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AKG K550 burn-in !?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I never been a believer of the burn-in process, but I just witnessed the biggest sound transformation ever....

 

5 PM : Putting on my K550 for the first time
5:30 PM: I want to be refunded, they suck big time. I feel like listening to AM Radio....

 

8 hours later : Damn this is the best pair of closed back headphones I've ever heard. The soundstage is unbelievable for a closed can. Now the bass feel right, they are much more warm...

 

Do you guys ever had similar experience with burn in ? It's pretty amazing how much the sound is different 8 hours later...

post #2 of 14

Interesting...

 

I recently got K550s too and the first time I listened to them I had a headache and was tired so I agree and had a similar experience to you.

post #3 of 14

mmm... when I had the K550, I initially thought they were quite bass-light, but after more listening, I adjusted to their sound signature & appreciated their bass quality (tight bass with great texture & deep extension!). I really liked my K550s. also, I noticed that fit makes a pretty big difference in the sound, so make sure they are sealed and fitted properly. I had a small head, so initially the earcups weren't really tightly sealed.

post #4 of 14

I am really hoping that a long burn in time will make a difference with me, I just got the dt770 pro 80ohms and an fiio e10, and I think they sound terrible

 

No musical separation, very muddy/clouded/boomy base, even with the base boost option off on the e10. They sound worse than unamped creative aruvanna lives at 1/4th of the price overall. I mean they sound worse than unamped dt990's.

 

This is my first experience with an amp aswell, I thought it was going to make night and day difference all it has done is increase the volume 10 fold. It hasn't increased the clarity of the sound through the headphones.

 

Using flac files, on one of the best rated media players around here jriver.

 

Atleast amazon have an awesome return policy, I may try Cal2's.

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyforger View Post
 

I am really hoping that a long burn in time will make a difference with me, I just got the dt770 pro 80ohms and an fiio e10, and I think they sound terrible

 

No musical separation, very muddy/clouded/boomy base, even with the base boost option off on the e10. They sound worse than unamped creative aruvanna lives at 1/4th of the price overall. I mean they sound worse than unamped dt990's.

 

This is my first experience with an amp aswell, I thought it was going to make night and day difference all it has done is increase the volume 10 fold. It hasn't increased the clarity of the sound through the headphones.

 

Using flac files, on one of the best rated media players around here jriver.

 

Atleast amazon have an awesome return policy, I may try Cal2's.

@skyforger, hahah yea, i can totally relate to your experiences. i haven't heard any significant sonic changes with burn-in. generally, i don't find that the sound of headphones really improves in quality with an amp until you get into the $400+ headphones. it often sounds like from the some things i read here that amps/burn-in boosts your headphone's sound to amazing new levels, but i haven't ever experienced anything like that.

 

i haven't heard the dt770s, but it's always disappointing getting a new pair of headphones & finding out their sound doesn't match your expectations. +1 on amazon! i love their return policy!:)

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Furieux View Post

 

8 hours later : Damn this is the best pair of closed back headphones I've ever heard. The soundstage is unbelievable for a closed can. Now the bass feel right, they are much more warm...

 

In that eight hour span, was it on your head or was it breaking in off your head with some music playing? If for the most part it was on your head, it's the earpads that were broken in; otherwise, it really might be the drivers.

When I first got decent speakers and an amp I was breaking it in and sitting from time to time. After one track I got up for a drink, but when the next track started, the midrange was warmer and bass was more solid. I went back to my seat and went back a few tracks, and the sound really was different. I never noticed this in headphones as I never got any brand new, but I did notice how the sound changes the longer I wear them at a time (and over time).

post #7 of 14

It's called psychoacoustic adaptation. Read about it.

 

Many people have tried to measure and blind-test show the true effect (non-psychoacustical) of burn-in. Show far I've yet to see tangible proof (or experience it myself) in my 20+ years of headphone use, reviews and literature reading.

 

YMMV.

post #8 of 14

Since I am currently evaluating k 550 I could write a few impressions.

 

In my case pad break in is not the case because they have been on my head for not more than 2 hours. Bad fit is out the question too, I have read  how much positioning is important before k550 came in. 

