Originally Posted by migasson
I would suggest that the argument will never end...
You're going to have fervent believers for and against, and neither will give quarter to the other!!
I believe that burn in is bollocks, and if it does occur, it's not worth worrying about......
My 2 cents...
1) Probably not, but then we'd have nothing to do.
2) It's the swing voters we're talking to.
3) Well, yes and no. To wit:
- Tubes really do burn in. I spent close to 15 years of my life making tubes. I know this for a fact.
- Solid state components (e.g. transistors, IC chips), do not burn in.
- Headphones, like other mechanical devices, can "wear" in, or "break" in, because of mechanical friction. Car engines do the same thing.
- Most solid state devices (amplifier, computer, TV, whatever) are given a "smoke check" at the factory, to make sure they don't quickly break when they are purchased. This smoke check is meant to assure the device has been assembled properly, and can withstand normal operation for a reasonable period of time (they're frequently run at full operating parameters for anything between one day to one week). It is not meant to "age" or alter the state of the device - it is only meant to make sure the assembly works. That is NOT burn in.
- Some other electronic components can change state over time, particularly capacitors. These are not solid state devices (to counter an argument someone else hit me with some time ago). In particular, electrolytic capacitors can change physical state simply because the materials used to make them, deteriorate over time. They do not last decades. They must be replaced after a period of time. Other types of capacitors last longer than electrolytics.
- Any component that heats up when used, and cools down when turned off, will deteriorate over time. Nothing lasts forever. This is not burn-in. Stuff breaks as it ages.
I frequently see the term "burn in" thrown about frequently, and used to describe things that it was never meant to describe. I have been attempting to clarify this point since joining this thread. When I see people discuss burn in for headphones, I cringe, because the correct term would be "break in". When I see people apply the term "burn in" to solid state amplifiers, I also cringe, because it simply doesn't apply (those electrolytic capacitors won't change appreciably in the short period of time, normally attributed to burn in).
The term "burn in" can only really be properly applied to tubes, because they really do burn in - we used to just call it "aging". It is meant to stabilize the device, and it also proves the device will last for its intended lifetime. The vacuum tube devices I helped to make, were burned in for 1000 to 1500 hours, to stabilize the device (after that, we called them "new"). I will not take the space to attempt to explain vacuum tube theory, you can look it up elsewhere on the Interwebz.