Is headphone burn in legit?
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pjones5

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I've heard about headphone burn in for a long time, but I've never actually done it myself. I never really took to it because I did some quick research and found that it doesn't seem to be a real thing. But a lot of people seem to post on these forums about it... Is it legit? If it is legit, then why don't manufacturers do pre-burn in on their cans?
 
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elira

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It’s legit for some headphones. I think they don’t do it at the factory to reduce costs.
 
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HipHopScribe

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Probably not, but people have been debating this topic for as long as this site has existed, this thread isn't gonna solve it
 
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genck

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I think it's a thing with anything with moving parts, like dynamic drivers in headphones.
 
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pjones5

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I think it's a thing with anything with moving parts, like dynamic drivers in headphones.
Makes sense.
Will "burn in" happen naturally overtime or am I missing out on potentially better sound quality by not doing it?
 
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Let's look at planars. Thin sheet of mylar stretched. Magneplanar, Martin-Logan, and other speaker companies using mylar mentioned break-in as early as the 70's with very long break-in periods listed. My extensive experience breaking in such speakers: MG1, MG2, MG3.5, ML Aerius i, ML SL3, ML CLS IIz, ML Vantage backs it up (MG's worse).

As a former builder of subwoofers (ported, non-ported) I can tell anyone that cares that the woofers range of motion increases over time after initial install - sometimes 100 hours, sometimes more before that stops changing. This translates to deeper and more bass. It's a very well known phenomena.

Now if you go listening to a new set of cans for a 100 hours, you may imagine all sorts of things, and experience real things such as: headache, humidity changes, droopy VAC. Then there is the anticipation. I developed a new way for me to do this. Every 10 hours of break-in I listen for an hour - wrapped by an hour on each side of your current reference can. 0-10-20-30 and so forth until you go 3 sessions in a row with no obvious change. HE6SE was my last one, last big change noted at 90, no change at 100, 110, slight change at 120, no change at 130 and 140 - done.

No comment on estats, hedd, ribbons - no experience.

Lots of times the anti-audiophile set is correct. This isn't one of them.
 
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Makes sense.
Will "burn in" happen naturally overtime or am I missing out on potentially better sound quality by not doing it?
With enough use they will burn in on their own. You don't need a special ritual.
 
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Let's look at planars. Thin sheet of mylar stretched. Magneplanar, Martin-Logan, and other speaker companies using mylar mentioned break-in as early as the 70's with very long break-in periods listed. My extensive experience breaking in such speakers: MG1, MG2, MG3.5, ML Aerius i, ML SL3, ML CLS IIz, ML Vantage backs it up (MG's worse).

As a former builder of subwoofers (ported, non-ported) I can tell anyone that cares that the woofers range of motion increases over time after initial install - sometimes 100 hours, sometimes more before that stops changing. This translates to deeper and more bass. It's a very well known phenomena.

Now if you go listening to a new set of cans for a 100 hours, you may imagine all sorts of things, and experience real things such as: headache, humidity changes, droopy VAC. Then there is the anticipation. I developed a new way for me to do this. Every 10 hours of break-in I listen for an hour - wrapped by an hour on each side of your current reference can. 0-10-20-30 and so forth until you go 3 sessions in a row with no obvious change. HE6SE was my last one, last big change noted at 90, no change at 100, 110, slight change at 120, no change at 130 and 140 - done.

No comment on estats, hedd, ribbons - no experience.

Lots of times the anti-audiophile set is correct. This isn't one of them.
What are you listening to for break in? Pink noise?
 
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The manual with the last pair of speakers I purchased specifically says that burn in is not necessary.
 
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I've heard about headphone burn in for a long time, but I've never actually done it myself. I never really took to it because I did some quick research and found that it doesn't seem to be a real thing. But a lot of people seem to post on these forums about it... Is it legit? If it is legit, then why don't manufacturers do pre-burn in on their cans?
Brain burn-in is definitely a thing. That's what most folk will mis-attribute to the headphones breaking in.
 
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What are you listening to for break in? Pink noise?
No very well recorded music - almost all of which I have heard live and unamplified for myself. I know I've listened to some of these recordings 3k+ times.

Hard to make a judgement unless you are very familiar with alternate "ref" gear and excellent trusted recordings.
 
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The manual with the last pair of speakers I purchased specifically says that burn in is not necessary.
I think we are all sure that there cases where its needed or not needed. One size does not fit all.
 
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With enough use they will burn in on their own. You don't need a special ritual.
Perhaps not, but if you are spending multi thousands of dollars, at least for me it's nice to know what they do well/great/OK/not so good.

If we were talking about a pair of $35 portables I wouldn't waste the time.

But if you immerse 100% in the new cans, its hard to disentangle where they started, where they finished, how it sounds compares to ones baseline, and how much the price tag may be effecting your opinion. I tried to rationalize the process as much as possible.

The keepers of the gate of purity maintain that break-in is nonsense, that absolute polarity is rubbish, that amps all sound the same and cables make no difference - poppycock.

Now, that's not to say hyper buck cables are worth it, or that cheaper, even stock can sound better than expensive cables. The point is that cables are not the same, and in some cases are ridiculously easy to differentiate - even in blind AB tests.

Jim Winey (inventor of the Magneplanar technology as seen in Magnepans) said that they needed break-in - over 45 years ago. I trust him and my ears more than the keepers of the sacred ABX boxes.
 
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