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Is burn in real or placebo? - Page 28  

post #406 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matrixnobu View Post
 

 

I don't like the Mambo Sir. But seriously why would do for example internet cables continuously get improved upon if the cable isn't going to make any difference?

Marketing? Profit margins? Taking advantage of the Placebo Effect?

 

The whole point behind the argument here is that if burn in does occur, and usually makes things sound better, then there should be ample evidence of it by now, through double blind tests, and / or measurement by scientific devices.

 

And yet, to date, no one has found any.

 

So burn in is real to a large percentage of people, yet to science it is not, which strongly suggests the placebo effect.


Edited by Sxooter - 2/11/14 at 10:00pm
post #407 of 520
Martrixnobu I'm probably expressing my self all wrong. I agree with Mambosenior on 99%. He is correct there is too much hot air in the marketing of hifi products. I've gotten caught up in it myself. I once bought a packet of cables at a wholesale club because they had gold plated connectors and the cables were heavy gages. They wound up being junk but not because the materials were bad. It wound up falling for exactly what they said. Thinking they were better because they were more expensive. The problem turned out to be the lousy assembly. One of the RCA jacks literally feel of. The outfit just took good looking cable gold plated connectors threw them together with cheap labor and charged a premium price. The scientific knowledge of our scientific friends is imperative technically speaking the gage of the cable is the measure we should go by. I was only trying to inject a more hands on perspective like manufacturing quality controls assembly factors design flaws like shape of jack in receptical oxidation soldering all factors that make hard to have truly objective blind test.
post #408 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matrixnobu View Post
 

 

I don't like the Mambo Sir. But seriously why would do for example internet cables continuously get improved upon if the cable isn't going to make any difference?

 

That's totally besides the point - Internet cable don't get continuously improved upon, it's just that fiber optic cables allow for more bandwidth than your typical copper phone line. Current cables for audio, whether copper silver gold / whatever - already allow all the information to travel just fine.

 

On the subject of burn in - I think it exists, in two ways: 

 

1) The most obvious way is that our brain/ears get used to a certain sound signature after so many hours of listening, the brain tends to concentrate on the parts it likes. And so, the harsh treble becomes detailled and "fast". Certainly this isn't a physical phenomenon happening to the headphones, but it doesn't change the reality that it exists and is an important factor nonetheless. When I first heard the SR325s, they were HARSH. After getting used to them, I love them dearly and am glad I stuck with them.

 

2) The fit of the headphones' pads. And this is a very real physical phenomenon which plays an ESSENTIAL part with headphones. The more hours the headphones spend on your head, the more the pads are molded to provide a good fit, and the better the isolation/sound becomes. A few millimeters of placement can make quite the difference in the appreciation of a pair of headphones.

 

All in all, I dislike this term 'placebo', because that's really not appropriate. There is a change, if not in the headphones themselves, in the way our ears listen and our brain interprets the sound. This isn't placebo at all, and it is why the vast majority of people do think burning in helps tremendously. So in my opinion, between someone who takes TIME to burn-in a pair of headphones and ends up loving them, and someone who listens to them for an hour, decides they suck, and moves on - the first guy will get much more bang for his bucks, and that's what it's all about. We are always evolving beings and listening to headphones and music is an extremely subjective thing. If you think you are the ONE CONSTANT in your audio chain, then you fail to see what is so great about music, this hobby and ultimately, being human.


Edited by elmoe - 2/12/14 at 2:24am
post #409 of 520
Right on Elmo. Enjoying reaching that so illusive sound gives me great pleasure. Overcoming the chalenges that comes with mastering this beautiful art form is what this is all about. Just like picking up 1000tons with a crane getting it perfect is very rewarding. I would never attempt such feats without the precise calculations of the engineers. But by the same token it does help that I happen to remember that the electricians dug a ditch right where the crane sits a week after engenering took soil density measurements for their calculations. Our senses may fool us at times but it's always a good idea to check the house if I smell something burning. You don't get second chances lifting 1000tons. That's why I enjoy the challenges of finding the sounds that are perfect to MY ears. Oh yea now that's an orgasm to my ears.
post #410 of 520
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...
post #411 of 520
+1
post #412 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by migasson View Post

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. :tongue_smile:

2) It's the swing voters we're talking to. :D

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.

post #413 of 520
Well depends on how you define 'burn-in'. But I do hear audible differences (maybe it is due to mental reasons) when I listen to my IEM for the first time compared to a few days later after playing hours of music.
post #414 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljhhh View Post

Well depends on how you define 'burn-in'. But I do hear audible differences (maybe it is due to mental reasons) when I listen to my IEM for the first time compared to a few days later after playing hours of music.


This is a matter of physics. It is not an opinion. A bit more explanation may make it clear why "burn in" is the right term for vacuum tubes.

