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AFAIK BA drivers aren't susceptible to burn in.
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I tried the Cowon P1 a week or so ago and wasn't impressed at all. No better sounding than my Shanling M5. Couple of days later I saw the Plenue M on eBay and placed a speculative bid at a crazy low price and won. Listened for a couple of hours and again wasn't impressed. Then I remembered that everyone raves about the JetEffect so I played around with some of the preconfigured settings. Totally different DAP. Pretty amazing actually.
Athena with a perfect custom fit is a thing of beauty
One can only imagine.
While Zeus is something of a true king-of-them-all IEM with all its glory, Athena remained my most favorited IEM in the Empire. Her sound is simply spell-bounding.
I wanted to see if that made a difference so I had notes from pre-burn in and post 300 hours. At least on my point, there was a slight change, subtle, I may even attribute it to being more and more comfortable with the fit. It does sound a little smoother though.
Absolutely, you can attribute this to brain burn in and adjustment to the fit, but there is also burn in of solder joints and miscellaneous crossover components. True, BA drivers are not as susceptible to burn in like dynamic drivers, but if you examine the whole electric path of the signal from 2pin connector to the driver - you have wires soldered to a connector socket, to crossover components (and those component by itself), and to drivers. Everything has some subtle settle in effect, nothing drastic. I personally try to avoid the brain burn in by doing a short listening out of the box, and then setting it aside to burn in for 4-5 days standalone. Makes for an interesting a/b comparison, though you have to rely on your memory (and notes) since you are not doing it exactly side by side, makes it harder to catch subtle differences. Btw, just like yourself, I found sound to become a touch smoother after the burn in
To be honest with you, I haven't done too much critical listening after the burn in period because of my work with CanJam London and everything post it. But I can totally agree that BA drivers do have a slight burn in process, as evident with my other IEMs based on BA drivers. However, as this is my first ever pair of customs, the comfort level is just superb compared to universals, so it might have helped me enjoy the pair even more than the universal. I too always listen to it at the start briefly just to catch a hang of it, burn it in, then relisten. I'll try to determine the changes, but I will definitely not try to explain what exactly changed it lol cause some of it is just beyond me.
Oh yes. I still believe the Zeus-R is my favourite IEM till date, regardless of price. How it sounds so detailed yet smooth at the same time is just amazing. I begin to suspect that Jack has hypnotic tones playing out of the thing when we are listening to our music so that he can hypnotize us into loving them so much. Jokes.
After everything said and done for the Empire, my only question remained:
"How is Empire ever going to top their own Zeus flagship?"
Not to make this into a crazy debate:
Burn in is real. Just as twister6 explained, there are parts of the IEM (or headphone) that will change as electricity/power is applied to them. There are internal parts in BA drivers that move, this is a fact, so there has to be varying degrees of burn in, even if one can not actually hear a difference.
Not one manufacturer has told me explicitly that burn in is not real when I brought it up with them.
On topic about the Empire Ears lineup, it's great that there are so many choices that can float most any person's boat. The Zeus-Remastered is a thoroughly engaging sound signature, but so is the Cerebus, and any other model one chooses to be their next universal or custom in-ear.
All of this.
I am one of those that strongly believed in burn-in, and any IEM, dynamic, hybrid or BA, will have their sound change ever so subtly over time as they're plugged in with the player.
And while Zeus is the pinnacle of its own line up in all aspects, some would find preference over other models other than the flagship. Like me with the Athena.
Wow, the burn-in faith is strong in this group.....
Healthy dose of science is needed when discussing "burn-in" . Some people hear it, others don't. To my knowledge no one yet has shown evidence from an electrical physics perspective to suppose "burn in" is a viable thing.
Anyway, after a few chest pounding posts on burning I figure the other perspective could be chest pounded for a second
One very reputable manufacturer has explicitly told me it doesn't exist.