Is burn in real or placebo?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by hifi man, May 13, 2013.
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  1. bigshot
    That sounds like they're foisting their quality control tests off to the consumer.
  2. Redcarmoose
    You can only imagine how bewildering all this is for the new comer.

    And that’s what the web site is for right? To help people understand and get better enjoyment from audio equipment.

    Science would like everything to be cut and dry. So to say, OK maybe there is a slight sound change in equipment due to slight changes beyond the methods of measurement is too much to admit. It’s hard to prove anything and, we all know how confusing and unreliable subjective listening proof is from experience.

    As science has done with psychology, we know preconceived ideas change audio perception. So just stating to the new comer about burn-in can even create a phenomenon which does not exist.

    Manufacturers believe in it at times and include ownership manuals which go on to explain how the burn-in process will 100% positivity change the equipment sound for the better. Though these changes are slight they are noted as being slightly warmer, maybe more consistent and smooth.

    So a small list of ideas, would be very useful to the new comer. And.......the hardfelt reality here is that a headphone or amp or DAC that they may have actually loved, would be passed up if listened quickly out of the box and put back on the shelf.

    That’s the real risk of not taking burn-in changes as real. If you already own the equipment it simply gets better. But to actually not buy equipment due to fear of no burn-in process is the danger here for the noobs.
    PlantsmanTX likes this.
  3. Ari33
    I remember a Creative X-fi soundcard sounding noticably better after listening to/through it for a few hours... the trouble is... it was 2nd hand, had been used for a few years previously.
    That's when I realised just how powerful auditory perception and burn in of my... BRAIN... can be!
  4. Redcarmoose
    It’s like looking at a map of a town. Then going to the town and driving around, then looking at the map again.

    After visiting the town, the map takes on an all new meaning. Somehow perception changes in relation to exposure of perception stimuli over the course of time. I used to believe in wire and heardphone burn-in, though now I’m not so sure. Mental burn-in is 100% real though.
    swspiers and Ari33 like this.
  5. bigshot
    Assuming that burn in is real... Who's to say that burn in improves sound quality? Maybe you like the way it sounded out of the box and a couple of days later, it doesn't sound so good. I would think that deteriorating sound would be more likely than improving sound. A manufacturer isn't going to send a product out the door that doesn't sound its best.

    I think burn in is a myth created by retailers to discourage quick returns. They figure if they can require a buyer to listen to their new cans for a week or so, the customer is going to get used to the funky sound and not bother to return them. I see buyer's remorse all the time on these forums. This is how retailers fight back.
    Karajan and BobG55 like this.
  6. Danamr
    In a ideal world, that's not what science wants. Science wants theories that can be tested and proved or disproved. Real world science is as screwed up as everything else. Poke through what Sabine Hossenfelder writes about physics:
    Why is it 100% positive? This is a issue with burn in.
    Listen to yourself. This makes no since at all.
    How do you ever audition a product?
    And how do you know you are burning it in correctly?
    And yeah stuff ends in a closet because you have kept it so long expecting it to burn in you can't return it anymore...
  7. Redcarmoose
    The above responses are standard fare for SS. I've read them here for years and years, they never change.

    The audio-nihilism ideas presented here in SS would have kept me from truly enjoying this hobby if I would have been a noob and didn't know any better.

    nihilism (countable and uncountable, plural nihilisms)

    1. (philosophy) A philosophical doctrine grounded on the negation of one or more meaningful aspects of life.
    2. (ethics) The rejection of inherent or objective moral principles.
    3. (politics) The rejection of non-rationalized or non-proven assertions in the social and political spheres of society.
    4. (politics, historical) A Russian movement of the 1860s that rejected all authority and promoted the use of violence for political change.
    5. The understanding that all endeavors are devoid of objective meaning. quotations ▼
      Synonyms: fatalism
    6. The refusal of belief, that belief itself is untenable.

    And that's the sad part. A noob reading 20 to 20,000 hertz is all there is ever to hear. That you would be fine with a 1999 CD player putting out 20 to 20,000 hertz and all the rest is distortions and color.

    How those manufacturers are the bad guys for selling faulty equipment. ..........with no burn in. Equipment which reproduces audio non-consistently. Lol.

    By the way, that's simply a comeback to disregard the respectful group who knows electrical equipment can change sound over time.

    And for noobs who read sound science and believe some of the "Sound Nihilism" here as truths are going to miss out.

    Being open minded that there could be a change allows the new Head-Fi memeber the freedom to understand that equipment may sound different over time and use and that it may not be a concept fully understood by science at this time, but exists none-the-less.

    Because if an amplifier powers headphones to a signal of 20Hz to 20kHz, there are millions of other variables which come into play and enhance the enjoyment of audio.

    So we hear SS say, how could the engineering be done with capacitors which put out a wavering signal? They use burned-in capacitors when making the prototype model.