 

As I'm sure I've said before, if you read a bit about vacuum tube theory, you will find out that they amplify a signal by means of expelling electrons off a negatively charged heated metal surface (cathode), in a vacuum, towards a more positively charged surface (anode). When a tube is first turned on, the action of expelling electrons from the heated surface requires time to become stable (and thus produce a predictable, stable output). This period of time is called "burn in". The heat applied to the cathode is rather small, but it is sufficient to drive electrons off the surface.

 

After a long while, the cathode surface gradually loses its ability to expel electrons. You won't really notice this unless you're measuring output levels closely. One day you'll just notice your tube doesn't work any more (or it sounds weird, or imbalanced, etc). That's because no matter how much heat you apply, you can't burn any more electrons off of the surface. Hence the phrase "burn out".

 

As someone who worked at a company that made vacuum tubes for quite some time, I think I can speak on this subject with at least a little bit of first hand knowledge. I didn't invent the term or the technology. I didn't design any tubes. I'm just repeating what I know. So, I stand by my statement: the phrase "burn in" is only properly applied to vacuum tubes (because we really are burning electrons off a cathode surface to make the device work).

 

The effect of our minds and ears should not be discounted. Indeed, they do play a huge part (maybe the biggest part) in our perception of sound quality. I have said repeatedly in this thread and others that the least-studied aspect of audio discussed on this website is our ears and our minds. The only curious constant seems to be that most people experience improvements in sound quality over a period of time. However, I have also personally proven that this perception can be changed, simply by switching my gear around. A different combination of my DAC's and amps resulted in decreased SQ in one setup, and improved SQ in another. After a while, the one that initially sounded worse, got to sound "better".

 

I can't explain why that happens. But I know it does. However, that is something else other than vacuum tube "burn in". Personally, I think it would be helpful for the community to try to establish a better definition of what we mean when we discuss these things, so I keep talking about it here and there. One day we might figure out why our brains adjust to new equipment, to make it sound "better".


Edited by UmustBKidn - 3/3/14 at 12:00am
post #415 of 520
I think most people on hear take "burn in" to refer to equipment in general. Not just vacuum tubes. Everybody seems to get what is being referred to.
post #416 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post

I think most people on hear take "burn in" to refer to equipment in general. Not just vacuum tubes. Everybody seems to get what is being referred to.

 

I don't believe that everybody seems to get what is being referred to. Because what is being referred to is quite often wrong. Which is why I am trying to say something about it. Should I feel bad? No. I don't think so. Worse, vendors of audio gear feed into the problem by confusing terminology. Everything would seem to have a "burn in" period. And that's just not true.

 

If you need an illustration of this effect, you should watch a few episodes of Jimmy Kimmel's "Lie Witness News" ...

 

 

It just blows me away that people just make stuff up like that. But they do. If that illustration doesn't make you want to search for the truth on something you are passionate about, I'm not sure what will.

 

I'm speaking of what I would call "myth-information". The absolute worst examples of this sort of confusion, in my opinion, can be found in the tropical fish hobby. There is no regulation of claims made for products in that particular hobby, that I can tell. So, vendors are free to claim whatever they want. It takes a long time to sift through the BS to find real accurate information. A shockingly large percentage of vendors in that hobby actively try to keep you ignorant. That ignorance results in profits for them. I blew a whole lot more money than I care to admit trying to keep fish and coral for some years. I eventually decided that it just wasn't worth the effort and expense (much as I really loved the hobby). Mistakes are tremendously expensive.

 

I surely don't know everything. The older I get, the more I realize just how little I really know. But I do speak out when I have some first hand knowledge. And this is one of those subjects I feel I can contribute accurate information on. So I do. For what that's worth. If you prefer to dismiss the information, that's your choice.

post #417 of 520

I thought burn in was total bollocks, and in many ways I still do, 

cartridges do change intitially, but there a mechanical reasons why.

 

HOWEVER my Beyer T50p went from horrible to quiet good after a 1 week on white noise.

I still think the softening of the earpads probably changes the sound most, but that still does confuse me

 

Anyone use the Nordost burn in service???

post #418 of 520

Nordost Vidar Cable Burn In Service

Cable burn in service with our Nordost Vidar machine, hear the difference or your money back.

 

Seriously? They must actually make money on this since they offer money back. Unbelievable.

post #419 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post
 

Nordost Vidar Cable Burn In Service

Cable burn in service with our Nordost Vidar machine, hear the difference or your money back.

 

Seriously? They must actually make money on this since they offer money back. Unbelievable.

 

See, now that particular item is Baloney. LOL. That one belongs in the aquarium hobby category.

post #420 of 520

It's a good laugh though :biggrin:

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