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Can the burn-in skeptics leave us alone?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by kingpage, Nov 12, 2011.
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  1. kingpage
    Edit: This thread was created to address the issue of irrelevance of disbelief in specific burn-in discussions that are found in the headphone forum. Somehow, it has been moved to the science forum (most likely because someone requested it) Thus, any confusion as to why I said what I said may arise as a result.
    I'm going to make this as short as I can.
    First of all, there have been a number of experiments in the last few years, both subjective and objective, to show that burn-in is a real phenomenon (at least for dynamic headphones with voice coils). You can easily and readily search for them and read them in your own time. At the moment, I can at least think of two, but I think there are others. One measured the tangible differences in frequency response between the two pairs (from a short while ago at head-fi), and another was done earlier this year by a couple of guys at innerfidelity in a double blinded test.
    Secondly, although no definitive or 100% conclusive proof has been provided as for now (the reason why you are still skeptical, unless you didn't read the literature aka didn't do enough research), the consensus is that there is statistically significant evidence for burn-in. If you had known how many natural and social sciences use statistics as proof almost for everything, I'm sure you wouldn't have been as skeptical as you are. Not only mathematical and logical proofs can prove something, statistical proof is also scientifically based and is the reason for our current knowledge.
    Thirdly, think about how we can never know for sure the sun will rise tomorrow morning, but we believe it nonetheless because it is statistically likely (with a p value asymptotically close to 1) that it will rise based on evidence in the observable period of time. There are many other examples that we take for granted when it comes to belief, like how the banks will give you back your deposits with whatever interest you're entitled to.
    Last, definitive proof is not possible for this kind of test unless we can replicate an identical headphone at the quantum level or atomic level, which is quite some time away in our lifetime. Most, if not all, scientists agree that when the experiments are done right and the protocols are followed (like having good control subjects) the conclusion will be admissible. By the same token or in your (you, as in those who need impeccable evidence) own reasoning, you shouldn't believe 99% (100%?) of what you have been taught in high school and university about the world, because none of that knowledge was proven with "perfect" controls and under "perfect" conditions. Do you think you know almost nothing due to the lack of perfect evidence?
    Still not convinced? That's okay. Just don't go to every single thread that's related burn-in and advocate you disbelief, unless the thread is asking specifically for your opinion on whether burn-in exists or not; or whether burn-in is psychological or not (almost always not the case here). That's like non-audiophiles (no, I don't mean average consumers, because I assume people who come here WANT to know more about audio-related things) come to head-fi uninvited and go to every single thread about audio gear and advocate their disbelief. How would you feel if they did that to us here?
    Hopefully, this won't be seen as trolling as I (and maybe other like-minded people) just want to have some peace when discussing topics like burn-in. I personally don’t believe uber expensive cables or uber expensive amps, but I don’t go around to all the threads about them and tell them how it won’t matter. (So yes, I practice what I preach) Surely, you can understand my sentiments, given the elaborate analogies and so on. If I'm the minority here, that's cool. But that won't change the fact that I'm still annoyed about it. While majority does rule but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they're right anyway (the prominent example of the Nazi regime in Germany comes to mind).
     I have nothing against your personal belief (as long as it is not about killing or harming another person); it does not concern me whehter you believe in burn-in or not.
    Update: Here are some links to subjective and objective tests or experiments for those of you who don't like digging. Don't hesitate to contribute to this list. A caveat - this is not meant to be exhaustive, but just some reading materials or resources for skeptics and non-skeptics alike.
  2. liamstrain
    Agreed. Though I count myself a skeptic - there is a "sound science" subforum where the evidences for and against can and should be discussed. 
    With that said - I do reserve the right to suggest that something is still in question, when someone is advocating (expensive) nonsense to someone who clearly hasn't been exposed to all the dangers of snake oil salesmen in the community yet. 
  3. kingpage
    This is all about uninvited advocation in this sub-forum I have seen, that's irrelevant to the OPs' questions. In the several threads that I have come across, they are just asking for advice as to how to burn-in.
  4. swbf2cheater
    There are more changes that are made over the course of a burn in period that have nothing to do with frequency response.  I am unaware of any machine that will accurately test sound stage size, airiness, bass type ( thick, thin, airy, muddy ect ) and overall coloration changes.
    I don't think burn in changes sound as drastically as some users claim, but I believe there are subtle differences made over time
  5. RexAeterna
    we don't know when the sun will rise exactly,cause time is just an illusion. there is no real measurement in time.

    but i don't know why this thread was made. i mean most people post their opinions even if it's consider trolling. shouldn't let it get to you much and people need to loosen up. i know it gets very annoying but just have to learn to ignore it most likely cause this is the interwebz so trolling or voicing opinions will never cease cause everyone has access nowadays to the net. you can continue to believe in burn-in if you want. it doesn't bother me,while in the meantime i believe my hand is a dolphin and friendship is magic :D
  6. soundstige


    Stopped reading there. And I don't care whether burn in exists or not, either outcome would have the same effect on me. But I don't appreciate the misconstruction of the scientific method to try to make a point.
    Oh but I did keep reading to see this gem:

    In short, why so butthurt.
  7. swbf2cheater
    ROFL I've never heard of that law, thats great! I lol'ed
  8. Blue Boat

    Terrible counter-example (or w.e). 
    Sunrise to sunset is a cycle.
    You can divide the cycle into many different parts.
    Like a cake.