    All this stuff starts to get simple once you pull your head out of the sand.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
    swspiers likes this.
  8. Danamr
    There's the HEAD-FI I knew and love.
    Ask hard questions and the whining starts.
    Oh and
    Screen Shot.jpg
  9. castleofargh Contributor
    yeah, oh poor people missing out on all the fun because they exercise some measure of skepticism and ask for evidence before starting to spread legends on the internet. I don't delete your post because IMO it's so empty and whinny that it makes a case for us more than it hurts members of this section. but to be clear in the event that you planned to keep going in that direction. when the forum forbid personal attacks and libel, it doesn't imply it's all right to do it for an entire group of members.

    you're mistaking a few things here:

    -refusing to believe something without evidence, is not the same as claiming it doesn't or cannot exist. I never claimed that device specs were frozen in time for all eternity(that would be stupid). I also didn't claim that for example capacitors wouldn't change with time. capacitors lose capacitance over time, rapidly in the beginning then slower and slower over time. different types have different behaviors. now let's say we get a made up 2% loss of capacitance in the first 100hours. then what? do you have any idea how that will impact whatever sony DAP you were referring to? did you see anybody measuring the output on a bunch of those DAPs before and after? of course not. and if you did, you would surely count any change as being caused by the caps or at the very least "burn in", whatever that is. disregarding everything else to help your already made point of view. that leads to the next misunderstanding.

    - refusing to consider bad testing practices, irrational deductions, and people fishing for anything that agrees with them while dismissing everything else, is not taking sides. it's applied logic.
    you want to "prove" that burn in exists, but you don't even bother defining what burn in means clearly. that's the kind of half baked logic I cannot adhere to. is burn in a change occurring on moving parts because of frictions and manufacturing accuracy like in car engines? or is it about moving part bending back and forth a great many times like with the membrane of a headphone? apparently it is also a phenomenon occurring on non moving parts like capacitors, and cables, and whatever else. so burn in is what? a result of friction, bending, electricity, chemistry, magic? how do you reconcile actions of such an obviously different nature and still pretend like it's ok to get any evidence of any change on any gear and use that to make a point about the reality of burn in? such faulty logic used over and over again is blowing my mind.

    - IMO, you're also mistaking open mindedness and some sort of superstition. being open minded is me still running tests on the new gears I get to check if at one point I can manage to measure significant changes in the first hours or days after using it. I do it despite being now convinced that I'm usually wasting my time. that is me being open minded. instead of sticking to my convictions, I still try to disprove them and look for situations outside of what I'm used to. open minded is me still running abx a few times a year to check if I get a difference from using high res files against the same file converted to lower res despite failing more of those than I can count. that IMO is open mindedness. because one clear counter example(without another obvious cause) would be enough to have to reconsider my position, I keep looking for that counter example.
    not believing any BS we read about aliens, flat earth, vaccines causing down syndrome, and chemicals making the frogs gay. that is not lack of open mindedness. we don't have to gobble any fancy empty claim because we haven't proved it wrong. I and many others chose instead to reject empty claims until some factual evidence is provided to support them. it's not closing any door, it's just anti gullibility born from fair skepticism.
    superstition on the other hand is having no solid evidence of something, not really trying to get any, not checking if we can prove ourselves wrong. yet deciding to believe it is true anyway because we feel it should be true. then proceed to do stuff because of that thing that we don't know to be true in the first place. the cult of burn in. let's burn in our gear, just in case. let's do that weird stuff using that special CD because some dude without a clue told us it was the best way to burn in our gear. let's keep that stuff we don't really enjoy because we hope it will sound better later.
    how can that be the right way to approach a problem?

    now when I get a new device I open the box and leave it be at room temperature because I don't know what happened to it during transport in term of temperatures, humidity of whatever. that in my experience can have some impact. should I call it burn in too? there is no end to this nonsense if nobody cares for proper definition and proper means to gather evidence.
    Ari33, Trihexagonal, bfreedma and 2 others like this.
  10. Whazzzup
    I got a burnin desire for more cowbell
  11. SilverEars
    And you shell have.
    Whazzzup likes this.
  12. bigshot
    I think we need more woo woo around here!
  13. liquidrats
    is it true that dynamic drivers requires burn in? even the manufacturer says
    • Recommended burn-in time: 80 ~ 150 hours (can better enhance the low-band energy and dive degree)
  14. Ari33

    It is possible that the diaphragms might loosen up a little but I think you noticing a difference would more likely be down to your auditory system tuning in to them tbh..

    I've AB'd brand new and used earphones of the same model (Sony NC030) and couldn't accurately determine which was which.

    Just listen to them..
  15. Brooko Contributor
    And yet from one of the largest manufacturers on the planet .....

    That's from an interview with their engineers. I've also tested countless IEMs (measured before an after) and I am yet to see an earphone (dynamic or BA) which shows measurable differences from burn-in. You will get more sonic change from:
    - different tips
    - different insertion depth
    - different insertion angle
    - position on your head (headphones)
    - pad condition/wear (headphones)
    - different volume (no-one I know volume matches, yet they swear they hear differences - go figure .....)
    krismusic likes this.
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