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Is burn in real or placebo? - Page 30  

post #436 of 520

The engine analogy is completely wrong.  Things literally *explodes* inside a car engine, with metal rubbing against metal thousands of times if not millions of times during a routine drive, that's huge amounts of wear and tear going on such that you would expect some "burn in" or change during the usage.  That's why even with new modern day engines build so precious you still have to tear them down and rebuild them after certain mileages.  Headphones simply doesn't do anything close to what car engines goes through.


Edited by nanaholic - 3/10/14 at 6:53am
post #437 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post

A couple of things.
The car analogy has been used in this context before.
It is not really relevant IMHO.
In point of fact I have been told when buying a new car that these days the engine is built to fine tolerances and subjected to ultrasonic washing to remove debris.
Running in is unnecessary.
More relevant is that a senior technician at Shure took an IEM with 2500 hrs and one straight off the production line.
They both measured the same.
Kamijoismyhero is right IMHO.
Any break in is likely to be so tiny as to be inaudible.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nanaholic View Post
 

The engine analogy is completely wrong.  Things literally *explodes* inside a car engine, with metal rubbing against metal thousands of times if not millions of times during a routine drive, that's huge amounts of wear and tear going on such that you would expect some "burn in" or change during the usage.  That's why even with new modern day engines build so precious you still have to tear them down and rebuild them after certain mileages.  Headphones simply doesn't do anything close to what car engines goes through.

 

The internal combustion engine analogy is not perfect. No disagreement there. The point was just to illustrate that all mechanical devices experience some degree of wear and tear. Auto engines will experience much more wear than headphone transducers (or speakers for that matter). It doesn't take much analysis to determine that.

 

Here is an interesting article that describes where the friction in a speaker comes from, see the section titled "The speaker: a mass-spring system." How much friction in a headphone? Not much. But it exists. The transducer in a headphone vibrates. The outer part of the diaphragm is connected to a frame, and the inner part to the top of a voice coil. The junction of the material that the diaphragm is made from, is what experiences that friction.

 

I do also agree with the notion that our minds play a huge part in our perceptions of sound. I don't think our ears are changing (unless we damage them with overly loud music) - our perceptions of sound changes - and that's all in our heads.

 

I believe our brains change, or adapt. What fascinates me is the fact that the apparent sound character of a set of gear, can change over time. Not only can it change once, it can change over and over again. I have proven that with my own small collection of gear (at least to my own satisfaction). All you need to do is take 2 sets of everything, and switch the parts around, then listen to that setup for a while. Then switch it again. It will change again - and change over time, again.

 

I ran into some funny videos while poking around YouTube. Look what big speakers can do...

 

 

And this is just weird...

 

 

More fun with wire...

 

post #438 of 520

Ah yes. The SPL guys.The young lady would have enjoyed that more if they were playing 33Hz :D

Your link to the mass spring bizzo was for full size speakers. Headphones have much smaller drivers and so I would expect less effect.

All seems a bit hair splitting of me though TBH.

If people find that they enjoy their headphones more over time that is a good thing.

I would just suggest that a headphone is not going to dramatically change its fundamental character over time so if you do not like them out of the box do not hang on to them past the point that you can return them.

Personally, the psychoacoustic aspect has been the biggest revelation for me on here.  

post #439 of 520

For me, equalization has made the biggest improvement.

post #440 of 520

I meant that psychoacoustics was something that I don't think that I was aware of before coming on here.

I wish that Spotify would reinstate even the simple beta EQ that used to be hidden in the App.

Although I always had real difficulty setting up the EQ in my car system.

At least with speakers I could get a knowledgeable friend to help.

post #441 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

For me, equalization has made the biggest improvement.

 

Indeed. Now, if we can postulate that setting EQ to some value that immediately sounds "better" to you, what will happen to your SQ as you listen to that over time? Does it get better, worse, or stay the same? In other words, once you've artificially "fixed" the sound so your brain perceives it as improved, does your brain then improve it more over time? Or does it leave a good thing alone?

 

In one of my setups (a laptop in bed), I have no amp or DAC, just my ATH M40fs headphones (which I consider the weakest in my collection). I have the music player set to heavily equalize the cans (something of a soft V-shape). It's good enough to watch movies late at night, so I can turn it up and not disturb my kids. Any music I listen to there, sounds funky (e.g., not as good), compared to either of my other setups (there are 3).