 

First thing that stroke me is how mid bass is presented or better said not presented at all. They had sub bass but mid bass and lower midrange freq were cut off. Soundstage was good but cave like ( cup resonance? ). They need little more volume then I initially thought and sound surprisingly good and controlled when stepped on :)

 

After 30 hours of burn in, mid bass - lower midrange came to life so they finally sounded in line with those sub bass freq, resonance is less pronounced so vocals sound better now and soundstage stopped hitting a "wall" which was obvious in the first run (especially when compared with k702's).

 

I will continue burn in and see if there is any additional things that I can detect without nitpicking about small/micro changes in sound.


Edited by loopfreak - 12/25/13 at 12:38pm
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by loopfreak View Post
 

Since I am currently evaluating k 550 I could write a few impressions.

 

In my case pad break in is not the case because they have been on my head for not more than 2 hours. Bad fit is out the question too, I have read  how much positioning is important before k550 came in. 

 

First thing that stroke me is how mid bass is presented or better said not presented at all. They had sub bass but mid bass and lower midrange freq were cut off. Soundstage was good but cave like ( cup resonance? ). They need little more volume then I initially thought and sound surprisingly good and controlled when stepped on :)

 

After 30 hours of burn in, mid bass - lower midrange came to life so they finally sounded in line with those sub bass freq, resonance is less pronounced so vocals sound better now and soundstage stopped hitting a "wall" which was obvious in the first run (especially when compared with k702's).

 

I will continue burn in and see if there is any additional things that I can detect without nitpicking about small/micro changes in sound.

 

Exactly what I've experienced. It's spot on. The fact that we observed the same changes is, in my opinion, not a coincidence. I think I'm now a believer of the burn-in process, especially for these cans... !

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

In that eight hour span, was it on your head or was it breaking in off your head with some music playing? If for the most part it was on your head, it's the earpads that were broken in; otherwise, it really might be the drivers.

When I first got decent speakers and an amp I was breaking it in and sitting from time to time. After one track I got up for a drink, but when the next track started, the midrange was warmer and bass was more solid. I went back to my seat and went back a few tracks, and the sound really was different. I never noticed this in headphones as I never got any brand new, but I did notice how the sound changes the longer I wear them at a time (and over time).


I had it on my head. Also the pads are real soft on these so I don't think breaking in tha pad is an issue there.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Furieux View Post
 

I had it on my head. Also the pads are real soft on these so I don't think breaking in tha pad is an issue there.

 

In some cases earpads can get from soft to much softer, or considerably squished; as opposed to from firm to soft. Basically, the amount of headtime always impacts pad wear and ergo the sound.

post #12 of 14
Quote:
 The fact that we observed the same changes is, in my opinion, not a coincidence. I think I'm now a believer of the burn-in process, especially for these cans... !

 

You summed it nicely, these cans do change with burn in but there are other 'phones that didn't. For example Grado sr325i and AKG k601 did not change at all with extensive burn in but Ultrasone PRO 550 did change, it was a roller coaster ride with sad ending.... or better "for sale" ending :)


Edited by loopfreak - 12/26/13 at 4:02pm
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by halcyon View Post

It's called psychoacoustic adaptation. Read about it.

Many people have tried to measure and blind-test show the true effect (non-psychoacustical) of burn-in. Show far I've yet to see tangible proof (or experience it myself) in my 20+ years of headphone use, reviews and literature reading.

YMMV.
YMDV My Milage Does Vary

I've designed and evaluated audio equipment for over twenty years, and you are right about psychoacoustic adaptation, but there is also burn in. Time and time again preproduction samples sound different to the signed off reference before they are run in. With certain materials like kevlar it can take a surprisingly long time. When comparing two units with the same acoustic performance psychoacoustic adaptation is removed and the burn is the major factor. It a royal pain in the proverbial when you are trying to approve a production process.

Headphones and speakers are mechanical devices, and as such have mechanical joints (surround, spider etc.) which become differently flexible with time. This changes the performance, especially with transient signals.

This has become a polarising subject in audio. I'm not trying to say anyone is completely right or wrong, but my experience along with many of my colleagues is that both effects are present when critical listening is done.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Furieux View Post
 

Exactly what I've experienced. It's spot on. The fact that we observed the same changes is, in my opinion, not a coincidence. I think I'm now a believer of the burn-in process, especially for these cans... !

I've experienced the bass improving on the K550s over time, but I think it's simply your brain getting used to their sound signature. personal opinion of course.

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