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"Please Stop 'Burning In' Your Earphones"  

post #1 of 164
Thread Starter 
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/11/tnhyui-earphone-burn-in/

What do you guys think of this article?
post #2 of 164

I never really believed in it anyway

post #3 of 164
I would take what the guy from Shure said seriously.
It seems to me that there is no harm in burning in a pair of headphones as long as the burn in time does not extend beyond the opportunity to return them.
Anyway. I'm off to kiss my headphones 50 times.
post #4 of 164

Guys, you should have told me about this burning in stuff, I've been sticking mine in a freezer for 2 weeks before listening, thought that was supposed to help tighten the diaphragm :rolleyes:

post #5 of 164
Even so. The diaphragm is not a 100% reliable form of contraception.
post #6 of 164

I guess a 'pregnant' sound profile would have excellent kick.

 

 

Alright, that was terrible.

post #7 of 164
I thought I was pushing it! I actually think yours was better but maybe a career in comedy does not beckon for either of us. wink.gif
post #8 of 164

I think the more interesting debate is the effect of pad deformation over time.

 

Consider the following: http://rinchoi.blogspot.com/2012/04/introduction-it-is-generally-known-that.html

 

There is a massive difference between the measurements of the HD650 with old pads and new. Pad deformations potentially can change the sound significantly. What sort of effects does this have on most headphones? Does it affect certain pads more than others? If so, how?

post #9 of 164

The article pretty much agrees with what i already thought:

It's theoretically possible for burn-in to change the sound of a certain pair of headphones, but it's not worth worrying about.

post #10 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gignac View Post
 

I guess a 'pregnant' sound profile would have excellent kick.

 

 

Alright, that was terrible.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post

Even so. The diaphragm is not a 100% reliable form of contraception.

 

This round goes to Krismusic, mainly becuase he was the first to add a random joke. You guys made my day, it is apparently very easy to do that right now :beerchug:

post #11 of 164
As the article states there's no difference with balanced armature earphones. With these there is little that can change. With real headphones, not ear plugs, then my particular jury is still out. With the HD25s and the Q701s that I own I'm pretty sure that I've noticed a taming effect happening as they've aged. For instance the HD25 seems less prone to sibilance, and the Q701 has a slightly better articulated, and emphasised bass.

But equally it could be brain burn in.

Who cares though? I'm thoroughly enjoying both my choices wink.gif
post #12 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaphead View Post

As the article states there's no difference with balanced armature earphones. With these there is little that can change. With real headphones, not ear plugs, then my particular jury is still out.

Yuri Shulman (leading Shure engineer, working there for 32 years) recently said:

"This [burn-in] is more myth than fact. [...] Shure headphones sound the same a year after using them as they did brand new."
 

He said "headphones" here and this was no accident. He meant all their products ranging from in-ears to their full-sized models.

 

Shure measured not only balanced armature but also dynamic earphones and microphones, which have much more sensitive and larger transducers. They couldn't measure differences even after a decade of usage.

 

 

Quote:
 With the HD25s and the Q701s that I own I'm pretty sure that I've noticed a taming effect happening as they've aged. For instance the HD25 seems less prone to sibilance, and the Q701 has a slightly better articulated, and emphasised bass.

But equally it could be brain burn in.

Tyll measured the Q701 before and after over 300 hours of break-in. Looking through the measurements for each couple of hours you cannot see any change in the bass range.

 

 

Quote:
 Who cares though?

We do. ;) I wouldn't want to tell anyone, who isn't totally satisfied with his new headphones, that he has to burn them in to make them sound better. I don't want to spread misinformation.

I just tell them to try to get used to the sound for a few days, and if that doesn't work, return them. I think that's much more sound advice.


Edited by xnor - 1/5/14 at 10:35am
post #13 of 164

In fact, if headphones would seriously change their sound over time, there will be two different degradation processes:

1. Degradation as materials are worn off, lose their original tension, characteristics, components will gradually break (not burn) and finally will stop functioning altogether.

2. Probable changes in sound as headphones are changing because of usage - also degradation - i.e. typical "burn" process as described which leads however to "better" sound. They might sound better or not - it might be more personal but there will be inevitable slight changes.

3. If the phone changes after 100 hours, it should can after another 100 hours and so on. It cannot artibrarily stop to degrade or change after X hours and freeze at its best sounding stage- no kind of equipment does that - it will continue to change.

 

 

Now, there some points to consider:

 

1. The process of degradation which starts from the moment the headphones are tested at factory -  might as some stage lead to perceived "better" sound. Inevitably, those changes will ultimately lead to breaking the phone itself after thousands or maybe millions of hours of usage. This is normal for any type of equipment.

 

2. If there was real improvement over "burn in" process, then "burned" phones would have a premium over un-burned. A phone used lets say for 500 hours would cost higher than new one. Which will lead to appearance of "higher priced" phones which are 5-10-15 years old, that is burned more than new. Absense of such market may be a proof that worn or used phones do not cost better than new ones. 

 

Conclusion: the burn in process is an initial stage of equipment's wear out process. It is inevitable, it may not lead to better sound and it maybe documented.  What's not clear if it leads to better sound or not. 

post #14 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gignac View Post
 

Guys, you should have told me about this burning in stuff, I've been sticking mine in a freezer for 2 weeks before listening, thought that was supposed to help tighten the diaphragm :rolleyes:

Well.. there's a guy on the XBA-H3's thread who actually put his XBA-1 (or H1, can't remember) in the freezer. I guess science is science.

post #15 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by jptj24 View Post
 

Well.. there's a guy on the XBA-H3's thread who actually put his XBA-1 (or H1, can't remember) in the freezer. I guess science is science.

 

Too bad he doesn't have a walk-in freezer.  Now there's a place where he could really get in some great listening.

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