Burn-in for CIEM, myth or magic?
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Tanelorn

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Hey mates,

through all types of headphone reviews, one comes around the topic of "burning in" the headphones.

I thought this was not a big thing for IEMs but.. Now I read a few times about it, also.

What are your opinions, does it really make a differece and magically (sure it is physics) improves clarity in mids and treble? Deepens the bass?

Or is it just myth.. What do you say? Any experiences?
 
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Seyley

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I do believe that any 'joined up' mechanical parts require a burn in period. The issue for me is whether the 'burn in' has already taken place at the manufacturers or if there is any remaining burn in time left over for the customer to carry out. No (okay not many) manufacturers are going to state that fact on their packaging. Why offer the client the opportunity to perceive that there is an error in the product when patience needs to be added to the customer's post purchase product care.
 
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Tanelorn

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Good point!

So you experience better sound after a burn in?
I at least asked bose iftheir qc35 had something like a burn in or if it is needed.

They said this is not changing sound quality. But They cold not give ne a detailed answer to that..
 
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Seyley

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Better sound? Mmmm... That to be honest is subjective. You might like the sound right out of the box and hate the sound after 2 years of 'wear and tear'.
I think the starting point is the sound right out of the box to be honest. There would have been some 'burn in' as part any testing by the manufacturer. Or there should be if they are worth their salt.
 
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datranz

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Initially I was hesitant about burn in, but after purchasing a dozen or so iems, burn in does indeed improve sound after a certain number of hours, and varies on different iems. For example, my aaw saw the biggest change in treble and bass. While my periodic be need very little burn in.
 
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Zhanming057

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Definitely not a myth. When I first received my ACS T1's I found the bass to be so overwhelming that I thought they were broken! After 100 hours all of that basically went away and I found those to be very enjoyable and musical.

Other IEMs didn't experience such a drastic change, though.
 
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TheoS53

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The funny thing is, countless and countless people are die hard believers of burn in....yet no one has proven it. It's not a difficult thing to do really. Measure their performance before burn in, and then again afterwards, then compare. Test rigs can pick up changes to a far greater degree of accuracy than what we could ever hope to achieve...so if we can truly hear a difference, then it absolutely will show up on measurements.

On the flip side, someone on this forum (well-known reviewer) has done exactly that, and found zero difference before and after.

Also note that whenever people talk about burn in, it's always described as an improvement to the sound, never the opposite ...strange, huh?

The fact is, our brains adapt. I experienced this a few years ago when I installed a new exhaust system on my car. At first it sounded so beastly and loud, but after a while it seemed to have calmed down.
After doing some research on the interwebs I came across numerous forum posts that described this as the exhaust system "settling".
I was younger then and pretty much believed anything I found on car forums, lol.
Now, where I live any car that's older than 2 years has to go through a road-worthiness test every year. They're strict here on mods, so basically the new exhuast system would've been a no-no. For that reason the exhuast was made in such a way that I could easily just loosen 2 bolts at a certain point, replace a gasket, and fit the other exhaust system. So of course when the time came to put the car through the test, I did so.
WOW...when was the car ever THAT quiet? It sounded like a Tesla! Here was my first realisation into how our brains adapt and "normalise" certain things.
I can't quite remember why, but I left the stock system on for a while, and again my brain adapted to it. So, when I finally put the aftermarket one on again, BAM it sounded insanely beastly again....for about 2 weeks, then I got used to it again.
 
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goodvibes

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I know it exists but won't fight over it. To each his own. Here's my view. As for brain burn in, if you're using multiple different earphones etc, your brain won't get used to one and many in that situation experience burn in. You are sensitive to much more subtle changes in frequency and damping factor that you are aware and a sine sweep does not reflect dynamic interpretation. The idea that you can measure or even know how to measure everything related to something as complex as music is, IMHO, flawed. When audible measurement thresholds were tested back in the 50s, it was with single tone steady state for amplitude for instance (1db) when you can hear a fraction of that change when adjusting a band in music. Regardless, whether you believe in burn in, brain burn in or none of it, everyone should use something for a 100 hours or so to discover its good or bad points and capabilities so it's fundamentally unimportant anyway. There is no harm in putting hours on something before evaluation or test.

I personally have heard a couple things get worse with burn in, sounding underdamped and or sound ringier after time. Usually, not good things revealing more of their true character. Vast majority go the other way which makes sense if you consider that when the original design was voiced, they'd been playing a while.

This should be moved to sound science or closed unless we want to keep this strictly opinion based without demands of proofs. I'm out.
 