    Good one  [​IMG]
  9. kingpage


    This thread is not about arguments whether burn-in naturally or sythetically would make any difference. I'd like to think that controlled burn-in with different genres and pink noise were more beneficial than if one were to use the headphone for a limited variety of genres. At the very least it would bring about more evenness in the burn-in if there's such a thing as optimal burn-in.

    Often times, the subtle differences can make a lot of difference in audio (and analogously in video). In video, think how many dead pixels it would take to annoy consumers; I believe one is enough (out of millions of pixels) for many, if not most. In audio, just a little can make the high end go from sparkly to a bit too bright or harsh.

    Time exists, but is relative (unless someone else comes up with a better idea than Einstein). All measurements and units are arbitary (except the contants). Many are defined according to universial contants (like chemical properties and speed of light). Time is no different. By the same token, wouldn't weight and height are illusions too? I am not a big fan of the idea that everything is in this world is an illusion, as you can see.
    I'm sorry? It wasn't my intent to discuss the scientific method here, obviously, otherwise why would I just briefly touched on the science bits (experiments). I just wanted to summarise for the points I wanted to make. When I said things like "perfect" or "99%", you should really read them as hyperboles or a kind of figure of speech. It is not unusual for the burn-in skeptics to argue that the headphones were not identical in the experiments due to differences inherent in the products. These people will never be satisfied until replication machines are invented.

    Interesting. Didn't know that, though I'm aware that Nazism is a popular choice for analogies. But aren't you commiting the genetic fallacy if your intention was to make my point less valid? Besides, I was merely saying even if the majority of people were happy with "skeptical spamming" (loose phrase), that's wouldn't (necessarily) make that behaviour right.
  10. Blue Boat
    Argue your case in sound science pls.

    And tell me how that goes for you.
  11. Uncle Erik Contributor
    Are you're asking us to accept burn-in as fact and shut down debate?

    Why don't you contact a manufacturer and see if one will give you a definitive yes or no as to whether their products change over time?

    After all, manufacturers spend - literally - years developing products. They are run for tens of thousands of hours before hitting market. Possibly longer. Hundreds, if not thousands, of tests are made of dozens of drivers with fine equipment. The products undergo a rigorous QC to make sure they are consistent and will be manufactured consistently at scale.

    So if you're looking to prove yourself right, see if you can get a manufacturer to admit that burn-in exists. If one admits burn-in is real, follow up by asking why burn-in is not done at the factory. Further, ask them how they would handle a warranty claim where someone was happy with the product for the first 300 hours, then did not like the way they changed.

    That would settle it. Precision tests from the manufacturer would unquestionably demonstrate burn-in.

    Also, don't bring Godwin's Law into this. That's not only a ridiculous comparison, it's a vicious insult to the people who lived (and died) with that horror. Askin questions ain't persecution. Tough questions are the path to truth. Tough answers, especially when you're emotionally involved in an argument, are the path to wisdom. Give some thought to the very real possibility that you are wrong.

    And I really think you should talk to some manufacturers. See if they'll back you up. And if you find some tough answers, accept them.
    blupblup likes this.
  12. RexAeterna

    you forgot pie. maybe a piece of paper as well or rubber ducky,or hugs or even rainbows....omg,omg,omg.....with imagination it's endless possibilities.

  13. RexAeterna

    you can't see time. time only exist cause ''we'' made it exist. we made it up. time itself is and always will be an illusion. it's only a measurement cause we made it that way. in reality time does not exist. we also made up height and weight as well. same goes for everything else we see and touch. we made it real and made it happen. not saying everything is an illusion. just time is but we made a measurement of time.
  14. swbf2cheater

    This isn't at all fair, none of them will admit to their products changing over time.  You bought X set with a certain sound and a few hours or days later you can get a different sound.  Voids warranty issues and is technically false advertising, lots of legal reasons nobody is really willing to admit it.  Grado does include a nice letter saying enjoy the natural burn in though.
  15. kingpage
    I was making the case with the reasons why I (and others) are convinced; and while the rest are not convinced. The title is the central thesis in spite of my long-winded intro.
    I personally don't see the merit of going into as many threads as possible that I can find where people want advice for a $500 cable or $2000 amp, and tell them that "it makes hardly any or no difference to the experience, or that they should just plug their headphone into an onboard sound card and be happy." If every one of us did that, well... Let's just say it wouldn't be pretty.
    The point is, it doesn't help the person who wants specific info. If the person'd wanted to know if burn-in were real or not, they would have plainly said so. No? I could be wrong here. I'm still very much interested to know if people here would let non-audiophile to come in to "pollute" the threads where people just wanted some geniune advice on what's the best headphone or what's the best sound quality, by saying "Oh my $2 radioshack ones are much better". That kind of behaviour would likely be despised.
    I think someone could create a place where burn-in skeptics hang out (Of course, I'm just kidding), so they don't feel the need to make contribution mostly irrelevant to the question(s) or interest. (like I said, if OP wanted to know if burn-in is real or not, that's is perfectly conventional behaviour to reply with your anti-break-in comments) But maybe then, we'll be left along. [​IMG]
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