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Is burn in real or placebo? - Page 2  

post #16 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackwess View Post

Uhm, this is a very discussed topic. 

 

My thinking is that it have more noticeable effects in some headphone models over others. 

 

That is what I have noticed also. Recently I bought a pair of ATH-A900X and can't hardly believe how much they changed within about the first 10 hours. By far the most noticeable of all the phones I've used. After that I am noticing no further perceptible change. They've shaped up to be great headphones and scale well with amplification. Quite a bargain.

 

My HE-400 were a little treble hot (sizzly) and settled down nicely after about 10 hours, no further differences have been perceived.

 

My HE-500 have sounded the same as when they came out of the box......phenomenal.

 

I haven't noticed it very much with my Q701, D5K, or Grados either. I am sure they are affected but the change will come over a long period of time that won't be noticeable.

post #17 of 520

Not to say I'm an expert on the matter...

 

But given that headphones are physical objects, they get worn out over time, too. Especially as they're in use, since the drivers are constantly accelerating and decelerating.

 

So from a scientific standpoint, I'd think burn-in SHOULD be real. Unless someone somewhere is claiming that there exist objects that retain its physical properties forever...

post #18 of 520

Some models - yes

Other models - no

 

The most pronounced improvement I've experienced was on a pair of AKG-702's. Second most change was Ultrasone DJ1 Pro.

 

On many models I hear no change at all.

 

$0.02

post #19 of 520

Me and my dad both have a pair of Alessandro MS-1's back in 2007 or 2008. Both sounded the same in the beginning. My dad's MS-1 have been used considerably less than mine, and five years later the difference is quite obvious. Mine sound more "full", while his are more thin with a bit of a harsher top end. When A/Bing them the difference is quite obvious. In a blind test my dad (78 years old, and doesn't have the world's best hearing anymore) noticed the difference right away and pointed out the same observations as me.

 

So yeah, burn in is real.

post #20 of 520

How are the conditions of the pads on both?  Differences in pads have a very noticeable effect on sound.

post #21 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

How are the conditions of the pads on both?  Differences in pads have a very noticeable effect on sound.

 

My igrado's are brand new, and the sound signature changed drastically after about 60 hours of burn-in. 

post #22 of 520
Burn in, cable sound, equalizers and solid state vs. tube discussions all have 2 things in common:

1. They will bring wars upon forums.
2. You need to try it out and figure it out for yourself, because noone has your ears.
post #23 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

@pp312 - good points - but I think that is where expectation bias comes in.  You're expecting a change  - so it eventually "happens".  Ever noticed how it's always for the better?  Ever heard of a headphone that turns to crap after burn-in?

 

 

 

But that's just it--it doesn't always happen. Some headphones I pray will change and they don't, or not significantly. They may be expensive and difficult to re-sell, so I very much need them to improve, but they don't. Others I'm not fussed about as I got them cheap and can re-sell at a profit--yet they improve to the point where I wouldn't consider selling them at any profit. It's totally random and has nothing to do with expectation.

 

As for headphones always improving with burn in, if we assume the process of burn in is the headphone settling in and beginning to work at its optimum, I would always expect that to be so, just as I'd expect a new car to get better as its parts wear in. Have you ever had a car that got noisier and rougher in the first 10,000 miles?

post #24 of 520
@pp312

I won't continue on - simply because it's a polarising debate - and realistically the same things get rehashed over and over.  I respect your posts too much to put myself in a situation where there is no real middle ground and we are on completely opposite sides (call it a cop-out, but experience tells me to continue would be a downward spiral - rehashing all the now familiar points)

 

I'm yet to be convinced - especially with comments like these ..... 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycee1 View Post

My igrado's are brand new, and the sound signature changed drastically after about 60 hours of burn-in

 

I've yet to hear the night and day diff people talk about - and I know my own aural memory is no good after more than a minute (actually a lot less).  I freely admit to probably having tin ears as well wink.gif.

 

I will suggest going back once again to Tyll's measurements showing something happening (and possibly something audible) with the 701's - but with actual measurements that clearly show any change to be minute / subtle.

 

I don't doubt you are experiencing something changing.  I'll continue to be largely skeptical it's mostly due to 'burn-in' though - unless I hear it/experience it myself.

