Article: Please Stop "Burning In" Your Earphones
Dec 7, 2016 at 8:25 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21

watchnerd

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"This much is known: When it comes to the tiny balanced armatures used in many earphones, there’s just not the same potential for mechanical deviation. We’re talking about things the size of a baby’s tooth. And unlike the large drivers in over-the-ear headphones, there’s just not that much room for things to change.
 
Shure has tested some thoroughly used pairs of its E1 earphones, which first launched in 1997. And guess what? They measure the same now as when they came off the line. In fact, during the 15 years Shure has been actively selling earphones, its engineers have reached the same conclusion again and again: The sound produced by these tiny transducers during final testing is the same sound you’ll get in a day, in a year, and in five years…"

Article here: https://www.wired.com/2013/11/tnhyui-earphone-burn-in/

 

 

 
Dec 8, 2016 at 9:14 AM Post #3 of 21

watchnerd

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  Does this apply to dynamic drivers then?

 
If you read the article, dynamic drivers are addressed.  The guy from Shure says, in theory, because of the bigger drivers, changes are more possible, but they haven't tested it.
 
Dec 8, 2016 at 1:31 PM Post #4 of 21

sonitus mirus

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Makes perfect sense to me.  Though, people seem to conflate loudspeakers with headphones, and the headphone "burn-in" cycle continues.  What am I thinking; audiophiles break-in DACs.  This site is like cable news.  It's not about obtaining useful information as much as it's about entertainment and confirmation bias. 
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Dec 8, 2016 at 3:21 PM Post #5 of 21

Headzone

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  Makes perfect sense to me.  Though, people seem to conflate loudspeakers with headphones, and the headphone "burn-in" cycle continues.  What am I thinking; audiophiles break-in DACs.  This site is like cable news.  It's not about obtaining useful information as much as it's about entertainment and confirmation bias. 
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You know when you buy a new bike and it has a little harsh gearing out of the factory? Then you drive it and the sprockets and chain wear out to like each other.
 
So if I used that analogy for an electric circuit is it possible that a similar pattern happens?Maybe there is going to be improve macrodynamics (audio-gd's grammar) after the process, something not audible to non-trained ears.
 
http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/processors/transistor-aging
 
transistors age, capacitors age, etc etc. and their values will change as they age.
 
Dec 8, 2016 at 3:32 PM Post #6 of 21

gregorio

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You know when you buy a new bike and it has a little harsh gearing out of the factory? Then you drive it and the sprockets and chain wear out to like each other.
 
So if I used that analogy for an electric circuit is it possible that a similar pattern happens?Maybe there is going to be improve macrodynamics (audio-gd's grammar) after the process, something not audible to non-trained ears.
 
http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/processors/transistor-aging
 
transistors age, capacitors age, etc etc. and their values will change as they age.


What are you trying to say?
 
Are you saying that degradation is perceivable? Because if so, you're going to have to provide a link to a different article because the one you referenced says it isn't!
 
Or are you trying to say that you should not insert a new bike in your ear until you've ridden it in?
wink_face.gif

 
G
 
Dec 8, 2016 at 3:41 PM Post #7 of 21

sonitus mirus

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You know when you buy a new bike and it has a little harsh gearing out of the factory? Then you drive it and the sprockets and chain wear out to like each other.
 
 

 
Sure, love that new bike smell.
 
 
Originally Posted by Headzone 
 
So if I used that analogy for an electric circuit is it possible that a similar pattern happens?Maybe there is going to be improve macrodynamics (audio-gd's grammar) after the process, something not audible to non-trained ears.
 

 
No, I don't agree with you in the context that this thread is discussing with regards to burning-in tiny transducers or modern DACs.
 
Originally Posted by Headzone 
 
http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/processors/transistor-aging
 
transistors age, capacitors age, etc etc. and their values will change as they age.

 
If a value changes, it would be measurable.  Electronics equipment can fail.  Polishing a transistor is not gonna magically lift veils or anything. 
 
