Burn-in skepticism....
Jan 1, 2010 at 5:36 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 70

johnzz4

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After reading what many people had to say about the various phones on head-fi, and thinking the DT-770 pro 80's were excellent (ignorance is bliss), I decided to see what Beyer's higher end had to offer and gave the DT-990 premium 250's a try.

I was initially amazed at the difference, and somtimes putting the 770's back on and wondering if they were defective... After quite a bit of listening, there was one thing that was concerning me about the 990's; their highs were VERY strong, with sibilant recordings being painful at times. After a while, I started wondering if these were the phones for me and started reading up on some higher end models from various manufacturers.

I questioned my source (Presonus HP4 running off a M-Audio Audiophine 192 card) and thought that maybe I needed something a bit higher end... or at least something that has a better synergy wih the 990's.

I was also curious about the burn-in which I heard so much about, but figured that if some people considered it a myth, then it must have a minimal (if any) audible effect. Regardless, as I did my research on some other phones, I was burning in my phones with pink noise at night. I hadn't really listened to them between about 10 hours of burn in and now after about 60-70 hours of burn in. I put them on and listned to some of the recordings that were particularly offending, and I was shocked to hear the highs tone down quite a bit. They went from 'harsh' and 'painful' to 'strong' and 'detailed'.

For those who are skeptics, I can say with certainty (at least for the 990's) that the effect was substantial and obvious.

I shall be keeping them, but may spring for the T1's and eventually the A1 amp to complement them after hearing more from those lucky enough to have a pair.

Happy New Year!!

John
 
Jan 1, 2010 at 8:59 PM Post #2 of 70

spinali

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After only ten hours of white noise, you noticed significant sound changes. It would be interesting if additional hours will result in even more change. It might be useful to keep monitoring the progress of your new phones.
 
Jan 1, 2010 at 9:37 PM Post #3 of 70

iancraig10

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I've had an ear opener with the K701. Hated them when I got them. Now, my favourite headphone. It took a long time though although the sibilance issue that you mentioned with your Beyers became tamed slightly quicker than the other issues that I had with them.

I'm about 400 -500 hours into the K701 and apparently they'll be burned in around 800!!!

I know that there were changes because after first listening, I didn't wear them again for quite some time. It was then that I felt they were no-where near as bad as I first thought.

However, there are people who feel that 'burn in' is essential and others who don't think it exists.

Maybe it depends on what your headphones are... I don't know.

What always makes me laugh is that 'burn in' is always positive. However, just to make the non-believers chuckle, my PX100 and my Portapros seemed to get worse. Both became too bassy and I got rid of them. I wasn't sure whether they had burned in or worn out. I had both for three years.

So burn in can turn out to be negative too imo!!!!
tongue.gif


BTW - The Presonus is a nice amp. I've used one for a long time along with X-Cans, Earmax and Solo. I keep the Presonus fired up because it's got quite a lot of power and it has a nice 'mellow' sound. That's one of the few that I have never really wanted to get rid of. It's got an output impedance of 50 ohms as well which is wuite close to the impedance of the K701 and the two together sound lovely and warm.

Ian
 
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:28 PM Post #4 of 70

Uncle Erik

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Does anyone wonder what stops "burn-in" (assuming it exists)?

I mean that if ten hours makes a remarkable change, why doesn't it continue to evolve every additional ten hours? When does burn-in stop? And what causes burn-in to stop?

Has burn-in ever been done incorrectly? Has anyone ever burned-in in such way that the headphones sound worse or are maybe damaged?

If burn-in was a genuine phenomenon, these things would be issues. But they aren't. All you hear about are the rituals, ceremonies and folklore.
 
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:41 PM Post #6 of 70

nikongod

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Does anyone wonder what stops "burn-in" (assuming it exists)?

I mean that if ten hours makes a remarkable change, why doesn't it continue to evolve every additional ten hours? When does burn-in stop? And what causes burn-in to stop?



You should look into the concept of "work hardening" or softening materials.
Eventually in both of those techniques the material being worked stabilizes (or falls apart, but thats not the case here).
Quote:

Has burn-in ever been done incorrectly? Has anyone ever burned-in in such way that the headphones sound worse or are maybe damaged?


