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Headphone Burn-in

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by robeats, Jan 8, 2011.
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  1. krismusic Contributor
    Gosh! This listening to music is really tricky isn't it?!
    Yeah, I know. Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.
    Honestly though!!!
  2. Ruben123
    Do you get it? One buys a "state of the art" music player which doesn't sound good but it only does so with a few simple tricks that of course AK don't do themselves. After the trick (or mod) you may not listen to it and let is 4 whole days (100hrs) play and it burns in. But how can you compare it to how it was then? Oh wait...
  3. krismusic Contributor
  4. serman005

    Ha! is right!
  5. jacobssss14

    Well burn in is when your headphones or any other audio device starts to "loosen up" or when the diapraghm reaches max sensitivity. This will allow more bass to be produced.
  6. castleofargh Contributor
    any evidence of this? I mean the added sensitivity, not the added bass.
    as far as I can tell, when I get more bass over time(or almost any other change), it's because I let the pads pressured so the result is a better seal and the driver getting slightly closer to the mic as time passes. I can get this particular "burn in" effect on my several years old headphone. I just need to measure right after I put the headphone in place, and then let the pads get compressed for a day.
    Here's my method of burning in a headphone~
    I take an initial listen when I get a hp in to verify the unit is not defective, verify channel balance and check for any obvious QC issues.
    I load my Onkyo CD player with 6 discs of different genres, this is obviously to expose the driver to as many different frequencies and movements as possible. I then hit shuffle and repeat. I use the headphone out from the Onk because one, it powers any hp I've thrown at it and two I don't have to leave one of my amps on all day and night. I usually let the hp cook over night approx 8 hrs., stop the process in the morning for an hour or so to allow everything to cool down if necessary then back on for the day until I get home from work. I try not to listen at all during this time as I don't want to get any impressions of the hp's overall sound sig. just a quick listen to verify there hasn't been a failure. I usually do this cycle for a minimum of 3 days (16 hrs per day) which equates out to approx. 48 hrs. At this point I get 3 cd's I am extremely familiar with and listen to certain tracks for no more than 60 seconds. I then base what I'm hearing to my "reference" set-up which is a Keces HA-171 SS amp, Maverick Audio DAC using SS outputs with my AKG K612 Pro Reference headphones. I know the K612 is not neutral but the Keces is very neutral IMO and gives me a point of reference. I usually also listen to my DT880's using the same amp & DAC for another ref point. I then begin tip rolling if it's an iem which can take some time. After I feel I have the "best" tip installed it's back to burn-in for another day or two depending on if I'm hearing any changes. I've had hp's like the Superlux HD668B that sounded like glass shattering against a wall in the treble morph into quite balanced and detailed hp's during this process. I've also had iem's change quite a bit as well.
    My main reference system is a straight 2 channel set-up with twin McCormack amps vertically bi-amping Monitor Audio RS6 speakers using Audio Art speaker cable with a Placette RVC doing preamp duties and a NAD C542 as source with Esoteric Audio Cables and Eichmann Bullet plugs as interconnects. I have a dedicated line for this system separate from anything else in the house. 
    I've heard some drastic changes such as the HD668B and LZ Z03A all the way to not much changing at all like the Senn HD600 but I am a firm believer in burn-in. This is all my opinion and if another member doesn't believe or hear any differences that is absolutely fine with me...I really don't base what I hear on someone else's opinions or hearing. I trust my hearing, it took me just under a year to place my speakers and although it was a tedious and at times painful process I feel it was well worth the effort. Burn-in is a much simpler and quicker process and if you hear an improvement burning in a hp then enjoy it...if you hear nothing change well then enjoy what you are hearing!
    I find it a bit odd that members that do not believe in burn-in would frequent a thread called Headphone Burn-in but obviously they do. I wonder if they are here to attempt to change the mind of a member who finds a benefit in it or if they are themselves on the fence. I honestly don't really care either way but I can tell you I have met many fine people here that believe and regularly burn-in every hp they purchase. I also can tell you that I wouldn't go to a thread for a particular hp, any other piece of equipment, cable preference etc. with the sole purpose of trying to sway the opinion of others. If someone likes, say the HD598, which I didn't that's fine with me. If someone enjoys listening from a smartphone that's OK. If your computer is your sole source for all listening and you're happy and think it sounds better than anything you've ever heard I am truly happy for you. If you like a certain cable then use it and enjoy. And if you hear a benefit from burning in your hp's please do! Happy listening people. 
  8. castleofargh Contributor
    a well explained ... I'd say... ritual?  I bet it would "work" just the same if you removed one disc and instead put a chicken leg on the headphone.
    almost all the details you give could be replaced by something else and there is no evidence that it wouldn't yield the exact same result(whatever that is), or why not a better result.
    what is the purpose of using different genres? does it matter in any way? how can we tell? what made you decide that 3 days was right? because 1 didn't feel serious and a full week left you longing to try the headphone? or is there any hint of an actual objective reason related to the headphones that makes you do anything you explained the way you explained it?
    all in all I agree with the second half of your last sentence. that's good advice.
    I would say your second sentence gives good insight into your position so lets interact on this subject about the same as we have in the past. 
  10. Roly1650
    I've yet to hear a sane and sensible reason why you shouldn't just listen to the phones straight out the box. Running music through them without listening seems exactly the same to me as giving your brand new car to the neighbour to break-in, because, hey, the car is so goddam awful to drive when it's new. Seems like a really weird philosophy to me, really weird.
    sonitus mirus and bfreedma like this.
  11. CADCAM
    Dude no one is telling you you can't listen to your hp's right out of the box and what does an internal combustion engine and a speaker driver have to do with each other? Also what the hell were you trying to say with the neighbor thing...please don't answer that I was only being facetious.
  12. gregorio
    Did you mix and master the 3 CD's you are using for evaluation yourself? If not, then you are entirely basing what you hear on someone else's opinion and hearing!!
    This is the deluded mantra of so many audiophiles. Why do you trust a sense which is so easy to fool and which most of the commercial audio content you listen to absolutely relies on fooling your hearing? I've used my trained hearing professionally for well over two decades and what that's taught me is how to fool consumers' hearing and when to watch out for my hearing being fooled but even then, my hearing is still routinely fooled.
    Then you're doing it wrong!! It took me less than a day (for 6 speakers) and I'm virtually 100% certain my speaker placement is substantially better than yours.
    Ah, I can see where this is going and that basic logic, science (inc. Math) is not likely to be of much use! [​IMG]
  13. CADCAM
    You must be a blast at parties and from the response above have way too much time on your hands. 6 speakers WOW! system must be impressive...how's that sound stage? 
    Why stop off at a thread on burn-in at all...just to straighten us all out...mission accomplished captain! 
  14. gregorio
    Would that be a party in 48hrs or 3 days? [​IMG]
    It is impressive, as impressive and with a very similar sound stage as most other decently designed commercial 5.1 facilities.
    Many of those here don't need "straightening out", they've already got a good grasp of the biases and effects which make human hearing so untrustworthy. Others might not know that flawed human hearing perception can lead to all kinds of crazy assertions, beliefs and wasted time and money if they blindly trust it.
  15. CADCAM
    Well I know you'll enjoy that "decently designed commercial 5.1" sound stage. 
    I don't find human hearing untrustworthy and flawed...just fascinating. 
    I'm off to burn-in another pair of iem's after that a few cables!
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