Do you believe in Burn-In?
Dec 7, 2009 at 7:15 PM Post #166 of 221

Kevin.T

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Quote:

Originally Posted by spinali /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Re: all this talk about "psychological burn-in":

I've not read any accounts of headphone users who have experienced break-in with used phones. Why is it that people seem to experience break-in only after buying new phones? Might break-in be more than simply psychological?



For the record, I believe in burn-in and go through the process with my gear (when it is new of course). But I also believe in the human psychology, which can be very powerful over our perception of senses. Please, allow me to play the devil's advocate before a "nonbeliever" comes in:
wink.gif


A reason why people don't experience burn-in with used phones would be that they don't EXPECT it. They already have a preconceived idea that the phone is already burnt-in, so the mind accepts that the sound will not change (which would explain why a lot of phones are often sold soon after being received by people claiming they just don't like the sound sig). However, with a new phone, if someone doesn't like the sound out of the box, they resort to the idea that it needs burn-in, so the mind expects a sound change. Psychology being what it is, this expectation is so strong that it makes people hear a change in sound after the burn-in process, even when there's not.
 
Dec 7, 2009 at 9:41 PM Post #167 of 221

spinali

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The "devil's advocate" line of thought obviously cannot be proven or disproven, so it's difficult to rebut.

However, it's interesting that many (but certainly not all) users of new headphones claim to have experienced some sort of break-in. What's equally revealing is that many people who were previously unaware of break-in also claim to have experienced that sound change. In other words, expectation wasn't likely an issue in many cases.

A number of naive users were turned on the whole "break-in" issue because they couldn't find a reason for the subtle changes in their headphone's sound. There was no explanation - until the notion of break-in gained credibility.
 
Dec 7, 2009 at 10:47 PM Post #168 of 221

Kevin.T

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Quote:

Originally Posted by spinali /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The "devil's advocate" line of thought obviously cannot be proven or disproven, so it's difficult to rebut.

However, it's interesting that many (but certainly not all) users of new headphones claim to have experienced some sort of break-in. What's equally revealing is that many people who were previously unaware of break-in also claim to have experienced that sound change. In other words, expectation wasn't likely an issue in many cases.

A number of naive users were turned on the whole "break-in" issue because they couldn't find a reason for the subtle changes in their headphone's sound. There was no explanation - until the notion of break-in gained credibility.



Makes a lot of sense. This is why I'm a believer.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Dec 8, 2009 at 1:24 AM Post #169 of 221

pimfram

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I believe in it. I purchased a pair of SR225is a week ago and the sound has definitely improved with 10+ hours of music and 20+ hours of white/pink noise I've put through them. Not saying they were junk out of the box, but they seem worth the $200 now, at least.
 
Dec 8, 2009 at 6:53 AM Post #170 of 221

pp312

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DanielCox /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Most of us don't buy **** gear on purpose.



Did someone suggest that they did?
 
Dec 8, 2009 at 8:09 AM Post #171 of 221

donovansmith

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I don't know about dramatic changes but I do believe in burn-in. The sound does change at least a tiny bit with use because the drivers change with use. At least for dynamic drivers.
 
Dec 9, 2009 at 9:46 PM Post #172 of 221

Yaka

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i purchased the grado sr80s may last year i was told by the shop owner to give them time to burn in then i'll really be enjoying the sound, didn't believe what he said. but to cut a long story short i did notice better sound over time, and the mrs who used em only 3 times has herself remarked how much better the sound is.
 
Aug 27, 2011 at 1:20 PM Post #173 of 221

aaDee

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Yess guys...BURN-IN does exist..at least it did for me, whether it was a cheap street buy or some very good earphones and headphones...
And its certainly not a psychological thing...it may be for someone who doesn't want to accept the fact..if he is a true Audiophile he will definitely notice the difference..
Over the period of time the sound certainly changes.
Though I never used high-end phones but I can definitely say that I do understand the sound. I brought Soundmagic PL30 2 years back coz I heard very good reviews of it, but out of box the sound was muddy not clear at all. Then I used Pinknoise for almost 50 hours...n WOW the change was massive...SUPERCLEAR is the word...same thing happened with my Sennheiser eh150 it was only treble n bass in the initial stage n later on the sound changed n became more stable.
Again I am using MEELEC M6P.. I didnt like the music in first go but it is improving wid constant burning in...
So guys if you want some better sound please do use some better burning in techniques..
 