 

I brought one of my Bravo amps to this location, in the hopes that some weekend, I won't be working from home, and I'll have time to modify it. While it's there, I plugged it inline using a 3.5mm to RCA adapter (and still no DAC). Of course, the SQ changes with that amp in line. It makes the ATH M40fs sound significantly better, but overdrives the bass notes (because of the heavy EQ). So I need to re-equalize the sound (and make a new EQ setting, just for that amplifier), because it overdrives the system into distortion if I don't.

 

I am convinced that my brain would never adjust the sound quality to get rid of the distortion caused by adding the amplifier in line. In other words, my brain can't adjust for clipping. So I need to do that myself. After I get done messing with the EQ, the setup sounds more "solid" by virtue of the amp being there.

 

Bottom line: my brain can't equalize for distortion. It is unable to overcome a fundamentally flawed sound signature.

post #442 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post


Bottom line: my brain can't equalize for distortion. It is unable to overcome a fundamentally flawed sound signature.
This is what I have been trying to do with the IE8's. Without success.
post #443 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post
 

Now, if we can postulate that setting EQ to some value that immediately sounds "better" to you, what will happen to your SQ as you listen to that over time? Does it get better, worse, or stay the same? In other words, once you've artificially "fixed" the sound so your brain perceives it as improved, does your brain then improve it more over time? Or does it leave a good thing alone?

 

Once I hit the sweet spot, it stays.

post #444 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

 

Once I hit the sweet spot, it stays.

 

Fascinating.

(Sorry, I borrowed that from Mr. Spock.)

 

In an odd way, this discussion kind of reinforces my personal belief that it's best to start with Budget-Fi gear, and work your way up. If our brains can adjust to create a certain percentage of the overall sound quality, then a prudent consumer would start with gear that has the minimum acceptable sound quality, and wait to see if their brains can adjust sufficiently to create an acceptable level of SQ.

 

So the next curious question must be, if our brains adjust to that "sweet spot", how can we tell when it's not so sweet any more? I mean, if our brains really are adjusting our perceptions of SQ, then why doesn't the cheapest set of gear allow our brains to create the optimal sound? Why spend thousands of dollars, if we only need to spend a couple hundred?

 

Are people too impatient? Are they not waiting long enough for their brains to adjust to their gear? Or are they waiting a while, and not experiencing that "sweet spot"? Is that not happening because of some level of distortion (as I observed above?)

 

Are people who spend cubic dollars to buy high end gear, really getting better sound quality? Or would they save enough to buy a new hot tub if they were just a bit more patient for their brains to adjust to their cheap gear?

 

So maybe, the whole concept of burn in is an excuse to wait some indeterminate period of time, for our brains to create/adjust to, the ultimate sound quality. Instead of blaming our brains for not sufficiently adjusting, we blame our gear, and go spend more money? Or does the quality of our gear really matter after all, because our brains can only adjust by a small amount? Or is all this just an excuse to convince us to spend more money?

post #445 of 520
This sounds like mumbo jumbo to me.
Gear is either good or indifferent. Sometimes regardless of price. I just want to listen to my music. Not embark on some kind of brain training odyssey!
Edited by krismusic - 3/14/14 at 8:40am
post #446 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post

This sounds like mumbo jumbo to me.
Gear is either good or indifferent. Sometimes regardless of price. I just want to listen to my music. Not embark on some kind of brain training odyssey!

 

It's not necessarily mutually exclusive.

post #447 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post
 

So the next curious question must be, if our brains adjust to that "sweet spot", how can we tell when it's not so sweet any more?

 

You misunderstood I'm afraid.... I'm not EQing to my personal preference. I'm EQing to achieve a flat frequency response. That's a very objective calibration, not a subjective one. It is difficult to calibrate to a flat response in a 5:1 speaker system, and it requires balancing both level on each channel and EQ. It can take a bit of back and forth parallel parking of settings to fine tune. But once that balance is struck there is no coloration, just natural sound. That's the sweet spot.

 

Balanced response always sounds better than colored response. And every transducer involves compromises that make it deviate from flat. So just about every transducer benefits from a little calibration with EQ. It's possible to EQ mid priced transducers to make them sound more like the best ones available.

post #448 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post

It's not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Fair point. Nice avatar:)
post #449 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post


Fair point. Nice avatar:)

 

Thank you, I used to have this as a giant poster on my wall as a kid :L3000:

post #450 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post

Thank you, I used to have this as a giant poster on my wall as a kid L3000.gif
A mighty fine album.
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