Dec 8, 2016 at 3:51 PM Post #8 of 21

castleofargh

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aging or whatever we call it can't be helped. now an engine has moving parts with a good deal of friction and that's where the changes will occur. remove lubricant and it's real burn in you'll get.
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a moving coil shouldn't rub on anything but air, else there is a problem, the more critical element is probably the membrane of the dynamic driver that needs to have great flexibility while recovering it's original shape when left alone. very logically, the bigger the membrane and the heavier the pressure on it, the more it's physical shape and properties can be affected over time.
that kind of effect has been shown on speakers, but headphone drivers are usually way smaller, the coil travels a smaller distance and applies a lesser force. so, and it's only my hypothesis, I imagine that with smaller drivers(all other things being relatively equal, like membrane material, shape, and thickness) "burn in" if it happens, may be a lot less significant.
 
 
etymotic has the same opinion as shure on BA burn in by the way.
when I looked that up and tried all I could, the most significant change I got over time are the tips and the damping filter (if there is one on the IEM) that can get dirty and as such become a filter with higher impedance.  for everything else, the variations were within the variations I get from inserting the same IEMS several times into the coupler, so on the stuff I tested, if there has been burn in change, the way I put the IEM in my ear plays a bigger role.  so at least to me, burn in of IEMs is a possible thing that I do not care about.
 
Dec 9, 2016 at 1:58 AM Post #9 of 21

Don Hills

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...transistors age, capacitors age, etc etc. and their values will change as they age.

 
Why do people think audio electronics sounds better as it ages? It actually should sound worse. The designer will have picked the optimum values for each of the components to get maximum performance. If they change value as they age, the performance will become less than optimum.
 
Dec 9, 2016 at 2:03 PM Post #10 of 21

spruce music

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Why do people think audio electronics sounds better as it ages? It actually should sound worse. The designer will have picked the optimum values for each of the components to get maximum performance. If they change value as they age, the performance will become less than optimum.


Because high end audio designers are audio gods.  They can mis-design circuits to incredible levels so that component degradation is part of making the design work at optimum levels.

Well except for tube designers.  Their gear still deteriorates as the tubes burn. 
 
Dec 9, 2016 at 3:51 PM Post #11 of 21

castleofargh

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not trying to play the devil's advocate, but some components could be known to need a little workout, like some batteries seem to enjoy one full charge and discharge. that has nothing to do with burn in, but such stuff do exist that at least for a time behave better than brand new. still, it's not like any component will go Benjamin Button on us and I do agree with the last 2 posts. plus the topic is about earphones.
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Dec 9, 2016 at 8:09 PM Post #12 of 21

Don Hills

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  not trying to play the devil's advocate, but some components could be known to need a little workout, like some batteries seem to enjoy one full charge and discharge. that has nothing to do with burn in, but such stuff do exist that at least for a time behave better than brand new. still, it's not like any component will go Benjamin Button on us and I do agree with the last 2 posts. plus the topic is about earphones.
evil_smiley.gif

 
I have had 2 occurrences of earphones (1 earbuds and 1 IEM) that deteriorated with age. The earbuds came with an iRiver MP3 player 10 years ago. They sounded OK as earbuds went. I didn't use them for several years, then went to use them in an emergency and found them almost unlistenable - no bass or trable. I wondered if it was my memory that was faulty, but then found the same thing with a pair of Koss Plugs of similar vintage. When I bought them they sounded very similar to Koss Porta Pros, just a little less refined. I tried them recently and they sounded nasty - no bass, no treble. So I got out the Porta Pros, and they sounded just like I remembered them. I guess the diaphragms could have hardened with age, something to do with the plastic formulas at the time.
 
Dec 13, 2016 at 7:14 AM Post #14 of 21

sonitus mirus

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Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but technically all drivers, crossovers, and even cables can "burn in" due to Electromigration? 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromigration


No rational person is suggesting that electronic components cannot eventually degrade over time to point where they fail in the application they were designed for, but this is not an example of burn-in. The IC should perform as expected until a failure point is reached, and with this particular phenomena, the author suggests that even gamma-ray bombardments and environmental influences are often more responsible for failures.
 

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