Breaking-in the W100 can induce psychosis!
Mar 18, 2002 at 6:47 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21

Tomcat

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Did I mention the beneficial effect break-in has on the W100?

<grins maniacally>

I have used my W100 for well over 300 hours now. I felt break-in would have to be pretty much complete, any further changes ought to be fairly minor. But then I thought to myself, why not give it another dose of music at levels louder than normal? I had done this maybe six or seven times before, during its first 150 hours: I had set the CDP on auto-repeat, put the headphone on a pillow and had it working out for the night or the entire day. Exercising the drivers and the wooden enclosures has had a clearly noticeable effect, the W100 got smoother, richer, with more extension at both frequency extremes, deeper bass, less strained treble and ever more sensitivity and transparency. Frankly, I didn’t expect too much change this time.

<chuckles insanely>

I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong. I would have thought I was delusional, if it wasn’t for two facts: I am very familiar with the W100’s sound by now, and I have regularly compared it with my Beyers, the 770 and 990 Pros, just to keep track of the changes during break-in. What happened this time? There was at least as much change now as there had been any time before when I pounded the headphone. Even more bass extension, more harmonic richness and body, even less strained dynamics, totally effortless transients, even less listening fatigue, higher sensitivity, more transparency, and a captivating midrange approaching perfection. Everything great about the W100 got even better. Recently, JML jokingly suggested my initial glowing review was understated. It was. And there seems to be no end in sight.

If I read a report like this, frankly, I wouldn’t believe it. But that’s exactly what happened. Don’t ask me to explain why it did. I couldn’t. But I am now convinced she has a soul. She's alive. And I am thinking about giving her a name. Hey, some people talk to their plants, why shouldn’t I talk to my headphone, right? What’s so wrong with that?
smily_headphones1.gif


<laughs idiotically>
 
Mar 18, 2002 at 9:19 PM Post #3 of 21

88Sound

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I can only hope that medical science will perfect an artificial ear (and possibly some life extension drugs) so that when I'm 94 years old I can really enjoy my W100's after they are fully broken in. Which by my calculations utilyzing an implementaion of my own design (just listening to music) and Tomcat's formula should take about 50 years.
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Mar 18, 2002 at 10:28 PM Post #4 of 21

dave-the-rave

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I got my w100's earlier this week. I liked them right out of the box— the sound had greater immediacy then my Senn 580's. With the Senn's, you're standing in the doorway to the club; with the w100's, you're at a table right in front of the stage. I've probably put about 50 hours on them so far. Last night, I listened to my HDCD of 'Ritual,' from "Tales From Topographic Oceans" by Yes. I've been listening to this track since it came out in 1974, and last night, through the w-100's, I literally heard things in the music that I had never heard before, including a chanted vocal underneath a keyboard line. And all this with only 50 hours on the phones and through only a Creek OBH-11. Still not sure whether to go Earmax Pro, Melos, Audible Illusions L-1 or maybe solid state with Sugden. Can't wait to hear it get better and better. Tomcat, thanks for the original tip on these 'phones.
 
Mar 18, 2002 at 11:48 PM Post #5 of 21

JML

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Tomcat, the ATH-W100 is definitely female! And I guess I'm going to follow your lead and let her listen to some loud stuff by herself very late at night.

Dave-the-rave, I had a similar experience with a remastered CD of Yes' Fragile, and I think I'm at the same table as you (unless the source was intended to put me somewhere else in the room). You had to say this, though, didn't you? My son wanted another one of those classic Yes albums, and so...

Anyone other than me trying to find something to clip down that thick silk-covered cable? Sometimes the covering is microphonic, and I also worry about damaging the fabric.
 
Mar 19, 2002 at 1:30 AM Post #6 of 21

Spad

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Quote:

Originally posted by Tomcat Did I mention the beneficial effect break-in has on the W100?

<grins maniacally>

I have used my W100 for well over 300 hours now. I felt break-in would have to be pretty much complete, any further changes ought to be fairly minor. But then I thought to myself, why not give it another dose of music at levels louder than normal? I had done this maybe six or seven times before, during its first 150 hours: I had set the CDP on auto-repeat, put the headphone on a pillow and had it working out for the night or the entire day. Exercising the drivers and the wooden enclosures has had a clearly noticeable effect, the W100 got smoother, richer, with more extension at both frequency extremes, deeper bass, less strained treble and ever more sensitivity and transparency. Frankly, I didn’t expect too much change this time.

<chuckles insanely>

I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong. I would have thought I was delusional, if it wasn’t for two facts: I am very familiar with the W100’s sound by now, and I have regularly compared it with my Beyers, the 770 and 990 Pros, just to keep track of the changes during break-in. What happened this time? There was at least as much change now as there had been any time before when I pounded the headphone. Even more bass extension, more harmonic richness and body, even less strained dynamics, totally effortless transients, even less listening fatigue, higher sensitivity, more transparency, and a captivating midrange approaching perfection. Everything great about the W100 got even better. Recently, JML jokingly suggested my initial glowing review was understated. It was. And there seems to be no end in sight.

If I read a report like this, frankly, I wouldn’t believe it. But that’s exactly what happened. Don’t ask me to explain why it did. I couldn’t. But I am now convinced she has a soul. She's alive. And I am thinking about giving her a name. Hey, some people talk to their plants, why shouldn’t I talk to my headphone, right? What’s so wrong with that?
smily_headphones1.gif


<laughs idiotically>


This has been almost precisely my experience with the W2002s. I'm sure I've thoroughly disgusted many Head-Fiers--including, obviously, some of my fellow AT owners--with my gushing. But what Tomcat says is true. After hundreds of hours, the ATs are still improving.