Aug 27, 2011 at 1:35 PM Post #174 of 221

Curly21029

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aaDee... you are quite the necromancer.  Not only did you resurrect an account that was established over a year ago to finally make a first post, but you also brought a thread back to life that has been inactive for nearly two years.  I'm impressed. :)
 
Anywho, yes.  Burn-in of dynamic drivers definitely exists to my ears.  I've heard several headphones "transform" by varying degrees.  To contribute this to "brain burn-in" would be incorrect as I'll often pop a headphone on for a few minutes after receiving them and then exclusively run them in for X amount of hours before listening to them again.  Some changes are more pronounced than others, but the benefits are undeniable IMO.
 
In addition, I also believe in cable burn-in.  I have definitely heard interconnects become more open and transparent as they accrue hours with all other variables equal.  I cannot, however, say that I've noticed any perceivable burn-in effects in an amp or DAC.  All the amps I've owned have been obtained second-hand, so I wouldn't be a reliable source for this information.  Two of the DACs I've owned were purchased new (the Duet and Duet 2) and have noticed absolutely zero change in either over time.  Only different settings yielded different results.
 
Aug 27, 2011 at 2:12 PM Post #175 of 221

Costia

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cable burn in O_o
Only way i can see this happening is with a bad cable being twisted and generally tortured which will increase its resistance as the threads inside snap one by one
Another thing is oxidation (rust,but not necessarily visible) on the contacts. which will definitely change the sound.
 
Aug 27, 2011 at 2:33 PM Post #176 of 221

Curly21029

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Quote:
cable burn in O_o
Only way i can see this happening is with a bad cable being twisted and generally tortured which will increase its resistance as the threads inside snap one by one
Another thing is oxidation (rust,but not necessarily visible) on the contacts. which will definitely change the sound.


Take my findings as you will, but I've noticed differences in the performance of three separate cables now. (all Audioquest)  First the Sidewinder that calmed the treble energy a touch, then with the Diamondback that seemed to open up a bit in the mids (still a bit further back than some others, but still quite natural and pleasant) and gain some expansiveness, and then with the Columbia which started as somewhat small and flat (but still nicely detailed) and then quickly lowered its noise floor making it sound extremely dynamic and expanding the size of the soundstage.  These weren't night and day differences, mind you, but ones that I've personally perceived and the Columbia was definitely more pronounced than the others.  I couldn't imagine making another change to my interconnect... it's perfect! :)
 
EDIT: Off-topic, but I'm loving the avatar, BTW.
 
Aug 27, 2011 at 5:49 PM Post #177 of 221

Kevin Brown

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Burn in definitely exists,  and I was initially the biggest skeptic out there.
 
smile_phones.gif

 
Grado HF2: out of the box, the bass is boomy and bloated.  If you look around, I actually started a thread something like: anyone out there *not* like their HF2's?  But after burning them in, the bass majorly settled down, and now the HF2 is one of my favorite headphones. 
 
AKG K240 Mk II.  Out of the box, boomy bass, and no treble such that they had a muffled sound.  I posted those very comments here, and a few people mentioned, be patient young padawan, they get better with burn in.  And they did.  The bass tightened up, and the treble improved as well.
 
I have a bunch of other examples, and where I've compared with other listeners too.
 
The one thing I don't understand are those who insist that burn in doesn't happen with headphones.  Just because they have never heard an example, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist !!
 
I do believe that our brains get psychologically adjusted to a new set of headphones too.  So burn in goes both ways.  But in the cases that I've heard, I listen to enough headphones that I always have a solid benchmark of sound quality, so if any one particular headphones changes character due to burn in, and others I'm listening to do not, well, that's proof to me that there are physical changes occurring in a headphone such that the sound signature does indeed change over an initial time period.
 
