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Is there scientific evidence that "Pink Noise"-Burn-In changes the sound?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by thedreamthinker, Oct 5, 2010.
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  1. poikkeus

    I'm open to the idea of headphone break-in, but your logic here makes perfect sense to me. 
    Performing sophisticated studies isn't going to be cheap, but at this point, any studies - even flawed ones - would contribute to a research literature that would start solving the issue. There are many components of break-in to address, but dealing with them one study at a time would help solve the issue. There will always be hardcore believers and disbelievers, but people who are interested in solving the question will be the eventual winners.
    Whether you validate your study with listener reports or readings is immaterial at this point. Good data is needed, any data. The real question is: who's going to foot the cost?
  2. kiteki
    Link to repeated blind tests confirming bit rate difference please. =p
  3. Anaxilus


    I have to largely agree.  They had teachers growing up saying, 'there is no such thing as a stupid question.'  Uh huh.  Always a fast track to a PhD though.
  4. DJGeorgeT
    I am currently enjoying my well burned in Shure E2 headphones. Everytime I read a post by a burn in doubting Thomas, my eyes roll unitentionally. It is as if they were deaf these people.
  5. Prog Rock Man


    Search blind tests on this forum and blind tests bit rates on the internet please.
  6. Prog Rock Man


    Do you accept that a blind test between your burned in Shures and a new out the box would help to confirm that?
  7. poikkeus
    Re: the break-in of the Shure E2 IEM:
    I'm uncertain if the Shure E2 is a fixed armature IEM or not. Theoretically, if it's dynamic, break-in is possible; however, the relatively small size of the IEM would make break-in effects minute; there's insufficient mass for break-in to occur. If the E2 is a fixed armature IEM, then it's physically impossible for break-in to occur. In either case, it's more likely that IEM users get used to the sound of these devices - which I've noticed first-hand with Westone IEMs.
  8. Prog Rock Man


    Well spotted. Any change noticed is in the head and not with the IEMs. What I have found is evidence of speakers changing and break in, nothing else.
  9. Anaxilus


    Now IMO, if a BA's 'arm' undergoes metal hardening or other changes in its material properties it should be more than feasible to hear an audible difference in such a case.  Does a watch spring stay constant through its lifespan?
  10. Prog Rock Man
    A watch spring, just like everything else, will eventually wear out. So will the arm. To burn in suggests that the watch spring will, after a period work better. I have never seen any reports to say that watches tell the time better after a few weeks of burning in.Have you?
  11. Albedo
    kiteki: There's a underlying current in our minds, but there's only a few well-controlled scientific studies about this subject, some say it's BS and that Jung is a less tangible way of seeing the world. The subconscious language are hieroglyphic, but once the Rosetta stone has been deciphered last nights dream become clear and meaningful. It makes you wonder if one says seven oranges and gets five red apples, that is.. you get what you're asking for, the question (by it's structure) formulate the answer.

    If you were interested in wine and could tell in a blind test difference by soil, climate, cask storage etc. it would be rather hard to pick out those nuances with such accuracy if I were to plug your nose, so that you just had to rely on only one third of your sensory input. DBT to me is like having a cold, everything's the same.. atchoo!

     Prog Rock Man: I'm all ears, that is.. I'm with you for the most part. My current stance on burn-in is that I hear it, even in a resistor attached to the headphone cable. But only in a greater span of time, sometimes there a slight shift in volume, that's the only thing I clearly perceive and the only explanation is annealing of the metal. Speakers that worn-in is less tricky to detect, but this also is very minute and to consciously discern differences... I really don't know, the only part that can do something of that magnitude is our subconsciousness.


    Best way to test something IME is by rapid AB switching, that is playing a musical piece with EQ reference setting that is A and switching to B for a second, than back to A so one does not to accustomed to the B setting. When I was paging in what I wanted my Sennheiser MX 880 to sound like, I preferred the EQing that was much colder and more like the clean window that I experienced with my AKG K 317. Afterwards I heard the music piece with the B setting, switching rapid to A and back, standard EQ setting was terrible, almost wolly and with a lot of reverb.

    That got me thinking about left and right hemishere functions and the exaggerated leftward asymmetry in the planum temporale of those with Absolute Pitch. Left side is grammar/ vocabulary, literal and right side is intonation/ accentuation, prosody, pragmatic, contextual. That got me thinking about animal behavior...

    Specialization of the two hemispheres is general in vertebrates including fish, frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals with the left hemisphere being specialized to categorize information and control everyday, routine behavior, with the right hemisphere responsible for responses to novel events and behavior in emergencies including the expression of intense emotions. An example of a routine left hemisphere behavior is feeding behavior whereas as a right hemisphere is escape from predators and attacks from conspecifics.

    What is this person with his golden ears actually talking about...

