dogma you obviously don't know the meaning of.

 

So you do not care about the technical reasons. Well, then we can stop the discussion here since the value of your anecdote has already been "assessed".

 

There's far more to it than frequency response graphs, which you'd know if you had read my previous posts, but since you're not interested in technical reasons I won't even try..

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

I definitely don't think it is something it's a case of something existing or not but something that has to be considered per-component alongside measurements and an understanding of what is going on, if anything.

I agree. For example, of the small changes that were measured over at IF a tiny part could be attributed to the surround changing slightly or the diaphragm losing a bit of its stiffness (which is bad actually). But look at the post I quoted above. "Dramatic" differences were heard and reports of "day/night" differences using the same headphone as was measured at IF are not rare either.

When specific things (like driver burn-in) are really tiny compared to the overall perceived differences I rather simplify and say they are negligible or non-existent than reinforcing wrong ideas.

Your mass also increases if you run vs. standing still due to the kinetic energy but for all intents and purposes it doesn't change. Saying driver burn-in exists in such specific case would be equivalent to saying that jogging makes you heavier.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

 

Why not, instead of arguing, create and run some experiments? I've been trying to arrange to actually do this with some headphones at least.

That sounds nice. Biggest problem is controlling all the variables, some of which you probably don't even have control over, like manufacturing accuracy.

Whenever I make claims I do try to make experiments to back them up.


Edited by xnor - 5/22/13 at 4:52am
post #120 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycee1 View Post

I believe I've only seen one manufacturer of headphones recommend burn in. I think it was a high figure, several hundred hours. However, they are the exception, not the norm. If it is a marketing gimmick, it is not exactly widespread, but in fact, very rare. 

Yeah. Like I said. I don't know about headphones. But many speaker manufacturers do it. I've owned three pairs of speakers and multiple subwoofers that the manuals recommended it and have heard of others.
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