I also have experience burn in with tube amplifiers.  But cables, solid state amps, and DACs?  I haven't heard any burn in associated with any of those.
 
 
Aug 27, 2011 at 5:58 PM Post #178 of 221

MegaMushroom

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I can get headphone burn in, and believe in it.  But cable burn in?  How would that work?  Hard to break/burn something in if there are no moving parts.  Using that logic anything using metal should change over time... cars, phones, computers, calculators. Can't say I've noticed my computer getting faster over time due to circuit burn in. 
 
Aug 27, 2011 at 6:42 PM Post #179 of 221

Uncle Erik

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Cable burn-in is a myth invented to keep people from sending cables back. Tell the consumer that burn-in is taking place and hope they change their mind about a refund.

Really, how does a cable change the frequency response without actually changing the frequency response? Even if you invoke the Great Mysteries of the Universe, then the "differences" would show up in unsighted listening tests. But they don't. There is a well-researched and understood aspect of human psychology that completely explains it, but we'll have none of that in audio fantasyland.

Tubes do change, but they're wear items. Like tires. Amplifiers change, too, but that's also because they're full of wear items. Resistors and capacitors change value with age. I'm not inclined to think of that as a good thing. For me, it means that those parts will eventually have to be replaced when they get +/- 10% of what the circuit calls for. When something changes from what it should be, that is not a process of improvement.

Headphones change a little as the pads wear and conform to your head. That changes the position of the drivers, so you do hear a difference. Also, your brain has a very interesting processing unit. It fills in gaps and equalizes what you hear.

The brain does that with all senses. Google how to find your blind spot. There's a blind spot where the optic nerve connects to your retina. But your brain fills in the gap. It's simple to find it, too, and you'll understand that what you think you see isn't exactly what you see. I do this with my glasses. They have a black plastic brow that was really noticeable at first. But now my brain erases them. It also erases the screws in my rimless glasses.

The same thing happens with audio. You fill in information, which is why switching headphones sounds weird at first and then settles in after a few minutes. You bring your biases and expectations to the table every time you listen. From what I've read, this works on a deep level, often unconsciously.

What bothers me is that this stuff all misses the point of listening to and enjoying music. Instead of fussing about with various magic items, that money and time could have been put into buying and listening to new music. Want a mind-bending subjective experience? You can get that with music. There's more music than anyone can listen to in a lifetime, so skip the nonsense about a "recessed sounding" cable and pick up a CD of some obscure world music or something. That will give you something very interesting to consider and will lead you to other music. Totally subjective and totally worth it.

If you want to work with gear, then build something. Learn how to measure the parts that go in, make sure it operates correctly, and measure what comes out. Much better than getting taken for a lot of money buying audiophile ritual items.
 
Aug 27, 2011 at 7:24 PM Post #180 of 221

Curly21029

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Believe whatever you want concerning the burn-in of headphones, cables, or otherwise. I have no dog in this fight and merely stated my personal findings. What I outright do not want, however,are my comments serving as a catalyst for argument or invoke anyone's e-venom. I know what my ears have heard and, trust me, I never go looking for these types of things. In addition, there is so much snake oil involved in the cable world that I take anything that I've read that was written by "professionals" or manufacturers with a huge grain of salt. Again, I'll reiterate that the changes perceived in these three cables over 100+ hours wasn't as drastic as I've heard with headphones, but the Columbia changed noticeably enough where I'm certain that the once debatable changes in the prior two cables was real. If someone else has not experienced the same then I have no inclination to convince them otherwise. I also don't know the science behind it but I would love to read some independent research on the subject.

In regards to retailers peddling a myth, that isn't the case with me. I only went Audioquest because I was able to get them at a good price and was never pressured to go higher up the chain nor discouraged from returning. I felt no buyer's remorse with any and felt that each was worth their street price. (no cable is worth MSRP) I only moved up out of curiosity (thanks for opening my wallet again, Head-Fi!) and had the safety net of paying a lower price for them new than they were being sold for second-hand. (direct from AQ, FYI... and no, I can't get anyone else a deal as much as I'd like to)
 

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