    The auditory systems of adult animals can be reorganized by auditory experience. The auditory cortex, the corticofugal system and the cholinergic basal forebrain are crucial for this reorganization. The auditory system can undergo two different forms of reorganization — expansion and compression. Whereas expanded reorganization has been found in different species and different sensory systems, compressed reorganization has only been found in the auditory system of the moustached bat, which is highly specialized for echolocation.

    What? Does he imply that he has the hearing of a bat now...

    Alterations in the physiological and/or the anatomical properties of the central auditory system (neural plasticity) can be induced by unilateral or bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, auditory stimulation, and conditioning in which sounds are used as conditioned stimuli. These types of neural plasticity have implications for hearing aid use, acclimatization, and deprivation effects. The occurrence of hearing-loss-induced plasticity suggests that the organization of the central auditory system may be altered by the time a hearing aid is fitted. The success of hearing aids may depend, therefore, on how the auditory system responds to the reintroduction of certain sounds by amplification.

    For example, enhanced auditory stimulation provided by hearing aids may induce "secondary" plasticity in the auditory system, which might contribute to acclimatization and/or deprivation effects. Such functional changes might be further modulated by reinforcing responses to reintroduced sounds using conditioning techniques.

    Yeah, but we're being scientific, DBT and all you know...

    There is some evidence to suggest that visual cues might help to boost auditory plasticity. To test this possibility, one can compared the earplugs' behavioral effects on two groups of ferrets: one blind since infancy, and another with normal vision. Both groups could localize about the same without earplugs, made more errors after receiving the plug, and then steadily improved with the periodic retesting. These results show that the ferrets could not only be trained to reprocess abnormal localization cues but also that they could do so without visual cues. Then, by training another group of ferrets to localize both auditory and visual stimuli before inserting the earplug, the authors show that sound localization depends “exclusively on auditory training” and does not involve “a visual recalibration of auditory space.” Furthermore, adaptation did not depend on error feedback, since rewards were not based on performance.
    After removal of the earplugs, ferrets made errors reflecting a small bias toward the previously plugged ear: they initially processed the cues as if the ear was still plugged. This aftereffect, though transient, indicates that the adaptive response relies in part on reinterpreting the relationship between binaural cues and location. However, compensation for the earplug-disrupted binaural cues mainly involved the animals' learning to make use of other cues that were less distorted by the earplug, including low-frequency interaural time differences, and spectral cues provided by the unobstructed ear.

    I wonder how ones ability to sort out both the tones going from A to B in a blind test and still be able to also remember overtones and timbre cues on a piano.

    The perceptual magnet is a concept used to explain the relative inability to discern variations around a prototypic vowel sound, as compared with variations around a nonprototypic vowel sound. The perceptual magnet effect is a consequence of exposure to a specific language during infancy, when babies learn to bin ranges of vowel sounds into categories delineated by their native language.

    Aren't some curious to non-Western populations and the correlation between the perceptual magnet effect and the musical exposure of the AP subject.

    BTW.. Wittgenstein was not a post-modernist, but influenced that movement. His texts was in fact not really understood before the eighties, it's like saying that Hieronymus Bosch was a surrealist.
  12. Anaxilus


    You keep suggesting that burn-in guarantees better sound.  It doesn't.  Please readjust that perception.  Both the clock spring and the armature 'change'  whether it is for the better or worse is not guaranteed.  Obviously a watch is designed w/ a greater emphasis on precision than headphones.  My point was to compare the metallurgical properties of metals under load not the function of headphones to watches.
    Burn in isn't designed to improve sound.  I'll say again, the point is two-fold:
    1-Break-in the driver to prevent potential damage from overdriving, clipping or distortion out of the box.
    2-Get the driver to its most natural state of use where one can judge its true operating signature.  Whether that's for AB or to determine if the phone is your type of sound and should be returned or sold.
    As I've said before, I've only noticed 'burn-in' to yield significant audible differences in 20% of the phones and IEM's I've ever heard and 5% of that has been for the worse.
  13. Prog Rock Man
    Anaxilus, I fell in line with the standard burn in makes it better view. You are right and I have in the past talked about burn in and change to avoid the standard audiophile idea of burn in makes it gets better. Thanks for the clarification.
    Albedo, there are not enough ferrets in hifi. [​IMG]
  14. kiteki

  15. poikkeus
    Maybe it's a good time to get down to basics. "Is there scientific evidence that "Pink Noise"-Burn-in changes the sound?"
    If that's the only question, then be hard pressed to deny the facts: there's no scientific evidence on "burn-in," much less change caused by "pink noise."
    Then again, there's no research, anywhere, on "burn-in" (much less "break-in"), and it doesn't seem that there's much difference whether the break-in is performed using pink, white, brown, or whatever noise. In short, nobody - skeptic or believer - has come up with much evidence, much less scientific evidence. So it's not a question that's intellectually honest; it's pitched to a skeptic's point of view.
    A better question, also unanswered, would be this: Is there any evidence, anecdotal or scientific, relating to headphone break-in?
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