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Breaking-in headphones, the final verdict!

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by han bao quan, Mar 7, 2012.
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  1. Haris Javed
    Absolutely it can (all we need it data)- if people do actual research on this matter, they can write a white paper with evidence. I have actually e-mailed NRC and Paradigm about driver breakin, and I will post their response here once I have it. Paradigm, and a few other speaker manufactures designed their speakers at the NRC.

    However, here is the catch. Data Sheets, and white Papers from Fostex, KEF,Yamaha, ATC talk about how they designed their speaker drivers (studio monitors in case of Yamaha, ATC, Fostex, and KEF LS50 in case of KEF) so their sound will not change after hundreds or hours of use, which contradicts the idea that the actual speaker driver is going through physical changes, so this must mean that the break in mostly a mental interpenetration vs actual change in driver sound. Imagine this for a second - studio monitors are used for hundreds of hours, and recording studios would go bankrupt changing their studio monitors every 5 years.

    here is another thing. If 1 million people buy speakers, and 90% of them say that the speaker sounds better to them after 100 hours, we have strong evidence to claim this "people will notice a change in sound after listening to their speakers for 100 hours", but it proves nothing about driver break in, because that is a mechanical change, and we cant ignore that because companies / people claim driver break in as the premise of this whole argument, so we need to see what happens to the driver, if we want to set that as our premise for this whole change in sound argument.

    this is what people claim:
    speaker sound changed after XXX hours, so mechanical changes to the driver must be happening

    this is what needs to be checked:
    after XXX hours, can we measure any mechanical changes in the driver? if yes - investigate more

    after XXX hours, can we measure any mechanical changes to the driver? if no - further investigation is not needed
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
    gregorio likes this.
  2. colonelkernel8
    [scratch that]
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  3. tansand
    If any of you science types [scratch that] wants to go ahead and do some science in a few years or decades instead of just talking, you could get ahold of some bare headphone drivers and test those. You could put gregorio in charge of mike capsule testing, as he's such an expert on the differences.


    Nah though, right?

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  4. colonelkernel8
    Your sarcastic bull isn’t going to win you any respect. If you dislike us so much, you can leave.

    That said, I am in favor of a test, even if it’s not a terribly scientific one. I detailed this in the above post.
    bfreedma likes this.
  5. tansand
    Respect isn't particularly scientific, if the way some people function in here is any indication. I thought it was a pretty good idea, I'm sure there's a bunch of different ones out there cheaper too. :)

    Probably too cheap to be indicative of headhones in general though, or 1200 dollar planars, so really no point in doing it after all, huh? Just to cover some of the inevitable objections, you understand.

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  6. colonelkernel8
    Sorry, I misread your intent. Let’s do some tests. I’m going to order the headphone testing rig from MiniDSP and some calibrated mics coupled with a the Behringer interface @amirm has reported great performance with.

    It’s not an Audio Precision analyzer but I think it’s perfect for this type of testing.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  7. tansand
    Well, that's pretty ****ing awesome! :)

    (No reason to be sorry for anything. I'm abrasive when annoyed. Those people who do all the loud talking and seem uninterested in the facts annoy me. I'm sure we've all met people like that.)
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  8. colonelkernel8
    I am really interested in seeing what Paradigm has to say. No doubt this is something they test for.
  9. colonelkernel8
    I did a lot of searching through AES papers and I couldn’t find any references to “burn-in”. I wonder if there’s a colloquialism used that’s more formalized that I should search for instead. That way I have a reference for experiment design I can try to replicate. It seems strange that there’s such a dearth of information on this subject.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  10. colonelkernel8
    At the same time, some of these folks are extremely experienced with the craft. A lot of times when what they are declaring what sounds like anecdotal evidence or subjectivity is actually based on years of experience and data gathering that is factual. So don’t dismiss them so casually or believe they aren’t being honest or scientific. @gregorio has calibrated what likely amounts to a statistically significant number of speakers in his career and he’s no doubt discussed the notion of burn-in with many speaker manufacturers. His opinion is that of a true expert, not of an armchair guru.
  11. tansand
    I did some searching, will do some more..

    has a few references that might be helpful


    The IEC 268-5 standard baffle for drivers 8" or less is pretty large.

    IEC baffle.jpg
  12. colonelkernel8
    I’m not sure we’re interested in ultrasonics, or how headphones will perform in any conditions other than on your ears. That will simplify things a bit. We aren’t looking for theoretical top end. We certainly aren’t going to measure speaker drivers, I don’t have an anechoaic chamber to use. But on that same note, I will absolutely need to construct a small enclosure for the test rig to remove other sources of local noise. I suspect MDF and pyramidal acoustic foam will be sufficient, but this is something that we can easily measure to ensure sufficiently low and consistent background noise.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  13. tansand
    None of which means anything to me if the person is intellectually dishonest, or tries to be a bully to get away with it.

    No time for such people.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  14. tansand
    No of course not, the part where he talks about testing on a baffle without the ear was why I quoted it. It seems to suggest that sticking the driver on a baffle is OK. The IEC baffle is a standard, the size is because of the wavelengths of bass frequencies, so I was linking a setup with high and low boundaries, with tentative mic placement ('nearfield'). The baffle could be made smaller, of course.

    Seemed like a starting point, maybe not..
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  15. tansand
    A closet with a bunch of clothes on the walls would probably work, All that's needed is a repeatable scenario..the mike will likely be only an inch from the driver or less.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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