Unlike some who believe headphones should be burned in at normal levels (if at all), I burn in my phones in at very high volume. So high, in fact, that I can easily hear them forty feet away in a heavily carpeted home. Instead of placing them on a pillow as Tomcat did, I usually placed them under a pillow. They received a total of more than two hundred hours of this treatment and many, many more at normal listening levels.

For me, amplifiers, headphones, speakers, turntables and other such things are just that--things, soulless things. But--and perhaps only musicians will understand this--the W2002s are taking on a persona just like a violin or cello.

With a fine instrument one feels almost a sense of gratitude when picking it up. It is an enabler, something that makes the music possible, that gives life to joy, and it is treasured as if it were a living thing.

I know, I know, they're just headphones. But there was once a boy made of nothing more than wood and wire, and think what became of him. Hmmm, on second thought, what did become of him?

As soon as the tea ceremony ends, I plan to listen to Matsushima Ondo and watch the carp weave their ancient tapestry among the lotus blossoms. God, ain't that pathetic? Oh well, as Sam said, "Everybody's got to believe in something and I believe I'll have another drink."
tongue.gif
 
Mar 19, 2002 at 4:53 AM Post #7 of 21

The Quality Guru

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Can the W100 or any of the good Audio Technica's be bought in the U.S.? Or is it far too difficult for me to do that?
 
Mar 19, 2002 at 5:26 AM Post #8 of 21

dhwilkin

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They are not sold in the US.
 
Mar 19, 2002 at 8:33 AM Post #9 of 21

Mookie

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Just got my W100 last week.

My first ever headphone. Been listening .. it sounds good .. but I think the bass is not as *strong* .. compared to listening to my speakers. But I could hear a lot of new things from my old music now .. hehe ..
 
Mar 19, 2002 at 12:56 PM Post #10 of 21

Tomcat

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Quote:

My soldering iron is alive . . .


RMSzero,
I thought obscenity wasn't allowed at Head-Fi.
wink.gif



Quote:

so that when I'm 94 years old I can really enjoy my W100's after they are fully broken in


88Sound,
I thought you were really enjoying your W100???
tongue.gif



Quote:

Tomcat, thanks for the original tip on these 'phones.


dave-the-rave,
Let's not forget that the original tip was solomon's, not mine. If it hadn't been for his review, I wouldn't have bought my pair. I am just glad all this "magical" talk in his original review wasn't overstated.
biggrin.gif



Quote:

Anyone other than me trying to find something to clip down that thick silk-covered cable? Sometimes the covering is microphonic, and I also worry about damaging the fabric.


JML,
the W100's "headband" spring mechanism can be a little noisy when I move my head too fast, but I never felt that the cable was microphonic. It's a bit unwieldy, but other than that?

I am very curious what you'll report about the effects the less polite forms of break-in have on your pair!
smily_headphones1.gif




Quote:

But--and perhaps only musicians will understand this--the W2002s are taking on a persona just like a violin or cello.


Spad,
The sound-box analogy, yes, I'd say it has a lot of merit. One of the most important reasons that 300 year old violins, instruments by Stradivari or Guarneri, are the most sought after, is that they have been used for three centuries, and that the wood has been flexed rather thoroughly.


Quote:

Can the W100 or any of the good Audio Technica's be bought in the U.S.?


Quality Guru,
you could order the W100 through Vincent Chan in Singapore. He is the Managing Director of Audio Technica's operations in South-East Asia. Many Head-Fiers got their wooden AT headphones from him and he recently said that he still enjoyed helping audiophiles. I had dinner with him last Friday, when he visited the trade show "Musikmesse" in Frankfurt. AT focuses on the pro market and they take a lot of pride in their microphones and Mr. Chan is not normally in the retail business, but he is very kind and helpful. His e-mail address is vin@audio-technica.com.sg It's probably a good idea to mention that Mark Rael (who established the contact) or Thomas Moeller (that's Tomcat's less delusional alter ego) referred you.


Quote:

Just got my W100 last week. My first ever headphone.


Mookie,
That is one outstanding starting point!
biggrin.gif
 
Mar 19, 2002 at 3:22 PM Post #11 of 21

Mookie

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When I got my W100 I heard some rattling in my right ear cup. At first I thought it was loose driver or something .. like when I move my head from side to side there is rattling.

Then I put my hands on the two "stablizers" at the top of the headphone and moved my head around .. no more rattling! Phew!

Seems like the 2 "stablizers" are not too solidly built .. maybe need to oil them or something.
 
Mar 19, 2002 at 3:32 PM Post #12 of 21

88Sound

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Quote:

I thought you were really enjoying your W100???


I am really enjoying them but this is obviously because I don't know any better (they aren't broken in). I won't realize that I wasn't fully enjoying them until after they are broken in which by my calculations will be near my 94th birthday. So fifty years from now you will hear a loud cry of distress: "Damn, that #$%^ Tomcat was right %$#@%$"!

Fortunately for me ignorance is bliss.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Mar 20, 2002 at 5:18 PM Post #14 of 21

Tomcat

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RMS,
this is outrageous! Once I get my 70-foot yacht, I'll call her however I please. Hmm, do sailboats improve with age?
smily_headphones1.gif


88Sound,
okay, let's exchange our sonic impressions fifty years from now. Just be warned, at 89, I'll be a much more critical listener than you'll be at 94! Unless you improve with usage, of course.
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