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Astell & Kern SR15: A&norma Impressions & Reviews

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by pitch_black, Jul 29, 2018.
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  1. szore
    That's a nice pic, I like the angle.
  2. szore
    It needs to burn in for at least 100 hours. What earphones are you using? Balanced or unbalanced out? What music files?
  3. raydenray
    What happens to the sound after the burn in ? Bigger soundstage ? Separation ? Got my SR15 yesterday and I'm curious :) coming from a Dragonfly red (with Westone W80).
  4. szore
    The sound "settles in". What does that mean? The clarity of the sound emerges from a type of "background haze", Stereo separation clarifies and instruments come into clearer focus, sound more coherent, and there timbre, tone, and micro-details emerge. The sound becomes truer to its proper nature; If it is a 'warm' sound, the warmth comes through in a pleasing and musical way. If it is an 'analytical' sound, the reduction of background 'haze' brings that clarity and resolution more into perception. The best burn-in is the initial 48 hours, that's when you get the most bang for buck. After that, it is more subtle, and the best sound comes forward more slowly and subtle, up to the 200 hour point, but even beyond that, the sound becomes more 'polished' and lovely; more nuanced and musical. All of this assumes you have IEM's or speakers that can reveal this, and if you yourself have the hearing perception. Some people have tin ears. Some people have reduced high frequency perception so these subtleties are lost on them. All of this is from my experience. of course, and is just my opinion. hope it helps.
    bgtip, raydenray and robbi22 like this.
  5. Toddk
    My Sr15 will arrive today, with Sure SE535’s coming tomorrow!! I’m upgrading from fiio q5 withTFZ Galaxy T2’s. Also had the fiio m7 but didn’t use it much.

    I hope I’m not having unrealistic expectations, but this should be a massive upgrade right?

    Since both the player and iem’s Will be brand new, what should I do to get the most from them. Should I just have them playing thru the day and night to burn in, is there specific music file I should use? I’m really new, and looking to make the best move.
    I also have Fostex TR-X00’s.
    Thanks for the info.
  6. -Kenny-
    Just received my norma and listening to it as i type this. Sounds great! I have a few questions so far: i've set the tidal streaming quality to 'master' but when i play music it still says 'hifi' on the now playing screen. Is this normal?
    Also curious to hear what's the best way to go about the burn-in process.

    Is downloading high resolution music really worth paying 20 dollars per album? Is it that huge of a difference over tidal masters for instance?
  7. JasonNYC
    Not all of the albums on Tidal are available in Master quality. If an album is available in Master quality, there will be a "M" next to it in the album list.
    Astell&Kern Stay updated on Astell&Kern at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/astellnkern/ https://twitter.com/astell_kern https://instagram.com/astellnkern https://us.astellnkern.com support.inc@iriver.com
    dpwolfordMD likes this.
  8. Gagaryn
    At the risk of opening a can of worms here, I don't buy into the requirement for burn in for IC based electronics. Speakers are different as they have moving parts and those moving parts behaviour will change over time. Shure themselves say no burn in required for their earphones - the amount of movement in the drivers is no minuscule it makes no difference.

    I know people swear that electronic hifi components benefit from burn in, including some manufacturers but until I see measurable results I remain dubious.

    What is very true though is that ears become accustomed to particular sound signatures and it can take time to notice these benefits.
    -Kenny- and showme99 like this.
  9. szore
    I have DSD files that sound mediocre. i have mp3s that blow me away. Welcome to the world of audiophile, enjoy.
    -Kenny- likes this.
  10. szore
    The dap will burn in eventually, but to get there the quickest, run the unit 27/7. If you want to get fancy you can play 20Hz-20kHz tones round the clock; I usually load my dap with music, go to the 'song' menu (as opposed to album, artist and genre), set it for random, loop play, and run it 24/7.

    There are people that swear burn-in is not real. I don't understand that, all I can say is they have tin ears. Some people say IC can't burn in, they are wrong, capacitors need to form up and electronic need to by broken in and 'aged' through use. Some people say IC's either 'work' or they 'do not'; zero-sum game. They are wrong. I was an electronics technician in the US Navy, and I worked in electronics manufacturing custom hybrid units in clean rooms building custom parts from scratch for NASA and the Military. IC's do not 'work or 'not work'; it's a continuum. There are chips bonded to substrates with epoxy, these junctions can be compromised or deteriorate over time over a spectrum; sometimes there are 2mil gold wires bonded to chips and substrates; these junctions can be compromised over time. Components age with use (which is why when we make these components in the clean room, we put them in ovens for days or weeks under load to age the components and get them to optimal quality, TESTING their performance with oscilloscopes, etc, to measure their performance changes, and keep them within mil-specs). Some people claim the perceived improvement over time is due to the brain getting accustomed; that is wrong to me. How do I know? I have had several DAPS and IEM's that I bought, sounded less then ideal, burned in for a few days, sound improved, then I had to return item for various reasons and get a new item (identical) and out of the box you go back to square 1 with less than ideal sound. Then the burn in improves sound (again) over the next few days, etc. If it was brain getting used to sound, the new item would just pick up where the returned item left off. People get crazy over this stuff, and of course all this is my opinion.

    Burn in your player for 48-72 hours; if you hear noticeable improvement, welcome to the world of burn in. If you don't, turn your unit off and go to bed.

    Either way, it's all about the music! Enjoy.
    Luhar likes this.
  11. kenchar
    I have to admit that I am not a huge believer in the theory of burn in. However, in the case of my SR15 the sound definitely improved with a few hours of use.

    I guess that now makes me a believer. :)

    SZORE is right...it is all about the music.
  12. szore
    Be warned: the sr-15 notoriously runs very warm a few times during the first 48 hours or so; if it happens dont be alarmed it is part of the burn-in process, i'm sure Jason will confirm this.
    -Kenny- likes this.
  13. JasonNYC
    Astell&Kern Stay updated on Astell&Kern at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/astellnkern/ https://twitter.com/astell_kern https://instagram.com/astellnkern https://us.astellnkern.com support.inc@iriver.com
    -Kenny- likes this.
  14. pilgrimbilly
    AKG N40 (SE} and N5005 (balanced). FLAC.
  15. szore
    I was walking down the street the other day, and I completely forgot about the equipment (for a few minutes); no tips, no wires, no iems, no burn in, etc. And for a few minutes all I was thinking about was how beautiful everything sounded... What a glorious few minutes they were...
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