I destroyed a headphone during buirnin. I take a very aggressive approach, and had removed protection circuitry. Im actually happy I did it, the Ultrasone HFI-780 sound better with non-ultrasone drivers.
Quote:

If burn-in was a genuine phenomenon, these things would be issues. But they aren't. All you hear about are the rituals, ceremonies and folklore.


Research the differences in measured response in speakers.
TS parameters, frequency response, and the like have been documented as changing over time in numerous drivers.

Please forgive the OP for having FAITH that burnin exists where his faith is supported by reasonable data. Can you justify your FAITH that burnin does not exist? all it takes is one example of a speaker changing properties as its played for longer and longer, eventually stabilizing....

Unfortunately very few people have the tools to measure headphones scientifically. The few that do and have get called on their measurement techniques by people who have nothing but faith that they are wrong.
 
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:44 PM Post #7 of 70

nullstring

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errr...

I kinda feel it's similar to breaking in a couch.
You definitely can't tell me couches don't need to be broken in to feel their best...

After so many hours, the couch is broken in, and no longer needs to broken in.

"What stops the couch from being broken in?
Has breaking in a couch every been done incorrectly? Has anyone ever broken in a couch so that it feels worse or maybe damaged?"

the answers are:
* it never stops being broken in, but the initial breaking in is much more substantial then anything else.
* And course, you can break in a couch wrongly. You should use it normally in order to break it in. Getting an elephant to sit on your couch is probably going to cause damage.
 
Jan 1, 2010 at 11:12 PM Post #11 of 70

AmanGeorge

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It doesn't necessarily take a bunch of measurement equipment - all it takes is an A/B test between a burned in vs. brand new version of the same pair of headphones (as long as you assume that production variation isn't great enough to cause dramatic differences). I did it with a burned in K701 vs a brand new K702, and they sounded like totally different headphones. I recommend that burn-in "skeptics" try this sometime.
 
Jan 1, 2010 at 11:48 PM Post #12 of 70

aimlink

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Quote:

Originally Posted by AmanGeorge /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It doesn't necessarily take a bunch of measurement equipment - all it takes is an A/B test between a burned in vs. brand new version of the same pair of headphones (as long as you assume that production variation isn't great enough to cause dramatic differences). I did it with a burned in K701 vs a brand new K702, and they sounded like totally different headphones. I recommend that burn-in "skeptics" try this sometime.


I used to be a skeptic, but no longer am. Some phone respond to burn in more than others. I think this is the main reason for so much of the fuss and controversy.
 
Jan 2, 2010 at 12:06 AM Post #13 of 70

pp312

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It's interesting that on Ebay all the buyers are very curious about how long the phone has been used. A phone a few months younger than another will get a better price. Personally I look for phones with plenty of use (assuming top condition), but of course sellers don't like to admit their phones may have hundreds of hours on them. Burning in (or "breaking in" more accurately) is a pain and a bore, but it is real.
 
Jan 2, 2010 at 1:35 AM Post #14 of 70

franatium

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Quote:

Originally Posted by AmanGeorge /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It doesn't necessarily take a bunch of measurement equipment - all it takes is an A/B test between a burned in vs. brand new version of the same pair of headphones (as long as you assume that production variation isn't great enough to cause dramatic differences). I did it with a burned in K701 vs a brand new K702, and they sounded like totally different headphones. I recommend that burn-in "skeptics" try this sometime.


I really want to try this sometime since I'm quite sure my 701s lost a lot of their harshness after the first hundred hours or so. Though I wouldn't mind swapping my 701s for some 702s for the ease of cable changing so perhaps that would give me a chance for such an experiment.
 
Jan 2, 2010 at 1:41 AM Post #15 of 70

aimlink

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pp312 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It's interesting that on Ebay all the buyers are very curious about how long the phone has been used. A phone a few months younger than another will get a better price. Personally I look for phones with plenty of use (assuming top condition), but of course sellers don't like to admit their phones may have hundreds of hours on them. Burning in (or "breaking in" more accurately) is a pain and a bore, but it is real.


If any headphone is being well used and I'm the owner, I'd much prefer if I'm the one who has done the using. I'd much prefer doing my own burning in and a well used headphone may be worn in other ways, damaged or sweaty/smelly.
smily_headphones1.gif


So, it's normal and expected that though burnin is something desirable, when purchasing, the newer the better!!!
 

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