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I know it exists but won't fight over it. To each his own. Here's my view. As for brain burn in, if you're using multiple different earphones etc, your brain won't get used to one and many in that situation experience burn in. You are sensitive to much more subtle changes in frequency and damping factor that you are aware and a sine sweep does not reflect dynamic interpretation. The idea that you can measure or even know how to measure everything related to something as complex as music is, IMHO, flawed. When audible measurement thresholds were tested back in the 50s, it was with single tone steady state for amplitude for instance (1db) when you can hear a fraction of that change when adjusting a band in music. Regardless, whether you believe in burn in, brain burn in or none of it, everyone should use something for a 100 hours or so to discover its good or bad points and capabilities so it's fundamentally unimportant anyway. There is no harm in putting hours on something before evaluation or test.

I personally have heard a couple things get worse with burn in, sounding underdamped and or sound ringier after time. Usually, not good things revealing more of their true character. Vast majority go the other way which makes sense if you consider that when the original design was voiced, they'd been playing a while.

This should be moved to sound science or closed unless we want to keep this strictly opinion based without demands of proofs. I'm out.
No offence buddy, but music is not some magical or mythical things. It's simple maths and physics. Take a look at how many Physicists in the past were accomplished musicians. How is it possible that composers who were deaf could write some of the greatest music ever produced? They understood rhythm...they understood the basics.
Take any track and put it into audacity, you'll see all those data points form a single line. At the core of it all, sound is a bunch of sine waves, and music is simply a sum of a bunch of different sine waves. They interact with one another, amplify each other, and cancel each other out.

Anyways, you're right though, this does need to be moved to the sound science threads
 
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Of course you mean some offense 'buddy' but that's OK.

Because writing and performing are the same thing? Sum of sine waves? Really? Audacity instead of Cubase or Pro tools? :ksc75smile: Enjoy your bliss of absoluteness.

If you've ever heard a FW change the sig of something, you'd understand there's more to this than the simple measurements as those won't change and that ears are the best collater you have at your disposal. No, it does not offer proof but to insist that it doesn't exist unless measured is equally misguided. Lots of accepted 'facts' exist without a proof, like black holes. Tell me the mechanism of gravity. Look, I'm not saying you're wrong as it relates to you but you are clearly not right as it relates to me.
 
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datranz

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I’m sure it is measurable with csd graph because fr graph only tell the summation of all the outputs. Problem is very few have the proper equipment for csd graphs.
 
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Tanelorn

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This is a very interesting topic to me. too controversial to get a clear yes or no feeling.

During my research I found a statement of Shure Engineers regarding Burn-In, whatever we may think about it:

"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... unless something goes wrong."

 
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goodvibes

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To be clear, they measured within tolerance as everything that comes off the line won't measure identically. The idea here is that any change is not within the realm of noticeable as perceived by measurement. Run in, which effectively stop after a few hundred hours, was not the point of doing those measurements. It was a durability/life time test that is being somewhat misrepresented by burn in detractors.

That said, Shure's official stance is dubious of break in but only speaks to mechanical aspects in earphones while acknowledging breakin in in larger transducers of headphones and speakers. Something those that point to Shure's tests will not agree with. Those that believe in electrical path burn in as well or don't think measurements are as encompassing as a listen will still believe that there is some movement.

Shure earphones do not require a break-in period. Some headphone websites recommend "burning in" or "breaking in" new headphones with an audio signal for some length of time before use. There is some truth behind the idea of a break-in period for loudspeakers and even full-size headphones. The part of the loudspeaker being "broken in" is called the surround, which is the part that flexes when the speaker diaphragm moves in and out. In the case of the tiny drivers used in earphones, the diaphragm only moves about 1/1,000th of an inch in either direction when exposed to normal signals. It is doubtful that a break-in period would significantly alter the compliance of the driver. Shure has not measured any difference in performance between earphones that are brand new and earphones that have been used extensively. Because hearing is subjective, however, different users may hear different things when comparing new and used earphones.

Just to keep this interesting, from Final audio's site:

Aging
Aging refers to the phenomenon whereby sound changes with sustained use over a set period of time.
With the driver unit, the extremely thin film that is heated and shaped vibrates to create sound. The reason for this is not clear, but the stress from the adhesive and the stress applied when shaping the film settles down as it is used, and it is thought that perhaps micro-signals move more freely.

With this product, because of the small apertures, an extended length of time is necessary for changes according to aging become hard to identify. Generally, 150 ~ 200 hours of regular use increases delicacy and sound quality follows the intent of the original design.

* Since the reason for sound quality improving through aging has not been clearly established, nothing could be clearly stated about aging until now. We have been checking this phenomenon, and have decided to express our opinions so as to collect as many questions regarding aging from customers as possible.
 
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I’m sure it is measurable with csd graph because fr graph only tell the summation of all the outputs. Problem is very few have the proper equipment for csd graphs.
Hey @datranz - can you contact me about the AAW tour kit?
 
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