"Please Stop 'Burning In' Your Earphones"
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krismusic

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And so another thread on this topic spins into pointlessness.
 
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post-10141005
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Gignac

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I was surprised to see 33 new posts to this thread since I last viewed it yesterday...I guess I missed the storm before the calm.
 
Anyhow, lots of good points made here by the usual suspects.  Good reading all around.
 
On the idea of doing a AB listening test, would it be possible to get two sets of the same phones, measure them for their response to make sure they're paired as much as possible (maybe someone could talk Grado into donating a couple of 325s for this as they're notorious for touting burn-in), and then sit them in the same climate for several days, one idle, and one exposed to a variety of music.
 
See what the results are.
 
BTW - many years ago (12-ish?) I bought a pair of SR-125s, followed quickly by a set of RS-1s (young, no responsibilities, and with the first decent paying job of my life, what can I say?), both came with a notice about burn in, and I followed the prescription to the letter - putting them in my bedroom closet with looping cds of various sorts passing through them for at least 150 hours each.
 
Believe me, after having committed the act, I definitely convinced myself that they sounded better.
 
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post-10141061
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rommy

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that's because they did sound better. When I got my 325s they sounded terrible I let them burn in for 4 days straight. AS PER INSTRUCTIONS. Sounded like a difference set of phones. and as I said I didn't listen to them and get used to them, I let them sit on a CD loop. They Played Much Louder and smoother...the people on here that doubt this, just never heard it.
 
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xnor

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that's because they did sound better. When I got my 325s they sounded terrible I let them burn in for 4 days straight. AS PER INSTRUCTIONS. Sounded like a difference set of phones. and as I said I didn't listen to them and get used to them, I let them sit on a CD loop. They Played Much Louder and smoother...the people on here that doubt this, just never heard it.

 
If you didn't get used to their exact sound signature, then how can you make statements about how the sound changed after 4 days?
You can't.. but still do, which is what I simply don't get.
 
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post-10141456
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rommy

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because naturally you're going to put on a new set of headphones when you first get them to see what they sound like. They changed considerably and as I said before... Grado tells you to break them in and that the sound will change. jeesh why does everyone need so much convincing. It changed, ok...and you don't get it because you're a moron that thinks he's smart
 
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xnor

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because naturally you're going to put on a new set of headphones when you first get them to see what they sound like.
Exactly, and given the short time you spend with them initially (besides the limited auditory memory), you cannot tell the precise sound signature after days.
 
Additionally, all the expectations you have about burn-in bias your perception. And by finally spending more time with the headphones after burn-in the largest change happens ... in your brain. That is, really getting used to the new sound signature.
 
 
They changed considerably and as I said before... Grado tells you to break them in and that the sound will change. jeesh why does everyone need so much convincing. It changed, ok...and you don't get it because you're a moron that thinks he's smart
Yes, you've said this before. It's called an anecdote.
Grado writes a lot of nonsense on their website too. So what? Do you believe everything Grado writes?
 
I don't need convincing or persuasion, all I need are at least sound arguments or some piece of evidence.
 
Before you said "they played much louder" after burn-in. That is extremely easy to measure. Afaik, such an effect has never been measured, so I have to call BS on your anecdotes.
 
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rommy

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yes that has crossed my mind, I think you are right
 
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Gignac

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Everyone knows that you're actually right (it's obvious to anyone with a brain, right?), but they just want to get you riled up. You're getting punkd.
 
You weren't supposed to reveal that yet manbear!  We had a plan from the beginning, and now it's all buggered up!
 
And rommy, honestly I have to say that you're making your case very strongly, but if you're looking for a consensus here it's probably not going to happen.
 
Now if I knew more about any of this stuff I would definitely argue a side, but my default side is always: If there's proof, I'd like to see it.
 
I may have burned in my grados all of those years back, but did it make a difference?  It certainly made me think it did...and I certainly told people about it - would I have argued the case in a forum such as this? probably not, but it's been an interesting read nonetheless.
 
 
 
Rommy, just out of curiosity, do you pose the thesis that this happens strictly with dynamic headphones?  I think I may have seen you mention something about burning in electro static phones before, but that may have been somebody else.
 
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post-10141953
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Have been following this one with amusement - especially Rommy's posts.
 
Rommy - you do realise that you are in Sound Science now - and we have every right to ask for properly conducted evidence of change.  Also - making statements like this: 
 
Quote:
They changed considerably and as I said before... Grado tells you to break them in and that the sound will change. jeesh why does everyone need so much convincing. It changed, ok...and you don't get it because you're a moron that thinks he's smart
 
and:
 
This has to be a joke.
 
only go further to reduce your credibility.
 