 

beerchug.gif

post #25 of 520

I don't doubt that there can be some break-in of a physical moving diaphragm in headphone driver, but I also believe there is a strong psychological component to break-in. Its not a matter of expecting a change and then convincing yourself you heard it, though that could also happen. I think the most common is a matter of the listener's brain learning to process the different signal to make it "sound" more pleasant. When I hear people say, "when I first got these phone, the highs/mids/bass was bad, but after XXXXX hours, it started sounding much better." I think the "started sounding much better" part is your brain toning down the offensive highs or filtering through the muddy bass and being able to pick out mids and highs, etc. Your brain is a powerful processor - it can make you see things that aren't there and hear things in a different way. Its like when you were young, perhaps you hated the taste of broccoli, but as you got older you started to like it. The Broccoli doesn't taste different now, your brain has learned to like it.

post #26 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

I won't continue on - simply because it's a polarising debate - and realistically the same things get rehashed over and over.  I respect your posts too much to put myself in a situation where there is no real middle ground and we are on completely opposite sides (call it a cop-out, but experience tells me to continue would be a downward spiral - rehashing all the now familiar points)

 

I'm yet to be convinced - especially with comments like these ..... 

 

 

I've yet to hear the night and day diff people talk about - and I know my own aural memory is no good after more than a minute (actually a lot less).  I freely admit to probably having tin ears as well wink.gif.

 

I will suggest going back once again to Tyll's measurements showing something happening (and possibly something audible) with the 701's - but with actual measurements that clearly show any change to be minute / subtle.

 

I don't doubt you are experiencing something changing.  I'll continue to be largely skeptical it's mostly due to 'burn-in' though - unless I hear it/experience it myself.

 

beerchug.gif

 

I'm burning in earpods (60+ hours). I don't notice the slightest difference in sound signature. I've burned in several other pairs, and I agree, psychological "burn-in" is very real--the same headphones can sound very different from day to day, depending on volume, the sources, the use of an amp, what headhpones you listened to just prior, etc. 

 

However, the igrado change was not subtle nor psychological. They were unlistenable and tediously bright. After 60 hours, the very harsh treble had basically disappeared, replaced by a full, warm, bright sound that was exceptionally pleasant. 

 

It's the only pair that changed radically, but it's enough to convince me that in select cases, significant changes can occur. But for my other headphones, the changes have been modest to completely non-existent. 

post #27 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

I won't continue on - simply because it's a polarising debate - and realistically the same things get rehashed over and over.  I respect your posts too much to put myself in a situation where there is no real middle ground and we are on completely opposite sides (call it a cop-out, but experience tells me to continue would be a downward spiral - rehashing all the now familiar points)

 

I'm yet to be convinced - especially with comments like these ..... 

 

 

I've yet to hear the night and day diff people talk about - and I know my own aural memory is no good after more than a minute (actually a lot less).  I freely admit to probably having tin ears as well wink.gif.

 

 

 

Fair enough. I'd just like to make a couple of points:

 

1. I don't spiral.  wink.gif

 

2. I do think most of the changes people describe are exaggerated.

 

3. I don't believe in burn in beyond about 50 hours, and mostly not even that. In my experience most changes take place in the first 20 hours. The 200--500 hours some people talk about is ridiculous. I've usually moved on to a different headphone altogether before I accrue those sorts of hours--or else I'll have been placed by my relatives in a nursing home. tongue.gif

post #28 of 520
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pallentx View Post

I don't doubt that there can be some break-in of a physical moving diaphragm in headphone driver, but I also believe there is a strong psychological component to break-in. Its not a matter of expecting a change and then convincing yourself you heard it, though that could also happen. I think the most common is a matter of the listener's brain learning to process the different signal to make it "sound" more pleasant. When I hear people say, "when I first got these phone, the highs/mids/bass was bad, but after XXXXX hours, it started sounding much better." I think the "started sounding much better" part is your brain toning down the offensive highs or filtering through the muddy bass and being able to pick out mids and highs, etc. Your brain is a powerful processor - it can make you see things that aren't there and hear things in a different way. Its like when you were young, perhaps you hated the taste of broccoli, but as you got older you started to like it. The Broccoli doesn't taste different now, your brain has learned to like it.

This makes sense.

post #29 of 520

What I've concluded is that is HAS to exist. How is it such a big, scientific, controversial discussion amongst audiophiles if it doesn't exist? Or else, how was it discovered?


Edited by BetaWolf - 5/14/13 at 6:49pm
post #30 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by pallentx View Post

Its like when you were young, perhaps you hated the taste of broccoli, but as you got older you started to like it. The Broccoli doesn't taste different now, your brain has learned to like it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifi Man View Post

This makes sense.

 

No it doesn't. I still hate broccoli. biggrin.gif

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