However - althoungh I know I'm bashing my head against a brick wall here - please consider the following (ie - what we actually know)
 
  • Reliable auditory memory - especially for retaining an exact sound signature - only lasts a few seconds (definitely under a minute).  You can a/b/x two similar audio tracks reliably by switching within a matter of seconds - but it would be impossible to reliably do this with a space of a minute between hearing the two tracks.  Now consider listening to the same headphone hours or even days apart.  By then - you can think you know what they originally sound like - but in reality your brain has a preconfigured idea of what to expect - and that's what it presents you.  Relying on 'your ears' for this is quite simply - unreliable.
     
  • Here's an example of how our brain also works to adjust to sound:
    I used to own the SR325i (currently own the RS1 - it does same thing, just not as contrasting) and had some fun comparing it with my HD600.  Spend some time with the HD600 and it is smooth, detailed, spacious, timbre is wonderful.  Your brain is used to the sound.  Now switch to a Grado (eg RS1) - the Grado sounds overly bright, narrow soundstage, bass has a lot less impact.  Spend 1/2 an hour with Grado - and it starts to become energetic, detailed, fun.  Now switch to the HD600 - it now seems slow, dull, veiled etc.  Give that another 1/2 hour and you are back with what you originally started hearing with the HD600.  Has either headphone changed?  No - your brain has adjusted.

    What does this mean?  Simply that every time you spend time with a particular headphone - your brain adjusts your expectation accordingly.  So take the old classic (the AKG K701 / Q701 / K702 etc or the DT880).  When I first heard them they did seem a little too bright and peaky - with less bass than I was used to.  Each time I wore them though, they sounded better and better to me.  Was this break-in?  No - simply me getting used to their signature.  The brain compensates - it's really good at doing it too.
     
  • Some of the changes we know that are audible include:
     - pad density and positioning on the head (these are measurable)
     - distance of the drivers to your ears (again measurable & very apparent - and affected by pads)
     - seal (especially on bass)
     - volume we are listening at
    Changes that we know we can perceive - but are more to do with our brain than actual physical headphone changes
     - our mood (happy vs sad)
     - state of alertness (awake vs tired)

    How did you conduct your tests?  Were the headphones on the exact same position on your head?  Did you test at the same time of the day?  Was the volume exactly the same?  The same track?  How were the pads - did they fit exactly the same? .........
     
  • Tyll at Innerfidelity conducted the only real scientific tests I am aware of - where he took a couple of brand new Q701 and conducted tests on them.  Interestingly enough he himself originally thought he heard differences between a burnt in and brand new one (the brain at work again) - but is the first one to admit that what he was hearing was probably placebo (expectation bias).  More than likely it is also a combination of seal, positioning and pad compression - all which physically alter the sound.  When he measured the headphones over a period of hundreds of hours - he did notice minor changes in frequecy response - but attributed some of this possibly to:
    - pad compression while on the dummy head
    - possibility of some outside noise
    It could also be very minute driver break-in - however the tests were inconclusive either way.  What he did state (from actual measurements) was:
    * the changes are very, very small
    * audibility would be questionable in normal listening situations - and especially when taken hours apart
    * the idea of night and day difference is pretty much a myth if based on the K701/K702/Q701 data
 
Now contract this to another post you made a week ago
 
I Owned A Pair Of AKG 550s, that were sounding great after about 50 hours of burn in and after 75 hours got worse, at 100 I couldn't listen to them anymore. I sent them back
 

Can you understand now why there is a certain amopunt of amusement regarding your posts?  No scientific evidence at all - yet in the face of actual measurement and also known limitations of the human condition (auditory memory) - you still make claims that your ears are superior and correct, and that anyone disagreeing is a "moron".
 
BTW - in anticipation of your next post  - my current gear is in my sig - and past and present is in my profile.  I've haven't heard any evidence of physical burn-in on any of the headphones I've owned.
 
You have the right to claim superior hearing, and/or experience of burn-in (even in the face of overwhelming data against this).  But in this forum - the onus is on you to provide proof beyond the usual "but I heard it"
 
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post-10141977
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xnor

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rommy, you repeating your same, useless anecdotes over and over again? Yes, it seems like a joke.
 
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gefski

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that's because they did sound better. When I got my 325s they sounded terrible I let them burn in for 4 days straight. AS PER INSTRUCTIONS. Sounded like a difference set of phones. and as I said I didn't listen to them and get used to them, I let them sit on a CD loop. They Played Much Louder and smoother...the people on here that doubt this, just never heard it.
Actually, the Grado owner's manual (sheet of paper) with my RS1is says "We firmly recommend NOT allowing the headphones to play continuously for extended periods of time". "...break in naturally with normal use."

Haven't read this whole thread, but if one believes in headphone break-in, it should be done with the cans against something like a dummy head for the drivers to work against.
 
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